Chances are if you're living on this planet and have access to a television, you've probably been exposed to some Hollywood version of the survival genre that pits man against nature as though nature is some mean bastard that's best avoided, like fretting about mountain lions while you drink your own pee. The reality is most survival stuff is produced for entertainment, and that's about it. Maybe it's fun to watch, but much of it is nothing more than a good way to make a bad situation worse.
That's why we wrote The Meat Eater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival. It's my latest book. In it, you'll learn from the hard earned advice of accomplished outdoors men and women, including river guides, lifelong hunters, mountaineers, emergency room doctors and wild foods experts like how to effectively find and treat water, how to gear up for any outdoor adventure, why cooking accidents mess up way more people than grizzlies. How to deal with a porcupine quills in your dog and a porcupine's meat on your fire and how to develop a mindset that keeps you calm, rational and focused during your most stressful moments, no matter your skill level.
This book will be a staple on your essential gear list, and if you don't have an essential gear list, it will teach you how to make one head over to the meat eater dotcom slash survival to check it out. Now, that's the meat eater dotcom survival Yuva.
You've seen this cook up some pretty wild stuff here at Meat Eater, like whether we're experimenting with deer heart, making our own sausage or rendering down some bear fat or in one case, even snake oil fat to make a bit of tallow. We are passionate about what we cook and how we cook it. And we know that not everyone has access to these odd cuts materials. So we decided to hook up with Port Road and give you a chance to join in the fun.
I'm excited to let you know about our new meat eater Porter Road boxes. Now hear me out. They work a lot like other subscription boxes, but we got wild with it. We have a large intaglio box so you can try your hand at rendering and stepping up your frying and baking game. If you remember our episode years ago with the not even years ago, a while ago with the absolutely fabulous wild game chef Jesse Griffiths. He talked about his world class fried catfish, which he fries in beef tallow that he renders himself.
We also got a sausage box, which includes pork back fat and pork trim and casing to pair with one diers worth of shrimp, meaning sometimes depending on where you live, it's a pain in the ass to get good quality pork fat and trim that you can cut into your own burger or cut into your own sausage. This takes care of that problem where you get very high quality pork back, fat sent to you, frozen you use to process and work with your own deer.
And then for fun, we've got a scavenger's box. It's got everything from kidney to Shank's. It also includes a signed copy of my book, The Scavenger's Guide to Cuisine.
So here you can get this stuff up your cooking game. And then when you're working on your own deer, in your gut, in your own deer out, you'll have some know how to begin working with some of the more exotic cuts on your own venison. With any luck, you've already got GAMAE in your freezer, are you? Soon will. And now it's time to start thinking about how to put it to good use. Head on over to portero dotcom slash meat eater to check out our latest collaboration and get cooking.
That's Porter Road p0 rtr road dot com slash meat eater again. Go in there, get the pork fat pork trim box with casing so you can get busy making your own wild game sausage and burger with great pork trim. That's easy to source and of high quality portero dotcom slash meat eater. This is the Meat Eater podcast coming at you, shirtless, severely beaten, in my case, underwear, less than half a Meat Eater podcast.
You can't predict anything presented by Onex Hunt. Creators of the most comprehensive digital mapping system for hunters. Download the Hunt app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Know where you stand with Onex. All right, before we even get to our guests, we need to do to show and tell Karen, do you want to do Shantelle first?
Sure. Explain what you made. So from from a duck that was shot the other week, I just decided to. Make a pair of earrings, so I it's very simple, very simple, very simple, so just these bright orange feet off the Malad and them on record. Yeah, sure.
So it's a bright orange Malad foot. It hasn't even dried out yet. Yes. You could sell it back on to Dockerty to walk away.
And I just put some stainless steel steel wire around it to like kind of hold the the ankle and made it like a little earing. Oh, dude, that makes a statement, man. I don't know what statement it makes. That's beautiful.
Kiran was pointing out that people get upset, that they feel like it's better just to throw out the garbage, apparently. Yeah, right.
I mean, it's better to throw out the trash than to put it as a earing. Right.
Like, it feels disrespectful that you're you know, it's a detached foot.
And whoever has that sentiment would have had a hell of a time with Plains Indians.
Being there, whole getup was made out of animals. Extremely upsetting to them.
So it's like if you're going to save the FT for stock and boil them in a pot, you know, if you still need to make a hard right, like in a post apocalyptic scenario, everybody starve to death, like, oh, that's right.
I got your right. Right.
She takes your eggs off, makes a little bit of stock and everybody's fine. So are you going to go into this, do you think? Yeah.
I mean, I love I love making stuff, you know, I love using my hands and.
I paint a lot, I haven't done that in a while, I used to do a lot of ceramics, so yeah, I'll maybe we'll come up with a line of earrings and rings and you can get around, you know, like you can't barter and trade for a wild game meat.
But you could even probably go on Etsy and sell your wares or like, you know, for for a.
Any future minister giveaways or fundraising, you know, there can be a pair of something, pair of earrings or something in that collection, gift items myself to think about, others know about this, but me and him are thinking about raising a lot of money with beaver pelts.
I got a path to raise a lot of money for our land access initiative through beaver pelts, extremely high priced beaver pelts. I was thinking about that to extremely high priced beaver pelts that come with a little certificate.
Signed and a pair of flip flops and a pair of flip flops to ever be rebuilt and now sat through your show until this past week, I was at deer camp in eastern Montana. And I stumbled upon a chunk of bone sticking out of a bank, it wasn't a cut bank.
It was just like a little rolling shoulder that fell down into a little dried up creek bottom and. I don't fully understand that when you say that, well, you know. Most people like, well, I should say most people a lot of times people find bison skulls and cut backs like sticking out of a cut bank. This was just like in the grass, you know, there it was fully vegetated where I where I found this. And it was just so no erosion, nothing else fell away.
No erosion at all. I just happened to see a chunk of bone sticking out of, like, the grass. And I just started started digging and uncovered yeah, the first one I found was not in a cut bank. It wasn't anything eroded. Yeah. Which I think I think it's cool and you got to an obvious youngster to young.
If I was, I was in a hurry when I was digging it out because my girlfriend Kelsey had just shot a mule deer. And I was I did to walk like two miles back to the vehicle to go get the vehicle to bring it. There was like a. another road that ended up being way closer. So I went, got a vehicle and brought it around and made the back out like two miles, like five hundred yards. So I was going to do that.
And in in the process of doing that is when I found this skull and I was trying to be quick digging it out of the bank, ended up breaking some pieces off of it, but it was very fragile. I don't know what's going on, but something with the cosmos where a lot of. You know, right now in Siberia and in an Arctic Alaska, there's all this stuff coming out of the permafrost right now because the yepp, exceedingly warm summers.
Yeah. Like mammoths and dogs and all manner of junk. I don't want to go over there and poke around. Fieldtrip, there's a lot of I feel like there's something in the cosmos that's not climate related, but there's just a lot of Buffalo schools. Right now, because I had found one in. I don't know, man, late 90s. And then didn't find one for forever, and last year found two. One was full of crayfish, had been colonized by crayfish.
You know, then found a chunk like this chunk right here, and then my brother found a couple. Oh, yes. Carl found one. Everyone's fine, everybody's been fine. I know multiple dudes have found them this year, I got there's so many coming out right now if something is in the cosmos. I got a friend over Missoula. That found one and you didn't pick it up. He sent me a photo. It was level with it was in a gravel bar.
It looked like it was on display in a gravel bar, like it was like level like you could have walked across it in a gravel bar, but just like there in the gravel bar. Oh, we found another one earlier, years later in the summer that someone we were floating the river and someone had picked it up and said it like made a little carrot. That's what I'm thinking of. Made a little cairn and set it on top.
Karen. Well, whatever you mean, Karen, Karen, Karen, it's hard to say that we're CAIR and made a cartoon and set it on top and if they knew what it was or didn't know what it was.
I mean, they did like a symbolic thing. Oh, I just I just pictured a bunch of kids playing down by the river and they found this thing and you didn't you didn't. I remember you thought that you felt that it had been corrupted and spoiled. Yes. By the touch of man. Yeah.
It wasn't cool. It was cool. But it wasn't. It wasn't like this one where I found it, dug it out of the earth, that one had already been touched. OK, now to our guests. Rick, Manny, Manny, Manny, yes, building Manny now, not like Manny, not like a movie. A lot of people claiming Manny. Manny. Yeah, Manny, eat any.
No, no, I'm saying that's a wuss when you go to a movie at a maintenance man, Manny.
That's right. A French word. It's a French. That's E. Probably think ahead on that, just tell us how you spell your name, Mattie. Anyway, Mattie anyway, and his father. Mike. Yes, same last name. Yes, Rick, you were asked about my special anchor you made me. Yeah, yeah. Can you describe real quick how you make anchors?
Well, I take four inch steel pipe and fill it full of lead and well, bolts around the outside like a smaller anchor, except for the all steel ones clank real loud. If you fill them with lead, they're a lot quieter. So I said one.
Yeah. And I asked you about it when we came in here.
You know, there's a story about, OK, so here's what I one. I love that anchor. I had a compartment on one of my boats that it wouldn't fit into. So I took I took a bandsaw. And shortened the bolts. So that it would fit in a compartment. Down to little Nubbins now, well, well, now I don't put it in that compartment anymore. I could just left it as it was. Tonight, another anchor works great, but like, I just mess it was just one of those stupid things that happens.
Yeah, I feel terrible about it. It's okay.
I got like eight more in the garage right now. Oh, you do?
Yeah, we're good when you're when you're melting all that lead to take precautions. No, absolutely not. Just get a buzz and. Yeah.
Just get the torch grab that bush light and let me tell people about the all the ways you kind of make ends meet.
Well, I have an outfitting business here in the state of Montana. I run a steelhead lodge out of southeast Alaska, a guide for a private ranch down in Hawaii, as well as doing some bonefish guiding on Oahu and Hawaii. I do a little bit of cooking for you guys here at Meat Eater. I also do some in home while getting cooking classes as well. On the side, I have rental properties in town. My job list is extreme.
Yeah, very outdoor focused irrigation company that I was a part partner in and now I've actually got out of that finally, hopefully, so that I can get a little bit more into the rest of the stuff. Can you.
So Fish and Bonefish in Hawaii. Is it Orio. What's the word. Oh yes.
Yeah. Oh I. Oh. While in. Our neck of the woods, you know, they're not really regarded as one of our neck of the woods. I mean, like in our hemisphere or whatever.
Yeah, like when you go down to the Caribbean and stuff, Ascencion Bay, they're not really regarded as people eat them, but they're not by most people.
The fish from the lake regarded as a food fish.
No, but why? It's like they have a completely lost reception of them, right?
Yeah, there's. Yeah. Powdered fish cakes. Fish soup out of them. Yeah. It's the locals really like eating them. You know, I think America, the United States is the only place you can left. You can still kill a bonefish. They're protected everywhere else but Florida, Hawaii, you can still kill them there.
I don't advocate for that. Yeah but my brother caught one in Hawaii one time.
I think he said he's 95 feet of water go out and caught a far bigger bonefish than he'd ever caught. Fish and Bonefish on purpose.
Yeah, yeah. And there where there are deep water bonefish, they come up on to the flats to feed. And there's so many pancake flats around the islands of Hawaii that there's very little flat habitat for them. So most of them are deep water fish. I mean, you'll see videos of them schooling, you know, in 60, 80 feet of water. And there's just schools, hundreds of them. And, you know, you go up on the flat and there's four.
