Sunday, November 10, 2013

Game Warden Files--Another Favorite Trapper

Trappers are interesting folks. There were the colorful yet pleasant types like Huck and Tony the Trapper, there were the odd balls like my long-running problem Fred, and there were a lot more who were just regular folks who liked to run a trap line. You might never know that they were trappers. One such fellow we'll call Curly was a favorite.  He was a hard working guy who trapped hard and made pretty good money at it.  He was always a really upright and ethical sportsman--almost always anyway.

A local farmer called me one morning very upset.  He'd heard his beagle out in a field and howling. The dog kept up the racket and finally the farmer went out to check on it.  He found his pet in a snare, which is illegal in NY. The farmer released his dog and started looking for more traps, finding about a dozen of them and then he looked around and found the one track that looked like human track. It led through the woods and right to Curly's backyard.

By the time I'd interviewed my complainant, checked out the scene and gotten to Curly's house, he was long gone and at work for the day. His wife didn't think anything of me showing up looking for him and said she'd have him call me that evening.

That night when he called it was clear that he'd already checked the snares, found them gone and knew why I'd stopped by the house. There was no beating around the bush. "What do you know about some snares?" There was a long pause, a deep sigh and then the admission "They're mine; I suppose you've got to give me a ticket, huh?" When I told him that since he'd caught he neighbor's dog there was no way he was not getting a ticket. He acknowledge that he understood and then asked if he could just come to the house and get some fur sealed along with getting the ticket. I agreed, put on a cup of tea and when he arrived we took care of the business and drank our tea. He then explained that he'd been trying to catch a pack of coyotes in that area and had been unable to get them into his traps. After trying all his tricks, he'd resorted to snares. He'd taken the time to fabricate what are called soft-catch snares, designed with a toggle to release the tension so that they would not strangle the animal as a regular snare would do, only restrain them. Good thing for him that they were the soft catch or he'd have killed his neighbor's dog.

Curly took care of his ticket and we never had any other incidents of that type. One winter day he called and asked me for some of the cardboard furbearer tags which had to be filled out and kept with the fur until it was sealed. He caught me just as I was about to leave for the day so I left some where he could find them and went on about my business. By the time he got to the house to pick up the tags, we'd had several inches of snow. Since he was there, he plowed the driveway for me while he was there.

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