September 15, 2018

Tyler Miller - Secretary, Aylmer District Trapper’s Council

National Hunting, Trapping, and Fishing Heritage Day response:

Getting started trapping in many communities in Canada happens as a matter of course. It is a completely regular part of life. You own land, and therefore you trap. Your family traps, and so you do too. Your friends trap, et cetera. It’s a natural step in those communities. In the same way you’d grade a gravel laneway, you’d trap ditches for muskrats, waterways for beaver. In those communities, it’s simply a tool to manage the land. And maybe it’ll put a little extra money in your pocket if the prices are good.

But I didn’t come to trapping that way. I grew up in a city. I learned to fish, but hunting and trapping were never a part of my life. Except for maybe the occasional neighbour who would drive up north for moose, or out to a farm for a deer, hunting was something other people did elsewhere. Not in London. And certainly no one trapped.

I had always wanted to hunt, though. When I got my hunting license in my early 20s, it changed everything. Hunting was a completely foreign skill set: tracking, wind direction, deer scrapes, food sources, cover, concealment, and edge effect. It was a whole new world of interconnectedness. I love it. Time moved differently when I was hunting. It was through this interconnectedness that I came to trapping.

When I was turkey hunting I found a clutch of turkey eggs, picked over by a scavenger. Walking properties, I’d see ditches and riverbanks, eroding because of beaver and muskrat bank dens, as well as evidence of coyotes everywhere. Not to mention the damage raccoons had done to crops on the properties I had permission to hunt. That’s why I got my trapping license: to maintain the landscape and its wildlife, and to minimize human-wildlife conflicts. It felt like something I had to do if I was going to preserve my hunting opportunities. That’s why I trap and why it’s important to me; I value conservation, land stewardship, and sustainability.