But it's the same species. I think so, yeah. I mean, there's guys that argue that the Hawaii Bonefish are in the Pacific Ocean. Bonefish are a little bit different than the Atlantic cousins. You know, they're kind of a deep water bonefish. There are what's called a sharp Jod Bonefish, which I think they're going to classify that one is a different species in Hawaii, has both Pacific Bonefish and the sharp, sharp Jod.
And so I think they do classify that one is a different one. But, you know, you can noticeably tell the difference when you catch one of those versus the regular ones who what kind of people like who are your clients?
Not Hawaiians. No, no.
For the most part, there there's a couple of local guys that I go out with quite a bit, but a lot of them are my clients that I roll over from either my Alaska operation or my Montana operation. And they're like, hey, you know, what are you doing in January? And I was like, well, when you ask, I'm down in Hawaii, Gaiden Bonefish. It's like, Oh man, I'd really like to do that.
They're really big and they're hard to catch.
And it's like, yeah, well here you go. And you guys go out and fight fish for them. Yeah. It's all site fishing for I'm on the flats. We do it out of the boat sometimes depending on the tides. When the taling tides are right, we try to do it on foot as much as possible because that's the hunt, that's the fun one. That's more fun than doing it out of the boat. The problem with the boat is, is most clients and most guys can't spot them far enough out to make an effective cast before we spook them.
So it's a hard.
So you're just stuck saying like eleven o'clock to eleven o'clock, fifty feet, you know, and if your guy can do it perfectly. Yeah. You'll catch a few of them doing it that way for sure. But we have a lot better luck doing it on foot, you know, low and slow. The slower you move, if you move your leg fast enough to where the water, the water makes a tiny bit of a ripple noise, fish will spook from one hundred feet away.
So you have to go.
So these dudes, are they scared of sharks and stuff? They're scared of everything. Everything wants to kill them. I've seen fifty pound gets turned sideways on the flats and chased ten pound bone fish. Try to eat them. You know, there's tiger sharks in the bay a hundred feet away. You know, it's everything wants to eat them. You know, on top of that, they get fish to you every single day. When I first started guiding down there a little over twelve years ago, you never saw anyone going fishing.
And now every single day there's someone on every flat for the most part. So they took off. They took off. And the amount of pressure they see is on.
And their old fish, you know, a big bone fish will be twenty years old. And so you're going to educate a fish like that that's been around the block.
He's going to know the drill. So you need to be better than the next guy to get them. And they're extremely hard to catch. They're they're not that hard to get to eat as long as you can get to him without spooking. And they're neurotic. Sometimes they eat, you know, without knowing you're there. They don't even care. And other times you can't buy a bite no matter what you do.
Have you ever hunted Sandhill Cranes? I have on sandhill cranes couple of years ago in the Texas panhandle, and they're like exceedingly decoys shy. Yeah, down there. They just see spreads all day, every day. And this guy were hunting with skins, all the sandhills and makes. These zombie decoys where he makes the frame and actually puts an actual sandhill anthill on it and. Over it. And we were kind of like marveling at sort of like how wary they are, but then we had one that was wearing a band.
It had been banded as an adult 17 years earlier. Imagine the amount of spread's that things looked at. Yeah, she's 17 years, what's the average lifespan?
Don't think those things get way older. And I thought the older mallards I mean, you know, a lot of birds can live a long time, but I think it's common to have sandhills.
You know, make it to be over a decade, so and you match. Yes. And you talk like a 20 year old Bonefish, just like he's up on those flats every day.
Even after a while, he knows your name.
You know, he might steer clear that there's one fish called Bonegilla is Benkert three or four times.
Now, she, I should say, is probably last time I was thirteen point seven pounds last time I got caught. Think L.G. caught him last time. But it's in the same spot. She lives in the same spot during the same tide. You can go there like clockwork and find that fish.
Yeah. And it's unbelievable how how they pattern. I mean they might as well be a white tailed deer.
They do the same thing every day, you know, unless they just think you don't often think of fish like that. Yeah.
Hunting especially in a like an open like an ocean environment.
You don't think of a fish as being like here's what his deal is. Yeah. Here's what he does. Or does she. Yeah, it's it's funny because and you know, you'll have new fish come out of the flats and do this and that. But I mean there's definitely a pattern and the older fish typically do the same thing. I mean, they they have a thing they want to do and during the right tide and, you know, the right conditions, they do that thing, you know, repeatedly.
You can see them do that month in, month out. Yeah.
All right, Mike, tell us what you do. You guys that you guys are like you guys have an interesting group. Well, I'm retired at this point, and I've spent my entire life trapping in my off season of working, and I had an excavation business for 25 years and freed up my winter time so my kids didn't see much of me during the summertime. You know, it was just our winter times. ZAROFF So our winter times was trapping what age to start trapping?
I started about 12 years old and I think Rick was younger than that.
So do the math for me real quick and explain what what year you would have started. I want to put a relationship to the big fur boom.
OK, you get started during the crazy for boom.
Yeah. 68 before the right. Before Yeah. 68, when I probably started a trap and say, where are you living? In northeastern Washington, north of Spokane, about 80 miles.
And what like what drew you into it, being a fur trapper?
Well, just the outdoor experience, I guess. I just love the outdoors. And so my father had trapped a little bit, but very little.
And he helped me get me around.
I mean, my mother also drove me from place to place for when I was dropping.
I remember when I was a little kid, we used to make our mom drive around and like, sit in the car while you run down into some cattail marsh and then drive to the next spot. You know, it's like it's like being a soccer mom, being a muskrat mom.
What were you going to make that famous? What what did you guys like?
What did you start out for back then? Mainly Beaver at that time. Beaver was probably the more valuable pelt.
And were you lay out the economics of it back then in the 60s, like, was it good?
It's a whole lot better than it is now. So, you know, they actually you could you could make a decent living during the winter months, trapping at that time.
You know, the average worker, just like the sawmill workers there, were making thirty dollars a day. And so Beaver was worth an average of thirty dollars.
I remember now probably about, oh, probably 69 somewhere in there.
I remember I caught Nineteen Beaver on opening day, which was basically a month's wages of a working man. And here I'm twelve or thirteen years old so no kidding around.
So I actually when I turned 16, I bought a brand new I ordered a four wheel drive pickup because my father ordered it because I couldn't put it in my name at sixteen.
But but I had the money that I made from trapping to buy a brand new Ford four wheel drive pickup at that age. Yeah.
Wow. It's not like that.
So in comparison to now, I mean, you couldn't trap enough beaver to buy a brand new Ford pickup.
No, you can't trap enough to put gas in that Ford pickup.
Correct. You could buy a bicycle.
Well, the plan, me and Senator Hatch. Well, obviously, it's for. I want to talk about the rule the law is going to make. That only a law that says only means Seth contrat beavers, but they're worth a thousand dollars apiece. A federal law.
I don't know if you're going to get it might be this might be the first of its kind, you could probably do that with Sea Otter. Yeah, I think you probably could.
There's a limited haul on those, so. Oh, yes. I want to talk about I do follow that like the sea otter stuff a little bit. Quite a bit because I want to get to that later. Let me make a note of that. That so I know like native Alaskans can hunt sea otters, correct, no one Trappes yachters do they know? They hunt sea otters, they hunt.
They can sell them only under the condition that they make it into a handicraft has to be substantially altered.
Altered is the word. But sea otters, as they come back so strong, some argue, more than ever had ever been, are destroying the red urchin. They're screaming, they're destroying everything because it's all tied together. And so there's a push to make it to incentivize people to go after sea otters. There's a push, correct, to reduce the restrictions so that people could actually sell non altered sea otters. Correct?
That's what the Stedman's that's his last attempt that they actually failed at, but was to allow the natives to sell just sea otter hides. I was attempting to try to buy them in the round so I could personally skin them in that do. But sea otters, their value is, you know, somewhere around a thousand dollars apiece for me to make product out of it.
That's their make product. But but you're not allowed. I can't I can't physically touch it.
So you nay, if the rules changed, the rules changed. And the natives, I think, would harvest a lot more. But I still don't think they would harvest enough to make a substantial difference. You got to remember the carrying capacity in Southeast Alaska during the 73 when they did, the Marine Mammal Act determined that 20000 was carrying capacity. We currently have over 50000, so over two times the carrying capacity. So they've just they're basically eating themselves out of house and home.
The interesting thing is the people that are trying to protect the sea otters are actually the ones that are killing all of them, you know, as they start to basically destroy the habitat or they'll completely die out.
It's funny. This is such like a recurring theme I just saw. It's such a recurring theme around.
This is a real rabbit hole. I want to get back to the 60s and put all women put on this soap.
I want to open up the rabbit hole real quick or like peer into the rabbit hole. Whenever we're dealing with an imperiled species. It enters a mind space with Americans like wolves in the 70s, it enters a mind space with Americans, voyeur like this thing is imperiled.
There aren't many left. And we get to a point where we're like, we will forever envision it that way. You know, it's like you get in your head the rarity of something, and it doesn't know we don't allow culturally, we don't have the elasticity in our brains to picture that someday will reverse the trend. It always feels scarce. So when we were low on sea otters, we put protections in place to recover sea otters. It's like sea otters entered like a permanent status in our brains as being imperiled.
Without opening up the idea that we would someday hit recovery, that's why when they hit these recovery thresholds, it's like it never happened. With wolves, too, we hit the recovery threshold with grizzly bears in certain areas, we hit the recovery threshold and we were like, yeah, we hit the recovery thresholds, but screw that. We don't want anyone to ever touch them ever again because they're used to not be that many.
Oddly, it didn't happen with Elke. Or turkeys or deer. You know, we bought ran out. OK, no one has a problem switching the mindframe, so I guess that's an exception to my own rule. But some things like sea otters. People are never going to get comfortable with the fact that there's a bunch of them. Well, that the native tribes up in Alaska were not nomadic so much so some of the Minton's the dump sites, they have hundreds and hundreds of years.
And my understanding is that when they dig through these mountains, that there's 100 years where they have clamshells and 100 years where they do not have clams, there are so meaning the natural cycle to the fluctuating sea otter, sea otter, you know, like every other animal goes in cycles.
You know, after they're left alone, they will populate up and then just eat themselves out of house and home and then start all over again. And that's what we're seeing now. And what we're seeing now is we've exceeded the carrying capacity and they will die off and then they will slowly go back the other direction.
But it's appears to be 100 year cycles from how big is one of those things to three times the size of a river otter 667.
Yeah, 60, 70 pounds of big ones.
And when the Russians used to, you know, like the Russians used to come and do Alaskan waters, like way back in the old days, they were after sea otters buying sea otters. We know that back then, like people that trap sea otters, they always just haunted them, correct?
Well, you got to remember, as sea otters born in the water and he never leaves the water. And because of that, their prime year round, because they're in I don't know. Yeah. They're like most furberg you considered only harvest in the winter months. Doesn't make any difference to sea otter because they're in the same same environments. Very little difference between a summer sea otter and a winter sea otter guy and the quality of the fur. Yeah.
All right. We'll get back and all that stuff. I wanna get back into the 60s. My understanding of the fur boom, like I started trappin right when the fur boom ended. OK, so we set our first muskrat traps in 1984.
It was so good, but it wasn't as good. Can you explain what happened with fur prices?
And you probably have a more detailed understanding of this. Explain what happened to wild fur prices.
In this this sort of like magic block, and maybe my dates are wrong, but like from 1978 to 1982, people were quitting factory jobs in order to trap in the fall and winter.
