I first tried trapping back in the late 1960’s, but I think all I ever caught was an opossum. About 1978, I tried again, going after fox and did pretty good. That was about the time I joined the NCTA. In 1980 I started trapping full time with a partner, Dale Smith. We trapped full-time for about 10 years, and also did commercial cat-fishing and turtle trapping when trapping season wasn’t in. We trapped mostly raccoons and muskrats, but we trapped a little of everything. We trapped in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. I always wanted to go out west to catch some bobcats, and maybe a mountain lion, and to Alaska to catch a wolverine.
I had many memorable years on the trap-line, we made so many memories together, some good, some not so good, but we laugh about all of them now. We did a lot of river trapping by canoe – one would let the other out and then one would pick the other up at the end of the day. Spent many a cold, rainy, or snowy day on the river, enjoying the solitude of nature.
We also did a lot of lake trapping and could cover more territory in a motor boat, but back in the 80’s there was a lot of competition on the lakes. It was easy for one person to go to the lake and trap by himself in a motorboat, so that’s why we trapped the rivers a lot.
I mostly trap for coyotes now because I enjoy the challenge of trapping. There will always be a need for trappers to control the population of our renewable resource.
Trapping is how I got in the boat building business. Since we were on the river so much, we tried all kinds of boats – fiberglass, aluminum, plastic. I built my first canoe out of wood strips and fiberglass, and at the end of the season I would just put another coat of fiberglass on the bottom and it was ready for the next season. But I would usually sell it and build another, so I started building some in my spare time and selling them. And the boat business has kept me afloat for many years now.