A trappers training for the ladies….
This event was made possible with the cooperation with the Florida Trappers Association, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission/Becoming an Outdoors Woman Program and Not a Clue Adventures.
I went into this event with a bit of concern as I know very little about trapping and I am not so sure I want to add this skill to my bag of tricks. We posted the event and had more than enough applicants register! I was surprised that there would be so many interested in learning the skills of a trapper…and yes this does take skill! (and lots of practice!) We had 3 wonderful instructors from the FTA join us on site, Steve MacKellar – NTA Director, Steve Lee – NTA Director and Ellie Willingham from Willingham’s Fur and Taxidermy. Ellie arrived early to start putting out traps so the ladies would have something to check in the morning during class.
When we arrived at the Bay Lake Camp at Richloam WMA we were appalled by the condition of the primitive campground! I was very happy we arrived the day before the event was scheduled because it took that long to clean up after the Bay Lake “Trash” Club (as I am told they are known) that was there the week before for hog hunting with dogs. We fill over 4 55 gallon trash bags with cans, bottles and other left behind trash before we event set up camp. That afternoon we did a bit of hiking and found their “bone yard” full of carcasses and even more cans! (We went back on our last day there and removed over 70 beer cans from that area alone to be recycled).
We had a wonderful dinner of camp stew and chocolate raspberry burritos as everyone started arriving . Class was scheduled to start at 8 am so many arrived the night before. In the morning after coffee and a hot breakfast the ladies were schooled in a variety of traps. They learned about cable and box traps as well as how to catch a pesky armadillo! Soon they were all off to check Ellie’s traps and head over to Bo Carlton’s place up the road to learn about skinning and preparing the hides. Ellie had gotten nothing in her traps but Bo had 2 otters and a raccoon he had reserved for the ladies class. Each paid close attention and soon were all back at camp hungry for lunch! It was not long after and it was time to go set trap and cables – they set over 70 before coming back for dinner.
We had a pot of Chicken with yellow rice and Raccoon Piquante with white rice. Both pots were nearly licked clean!. While some of the participants went out for ice others enjoyed smores and stories around the fire. Nights are cold this time of year and it did not take long for all of us to snuggle up in our beds to the songs of coyotes , tree frogs and nighttime insects.
In the morning everyone quickly ate breakfast wanting to get out and check the traps. But what would an event with us be without an adventure…. Ellie and Steve #2 went out to check a couple cables and both got their never stuck before trucks – stuck in the mud! It was an additional learning experience for the ladies to see how to get out of that “sticky” situation. Soon they were all heading out in the right direction. The group quickly returned back to camp as none of their efforts produced a catch other than one black opossum Ellie had trapped near camp. Each of the ladies received 4 snares/cables from Grandpa’s Trading Post to take home and hone their skills. Many participants purchased additional supplies as well.
After a quick bite to eat we all broke camp and shared hugs, all promising to see each other again soon either at the Beyond BOW Hog Hunt or the BOW Workshop in Ocala or the Southeastern Trappers Conference in the upcoming months.
I love getting out and seeing these strong, independent women learning new skills, beating down fears and stereotypes and living large! I will continue to do these types of events as long as I am able! If you are interested in learning a new outdoor skill, I am sure we can put something together so you can learn – you may even make a few new friends in the process!
For additional photos from this event please visit : http://notaclueadventuresphotos.shutterfly.com/pictures/3354
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