You know what I want for Christmas? I want a nine year old boy. Do not bother wrapping or putting in a box, I want the no batteries required, I want the no assembly required. I want a nine year old full of energy and questions boy.
For a Christmas delivery, He walks into my trapping shed and I have two beaver skun and im working on the third. Two mink are already put up on stretcher boards and a red fox is lying on the floor waiting for a good skinning.
The wood stove has my fur shed at 60 degrees and the kid starts opening his jacket and pulling his hat off and he is all eyes. The only sound I hear is the stove hissing.
After he scans the entire shed and his eyes glaze over looking at my traps and boards and knifes and the gambrel……..he goes from absolutely quiet to an explosion of questions.
“Hey mister”…….I’d probably die right there if the kid actually said that…….but it’s my wish…….
Could you take me trappin'? How many pounds is that beaver? Is that beaver a hundred pounder? That is the biggest beaver I ever saw! Where did you get those beaver? How’d ya trap a beaver that big?…One run on sentence after another, …Then he would trip over the fox while reaching to touch the drying mink. Round two.
The magic if you will is right here…….he’s nine, and im old and I get to dispense all my trapping wisdom. First, you stop skinning and show him how to set a number one long spring and then let him fire the trap with a piece of kindling and it makes him jump back with a start. Then he tries setting it. You show him how to stand on the spring because his little mitts are not big enough yet. Just like when I first started.
How do you explain “ backing” on a garage floor? So you tell him to be ready next sat at 6:00 am. Just dress warm and don’t worry about lunch, tell your mom I’ll have you back in time for dinner.
Poof…. reality again
When my kids grew up around the house and what they consider there father to be, it was natural for me to include them on my outings. My youngest was as close to the dream as I ever get. She would get in the trapping sled while I would snowshoe along from trap to trap and she would … in little girl fashion…. “mush doggy” and flail her pine branch to whip me in shape. It went way to fast.
So I want to trap a kid in the neighborhood. Problem is there aren’t enough kids where I live and the few there are have dads or politically correct parents who not on your life would let them trap anything.
Oh, I drop hints at church, and I volunteer to coach soccer but no takers yet. When I asked my fourteen year old daughter if she new any younger boys I got …”DAD that’s weird”.
If you pull into my yard I have all the strategic call lures placed. There is no less than four canoes of varying length hanging on the side of my trapping shed and a kayak perched directly overhead in the pole shed. Fourteen foot boat on a trailer waiting for some whipper snapper to jump into at a moments notice.
Draping from the garage and driving my wife nuts is at least thirty rusted traps of all sizes and some well spaced elk antlers and deer horns everywhere. I got the bait, I soft catch all the old guys in the neighborhood with there reminiscing and pull up chair chats but no nine year old upstarts as of yet.
My hands do not quite close the springs shut on a 220 anymore. I find myself hoping I had someone to trap with and my wife is okay with trapping as long as im doing the trapping. She will visit occasionally in the trapping shed while im skinning and she loves showing off the tanned pelts scattered about our home ……but what I wouldn’t give for some kid to come get caught in the snare I have mentally set.
In my minds eye, he always goes home yapping about what a Daniel Boone he has met and wants to grow up just like the old guy down the road.
The Trout Whisperer