Monday, February 20, 2012
I met John, aka “Trapper John” at my church in Barre in December, and when I asked if I could photograph him while he set traps for Muskrat and Beaver, he seemed bashful at first, but I soon realized how excited he was to show someone his hobby and trade. I met him at his tiny trailer in East Randolph at least once a week for the past month to photograph him water trapping, skinning muskrat, and beginning to tap maple trees.
John, who is called a “Mountain Man” by some of his friends, as he hunts for deer, birds and coyote, traps for all sorts of animals, taps trees for syrup, raises chickens, and has a large garden, is one of the sweetest people I’ve met up here. In the summer, he grows flowers to give to all the women he knows, and he is a devoted down-to-earth Christian.
I learned an awful lot about water-trapping, including how little trappers make from the furs they sell. On average this winter, John has caught one Muskrat every week during the three-month season. He’ll usually catch one beaver a season, though he hasn’t yet this winter. The current market prices for one muskrat is 10$, and for a beaver it is 30$. For him, its more of a hobby than anything, and a chance for him to get out and walk every morning to check his traps.