Pennsylvania Trappers Association Book Committee, editors. 2012. Successful Trapping: Tips and Techniques by PA Trappers. PA Trappers Association. 112 pp.
If you ever attended a Trappers Convention or Trapper Training Workshop, then you will know the wealth of information you can glean if you sit by the “Old Timers” and listen while they swap stories and techniques. Successful Trapping is a lot like that except the tips are in print.
The book is a collection of 22 articles (not 21 as stated on the website) all written by Pennsylvania Trappers. As can be expected the articles cover a variety of topics, including, trapping history, trapping safety and trap line management, and trapping techniques. The bulk of the articles fall in the technique category as trappers provide insight into strategies that have helped make them successful trappers. Five articles deal with raccoons, 2 with bobcat, 2 address muskrats, 2 on mink, 2 on beaver, and 1 on fisher.
Each article opens with a brief biography of the author that highlights their years of experience. Several authors should be well known to readers, including Mike Marsyada, Rick Shadel, Russ Carman, and Darin Freeborough. I’m confident readers will recognize other. But whether known or not, each author has something to consider for everyone open to listening.
As expected, many of the tips reflect the laws, culture, and environmental context of Pennsylvania. However, other tips are useful no matter where you are located. For example, Joe Ferrel’s article on blindsets for mink contains principles useful everywhere mink exist as blind sets don’t rely on odor attractants that may have uneven effectiveness in different regions. Likewise, the two articles by Bob Best and Alan Clay on the use of enclosed footraps for raccoons to avoid non-target catches. Avoiding non-target catches should be the goal of every trapper whether or not you live in urbanized areas.
The articles are written well and accompanied by black and white photos and/or line drawings. Most of the images reinforce the content of the text but several trophy shots did find their way into its pages.
I was pleased to see the authors emphasize the importance of trapping ethics and to behave in a responsible manner. I think it spoke well of the editors to include an article on how to avoid catching river otters, which are still not legal to trap in the state. Teaching readers how to avoid catching a species that still hasn’t reached a population strong enough to harvest displays the kind of restraint and proper regard for wildlife management that all trappers should aspire to.
The book 5 x8.5 inches in size, saddle-stitched and paperback. It costs $12.00 plus shipping. It can be purchased online at http://patrappers.com. If you are a beginner to intermediate trapper, this book will help you improve the efficiency of your trapline. But no matter your skill level, purchases help support your fellow Pennsylvania trappers. You can’t go wrong with that.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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