I caught my first muskrat with a one and one half jump trap when I was thirteen. I have been hooked ever since. Caught my first otter at eighteen. Still have his penis. My father did not appreciate it much when I told him what was on the key chain to his car. Never missed a season except two when I was caught by the Army. I even planned our wedding at the end of trapping season. When I was younger and had a full time job, I would check my traps at night with a head lamp and a one man wooden boat. Shame I did not have a "Creek Boat" back then. The water would freeze on the head of the boat when you swung the paddle from side to side. I can remember how peaceful and sacred it seemed coming down the creek on a moon lit night with only the sound of water running off the end of your paddle. You never knew what you would see if you were quiet. Once I passed two hounds and a hunter that had a raccoon treed up a big oak on the bank of the creek. They never knew I was there. Another time I passed a whiskey still in operation. I saw a car that had its interior light on but you couldn't see inside it was so fogged up on another trip.
I attended my first convention in Kernersville in about 1975. G.G. Wood, a local trapper, said Tonnie Davis was really doing a good thing getting the trappers organized. That got my attention. Tonnie became my lifelong friend. We have trapped and been on many hunting trips ever since together. I joined the organization that year and have been a member ever since. A few years later, I was voted to the board of directors where I am today. For the past quarter century or more the conventions have been held in Smithfield near my home. It was tough to head up in the beginning, but over the years many more have taken on responsibility and made it a much better convention.
Over the years we have had some good times and some not so good. We had some rough times with the fox organization in the late eighties. Without the NCTA we would be in a much worse position today. If we continue to keep officers and a board as dedicated as we have in the past and today, we will have trapping for a long time.
If I have any regrets they are missing church to check my traps and not appreciating a most patient wife.