Beyond BOW Ladies Trapping Training
We had a great time at the Ocala Youth Conservation Center with the Florida Trappers Association for this years event. The women were all very eager and excited to learn new skills. Below you will find a participant submitted article we received referencing her time at the event.
Adventure Hours: Women Trappers-In-Training
Written by: Clinnon Alexander
The Florida Trappers Association recently joined with the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide training for a select group of women from around the state who wanted to learn to trap and snare small game. The three-day event was held at the FWC Conservation Center campground in the Ocala National Forest east of Ocala. The Ocala National Forest is the second largest nationally protected forest in the United States and covers 607 square miles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocala_National_Forest
Florida forests abound with small game: raccoons, coyote, opossums, and armadillo are just a few. The trainers, all members of the Florida Trappers Association Board of Directors, included Robert Priest, Steve Lee, Mark Neely and Ellie Willingham, experts all, who instructed the women in the fine art of baiting box cages and snares, and selecting the locations most likely to attract the forest creatures. FWC “Beyond BOW” coordinator Jeanene Arrington-Fisher is an expert “primitive cook” who provided excellent meals prepared in Dutch ovens over an open campfire.
Learning about the traps was an adventure, but learning about the bait kits was even more intricate. Trappers have their own particular favorite bait foods and scents, which can include marshmallows with vanilla extract, canned sardines, chicken livers and gizzards, tuna fish, fermented feed corn and a wide variety of odiferous essences ranging from fish oil to skunk. Latex gloves are recommended to keep the human scent off the bait being laid in the trap, and certainly to keep the pungent odor of the bait off the humans’ hands.
Trained trappers are in demand to rid farms and ranches of “nuisance wildlife” that can destroy crops and livestock, at enormous cost to farmer s and ranchers. Some of the more damaging culprits are wild hogs, coyotes, and raccoons. “Nuisance wildlife” is wildlife that causes property damage, presents a threat to public safety, or causes an annoyance within, under or upon a building. Although steel traps are normally forbidden in Florida, in special cases permits may be issued to allow the use of padded steel traps to catch the problem critters.
Spending time in the woods is always an excellent way to enjoy a weekend. By Sunday all the ladies had trapped at least one species of wildlife and had learned a lot. The ladies’ conclusion: this expedition was a great success!
To learn more about the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program and for more events visit http://myfwc.com/bow