It has been heart warming, heart wrenching and nose rendering to watch my boys try their hand at trapping. The whole mess started a year ago when we played a line right out of Old Yeller...."Coons been in our corn!" someone cried. And so they had. Broken stalks, half chewed ears... what a mess.
We called in the Hunters Ed instructor, Jim, who was also a trapper to help us out. He showed up one balmy summer day with traps and stories that made every body on the place that bore testosterone go star-y eyed with plans. "Every part of the critter was worth something to somebody...there were people who trapped for a living..." And so the sixteen hours of class that were required to become one of the elite.... A TRAPPER! Began.
They all passed the test with flying colors and since that time have have been on the prowl for critters. I, however, am beginning to see why Mountain Men were a solitary people.
The first thing that seemed askew was Cody took all the money he had been saving for Ferrets and dumped it into traps. "Now wait a minute boys, this was suppose to make money, not spend it." I say. They roll their eyes and forgive me, after all ~I am female.
Then, bless their hearts, they discovered that second hang up~ they live in Idaho... All their traps froze open. Critters of every make and breed made off with the bait and kept their hides. January this year just wasn't going to cut it.
Holverson boys, however, do not quit! No, their minds simply returned to that balmy summer day when the stories ran like warm honey and on they trudged into February. The traps were working by now and they discovered a nice place for trapping. So again the line was set down the canal. Shane and I were too busy with the goats kidding to go and check their set up or unfortunately to listen to their plans.
Saturday morning after chores the boys disappeared like clock work down into the timber surrounding our house. A short time later reappeared and stormed through the door. "Somebody stole our traps! Three of them!!" Was the indignant ejaculation.
I, between gags, suggested it was a skunk that had done so...backed up in my theory by the stench that was now suffocating every living soul in our domain.
"No, mom, these were clipped clean."
"Clipped? what did you tie them with?"
and in true country boy fashion they say.... "Twine."
"Oh, boys ( yes,I was whining)a wounded animal would be able to chew through twine, you needed to wire them, never use twine. Now get out side and hang your clothes on the line then come back in here..."
"Naked?" they ask. "Only if your skin doesn't stink too~other wise you just stay out there!"
Upon further inspection it was decided that they did in fact catch several skunks( I'm not sure who it was that needed the further inspection) as different drag marks could be seen going into another hole and the air and ground saturated with skunk "essence". Cody, not about to lose three $6 traps drops to his belly to peer into the hole and well.... no traps but a second set of his clothing now hung on the line. Later that afternoon they all returned to the scene of the crime, bearing more precious traps and a whole roll of bailing wire. Setting them up around the smelliest hole they could find, they hoped for revenge.
Monday morning the routine repeated its self ~ the stench reaching my nostrils long before their bodies came into view, complete with a skunk. Only, not one of the thieving skunks.
I banished them to the far corner of our property to do the skinning. There was unanimous agreement among them. They would not try their hand at removing the essence this time, for fear of doing it wrong and spilling the contents. ( mom was mad enough) It didn't matter they broke it anyway. And yet another set of clothing retired to the clothes line.
Time will tell if the stolen traps will ever be recovered, a skunk pelt remains submerged in a bucket full of an old trappers potion to remove the smell. After a good washing in the same "trappers potion" the clothing has now passed the sniff test and is fit to be put in their drawers. The air has cleared somewhat within and without our home and in my minds eye I picture Jim, stretched lazily in front of a crackling fire, smoking a pipe and giving a chuckle every now and then at the thought of four teenage boys just learnin' to trap.......