And speaking of trapping I am here to give-back. If you, your son, daughter or grandchild would like some instruction don’t hesitate to ask. If the trapping community doesn't get more younger people involved these days the future is dim. Trapping built this country. I can speak coyote. Passing the torch is something I can do and getting help can do wonders on your coyote intel. Many, if not most, novice coyote trappers do an excellent job of coyote education and it can raise havoc with a beginner’s confidence. Remember, it is far more difficult to reeducate coyotes to get caught than it is to educate trappers!
I do business with and have learned the lessons from some of the top trappers in the nation and have taken coyotes from sea-to-sea and a lot of states in-between. Guys like Tim Caven, Dave Amberg, Ray Milligan, Bob Young, Mark June, Gary Meis, Mike Martinz, Dwaine Knouse and John Graham all have contributed to my understanding of song dogs. I like to think I have a lifetime of coyote education behind me and like a coyote, being an opportunist, in understanding what I am to look for and what is before me, has helped me in life.
As I have gotten older a lot of things have crystalized in my thinking of what hunting is all about. To me, hunting always meant a lot. Hunting started early for me. I was fortunate in growing up. I had parents who cared and later in life I learned I chose great parents. I had a dad who wanted me to hunt with him. A dad who took me gopher trapping in the first grade with a kid who remains a very close friend of mine today, Dave Amberg, creator of the Amberg snare. If you are a serious trapper you know Dave Amberg. I hunted with Dave again this fall. Back then we earned a quarter for every pair of front feet on a pocket gopher. That was big money in the first grade!
Trapping taught me about hard work, to never quit, the early bird gets the worm, to keep hammering and to understand that hard work also required smarts and increasing the learning curve to make more money. While I am on the subject, the job I had at the State of MN was the worst job on earth. It was my first exposure to how taxpayers get hosed, of how brown-nosing works, of how politics often plays such a huge role in getting ahead and how hard some state workers “work” to not get caught not working! Yuck, just thinking back on it gives me nausea and I am sure not much has changed in working for the man. If you are in a job like that you are on my prayer list.
For anyone interested my career can be readily covered by a quick click on this website:
We all have our firsts in life. Like you I remember the first deer I killed. The second and third not so much but the memory of Deer #1 probably stays with you too. I shot this doe on the 5th shot with a .30-.30, open sights, shooting nearly straight down into the North Dakota badlands on opening day. I skipped school that day (parents approved) as the ND rifle season started mid-day on a Friday. Emerson Baker, my junior high basketball coach literally kicked me in the ass when he saw me in the hall on Monday. He kicked me so hard he should have broken my pelvis. If he were still alive and I saw him on the street today there is a good chance I would kick his ass. You see, he was a control freak. A coach with a problem, there are a lot of them. He reminds me of Nick Saban berating his players these days. He was about 6’7”. He kicked me for going deer hunting instead of going to his basketball practice. These days he would have been convicted of assault. I got my first deer wearing orange, it was the law. Dad said deer can’t see colors and it will keep you safe. I listened and preach orange today. I like to think I had my priorities in order then. I hope I still do today.
My first 4-point, (western count) came in the fall of 1970 in the southern end of the Black Hills above Angostura Dam. We were actually on a deer drive for muleys and this buck busted out. Missed the first shot and he then ran towards me and killed him at close range. Note no sling, no scope. I probably killed my first 25 deer with no scope as Dad couldn't afford spending money on a scope.
This fall, like every fall before was memorable. The little things make it the best. Here is a weasel in winter coat.