Friday, November 30, 2007


Trapping's a brutal, nasty business. When I was a kid my grandfather gave me a half dozen muskrat traps and showed me how to set them across the road from my house, along the banks of the Wallkill River. Every morning I got up before dawn, grabbed my baseball bat, and checked my traps before school. I was probably about 12 years old. After a week of this I had yet to trap a muskrat. Then my old man ran into Ray Enright down at the local gas station. Proudly he told Ray about my trapping enterprise. "Yup. The boy has a line down in front of the house , along the 'Kill." That's all it took. The next day all the traps were gone. Secretly I was relieved, and not a little thankful to Ray for pinching my traps. The prospect of bashing a furry little muskrat's brains in before school didn't sit well with me. My career was over.
It wasn't until 2007 that I would set another trap. After trapping my recent assortment of critters, I called Ray Key to get his advice. His first question was "How'd you kill the fox?" I told him I shot him. "You know what you do in the future?" Ray said in that nasal tone of his. "Take a big stick and crack that fox in the nose. Then you step on his backbone and..."
"Whoa! Christ, Ray. I couldn't do that." I said in horror.
Ray giggled. "Well, if you want to waste a bullet and put a big hole in a perfectly good hide." Yeah, I'm a light weight.
The other problem with trapping is it's indescriminate nature. (note:2 red tail hawks, an eagle, two smurfs and a baby unicorn). There's no way to guard against my cat Ray Gilkey or the neighbor's poodle investigating a pile of rotting turkey carcasses. So to guard against this I've moved my sets deeper in the woods and dug what is called a dirt hole set. First you dig a 10 inch hole, slopeing away from the trap at a 60 degree angle. Then drop some lure or bait down the hole, double stake the trap and cover with dirt and leaves. Sprinkle a few drops of fox urine and back away.
After I got the fox, Shewhocannotbenamed came up for a visit. We were laying in bed discussing deer season and my new trapline. She's so accepting of my activities and choice of lifestyle that i constantly have to check myself. Compared to me her life looks like a New Yorker cartoon read by Woody Allen. "So now I'm doing nothing but dirt hole sets." I told her matter of factly. Silence. I looked over at her and there was a real look of horror on her face. "What?'" I asked concerned that I had crossed some line. "Just tell me "dirt hole sex" is not what I'm thinking." Maybe she's not as accepting as I thought.


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