I know that in the case of the coyotes, there were people that bought airplanes. And then I line up here in Montana, they made more money during the evenings killing coyotes than they did in their job.
Well, like what was happening those years.
Do you understand from a market perspective, like, why, why, why did like all wild fur all of a sudden get super valuable?
I don't know that all wildfire did. I don't know if I'd agree with that. It's long, long haired fur became more popular and beavered didn't greatly increase. It was the long furs and 73, four or five in that area there when the coyote's really took off. Got you. And that was just a fashion trend, I think, more than anything else.
But for perspective, I remember like around the time when I became exposed to it. It was very common for Red Fox. To sell like in the late 70s, early 80s, it was very common for Red Fox where I grew out to be worth 75 dollars. It was common for Mink to be worth 50 bucks. Beavers eat here, beaver selling for in excess of 100 dollars. Muskrat selling for eight that not. Am I remembering this wrong?
I don't ever remember Beaver Average and 100, is that right? No, no, not at all.
Beavers never really changed a dramatic amount.
It's a lot more difficult process to town and take care of Beaver. And I think that's held the price down a lot on Beaver when a lot of the other furs, a lot easier to process. And a lot of it's just fashion trends.
As I said when I first started Beaver or thirty dollars and a coyote was six dollars, a bobcat was probably maybe 20, but wasn't too much into the early 70s that we were looking at, you know, two and 300 dollar bobcats and, you know, 40 or 50 dollar coyotes at that time. And then it wasn't too much later than we saw 100 Dollar Coyote.
You know, when you hear a word that so much right now, but like even within in the last few years, you'd hear rumors of people saying that they were selling a bobcat fur.
You hear rumors that like eight hundred dollars, a thousand dollars, that's still the case right now.
But they're they've got a lot more specific with what they're looking for. But those real wide black and white bellies, which they used for making vests and things like that, is where those real white, black and white spotted what they're after is the spots. That's basically the only spotted fur that's available.
Now, it's surprising to me that they don't just dump that. They care about that. It's that there's a concern about that. It's actual because doesn't it seem like you could just, like, replicate it?
You ever felt fake fur, yeah, feels like Feifer can replicate that. Yeah, nature does it better.
So on those like like who's buying who's buying bobcats right now? Like, what country do they go to? Italy?
I think so, yeah.
Go Italy. They're lining the pockets of jeans on. They're putting Little Top End's on girls jeans and lining it with Bobcat for inside the pockets to see their kid.
Yeah, you'll see little white, you know, bobcat belly fur just on the top of, like a set of Levi's on the top edge of the pocket leading into it. And I know that's pretty popular right now. And again, it's Europe. It's not much in the United States, France, Italy. Those are two of the bigger ones.
I remember reading a thing on Tainos about the sort of the weirdness and unpredictability of fur prices. This analyst was talked about at times that Northern Raccoon's so like generally northern furs are heavier, like better.
Ferd, have your leather cracked. Is that a fair. Southern fer's a thinner and thinner leather thinner fur just because of climate.
One thing I'd like to bring up right now is the fact that you got to remember wild fur is just a reaction is basically the tail on the dog ranch. Fur makes up 95 percent of the the fur market. Only five percent is actually wild fur. So the the fur prices, it only follows the ranch market.
So, you know, like like right now they've got a huge surplus of ranch raised mink, which in turn drives down the price of muskrat and and wild mink.
And it's just wild fur market just follows. Wherever the ranch market goes is where the wild fur market goes.
Yeah, I wrote a piece recently, a big auction house that used to deal in wild for had just stopped wild for all together and now only deals and ranch fur.
I don't know about that. Yeah, like some further North American fur. No, not at it's like some fur.
You had abandoned its wild fur practice because of the because of the predictability of the predictability and consistency of ranch for its more consistent in the quality of the fur.
You know, one first nearly exactly the same as the other. So it's a lot easier on a sewing aspect of wild fur is because while fur varies real widely on the quality, texture and color and got you.
So this thing, the thing I was reading about. Just talk about the sort of idiosyncrasies that a fur market was explaining that I guess there's been times when southern raccoons. Have been more valuable than Northern Raccoon's. And it was pointing to the weight of a finished product, meaning it's very hard. And it was saying outside of Italy, it's very hard to sell a fur coat. That weighs more than nine pounds. Generally in Asia, if you have a fur coat that weighs more than seven pounds, people will think it's too heavy and won't want to buy it, but an Italian to wear a heavier fur coat than anybody else.
And it was Tomball, so if you had a situation where Italy was buying a lot of furs, that could affect fur markets.
Because they're more tolerant of heavier, longer coats, whereas on firs are popular in some other country, like if China's buying a lot of fur, it could tend to be that that would be maybe driving up muskrat prices more because it's a lower bottom end price. To buy the thing. And it was I think that when you're looking at in the U.S. and you try to understand like where fur goes and what drives fur prices, you tend to look around you.
And it doesn't really make sense because you just don't see the habits of what's going on in Italy, China, Russia, these other places.
And all this stuff gets exported.
Yeah. What are the impact of covid on for pretty poor right now?
You know, what I've done is I started my own little fur shop and cut out about three middlemen. And so I make all my own stuff and sell it my I live in Wrangell, Alaska, and I have a little first store there. And so I everything I catch, I cut out the auction houses, I cut out the, you know, shipping it more than one time. I basically shipped my fur to the tannery and it gives back it isn't shipping to the to the auction yard and then shipping from the auction yard to the tannery and then from the tannery to back to the fur and, you know, just cuts out a whole bunch of middlemen.
And then I make fur products and sell them to the tourists there. What's your shop called? It's called The Trading Post and Wrangell. We have a website, too. Now it's Fer's Alaska dot com. And so Beane's covid come around, we finally decide we better start selling stuff online. So when you if you if you've achieved a place or achieved a position where you're now able to be a fur trapper and fur hunter and make a market for and sell all your own stuff.
Has all this chit chat about a prices become irrelevant to you completely? Yeah, I, you know, I, I view trapping as an excuse to run around in the woods and being in a place that I love to be. And so it really wouldn't make any difference if the prices were zero, I'd still be there.
And I think I feel like I'm doing a steward of the land of maintaining the animals, you know, somewhere close to carrying capacity and a healthy population. So they don't get to that point or they become overpopulated and it stresses the animals and then the diseases come in. All animals have controlling diseases. So, you know, if they're completely left alone, they will reach that point.
What all species do you go after?
No, I try basically in Southeast Alaska, probably Pine Martin is most desirable, but I trap Pine Martin and Otter Wolves and Wolverine Beaver.
Do you do do you do muskrats anymore? There's no muskrats up there where I'm at. Well, you don't trap muskrats anywhere else.
I have before come down to the state of Washington and trap some areas that I used to trap when I was younger. But I haven't. Price right now is about three dollars for muskrats. When they're ten, I can make pretty good money at it and make a thousand dollars a day when they're ten dollars. But make them 300 dollars a day doesn't excite me much. Yeah. Explain his contraption you made, though, this is your invention. Yeah, I developed.
Well, you got to remember in the state of Washington in the year 2000, they banned trapping as we knew it. They decided that it would be best if they didn't have any traps that were body gripping devices. So they they banned all body gripping devices.
They they banned the kind of bear trap, which undoubtedly is probably the most humane trap ever, ever developed. But in the interest of humanity, they they decided to ban the most humane trap made. And so they said we could no longer use any body gripping devices. So that kind of forced me into a situation where I said, well, I still want to trap, so how can I trap muskrats without gripping them in any way? So I developed a floating colony trap that the animal goes into and it never grips the animal.
He drives down through two opposing fingers and drowns and then the trap resets itself when that muskrat goes in.
And that was that was more palatable to the voters of Washington. Yeah, it you know, it was more palatable to do that.
So so it forced me into a situation where instead of average in 60 muskrats a day, now average 120 muskrats a day in the same amount of time that effective.
Well, I'm looking at is a it's kind of hard to explain. That's why they 24 twenty 24 inches long, they're 24 inches long and they'll be six, 12, 12 inches wide.
It looks like a small cage, a small cage with one inch or three quarter inch square wire.
Twenty four inches long, maybe 12 inches deep, six inches of grass, six inches across. With floats up toward the top so that cage sits underwater and it floats, there's a little trap door like kind of like a door reminiscent of a.
Like, I have a heart trap door that just on a swing, so you can just push your way in there, crawl your way in there, right.
And when they go in, what happens is, is they bump this bump bar the door lays down these right here are adjustable. So you can get it to where it's almost balance.
But once the muskrat goes in, as you see, he can now can't get out.
And this is the inverted door model which allows the smalls and the kids to escape, which is something trappers have never had before.
So if you can imagine now we leave all the smalls and kits, which are not very valuable in relation to the adults.
This one only catch is adult sized muskrats. All the others escape unharmed and by spring the next year than their mature rats. And then you can catch them when they're worth two or three times more than what that kid was.
But that's not that's for fur trappers. That's not like a guy that wants all the muskrats dead because they're destroying his landscaping.
OK, that's this one down here. There's a difference.
That's just this has got basically it's a treadle. It's a teeter totter.
As the muskrat goes in, the teeter totter closes the door behind it. And once the muskrats in there, he can't physically get out. It's just one direction in. And eventually he decides he can't get out the way he came in. So then he dies down. The bottom compartment holds about eight muskrats, although I've had a lot of customers, I saw them all over the United States, mostly to animal damage control people.
What do you call this thing? It's a floating colony trap is what you have. You don't have a fancier name than that.
The Lisa Gwatney 2000. Lisa, what are you got to explain that, Lisa?
What was the person that drove the ban on trapping in the state of Washington? I got you. So I named one time. I called it the the Lisa Watney 2000.
So because she all that she in her attempts to make make us not catch the animals, we doubled our production and trapping the animals. What do you sell one of those things for.
Do you still make. Yeah, I still make it and make them all. Yeah. And make them all. I come down about two weeks every year and make a couple hundred of them and then so shit really. Yeah.
So it takes me a couple of weeks to make a couple hundred of them and, and then so in your year when I saw you always have an interesting lifestyle within your year you account for.
Spending a couple of weeks making Muskrat County traps, you know, so and you'll sell all those throughout the year, that pretty much tells what you get for one. Yeah, 185 dollars plus shipping. Wow.
But, you know, how do you how do you beat it? OK, it's you paid the back part with carrots and I usually put a couple of appetizers up here in front of Muskrat will come by and grab the carrot and they'll take it off. And he really likes carrots, is like candy to a muskrat. And so he comes back and looks for more. But there seems to be some I don't know whether they're bring other muskrats back with them, because once they start hitting it, it'll just fill it up with Muskrat.
What's the most you've ever caught in one? I've only got eight is the most. I've got several times, but I have a lot of customers that lay claim to 10. I had one guy that he is kind of funny, yet he had ordered a couple traps from his animal damage control guy and he had a golf course porn. And he said he called up and he said, I'm not catching anything in my traps. And I said, OK, well, try seed in the bank with you know, I had him describe it to introduce them to Cariddi.
Yeah. Introduce them to inside the banks with carrots and see what happens. He called me back about three days later and he said, yeah, he couldn't have got another one in it without Vaseline.
He had ten of them in it. He had to educate the muskrats on carrots.
Yeah, they just didn't have they he said that that particular pond was grass all the way down to it. The muskrats were just eaten. Grass is all they were eating.
And so they they had no idea what a carrot was. But once they figured it out, it was phenomenal for him to use any commercial lure.
