At what age did you get introduced to trapping, and who introduced you?
I started trapping when I was 6 or 7 years old back in 1954 in Porter Swamp. I would go to the barber shop with my daddy and all they would talk about is trapping, so I dug a hole in the yard and trapped my daddy.
One of the guys from the barber shop, who was a country fur buyer, gave me a #0 longspring. Mr Mallard Anderson, the country fur buyer, told me how to catch a raccoon. He said, find a log and hollow it out, put some sardines down, set the trap on top of the sardines and cover it up. It really works. So, I set that trap and caught my first coon by the middle toe and he was still there after school. One of the guys on our farm skinned it for me and it brought $5. This bought me more traps and lure from O.L. Butcher. I have been hooked every since.
Which furbearers make up your yearly catch?
Over the years, I have trapped every furbearer that lives in Columbus County. Bobcat, Beaver, Otter, Raccoon, Fox, Coyote, a few muskrat, a few mink and even caught a weasel once.
Which furbearers do you enjoy trapping most? Why?
I enjoy trapping Beaver the most because they are the most destructive, and Coyotes are a close second.
Which year was your most memorable year on the trap line and why?
They have all been great. Any time you can get out in the woods, it is a good time and memorable.
Do you have any personal challenges you have yet to achieve? (example: catch number for a season? catch of a specific furbearer?, other?)
I just enjoy trapping. I do not set goals or pressure myself to achieve catch numbers or dollar amounts. If I can cover my gas bill I am happy.
Where do you see trapping in the future?
There is always going to be a need for wildlife management. Beaver will cause flooding, muskrats will damage man made dams, coyotes will kill livestock, and there will always be a need for trappers.
Why do you trap?
I trap because I enjoy it. It gets me out into the woods and that is where I like to be.
Do you do animal damage control work?
I have done some beaver control work in the past, but now I just help out close friends. I do sit on the Columbus County Beaver Board. Due to the high population of beaver in Columbus County, the county commissioners created this board and staffed it with two individuals from each one of their districts. Residents call into the NC Soil and Water and report problems with beaver. The board helps manage the beaver problems in the county, by linking trappers to the landowners with issues.
Do you have a favorite trap?
My favorite traps would be the 330 Conebear and MB550. The 330 is a great tool for beaver control and the MB550 is very good for the Coyote, Foxes and Bobcats.
Do you have a favorite set?
The dirt hole is my favorite set for Fox, Coyote and Bobcat. The dirt hole is easy to make and I have had good success using it.
What do you think trappers’ biggest challenges in the future will be?
I think the biggest challenge will continue to be the education of the public on the importance of wildlife management through trapping. Trapping only removes the surplus animals and is highly regulated by the states. The public needs to realize that furbearers are a renewable resource.
How long have you been involved with Trapper Education?
I have been involved with trapper education since the inception of the program in North Carolina. I feel it is very important to pass along this heritage. When I was a kid I learned everything I knew from reading books. I read O.L Butcher’s book on fox trapping a couple times. I read the book, went over to the farm and made some sets. The next day I caught a beautiful grey fox. I was pumped.
Have you ever had a trapping partner?
Yes! Back in the late 80’s I trapped with Charles Eddins. We caught fox, beaver, bobcats and raccoons. Trapping with a partner allowed us to set twice as many traps and split the workload. We were able to cover several counties.
Another time I partnered with John Ashe. John is from the NC mountains and he taught me how to trap beavers. If he could see a mountain, he could tell you where he was, but in the flat country he was lost.