Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 26

The daily trap check became a bit
much for Ernie, who at his age didn't
climb hills and bust through brush as
eagerly as his youthful student.
So, on the fifth day, Ernie stayed home
while I carried his old .22 rifle into the
hollow to check the trap. I followed the
path on the hillside and was greeted by
thick fog that drifted through the hollow.
Admittedly, I wasn't too optimistic as I
trudged along the tributary that morning.
The previous night had been mild, which
meant the raccoons were on the move,
but so far, nothing had paid attention to
our set.
Until now.
As I weaved through the brush about
20 feet away from the set, I heard the rattle
of a chain. My heart raced as I scanned
the area and saw a raccoon staring at me
from atop of the bank.
Its front foot was securely in the trap
and the drag was lodged in the brush.
The set worked.
I calmed my nerves enough to dispatch
the raccoon, and when I untangled it from
the brush I felt an excitement similar to
when I shot my first buck.
Is there such a thing as raccoon fever?
I quickly remade the set and hustled out
of the hollow. I couldn't wait to get back
to the farmhouse and show Ernie our first
catch. But lugging the big boar raccoon up
the hillside in one hand and the rifle in the
other was more work than I anticipated.
I had a big grin on my face as I walked
up to Ernie's front porch with the raccoon.
His grin was just as big when he opened
the door and saw the critter.
That afternoon I received another
lesson on a different aspect of trapping:
fur handling. As Ernie patiently doled out
advice, I skinned the raccoon and fleshed
the hide. My arms tired as my hands
clenched the greasy wooden handles
26

of the scraper while stripping off heavy
layers of fat. Ernie inspected the hide and
had me scrape off more fat and gristle
from the back of the neck and base of the
tail before the task was complete.
The raccoon's pelt measured just over
32 inches on the stretcher. I'll never forget
how proud I was as I hung it from the
ceiling. I marveled at the clean, white hide
and couldn't wait to hang more pelts as
the season progressed.
I ended up with eight raccoons, two
foxes, a couple of muskrats and plenty
of opossums on my first trapline. I made
plenty of mistakes, but learned even more,
thanks to having Ernie as my trapline
mentor. When the season drew to a close,
Ernie and I hung the traps back on the
nails inside his shed.
Over the next several years my traplines
grew and so did the catch. More pelts on
stretchers hung from the ceiling and Ernie
continued to teach as I honed my trapping
skills.
Ernie passed away years after our first
trapline together, and then the responsibilities of adulthood greatly limited my
time to set traps. But I still remember
when Ernie and I hung the traps in the
shed at the conclusion of what would be
our last trapline together.
For some reason, I separated the No.
11 Victor longspring - the one that held
my first raccoon - and hung it away from
the others. It had a special place.
And that's where the trap stayed for
years, accumulating rust but holding
plenty of memories that were rediscovered the day I recently returned to the
shed.
Perhaps there will be a time when I can
pass along what Ernie taught me about
trapping, and another young, eager trapper will set that No. 11 back in the little
tributary that flows through the hollow.



Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - February 2020 - Cover4
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