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Young trappers offered free educational program through Western South Dakota Fur Harvesters group


F.Ganje - October 5, 2018

HOT SPRIINGS, SD – The centuries old practice of trapping is behind much of the history in settling the West.  The need for and use of trapping remains based in food, clothing, and commerce.  What has changed is how and when trapping occurs, says Tuffy Halls, secretary/treasurer for the Western South Dakota Fur Harvesters Association.  The organization is hosting day-long programs for youth, parents and guardians.

“When you think of trapping, many people think of a big, wicked trap with sharp teeth.  That’s not the reality of trapping today,” says Halls.

The first educational program is set for Saturday, October 6, 2018 at the Joe Allen Ranch near Hot Springs, SD.  Parents are also encouraged to attend the free event that will cover trap setting, trap tuning preparation, fur handling, ethics and regulations.

“Youth education is one of the main goals and objectives of the fur harvesters association,” says Halls. “You have to get your traps ready every year for the season.  When it comes to trap setting, there are ways to get the hole prepared for your trap to go into.  Ethics is knowing the proper size and setting of a trap to insure the most humane application. And it’s critical for trappers to know and understand all regulations.”

Young trappers start out baiting and trapping for coon, muskrat and, Halls says with a laugh, skunk – a lot of skunk. Like anything, trapping requires knowledge and experience,  he shares.

“For youth, their target animal is going to start out being the coon, muskrat, possibly some fox, and a large number of skunk,” says Halls. “They’ll graduate to coyote, beaver, fox and badger as their skilla and knowledge of trapping develops.”

The fur harvesters organization prides itself on teaching and practicing humane and ethical trapping and knowing and following regulations – all things they pass on in their informational programs.

“We teach the humane aspects and applications of trapping,” says Halls.  “We continually work on improving best management practices.  And we teach trappers how to properly do that.”  He adds, “And not all animals are harvested when they’re in a trap.  For instance, with bobcats or mountain lions we highly stress trappers release females and juveniles so that a reproductive balance in the wild remains in place. We want that animal to not be hurt in the trap because there is a likely release.”

The long-time trapper from Hot Springs, who is also a fur buyer and bait manufacturer, says the outdoor sport of trapping encompasses a lot of things that benefit kids and adults. “It’s a way to encourage kids away from televisions and smart phones,” he observes. “And for adults to be a part of the learning experience as well. It’s not just about trapping.  It’s about history. Trapping is what opened up the West.”

The second educational trapping program is scheduled for Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the Newell Sheep Yards, Newell, SD.  Programs at both locations run from 9:00a.m. – 3:00p.m.  See more on Facebook at Western South Dakota Fur Harvesters or call Marshall LaMont, 605-890-9645 or Halls at 605-890-2009

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