I yeah, I'd use just a cherry oil and petroleum jelly is what I use on it. You can use fancy lures and that wouldn't make any difference.
When I was a kid, we used to use mint toothpaste now. Yeah. So what's your what's your mix.
Just petroleum jelly and cherry oil Vaseline and cheerio. Cheerio.
Like an extract is mixing mint extract. What do you do when a person gets the trap, they get a DVD with it and a little bottle of all, which also to be called. It's just not a name.
It was just a instructional video for it that that comes with it. So they can because most you know, this is entirely different than any trap that you ever see. What do you anchor it?
You just tie it off to where it doesn't float away, you know, can I borrow that thing I got? Yeah, we have lots of them, so but I don't know, man, because it like takes all the romance out of Muskrat trappin.
Well, you know, the neat thing about is you don't need a lot.
You don't know. You don't need to know how to read sign no correct notes.
It's Yeah. That's let's say you don't have to know because I wanted a pond and walk away.
Yeah. But when I take my kids we set muskrat traps last night. It was opening day yesterday when I take my kids out that muskrat traps.
You're looking for the runs or learn all about this. This is a push up a large bank den. Here's where they've been doing this. This just go throw that some bitchen off the edge of the pond and start stacking them up.
Yeah, but I bet the manager of that property would be very happy.
Oh, you know, I don't want him to even know. I hope he doesn't. Listen, I, I know if he listens this show or not, but it's going to change his whole life.
He thinks I have some kind of magic. He thinks I got some kind of magic capabilities maybe.
I don't know if I said I am going to set out would try to use that thing to hide it. I want to talk it into the cat tail so he doesn't know about it.
Yeah, I went into a pond here that a guy had had a trapper pay to come in and kill muskrats and he killed seven muskrats and the landowner was still seen muskrats everywhere. So he got a hold of me and said, well, the trapper before you got 70, you think you can beat that? And I threw my six Colonie traps out and I had 53.
Muscat's the next the next day. Seriously? Yeah.
So I came back, I said then that night I came back the next day and I had between all I had to do was to check that I had 53, but I ended up getting 53 and two checks with just six traps and every one of them was just completely loaded. And then I literally couldn't catch another muskrat out of that pond and all of a sudden there's no muskrats in them.
Let me tell you where it is. So when he left, let me tell you this thing's vulnerability and you priority realizes. In Michigan, you know, I didn't travel up like I think like a good year when I was like probably the most I ever got. Two hundred and fifty muskrats one year when I was not a kid, but like community college age. And you could trap for weeks before freeze up.
But hereabouts, like in the Northern Rockies, a higher elevation by the time the season opens, you're in freeze up. So have you made us have you made an under ice? No, this this is strictly for open water. Why have you not done any inventing for an under a thing that you chop a hole because I'm that son of a bitch down and they find it when they're cruising around under the ice because Martin Trap in season.
Yeah. I said yeah, you're on to the next year. This has this has bothered you? No, not as it bothered me a bit. You know, I'm liking to do all kinds of things. And Muskrat Season is Muskrat season.
Time to go and tell my appreciate and under isolation. If I say you are right now to chat with Muskrat through the ice, what would be your what's your goal to set?
You look for the runs one tank on a burner and usually for the runs the bubbles probably.
But his clientele mostly is nuisance trappers. They're trying to trap their trap in year one ever. Yeah. You know, up and. Yeah. And they're not going to be trapped during the ISO. Yeah.
I don't want to infringe on your business, but here's the thing. Me and Seth here, you might not have heard of us, but we're small scale, free nuisance trappers, meaning volunteer, we're volunteers, but we're volunteer as travelers.
But you got to our customers all work on our schedule.
Like, I'll have, you know, people who within a couple hours drive here if they have beever problems or muskrat problems.
I'll be you know, they'll say like, oh, my God, we got a blank Bieber problem, you know? And I'll say, well, we'll come out in the middle of the winter when it suits our lichens.
So not doing any kind of damage stuff, but it's a free service, but it's hard to really in those at that time of year, it's hard to give them what they're after, which is eradication.
Mm hmm. You know, like, I don't know, like through the ice. I don't know that you can really. Totally clean them out.
Probably not, unless you just keep going and going and going and going and going, yeah, you know, the people that are doing the animal damage control are charging 50 bucks a muskrat or, you know, 150 dollars a beaver to remove it or, you know, whatever their price is making that amount of money.
You know, it depends which I know we're doing the wrong volunteer. It's not work. And we need to make a website. Yeah.
You know, these guys are making a living doing it. You're not going to make a living trap and beaver for their fur. What website called? Free nuisance. Traven, I don't know, I'd have to think about it, work on that. I feel like a lot of her, a fair amount of our audience as hunters may also have qualms about trapping, you find that to be the case.
They all do. Yeah, right.
They also so I'm just kind of curious to hear from everyone, not like it's necessary to make an in defense of but to just kind of go into a little bit of. You're kind of thinking your thought process about it, you know, and why hunters would think that trapping is is different.
Yeah, I'll go first. Yeah. Are you asking me? Yeah, I'm asking all of you. I could ask this question a fair bit.
And I think that. As a harvester of anything like it is a matter if you finish your hunter trap.
You are beholden to a regulatory structure, OK, there are rules that there are rules of engagement and the rules that you live by when you hunt and fish and trap are generally meant to ensure that they're generally meant to limit efficacy. So that people don't have the tools at their disposal to, like, annihilate species, so they're meant to make it.
That the means of harvest aren't so effective that everybody is putting themselves out of business.
They also are very informed by historical use and common practice, meaning if we devise some new thing and we realize that all of our fishing harvest goals could be met with these very precise, specific poisons, say.
Regulators or people that set wildlife laws? Wouldn't necessarily just jump to that, because that's not a historic use, it's not a common use pattern to use poisons.
So we kind of prefer ways things have always been done in terms of like cultural longevity and how we go about our practices.
Due to the regulatory thing and because beavers have commercial value, say, or Ferber's have commercial value, oftentimes Ferber's are the only allowable harvest is by trapping.
Hmm. Take. Michigan, for instance, where I grew up, you could not the only legal method of take for Muskrat Mink.
Beaver Otter, the only legal method of take was by licensed fur harvesters using trapping technology. At a time and it still will come back, it just ebbs and flows, those things are of commercial value in support of commercial industry and it was protecting those Ferber's from. Wanton slaughter by people with firearms year round, so they said, like, these things have value, we're going to protect the people that participate in this protected industry and make it that they are Ferber's are meant for for harvester's.
Point being, is your operating usually? Within a pre-existing regulatory structure. So. With beavers, for instance, here, you can't hunt them. All right, you trap them. If you think it's OK to use a renewable resource, beavers as a renewable resource and you accept that people who are in agriculture, irrigation, people who are trying to protect timber, trying to check landscaping, fruit trees, streamside vegetation, aspen groves, what have you, that these people at times have a legitimate reason to want to get rid of some beavers.
That's how it's done. So you're not making a decision like, do I want to hunt beavers or trap beavers? It's that's how beavers are caught, is through trapping. So I don't view it as it would be, I don't I wouldn't get into a situation, I'm like because I can't shoot it with my gun.
Therefore, I think that they should not be harvested.
Do you feel like that's the argument you get or or there's a there's some kind of conceptual traction that feels traps for me, but shooting stuff?
OK. Running the arrow through it. Then you get this weird, weird shit with people who think that, like hunting with a bow. Is more ethical. Then hunting with a rifle, even though which is obviously way less absurd, it might be like it's harder, it's definitely harder to be consistent with the bow takes a greater skill set, but for the animal.
You think you're doing the animal a favor by killing it one way and not another, like I don't agree with it. You either. Are you either at a position where you think that it's that we have? It's OK to harvest renewable resources or not. Right, that's probably if you get to where it's not, OK, cool, it's not. Yeah, but if it is. Then that's how we do it. Mm hmm. It's the most effective, most humane way to get it done, and historically that's how people have gone about it.
So I just don't like, you know, every time I have a comment, like I don't feel like I need to predicate every conversation about harvesting beavers or muskrats or whatever with a big thing explaining why I think it's OK the same way every time you go through the drive thru in order chicken nuggets. Is there someone waiting there to question your ethics?
Why do trappers have to face it all the time? You know why I'm not I'm not like why? So why is it that you have to justify it every time you turn around? But people that eat chicken never have to.
So for our listeners, I think we we take out this bit of the podcast and play it on repeat. So Steve never saw me.
I'm saying I want to make a scene at McDonald's and protest chicken nuggets.
Yeah, it's like, well, how do you like how do you feel about how they kill those chickens? You know the answer you get. I have no idea how they kill those chickens. Yeah. Nor do they care.
I one time did some work at a place called. It was called. It was like Bill Maher, but not like Bill Maher, Bill Maher, like a turkey processing plant, Turkey did show up weird. They're working on some equipment. They'd bring in all these turkeys in trucks, OK, the turkeys are on these little boxes in a truck, so they were raised somewhere. I mean, they're gone and I'm not even hacking on it. I'm just saying that's how it goes.
Like they're raising these, like, warehouses. Thousands of turkeys packed into a warehouse. Then they pull up a truck and you take all the turkeys, load them into a little box on the truck and drive that down the highway. I'm not a turkey. But being loaded on an after I spend my life in a warehouse, never seeing the sun to be loaded on a semi in a little box and hauled down an interstate system for X number of hours, I don't know what that experience is like.
Yes, and then it gets to the parking lot. And it waits there in the parking lot, and eventually it's that trucks turn and they go and pull it in and the guy grabs the turkey out. And hooks its feet into a little hook and suspends it upside down. And then it goes down the conveyor and its head gets dragged across an electrified plate. Which gives it a good zap and then it gets caught in this little V thing and it passes through that and a little spinning blade cuts his throat.
But Trav, and that's mean shit savage, I like it's like I just, you know, saying like, why is it me, all those Thanksgiving turkeys, folks like you find a Muskrat Den instead of body group intrapreneur.
The Muskrat goes. The then Bottega Trap grips it around the back of the neck or over the lungs. He's underwater. Can't move.
He's dead in seconds. And that is so upsetting. I'd like to address that because I have my little take your turn, I'm done now. OK. I have this little Photoshop error and I get a lot of people coming to the shop, you know, and a lot of them are opposed to trapping in that, you know, and you ask talk to them a little bit and you know, you know, what do you dislike about your home that they can consider it inhumane?
And I said, well, you know, we probably got some things we could agree on here.
You know, we can probably all agree that all animals, wild animals die and, you know, and you usually get an agreement out of that.
And so, you know, next question is, well, do you agree that, you know, out of all wild animals, almost none of them die of old age and they sometimes you'll get some squawk about.
So you pull out your smartphone, you Google what percentage of wild animals die of old age? And most all research is none or a non negligible amount. OK, so, you know, we're talking about the humane and treatment of an animal in trapping is inhumane. Well, now we've decided that the animal basically has four ways that that animal can die. He can die from a kind of bear that relatively kills him instantly. He can die of starvation, he can die of a disease, or he can die from consumed by another predator.
Out of those four deaths, which one do you consider the most humane? And when, in fact, trapping is the most humane death that that animal could possibly receive? You know, if you think of it in human terms, would you rather be hit by a train traveling 60 miles an hour or die of a disease over a three week or a month period or die from being consumed by a bear or die from starving to death?
Yeah, or starve to death so long period of time or starving to death.
