When most people think about trapping wildlife, they think of burly settlers, decked out in thick pelts, lugging steel bear-traps the size of hubcaps … or they think of the snap of a tiny mouse trap. Erick Baker and the rest of the crew brave the cold weather that’s typical of the trapping season to learn what they can about this almost-forgotten art.
First stop: walking the trapping line with Casey Mullen, TWRA Wildlife Manager Region III, and his sons. Mullen gives us the insight into how the fading tradition of trapping helps keep animal populations under control, while keeping predators in check on farms. Kyle Walling, TWRA Wildlife Officer in Dekalb County, proves that if there’s an art to setting effective traps, there’s definitely an art to finding traps, both legal and not. He explains the regulations in place to protect domesticated animals from harm, too.
Then it’s off to the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge for some hands-on instruction at the Trapper Training Camp, put on by the Tennessee Fur Harvesters Association. John Daniels, President of the association, explains that a big part of trapping is respect for the animal. Chris Ogle, Region 4 Wildlife Diversity Survey Manager, gives some tips for dealing with nuisance wildlife around your home.
Finally, Erick heads to the Annual Wildlife Game Dinner at the University of Tennessee, where Ethan Newman and Dakota Bird, President and Vice President of the Wildlife and Fisheries Society, give their take on conservation, lifestyle and cooking up wild game.
You don’t have to set a trap to catch great episodes of Tennessee Uncharted. We hope you enjoy this one!