Girls Trap Too!
What image comes to mind when you think about a really good trapper?
Robert Redford playing Jeremiah Johnson, and Tom Oar from the History Channel’s Mountain Men series. Rough, tough and gruff. Men of few words and all business. Yep, that’s my trapper.
Not so fast, Brad…
It has been brought to my thick skull that young, high-school and college-aged females like to trap, too. And a few of these, particularly two gals from Georgia, are taking the fleshing board to some of the old crusties.
I attended the Georgia Trappers Association 40th Annual Convention in Dublin on Friday, Sept. 17. The event was hosted on the banks of the Oconee River at the Laurens County Sportsman Club. My trapping teacher Lynn Stanford offered to take me on a field trip for the day, and I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to soak the sponge.
The first order of business was to put $25 cash on the table and join the GTA. I needed a ruler across the knuckles for not joining sooner. This organization hangs its hat on “helping protect the rights of individuals and preserve the natural resources of Georgia.”
Yep, I’m all in. Comes with a great trapping magazine, too!
Next was to go through a single door into a room full of vendors that had every type of trap, lure and bait you could find. Something about that aroma takes all your worries away… yeah, I know. It’s a trapper thing.
A big deal at the annual GTA show is folks will buy all of their trapping supplies for the year at a much cheaper cost. Ever priced shipping costs on a dozen MB550 leg-hold traps? Run that price and I’ll see you at the GTA convention next year.
So I dropped some money, but I did it with a good friend to GON, Brian McKee with Southern Snares. Brian has been a regular supporter of GON‘s Coyote Cull, so if I was spending money, it was going to be through Brian. BTW, great guy who has everything you need to plant some steel.
Money spent, next order of business was to check the seminar schedule. Every hour was another class. Felt like being in middle school again. One ends and you hurry to the next. Although these topics sure held my attention longer.
I watched techniques for trapping coyote, fox, bobcat, beaver and even armadillos. One of my favorite classes was watching Randy Zerwig flesh out a bobcat, coon and a beaver. I really want to learn how to properly flesh, tan and make a soft fur one day. Randy’s class was a great starter for this young student.
So the real eyebrow raiser came at lunch, which was supplied by the lady who runs The Farmhouse in Adrian. Locals tell me it’s the best eating joint between I-20 and Orlando.
I sat down with Randy after he made quick work skinning those critters. Joining us was his daughter Abigail. She’s a college student at ABAC majoring in Ag Education, and this little country girl loves to trap.
Somehow we all got to chit-chatting about the annual GTA trapping competitions that are hosted each winter. They host the Youth Trapping Competition around New Years Day and then the Adult Trapping Competition the first weekend after deer season. Best I could tell these weekends are mostly for fun, bragging rights and GTA-family fellowship.
“I finished second last year,” Abigail said.
Second, I thought?
Her statement came directly after an older gentleman at my same lunch table said that he had “placed” a time or two. As in placed in the Top-10…
“Oh,” I said… “you placed second in the Youth Competition?”
“No, I’m 20. The Adult Competition,” said Abigail.
Here’s a 20-year-old girl who placed second in the state against a bunch of Robert Redfords? Ready for the other eyebrow to go up?
“Annabel, that’s her over there, she placed first last year?”
As in first in the Adult Competition.
I turned around and looked through a crowd of gray heads and overalls. A high school girl was sitting on the table, hair up, boots laced, holding court. Meet Annabel Wilson, AKA State Champ.
Turns out that in the two nights of competition this past January, she caught one grey fox, three beavers, one coyote and two bobcats… earning more points than any other adult trapper competing.
An hour later I’d watch Annabel with knees in the dirt telling a group how to catch bobcats. Annabel, if you’re taking a public speaking course at your high school in Macon, I sure hope you get some extra credit for taking a bunch of grown-ups to school on a Friday afternoon.
A few weeks have passed and my eyebrows have finally receded.
As a man who gets a little crustier every day, I really enjoy seeing young people take it to a bunch of seasoned trappers. But you know what I enjoy more than that?. Those old crusties are their No. 1 fans.
Abigail and Annabel, stay the course! We’re cheering you on!