So of the four possibilities that that animal is going to die, the actual most humane death is being trapped.
We had a wolf researcher at one time. We asked her what kills wolves and she said, wolves.
Yeah, are smart.
All the study subjects now. And the other thing is, is, you know, most people can they figure trappers are out there to catch everything they can and when, in fact, that's the direct opposite.
The trapper wants to be able to maintain a healthy population, to be able to go out next year. What would be the benefit of a for example, a cattle farmer that has a pasture that supports 100 cattle?
You know, he's going to want 100 cattle out there producing for him so he can harvest the surplus every year.
So trappers are no different. We want to go out next year. We want to trap as many as we can. We want a healthy population as stewards of the land. We want to maintain that healthy animal.
So, you know, in the case where the people that don't want any harm in animals, kill the animals, make natural cycles where they'll populate up over years, disease out, and they just go from peak and crash, peak and crash as stewards of the land.
As a trapper, I'm able to maintain healthy populations right straight through. Any time you have, for example, coyotes getting overpopulated and getting mange or distemper, then you have the potential of that spreading into the the dogs of the masticated canine populations.
Yeah. Getting into the population of of domestic animals where if you maintain a healthy population of coyote, you don't have that problem.
I've found that. People are comfortable with the cycles. Like, it doesn't upset them because people had this idea that, like, oh, that's natural. So like wolves getting killed by wolves, they're like, oh yeah, that's fine, because that's natural disease is fine. That's natural. I think a lot of the discord. And acrimony the trapping brings about is because people. This is a phenomenon, I guess, of the last. Hundred, two hundred years, people have gotten to the point where nothing we do.
They like us, they like our species, is entirely outside of nature. Are you being a steward of the land by doing that? Well, no, but it's comfortable for people to imagine that we're we're tainted. We do all the things we do, but we're tainted.
And like any role we play in nature is very upsetting to them.
Like they want everyone to live divorced from nature so that all the ways a muskrat dies, all the uses of the muskrat goes toward to feed things like the minute it enters into the human sphere, something's wrong. Something as something has occurred that was bad, you know, the like of all the predation that drives things that a human predator would get, it feels like naughty to them. I think that's kind of a hang up.
It's hard to address.
That's really interesting. It's like I guess we're not animals, I guess, or not part of the natural world.
You know, we've brought technology to the place where it is. So we can just be like robots that sit in the sidelines and like we live in apartment buildings. We don't live in the woods. I guess so. Yeah.
People with a lot of people, I think, regard themselves as kind of icky. They think they're like icky and evil in that context.
But I don't like I don't feel that way.
Like I don't like to be an agent out in nature, like a person who does things and consumes things and supports things and and, you know, you know, well-intentioned predator like that doesn't make me feel nasty and icky.
It's interesting to put it, but it's a sentiment that people have. My wife struggles with trapping what's her? She struggles with electric reels, hmm. Because because you know what it is that when I inquire about it, because you're not there. Oh, I see, so you're not bearing witness to it? It's like a mechanical thing because actually it's not active, you know, it's because you said it.
You set a trap. Yeah. And you don't need to be there. And electric reels, because your hand doesn't need to, like, go in circles. Yeah. So she feels like most most of the time, the definition of trapping is hunting with mechanical devices. Most places, most states, I think that's how they define trapping. Zero is hunting with mechanical devices.
Maybe that's upsetting to people, but what's a firearm, mechanical device that far more sophisticated? That's why hunting and trapping a lot of times follow the same regulatory guidelines, too, as well. You'll find a lot of hunting and trapping laws that coincide with each other.
Yeah, but I can see that it's like. Yea, I can see where she's coming from, I don't I mean, I don't know how I feel either way, but like you're in the moment confronting an animal and your action in that moment, that engagement with that creature in that moment is like an active choice that you're making. Yeah, right. And if you're setting something out that's going to do its job in your self in your absence.
I can I can see where she is, like sitting in a waitress sitting, waiting out a deer, waiting out a deer in her mind is like, that's great. Yeah. Waiting it out. Hmm.
But you go out in the warm part of the day instead of beaver trap, then you go back to bed and some point during the night your ass isn't even sitting there freezing. And when you got home, it just strikes scratch and.
She might have an arguable point there. I can't say I completely disagree. It's also just more variables that you have less control over, for sure, you know, yeah, I think that's in my defense of what I was when I'm having this argument with her, I tell her, like the electrical reel for the electric real friends, which she thinks is like she was offended by electric drills, deep dropping.
Mm hmm. Because you don't see the fish and all that stuff. I said to her and I said the same thing to her about Beaver trappin. As I said, I could lay a gun out for someone. And so I want you to kill a deer. OK, so let's say in one pile I put a gun and I say I want you to kill it. Here in one pile, I put all the shit that it requires a deep drop of black cod in the pile.
Or I pull all the shit that's required to trap a beaver in a pile. Which pile are you going to grab? Figure it out. Yeah, and I said, OK, Karen, here's the choice. You can take this issue to catch a deer. You can take all this shit and catch a black cod, or you can take all this shit and catch a beaver. What are you going to go for? What's going to strike you as the easiest thing you'll ever?
Action, 30 30, dude. Of course, it takes the skill set required to that myself and options.
The bits of information, the bits of information required to catch a beaver are greater than the bits of information required to shoot a deer. OK, yeah, they just, ah, it takes more know how to like it just takes more, know how to get up and running. Yep, got it like trying to set that thing up, one of my limbs might be in there.
Well, no, not just that, but to read the sign, to understand even where to begin. Right. Right. It's like not an easy thing.
And so that whole like how that whole, like, challenge aspect, which is different than ethics, it's still substantive.
There is a huge challenge aspect, but people don't see it because they don't experience and they don't go out and see what it requires is they have this idea of how easy it is, like how easy it is to criticize people that run mountain lions or dogs until you go and see what goes into it.
How hard could it be shooting to learn arbitrary maybe that I don't think I don't know any helmsmen to think that's hard.
Maybe the concept is like setting out traps is like setting out like a mouse trap. Well, it's like this muskrat thing.
You're looking at a case that looks a lot more complicated than a mouse in the case of a coyote trap, where you've got a two inch circle that out of a square mile, you're trying to get a coyote to step on a two inch circle. I don't know how many two in circles there are in a square mile. But, you know, that's kind of amazing in itself that, yeah, that's something I've I've heard that expression.
It's it's a very valid point that you are.
Not only that, you're trying to get him to step on a two inch manmade circle, you know, it smells bad. It's incredible. Yeah. How affected people are at figuring this stuff out. Well, Skycrane know that that's it. I just wanted to to touch on that because I think that comes up a lot here and I just I mean, I don't know either way. You know, I this is this is all new to me.
So I kind of just appreciate the information and the perspective, I think.
But in all fairness to the subject, I think that. When travelers are defending trapping, they often want to go to they often jump to Conover's, which are body gripping traps, because it's sort of like.
A very like, demonstrably effective, they kill things very quickly, very few trappers go to defend trapping and jump to.
Footholds that restrain an animal for a day or two. Alive, oh, that so now, now to show up and then you show up and and just say, yeah, like when we used to like Trap and Fox Red Fox, you would despair, like you'd catch the fire.
You check every morning. It was it just made more sense to check in the morning, but you didn't have to. Some states have check laws, 24 hours, 48 hours, whatever you go. There it is. He's he's in the trap. He's been there all night. And you go up and take a trial and smack them across the bridge of the nose and stun them and then take your heel in and crushes ribcage with your heel is how trapper's dispatch, red foxes.
That's upsetting to people. But Trapper's always want to talk about Conover's. I do, too. It's a bad habit of mine. Then it gets a little then it gets like then it's different, it's a different conversation maybe. Are they? I was arguing with a trapper, that's what I would talk about. I'd be like, no, no, no, I want to talk about commerce. Well, Rick and I use a lot of snares with the development of the stick or kill spring in that.
Well, I don't know how many coyotes we have that the cable stretch out where you got a skiff of snow and you can see exactly what took place. You can see where the coyote goes into the snare. He takes a lunge and he's laying dead at the end of it and his foot is made it maybe a couple swipes of his foot or it's killed him extremely quickly, just yards.
So I don't really use traps all that much anymore because of the efficiency of the snares that are available to us. No, it cuts off that carotid artery and I mean, they're dead. At the end of the cable. I've got a number of wolves that the cable is stretched out and the wolf is laying dead at the end of it.
So zero disruption to the to the you can reset your set and the grass did even get beat down or anything like literally it goes to the end of the rope they drop. That's it. You know, sometimes their leg doesn't even move. There's I mean, it's you couldn't stone an animal that. Yeah.
You couldn't shoot an arm, couldn't shoot in the forehead and die as quickly as they do with when they cut off the blood to the brain, they basically just die instantly.
So when you do you not like do you know guys that don't use. Let me let me let me back up and just explain something to listeners. You'll often hear like dry, dry land, dry ground sets being differentiated from water sets because water says there's 100 hundred ways, not a hundred days, there's a handful of ways of water sets to kill stuff real quick. Yeah, drowner wires and all kinds of things. Like you get stuff under water and and to drown it or it's just killed by the trap.
So dry land sets dry land, leg hold or foothold sets.
Oftentimes are just restraining the animal till you get there. I'll point out that, Wolf, researchers. Often catch the wolves they're doing for collaring projects, they catch the wolves using the exact same technology that people are talking about being cruel and inhumane. Wolf, researchers used I know there's a lot of wolf researchers to use and maybe 750. Which is, what, a football trip? So when they want to put a collar on a wolf. Or do damage work.
They're using the thing that everyone agrees is so nasty, huh? So it's important to keep that in mind. Can we can we picture it as like, you know, your foot? You know, is grabbed hold of by something, yeah, and and you're just maybe you're, you know, trying to struggle and get away. But there it is. It's like it's the thing that pinches.
OK, so the predator with canines, that usually gets them around the pad. It's usually like Heldon round the pad with a couple toes. OK, same stuff researchers use.
You do not want a trap that breaks the bone on the right. You want to trap that is just restraining the animal. OK, that's the goal because anything more than that, you have more of a chance of losing that, right? Sure.
So the whole idea of a foothold trap is to just restrain the animal with doing a minimum amount of damage as you can, OK?
OK, one of the points when I wanted to set that up, one of the points I wanted to get at was. There are there there are perfect scenarios and setting traps and like best practices and humane practices, but things happen all the time that cause the systems to go awry.
And I think the people that have a hard time with trapping are probably deeply informed by the situations where something goes awry. You know, the mainstream media, for whatever reason, a coyote pulls out, pulls a stakeout.
Breaks a chain, I don't know. And then when you travel, then it's run around a neighbor with a tramlines leg, or I have even in like beaver sets where.
The Drowner cable, I use, something gets kicked up, some stuff drifts down, it gets the cable, gets a curlicue in a drift log, comes down and messes it up, something messes it up.
And you do like just like I admit it flat out, you'll come down and have a beaver's front foot in a trap. It can happen. So they twist out your equipment fails and there you have you've like tore the foot off a beaver.
So. Somehow, trappers like need to account for that more than other people who might have something go wrong now and then. Well, what about how many deer get killed by Combine's harvesting wheat? Sure. Or how many how many deer and elk are wounded and survive from bullet and air for sure, but I think that trappers are held more to the mistakes.
Yeah. Then hunters and farmers and everyone else is held to their held more to the mistakes. I think it's a smaller community. It's easier to target them. I mean, you're not going to go fight all the farmers in the United States of America for killing rabbits.
