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The Henry County Conservation Board’s Oakland Mills Nature Center on the south side of the Skunk River was the host site where 18 participants experienced a hands-on introductory course on furharvesting on Sept. 24.
Attendees were a mix of youth and adults who learned about the types of traps, trapping techniques, laws, and ethics and then headed to the field to experience how to set traps in different situations for different types of furbearers.
State Conservation Officer Dan Henderson said instructors ran through different types of traps and methods used in the water to catch beavers, otters and muskrats, then the technique to trap bobcats, fox and coyotes using dirt sets, and then different trapping options for the roadways, including dog proof traps.
But he said one of the most popular topics was the live trapping and release unharmed scenario.
“We had participants who were really interested in live trapping aspect to get nuisance raccoons out of the sweet corn patches, or flower beds – not to hurt them, but to get them away from the area,” Henderson said.
The course was produced by a partnership with the Henry County Conservation Board, and avid local trappers Mickey Craig and Justin Mertens.
“We had a lot of interest in this course and it’s something we are looking at doing as an annual thing,” he said. “This program would not have been possible without Mickey and Justin donating their time and sharing their passion of trapping in hopes to get our youth involved.”
Instructors stressed the importance of being conservationists and families shared experiences with trapping. Trapping serves a role with regard to managing certain populations of furbearers and if these populations get too high they can become susceptible to certain diseases, like distemper, manage and rabies.
Traps, lures, baits, and tools were donated by sponsors in efforts to get the kids started in their trapping adventures. The event was sponsored by Funke Traps, Backwater Baits, Bret Smith, Kansas Trapline Products, Prados Trading Post, Wickenkamp Traps, Papio Creek, Keg Creek Baits, Marty Smith and Randy Mitchell.
Wickenkamp Traps donated three live traps for the attendees to take home.