What has trapping done for me lately? You may often ask yourself that question, at the end of a long day. You may also wonder than when you get your fur check and it way to low for the number of hours and miles you put in, for that small amount you received.
But when I ask myself that question, I have to think of the place I was in when I came back to trapping. Many people will think that I had the world by the tail, and probably did. I grew up the normal kid, son of a teacher and a coach, principal, and superintend of schools. I went to church, played at playing sports, hunted and fished, normal stuff for a kid growing up.
I worked in high school rather than playing sports, for the simple reason, that I was no good at sports. I would rather work and get something for my time and trouble rather than the bumps and bruises of a “B” team player. I graduate high school and when to a university relatively close to home. That is where I guess my spiral downhill started. I learned what was in those little brown bottles.
I started drinking. I always, enjoyed my beer, never got into trouble, but one was too many and 24 was not enough. I did not drink everyday, or even every week. I did not even get drunk every time I drank, but I sure did like my beer.
I graduated from college, got a job, teaching school. I loved it, the kids were fun, the job was fun, heck, life was fun. I lived fast and played hard. I loved the life and the lifestyle of a young rural professional. I went back to post graduate school and got a masters degree in the field of education administration. I could do anything from being janitor to school superintendent, and was certified to do it by the state.
I continued to teach, but things changed. It did not change over night, but gradual. It took years. Life was not fun anymore. Most of my buddies had gotten married, or remarried. They had their lives, their children, and all the things that you are suppose to do when you “grow up”. But, not me, I was still foot loose and fancy free. Running hard and enjoying every second, so I thought at the time.
Then one day as I said, things changed. The alcohol turned on me. I no longer just used it, but abused it. I had to have it. I don’t know when I crossed the line, but I crossed it. I would go days without eating, getting all my daily needs out of a bottle. I would go days without sleep, other than the times when I was not passed out. I started getting in big trouble with the law. DWI’s were hitting pretty regular, a couple back to back. I lost my job, no my career. I also had lost my identity, and will to improve. Heck, I had given up. But, I knew I had to do something or I was headed for a long stay in the cross bar hotel.
What did I do? I moved to the ranch, back home with my parents. I had to get something that was stable, pretty tough for a 40 year old to do, but I had no other choice. I had hit the end of my rope, and the knot was slipping.
What did I do? First, I went to treatment. Then, I started going to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). At first that was one place I had no desire to be, in a room with a bunch of losers.
Now, back to trapping...
We were having predator problems on the ranch. We were seeing a lot of evidence of predator kills, so my Dad wanted someone to start trapping them.
Now, I helped my kid brother on his line back in high school, when I was in from college. I sold his fur for him. I helped him skin and get the pelts ready to go to the fur buyers, but I never trapped. Well, the good Lord must have seen my problems and helped me out. I think he could have picked an easier way, but this is how he did it.
My sister-in-law had a bad car wreck. She and my nephew were hurt, not life treating, but hurt just the same. My Dad and Mom moved them to the ranch so they could help with them and the kids. While they were at the ranch, my brother showed me how to trap. How to bed a trap, trap placement, everything he knew and could remember about the trapping game.
It was slow at first, but I found that I enjoyed it. Getting outside, playing in the dirt, and trying to out fox those predators became a game that I really liked. I basically traded one addiction for another. As time went, I though less and less about drinking, and more and more about trapping. I bought more traps, read more articles, and really fell head over heels for this trapping game.
So, when I ask myself, “What has trapping done for me?” I can honestly say that it has given me a life back. It has given me a reason to get up in the morning and not reach for the bottle. It has given me a reason to live. It has put me in touch with a power greater than myself.
Most of all, It gave me back to me. So I can give me to my family and the ones that I love.
If you are having a problem with alcohol or any other substance, and can’t see a way out. Let me recommend that you find an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) chapter near you and start going to meetings. Listen to those people’s story, at first it will sound so different than your own, but the more you go, the more you will realize that it is the same or close to the same.
What has trapping done for me? EVERTHING