You know, the trappers, they're so small and rare now that it makes a very easy target to hone in on one group.
You know, if you look at the total number of maimed animals by any user group out there, you're going to have a hard time convincing me anyways that trapper's made more animals than any other user group, you know, or injera them, you know, to the point where they are dispatched. So I think it's because of the population and this I mean, how many trappers do you know? You know, ask that to someone on the street.
So, yes, it's not going to be a big number, you know. And Steve, it's a small number.
And I don't think it's I think trappers get an unfair targeting because of that, because of their lateness isn't the word, but because of their fraternity and how tight they are with each other and how small of a group it is. They do get picked on more. It's a minority. You know, it's a minority. Yeah.
It's kind of in the playbook of people who are opposed to Animal Harvest's. It's in the playbook to go after the death by a thousand cuts routine. Mm hmm. The smaller user groups are always here, you're going to go after, yeah, early townsmen, trapper's, whatever, it's just like an easier victory. Yeah, it seems very other. To people, yeah, for sure. It's more acceptable to go after them because not a lot is known about them, you know, they're a group that most people don't have any firsthand contact with.
I'd say a lot of hunters probably have never talked to a trapper. I used to point out the. Fisherman. Fishermen fish and they might not do anything else, correct, hunters, most hunters, fish, trappers, hunt and fish.
You got it. There's a hierarchy there. Walk through, Heidi, but let's say you're explaining to someone, you run your trap line basically out of Wrangell.
Yes, well, I've got a I have a cab and permit that's 42 miles from town. Same type of parameters as the interior of Alaska where you're allowed to build a cabin on state ground permit cost 100 dollars. And it is a 10 year permit. You can put yourself up in a cabin.
And at the end of the 10 years, it's either renewable or any time during that period, you can tear it down. And, you know, but it does have to be removed.
You have to put up a bond that for removal, explain to someone how they would like let's say you were trying to explain to someone, you've got to go catch a wolverine. Here's what I would tell you if I had a couple of seconds, a couple minutes to explain to you that you need to go catch one. Like, how do you even begin to think about how could someone even begin to think about what would go into catching a Wolverine?
Okay, first of all, you're going to have to go to some place that Wolverines live Godo. So at that point, then, you know, try to find bottlenecks or funnels. For example, as I go up the rivers where a river comes in against a high, steep embankment or something like that, that's going to crowd the crowd, the Wolverine, into that spot.
So you're trapping when the rivers are clean?
Yeah, well, they're still open most of the time. When I'm going up the rivers, they're still staying open up there.
I think you need to elaborate how you get up the river. Well, I have an airboat with a whole 540 light coming on it that I get up the rivers with.
That's what you trap out of. Yeah. What do you like to beat them with? Beavers? I'll go to bait for almost everything.
I've found that duck works really well for Pine, Marten and duck. Yeah, duck carcasses work really well for pine marten. Better than beaver meat. You mean it's like when you clean a doctor, whatever's left over the bone carcass? Yes, his bones, basically bones and feathers. Yeah. You know, after once the duck has been breasted, you can use it for bait at that point. In the case of geese, you also have to take the legs.
But then whatever's left over after you've rested and taken the legs and you can use that for bait.
Yeah, it's like how you can bait a crab trap with a salmon head, but you can't see the crab trap with I mean, most sport caught salmon. You can't save the whole all the edible parts have been removed.
Yeah. What time of year do you like to start?
The season starts December 1st and runs through February 15th. Short. Yeah. So you can still, in the middle of the winter in that country, have enough open water to run your whole life to run the CIA?
The thing about the airboat is because it's in that particular environment, it's not like the interior where everything's completely froze over. You can run snowmobiles up the river. I wouldn't think it would take very long. And you'd break a snowmobile through someplace on these rivers because it's fluctuating between freezing and not freezing all the time.
And so with the airboat, which it'll go on snow, ice, water, it just basically goes over almost a gravel.
Gravel bars does not like mud. Mud is basically airboat epoxy, right? Yeah, yeah.
You stick it in the mud and it's stuck. You just too much friction. Yeah.
It's a pretty major travel barrier for a lot of the rivers in Southeast is that the bays will ice up. There's enough freshwater in them. That's not moving very much. They'll end up with these ice barriers. We used to trap out a little John boats and you can only go so far up into them before basically the rivers that ice up. And once you get above the ice dams in the bottom than the river is moving enough to where it opens back up again.
So the logistics of trying to figure out how to get up one of these rivers very far was was one that was fairly challenging. So, I mean, my dad took it upon himself to figure out one way to get up above there. He knew the Wolverines were further up the river. They weren't coming all the way down as far there's a lot of the natural funnels where the points come out, where these these Wolverines would have to travel were further up than we could get with a little aluminum boat.
How many miles up river are you trapping?
About eight miles up each one. So you've got multiple rivers. Yeah. All right, and Wolverines roam all around and you try to find some place where they'll their movements will be. Constricted like down to a bottleneck of sorts. Correct, and that might be bank configurations, river bank steepness.
So, you know, if they're saddle's. Yeah, just any place that's a funnel, the same way as you trap anything, you go to where they're going to be traveling. How many, just like a just like a human being. I mean, how many times have you went to a hunting in a certain spot? You go back three years later, you find yourself walking in the exact same space place that you walked three years earlier.
Yeah. Yeah. How many do you take each year?
I have I've got not got that many Wolverine. I got one here last year and and that and so this is something new for me, OK. I've never been able to trap Wolverine before until like Rick said, I spent about 30000 dollars to catch my first Wolverine so I could avoid.
I think that's an explanation I could have bought because again, they're they're both built in Arab are built.
The cabin got an airboat, lots of years of trial and error. I mean, how much how many trials and errors do we do before finally figuring out how to get up?
No, I'm not a big Wolverine trapper. However, it's like I said, it's an excuse to run around the woods.
So the great white buffalo, how do you catch pine? Marten Pine Martin is generally in a box as well, too. Although one thing that I did take from my trapping experience in Washington when they banned all body gripping devices, we went to box trapping pine. Martin and I found up in the lake live trapping them. Yeah, life trapping, you know, OK. And then, you know, I mean, that type of trap. Yeah, that type of trap.
Just a cage trap. And so I started doing up that up there as well in the fact that I could turn loose the females and maintain a higher population for the closer to the carrying capacity and have more producing females.
Oh, well, it's no different than a category such as female pine marten worth more than male pine marten.
No male Werthmann were much more.
Oh, so that's that's always that way. Yeah. I got males are much bigger and they're, they're much more desirable price wise guys, females, females are just smaller. So much a furze is based on square inches.
Yeah. I got you. Like if it's twice as big it's probably twice as much. Yeah exactly. I'm with you.
So how do you catch them. Well with either one of two ways either can't bear trap which is far more humane than a cage trap. But the cage trap does allow you the ability to be able to be more selective in your harvest's where I'm just harvesting just males, letting the females go and being able to maintain a higher number of productivity out of the area.
Yeah, Pine Martin are extremely easy to over trap.
Yeah, I hear that all the time. Why is that? Well they're slow, they're delayed implantation, meaning that they're they're basically pregnant when you when you catch them. And so when I turn a female loose, I'm probably turning loose two or three, Martin, in reality, because they normally only only have one or two get her pups, whatever you want to call them. But so they don't have, you know, like the main have five or six in a litter or pine.
Marten only has one or two.
Yeah, it's funny that mink like mink have a reputation as being hard to catch, but pine martens have a reputation as being easy, extremely easy to get. Like what makes it that way?
Mink are afraid of their own shadow. I've done a lot of videotaping on my sets and stuff like that, trying to find out, you know, some difference. I pine marten will just plow right into a trap, but he's not smelling.
He's not worried about the smell of steel. The smell increase the smell of humans.
Well, yeah, they just plow right into things. They they don't really care if it's food thereafter. It and the mink, they're they're pretty skittish. I wonder if it's that the mink just lives in he lives in a more food rich environment and can afford to be a little particular. But a pine marten in the winter is just got to be balls out all the time. Yeah.
I think a Martin most of his life is on the verge of starvation.
I think they they just they work hard to make a living or a mink has got a pretty easy life.
And then you make a little box with a cubby. Yeah. Put the back guard the front of the trap. Conover Yeah.
What did you how do you deal with all that snow like all the snow bearing all your stuff all the time.
Well, you can put it on the side of a tree, just nail boxes side of a tree. Well, Wolverine run up a tree though. Yeah. Oh yeah. So you can get that up out of the snow. Yeah.
Actually, I've got a set I'm working with this year. That's what I, I've actually got this from another individual up and I believe it's Northwest Territories where he's at, but he's tipa which is basically a long pole attached to your traps. When the trap is sprung it falls away and the tip up brings the animal up in the air and suspends him. He's already caught and killed in the trap. But one real big advantage of that is in the case of Pine Martin, he's suspended.
So the voles and shrews don't chew up the fur, start eating them. Yeah. And so he's suspended up out of the way. And so I'm experimenting with that and making a set that's designed to catch Lynx. Wolverine, Fisher and Martin, we have very few of all of those items and there's a fair number of Wolverine, but mainly just Pine Martin is what I'm after, but it eliminates the problem.
Last year, I had about six pine marten eaten by Wolverine and had a wolf that I had caught that got eaten by a Wolverine as well.
So the Wolverine ate the wolf. Yeah. So he found a wolf that I'd caught in a snare and he ate it, so.
Wolverines used to have, like a real bad rep, not used to it in the north, like I don't have any experience trapping, like in the far north, you know, but Wolverines, you know, they got the name like whatever, like the devil and all this kind of stuff for how much trouble they gave the trappers.
They just kind of get your number.
Yeah, well, they basically figure out that wherever you're going, there's food. So, I mean, it's just like any other predator, they eat and they sleep and they don't sleep very damn much. So, I mean, they just go to what's available for them for food. And that's just turns out to be a food source for them.
A friend of mine in Alaska who used to trap Wolverines, I was asking about how he found the Wolverines and how he looked for him, and he just said they just found me. They just follow my snowshoe trail. Yeah, yeah, he would make his SATs in his snowshoe tracks. Mm hmm. She's like, Susie hit my snowsuit. Tracks are going to follow.
That's an easy way to travel to and say, hit that and they can run. Yeah, it's a gravy run and. Oh, yeah. And somehow there's always food.
Oh yeah. It's I always follow the snowshoe trail around. Look, Finmart delicious. Yeah. It's a lynx love lynx.
What time of year do you trap beavers. I try to trap Beaver up there. I'll start off by trapping Beaver in order to get some bait for my Finmart and Wolverine and other sets. So I'll start with Beaver right off the get go. So I've got bait as much as anything. And then most of the beaver I'll catch for my store is going to be Beaver in the springtime. The fur quality's a lot better in the spring. When does the fur get primed?
Like do they do do the do the regulators. You know who set the seasons. Do they. Good job data. Good job of matching the opening and closing dates with fur quality.
Yeah. I think most states do. Yeah. I think they do a real good job of that. But you like the beavers better in the spring. Yeah. Better quality fur in the spring, particularly if you're plucking and shear in the beaver. Really. It's not good in the fall. Not as good. But you know what they call silkies are normally a fall beaver. They're a lot, they're a little bit thinner furred, but there are a lot silkier or if they've been all all through the winter and they get worse than that.
They're thicker, you know, under first thicker than that, which makes better plucking and cheering.
Got you. How do you catch those Beaver. I use a lot of float's a frame type floats and I follow. Show pictures on my phone right now be new to this, so you might be new to this.
Yeah, I be appear to float now like I used to take, like when I was growing up. That never worked out well. We take two pieces of firewood. And make a cross piece and nail two pieces of firewood together. And then notch it out with a hatchet so you could set a couple footholds, it set a couple of stop loss on it and staple the stop loss trap chain down to the bottom of the float and stick a couple of dowel, drill some holes.
You had a couple dowels and put apples on top for muskrat.
Never work the shit. Well, not as good as feed beds and bank dens now. Correct.
But in the springtime, though, that set will be a lot more effective than will be in the fall when they're hungry, not when they're hungry.
They're actually breeding and they're just traveling a lot more OK, and then they're just running helter skelter and running all over the place.
They just travel a lot more and that makes them more, oh, a lot easier to catch.
And that's one of the things like the mink up there. You know, most mink trappers, you know, they consider a time frame for a mink to come by. Might be a week before they come back through in the lower 48. But up or I'm out in southeast Alaska, those mink only travel 100 yards from their den. I mean, the tide goes out and their breakfast or the supper table set and they go down and 15, 20 minutes or half an hour, they get a full belly and go back up and go back to sleep.
So, yeah, I it's funny you mention that, because growing up, Catemaco is like very difficult to catch make and people to always be surprised to hear there's mink living around at our shack in Southeast Alaska.
We had a mink a few years ago.
Something got hold of it. And tore its tail off most of its tail off and gave it a big wound. Right at the base of his tail and this wound was about the size of like two of your fingers, put together your middle finger and point your finger, like a wound like that up its back on the back of its tail at the base of its tail, and its wound festered.
And for a while this meant got lost all four people and it would have run across your shoes and it just looked sickly. And a bunch of times I thought maybe I should shoot that poor make. Just put it out of its misery or it was acting so weird, I was worried about it, Biton. My kids. That the next year the mink is totally back to normal except has a large scar. In discoloration where it had healed up. And we have since and that make is now.
I now know, like lives there, we know a whole lives and we've seen that now for four years. Hanging out in one little spot and you'll see it every day. And meanwhile, where I grew up and we caught Manc and people trapped Manotas a lot, we had mink longliners, you would go your most people will go their entire lives and be unaware that they live their. But these, like Salties, Alaska, are like squirrels, yeah.
Middle of the day. On the porch. In the house, just a way to make yeah, way different Main, I've I've had a difficult time to kill. Yeah, I've had a difficult time catching them because of that.
I think I just I'm used to that make that makes week long cycles in that. And it it's been a learning, learning curve for me. They say that if you move 100 miles, you get to learn how to travel all over again and all that with you truly the case.
What do you what's the main thing like like you were saying you catch a lot of pine martens. What's the main thing you use pine martens for? Oh, I'm making hats out of them.
I make different things. I don't think I've made any Cousins's with them. One to one of my big sellers is a big recuses and I really enjoy making those. And I enjoy the Californians that come up to Alaska. And I explain to them that, you know, these are the the perfect beer koozie for a Californian, for, you know, an environmentalist if you want to call them on their environmental phone. Yeah, it's biodegradable.
It's organic. It's a renewable resource. It's everything that Californians should like.
Where do you get for a beer koozie, 25 bucks, 20, 20 bucks, 25 for a bottle, 20 for a beer can.
So Pine Marten beer cozies, you are a good seller.
Well, actually, I make most of them out of Beaver and Otter Pine Martin headbands and hats, probably mostly the pine marten get made into ear warmers, headbands, hats. Yeah.
It's a the thing about well basically a pine Martin is the same thing as the sable. It's type of sable. Yeah. When you think of pine marten once it becomes into a fur product it's a sable.
And I just thought they called him Sable in Eurasia. That's where, you know, the Russian sable is for that. But it's the same animal rights, the same animal. We just call it a pine Martin.
We call Finmart when it's made in America. Sable sable coat.
So if you caught a bunch of pine Martins in America and made a coat, it's still a sable calls a sable.
Yeah. No shit. Yeah I know. I didn't know that. Oh Jozsef one time had a top lock mink. He put up fur for a living. Oh that.
A top lawmaker went for eighteen dollars.
That's not bad. You know I've had lots of Tulkarm s top lot.
Maurice Mike you brought up I noticed you brought up like the idea of plastics and things that fer's biodegradable, organic, renewable. Are you just being cynical like are you anti plastic. Not particularly just rubbing it in their nose.
Yeah well it's just that they they made trying to make a point that, you know, that fur is a bad thing and when in reality it's exactly what those people desire, you know, organic, renewable resource.
Yeah. That's what they want. Why would they not want that?
But yet they're completely opposed to fur, you know. So I'm thinking, you know, this doesn't make sense.
Do you understand why people aren't offended by leather?
Like, why won't you peel away something? Is it so easy?
Why is it not if that's acceptable? Yeah, no, but you leave the fur on, it pisses people off.
It's all leather. Had hair on it. All other had fur on it. It should come with the reminder that she used to be heard, I think he scraped it away.
It speaks to the detachment that we as a society have from nature. And I think that's the biggest problem. It's why people have problems and want to put humans in a separate category from animals.
I think it also comes back to what you were talking about with Kirin's earings, how you said no one would have an issue if it were a feather, but something about that foot. It's a more tangible reminder of this living. This thing that once was living like fur is to leather like leather doesn't really remind you just looking at it on the coat or whatever. But if you see something covered in fur, I don't know. I kind of just triggers that.
Yeah. Like, oh, that that was an animal.
I mean, you know, that law I wanted to make that only me and s catch for, but they had to be worth a thousand dollars apiece. Yep.
I think this should be another law that one day out of the year everything that's leather has to still have its fur.
Yeah. That'd be a hell of a day. I mean, people would be like, oh my God, my God, the amount of fur running around.
Is out of control, those ostrich boots would look real weird.
Yeah, feathered boots like Liberace's boots. Let's just take I mentioned Liberace.
You know. You know who that is. I've heard it.
You know, I've heard mentioned it.
I probably get rid of that reference because I think I'm a showman. Right.
Piano player type in Liberace is a musician, American pianist.
So I go to images. Oh, very flamboyant, very funny. I'm going to stop using that reference, though, except he's got to be dead or dead. So have you quit using footholds because the humane like pretty much really because a personal feeling about you, I mean, you know, I think I'm being a better steward of that and better respect to the animal by killing them instead. I don't hardly use footholds at all. I can't think of any place actually use footholds occasionally on a mink set, but predominantly all Conover's.
If you look down on people these. No, not at all, just you personally know me personally. I just I prefer to use Conover's myself.
I feel I'm being a better, better Stewart to the you know, and you look at the Canadians where they have the best management practices, you know, they require their customers to kill an animal a certain time frame. And if it doesn't meet that requirement, it's not a legal trap.
Is that right? Yeah. I'm speaking of the word Canada. What's the Parker company can't. Yeah. So they had a hit, pahlka, everybody else on one one. Mm hmm.
I'm guessing they started out being cool with, like, sled dogs and then they just got cool city people, New York.
I mean, everyone in New York had one just go to Soho and it's like everyone's got the same coat, looks the same.
And this company is in Canada or not in Canada. Yes, the Canada Goose. Yeah. So Canada Goose is a park company and they were trimming all their parkas with Coyote.
Right. My understanding is one of the board members is antifa, and he was the one that.
Kind of spearheaded the elimination of the coyotes, but their coyote trim, historically parkas were trimmed with Wolverine and Coyote, the high or super high end park as Wolverine because it doesn't freeze up in frost up.
But they were buying this Canada Goose Company was buying enough kilts to actually impact the cattle market. Yeah, yeah, totally.
I'd like to thank them. Thank you, Canada Goose.
And then they came out and said, we're going to stop using fur, do a book report on this sort of. Sort of. Sort of.
So New York Times article says Canada Goose will stop buying fur. Sort of, yeah.
Carnegie has announced that starting in 2022, the company will no longer buy Neuffer from Trapper's.
By then in a couple of years, yeah, by twenty two by then, Canada Goose will start using reclaimed for. Oh, that's what furfur that already exist in supply chain, so just between now and then, they're going to buy up every Okayo coat they can find.
Yeah, but it's not fake fur that they're replacing it with. And does it talk about why public pressure, not now. It says the shift is an eco friendly measure. This is this the the CEO. This is his comment. The shift is an eco friendly measure and not related to public pressure from activist.
Yeah, that sounds good.
I would also like to point out that what fills their jacket is not like some shaved fuzz off a bird.
Yeah, there's no need for the bird's feathers. And in a quick note to people at home, you can share a sheep and then turn that sheep back out and get another harvest the wool off it.
You can do that a few times.
In fact, when you fill a coat with a goose is feathers. That some bits and goose is not alive anymore unless it's ethically harvested down, which you kill the goose. As opposed to the practice of live plucking, yes. A lot of companies I was reading this like Eddie Bauer, a bunch of other companies, they find live plucking to be so abhorrent. That they're trying to remove live plunked down where you just grabbed the burden, rip its feathers out.
They're trying to remove live plucked down from their supply chain, are arguing about whether they have live plugged down in their supply chain because it's better to kill the damn goose and get its feathers than to rip them off alive.
Yeah, I didn't, but I was a child for now. That's mean.
It's just evil. Yeah. It's one of those things that makes you sound like old man complaining about it.
So it's hard to complain about. But come on, man.
Yeah, if people don't see it, they don't care about it. Yeah, that's right. So you'll buy a coat filled with down. From I don't know how many damn geese, but then you trim it, it just it was trimmed with Kaiyote like that's bad.
It's because like people can't handle like reality laid out in front of them. It's learned later because my his best friend, his daddy, raises turkeys. And they had an extra one for us to have for Thanksgiving turkey, so I took my kid over there yesterday, the 22. To get the turkey. They'd cut the feed off day before, so it wasn't fed, so its crop was empty, its digestive track was emptied out, just gave it water.
It's in a little barn, my kid walked out there and shot that turkey in even occur to him to think that there was something wrong with it.
He is very, very aware of the processes of life, but the fact that some people have to have all this shit shielded from them.
And any little visual reminder of this pisses me off, it's like it's just like people are just becoming too, like, weak brained.
Sure, it's very easy, I think, not to think a little step further of, you know, how the meat's in front of them or if they have a nice plush pillow on their on their sofa. Yeah. How it got there.
That is full of dead stuff. But the Trem know that that's the best way to top it off yet. I'm not like a book burner, but if I have one of those codes, I'd go burn that son of a bitch and code. I'm still really shocked about the live of plucking. There you go. I didn't know that. I assumed that the animal would be dead. So if they line it with her, they put the collar on with fake fur, then that would be acceptable.
But yet it's a non-renewable resource.
No, it's recycled fur they are there to use and recycled for. Just go buy old fur coats, I guess.
Yeah, but I don't see where they're going to be able to find enough of that to even come close to their market.
So they'll have to turn to fake fur at some point or back to real fur or back to real fur is the only two directions. So they're not going to find enough. And besides that, when is your leathers get older?
They get less and less. Yeah. You know, the leather itself does deteriorate because, you know, leather is biodegradable. Wear fake fur is not really biodegradable.
So what they were into in New York prior to this was a member one like North Face Puffy's. Then they got on the Canada goose down.
Oh, yeah, everyone had a north face, a black north face, puffy, all gave way to Kyohei. So. You've got a month and you got to go and start trappin in Alaska. Yep. What do you do the month before that, I'm going up to hunt coyotes for a month, you're going to hunt now on snaring to. How many, how many when you go out, like how many hours you put in a day? Whatever, whatever I can most stay calm and then you use all these Kiles for your life.
Yeah, I'll be using them in the store. Most of the chaos I want to make blankets out of.
OK, so or quilts or thoros. You ever sell them into the fur markets in the past, I always have is predominantly where all the fur went, but here is just four years ago I started started cutting out all the middlemen and just making products myself.
Yeah. And then, Rick, are you participating? Yeah, I'll be up there for a little bit. We used to do it yearly, ensnare a whole pile of coyotes, and I've been so busy with other projects, too. We have making a living. Yeah, I make a living instead of losing money trapping. So I've kind of had to back off a little bit on how much I used to trap for a lot of years. We ran around and trapped almost all winter for several years and we have quite the quite the pile at the end of the year.
And that was when food prices were a little bit better. And we did make a little money doing that. Dad was getting his muskrat trap kind of dialed in and we went and trapped for two weeks. And I think we ended up at, what, 709 muskrats?
We were just shy of a thousand. I thought, oh, that's right. But then in two weeks, I think we got 709, about 10000 dollars in two weeks. So when we sold the fur, it was yeah. Yeah. It was actually lucrative then.
And then since the fur prices have gone down, I've kind of backed off a little and switch gears into a guy down in Hawaii doing some other stuff with ten dollar muskrats.
This trap will pay for itself in about four to five days. Yeah. You know, 185 dollars. And then after that it's all all profit.
Do you think that maybe the mountain men with Charlton Heston, my favorite movie, the all time.
Great. It's not nearly as good as Jeremiah Johnson.
It's better if it's got better. It's actually got real problems. Listen, that movie. What in the world like they did to bring in a trapper? To give them any insight what those guys are doing when they're supposed to travel and beaver makes zero sense. Absolutely correct.
He started out in the middle of a pond up to his chest and pulls up an empty trap. And it's like they had no idea how. And then the beaver they have looks like a stuffed animal.
Oh, yeah. Horrible. Yes, a romanticism of it, though, it's really it's a real slap. I guess they had zero. They had no idea what they were showing. They could earn a hell of a lot better and demonstrated their parts of it that were good. But it's bad.
I got to tell you why the Indians are all idiots like the traps.
It's just I used to love that movie when I was a kid, but I can't watch it now.
Well, here's why I love that movie gone. When I was growing up, my dad had the winters off and we had a cabin in the Selkirk mountains that would go in backcountry skiing and we had a full trapline from where we don't know the snowmobiles all the way up to the cabin and all around the cabin. And it ran off of 12 batteries that we had an alternator from a truck that powered the thing and charged the batteries. And we had a Honda generator and we had a TV with a VCR.
And the only movie we had was The Mountain Man. And so I couldn't even estimate the number of times I've seen it. I probably know every word in it, but it was a major part of my life growing up. I'd be trapping on the way up to the cabin. The only movie I had to watch was the Mountain Men up there. And so, you know, from when I was when we built the camera, I must have been seven or eight years old, I suppose.
Something like eight years old, maybe ish.
You know, I had my own trap line all the way to the cabin to watch the mountain men in the middle of nowhere and northeastern Washington.
I've I watched again a week or two ago. Oh, yeah. That Jeremiah Johnson.
I've seen far more than any other movie. Yeah. So the cycle.
But Jeremiah Johnson gets better and better. I think Mountain in my mind gets worse. Worse and I'm offended by the lack of.
I'm offended by the lack of detail. Yeah, I mean, the accuracy is definitely not there, but I mean, have you ever been lost before? Fearsome, confused by a month or two, but never lost.
I mean, there's enough one liners in it that are always trying to get at what are more classic than I think than Jeremiah Johnson that stick with you longer.
I'm trying to get at one of those one liners. Yeah, fur is going to shine again. So here was the end of the rendezvous era, 1846. The fur market, it completely collapses in the eighteen forty three dollars.
Yeah. The fur market collapse and they are despondent. It's done forever. OK, here we go. And as we know. It has been up and down a lot since then during the roaring 20s. Prior to the Great Depression, fur prices shot up and were great, they got good. 30, 40 years later. They got really good again. They've had various spikes and things like some things that go up and down right now, it's just like fur prices.
Commercial firm shine again. Yeah. Yeah.
Will fur shine again? Like, is there a way in which all of a sudden someday kids will be starting out, going out, making a bunch of money, trappin? I'm not seeing it, you don't think it'll happen, are trapping are the numbers of trappers going?
I heard a great statistic in Michigan. This is years ago at a point in Michigan, I heard that the average age of a fur trapper went up exactly one year every year.
OK, pointing to zero makes sense. New folk coming in.
But that was during a period of very low fare prices.
I got into it and still dabble with the discipline today because of the influence of the fur boom. Of the late 70s and early 80s that grabbed me that you could make more money, you could catch to muskrats and sell them for more money than you'd get from mowing a big ass lawn. And it created a mystique in my head that still sits there today. That's an early memory, yeah, because people were people selling five, six, seven dollar muskrats then, and it still stuck in my head like I can't shake the idea when I see it.
I can't see a muskrat. It still appears to me as a thing of value.
And I'll lay out a scenario that it could be again is. China's economy and fashion. Right. Things could switch Korea, China. And also, they don't care, they're on to it and they want it. Well, there's some studies right now about the fibers from the the Paulistas and different things are ending up in the ocean and that and I can see at some point people are going to realize that fur is biodegradable and organic and some of the things we're currently using are not as desirable.
So potentially there could be, you know, at least some group of people that are going to see fur as a better alternative to what we're using now.
That might be where it's at. Like, I don't know, the the farm to table hunt to table fur to take.
I think you'll be there sooner than we think. I mean, I don't think we're far away from that. Well, we're there right now because on one hand, you know what? I'm saving up muskrats for it. Make yourself a fur blanket. I need no, I need 60.
For my wife on Sefer Bomber jacket, perfect, now her friend. Is wants a fur bomber jacket, and then me and Seth are getting two giant blankets. So you guys need to trap some muskrats while we're doing our giant blankets out of our beavers. OK. And we're going to raise a ton of money for our land access initiative through a plan that the Senate doesn't know about yet. I like it. I like the sounds of it.
And we made Homi Polsby resources you make last year 40, I think.
Yeah. Still, the couple best ever made, I know we're going to make more. So how do people go find your special traps? Ungrouped trap stuck. What's it called? Noncredit traps. So you just selling directly yourself now? Two hundred a year. How about that? Not quite that many, but how do people find your fur products? You make Beever wallets.
What I want to tell people for furs, Alaska dotcom, and you make all manner of know anything where you make all kinds of things.
I make coasters out of the beaver tails and there's all kinds of things. I pretty much use the entire beaver.
I sell the beaver teeth, I sell the meat sled dog. No, I don't have any sled dogs where I'm at.
Oh, the main reason to recuperate. Yeah.
And then, Rick, how do people find all year. How did how do they go hunting and fishing with you. Oh man. That's crumb chasers.
Dotcom. What. Say it again Chrom chasers. That's for steelhead. And then we actually just started a fall foraging week long trip to where we go and basically immerse ourselves in Southeast Alaska. We do some fishing, we do clamming shrimp, crab, catch some salmon, and then we go back and do almost preparation, preservation, cooking type classes. And we pick a lot of wild mushrooms. And you basically go out and get everything you make for a meal that night.
And then we go over some canning techniques, making techniques for fish, all of that.
So that's something new. We've just adapted last year. There's not a Wrangell and it's Uttaranchal. Yeah, and that'll be late summer fall.
So the foraging trips are late summer fall and then spring. Steelhead fishing is in the springtime.
And what they want to go catch Bonefish in Hawaii, they want to go catch up on fish in Hawaii.
It's Hawaii on the fly. I work for a guy named Mike Hennessey. Captain Kenny Karass is the other guy down there. He can get you set up if I'm not there. And that's a bonefish down there. The ranch I work for is a private ranch, which is a whole private deal on Molokai. So unfortunately, you can't go do that. That's an invite. Only I. But the Oahu Bonefish program is Hawaii on the fly. And then Rick Mattoni outdoors is is my elfatih business here.
And I've been doing it long enough now to where my client list is the same guys every year.
And I don't even have a website even looking for new clients.
Yeah, you have to know one of my clients before you get in kind of deal from Australia. Yeah. And for better or for worse, that's the position I am. I haven't put any energy into even a website or advertising. I feel like it's almost a disservice to my current clients to to do that. I don't want to grow and be huge in Montana and have do a ton of trips. I don't think the resource in Montana and the fishing of any business is sustainable at the growth rate that it is now.
So I'm not going to try to grow my business to be part.
You don't you don't want to add that. I don't want to add to the insanity. I'm going to fly fishing.
Yeah, I see it being a problem. So I'm going to just personally limit the number of days I do. I'm going to take the guys that I like and just limit my impact. Yeah, you want I'm not loving it to death, man.
Holy smokes. That gets bad. Some of them.
That's a whole nother tell some of the summertime fly fishing rivers here.
It's just on believable. It's changed. It's different, you know. But the fish, it's like the Macy's Day Parade. Oh yeah. But the fish are fine.
You know, the biologists don't worry about the fish aren't even native most part.
Yeah, well, a lot of them are. Yeah. And so are we hurting the resource by doing it? Probably not. Are we hurting the quality of the experience. Probably, yes.
Better catch up to itself over time. Yeah, well. And people will start to look for other things. Yeah. So but yeah. So anyways I don't have a website for my montaño for any business. Rick Mattoni outdoors is is what I call my business. So yeah.
Other than that, you know, I kind of run around, I do the cooking stuff for you guys obviously here and there. And Wild Game Chef Dotcom is my wild cooking business and I'm starting to do in home while getting cooking classes as well as some cooking classes out at Rostker Cabins, which is locally here in town. And so I'm going to start working on some stuff there, too, as well, man.
And you have a fair bit of time in website management.
Yeah, I, I don't have any time to do it. I don't know what a website is. I'm, I got guys that helped me out, you know, I help people, you know, I'm a big fan of the barter system. You know, it's it costs a lot of money to hire someone to do a website. But, you know, some guys like to want to have a hunting experience in Montana.
It's like, OK, well, you come up to Montana, you and I go tromp around the woods and you help me with the website. There's there's a lot of trading to be done in the outdoor world. Yeah, for sure. Doesn't include monetary stuff. And especially since, you know, the way the government and taxes and everything else are going these days, I like to keep as much of that out of their, you know, their site as possible.
Reduce the amount of cash flowing around.
Yeah, just a big fan of the barter system. All right, guys.
Well, thanks for coming on. There's a couple things I like. Is that. Method of not playing by the rules, I don't mean with hunting fishing rules. I mean like assembling lives out of. Just the stuff that interests you. Yeah. And not being beholden to the man, but it's going out and like crafting a way to live. You like like working with what's there and like building an outdoor life. Yeah, sometimes you have to figure out how to make money on your way to making money.
Yeah. So, you know, if you got to go over here to do something, it's not a lot of work to stop and check a trap. If you're doing that same path every day, there's an extra 20 bucks. You know, if you catch a beaver an extra hundred dollars, you catch a guy out on the way.
Yeah, yeah. I appreciate it, man. Like assembling, assembling livelihoods at all these outdoor interests and being a live life where you're out doing your own thing and working for yourself is cool. Thank you very much for coming up. Thank you. Thank you.