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Beaver Trapping Northern Alberta

Off to the Clarkston Valley to do some Beaver Trapping under the ice with our friends.  The day is not too cold, only about minus 20 or so.  We unloaded our quads off their trailers and began the trek into the location.

Quad and Sleigh with Beaver Trapping Gear Northern Alberta

The day was cloudy, overcast and a snowstorm was forecast.  But we had our lunch with us, our fire starters and away we went.
Quite beautiful and in a remote quiet kind of way.  The softness of the shadows on the snow-covered trees, and chugging of the engines of the quads and the grey skies above.
After arriving to the snow covered ice Ross and Dale began chopping a hole through the ice to set the traps.  One must be cautious around the beaver houses/lodges, as the ice is quite thin here.  This is how Ross fell through the ice at 27 below, one of his recurring nightmares.
We were extra cautious for sure.

Hole through the ice

Dale cut us some dead fall for a fire, Ross got some dry twigs and lit the fire with his vaseline soaked cotton balls and a Strikeforce Fire Steel.
It was Karen's job to keep the fire from going it was my job,  actually we both failed and Ross had to come revive it.

Fire started with Strikeforce Fire Steel and Cotton Ball

After cutting some poles to make the snare pole set, he first shoved the pole down through the hole into the mud to mark the water line.  Then with his knife he marked the top of the water level.  Then we attach 3 snares to the pole, as well as bait sticks, poplar being the ideal in the muskeg. A strip  was peeled off the bark to open them up and make them bright. The beaver are living on willows, so we introduce a change in their diet with the poplar.  After lashing the snares to the dry pole, they lowered it into the ice hole.  Then we wired a T secured pole across the ice so it cannot be pulled through.

Cutting poles for the snare set

Marking the water line with the pole

We took a short break for lunch as the snow storm was just beginning.  Someone forgot the smoked salmon, but we made do with roast chicken....and Karen brought some Blackberry tea which we promptly spiked with our bottle of scotch!  Strong tea is what we call that!  Awesome!
The snow is really getting serious so we take a jaunt through the bush to look at some lynx tracks Ross had found and then it was time to head back to Lefty's for supper.

Checking Lynx Track through the Bush

What a wonder it is to go into the bush and see all the life that is taking place there!

The Silence of Winter

Oh how fortunate to take time out of the rush of life and build a fire in the winter bush.  The solitude, the crunch of the snow under our feet.  After wading into the location along the river through deep snow, it was time to clear a spot for our fire.

Ross began moving the snow away and then gathering some dry twigs high up on dead trees.  He brought along a fire steel, that ignites without matches.  We use small old film canisters stuffed with cotton balls soaked with vaseline.  Works like a charm and you can always get a fire going.

We found some larger limbs on the dead trees and because we always carry a bush bag with essentials, we had a small saw with us.

Ross cut up the limb and it provided us with an afternoon of warmth, to enjoy our tea and scotch!

It's great to be wearing beaver fur hats and mitts, along with a coyote fur trimmed parka, to keep warm.

All in all a great Boxing Day!

Trapper Gord Wilderness College


Ross Hinter has joined Trapper Gord Wilderness College in the Grand Prairie, Alberta region in the Education department.  Visit Trapper Gord's website for the Wilderness College to learn more about the opportunities for learning.  Courses book fast!

Trapper Gord Wilderness College

Here at the TrapperGord Wilderness College we live and breathe trapping. If you have always wanted to become a trapper or have a desire to better understand this fascinating industry the four day Standard Trapper Education Course might be for you. On the other hand if you are a seasoned trapper and are looking to learn some new tricks or find you need to learn more about a new furbearer that’s recently moved onto your trapline or want to brush up on the latest in fur handling techniques the TrapperGord Wilderness College will have what you are looking for.

Trapper Gord Wilderness College

Trapper Gord Wilderness College

Our workshops and courses range from one day to five and cover a wide range of topics but are mostly centered around how to harvest fur, equipment use, fur management and fur handling. Certificates are given with every workshop to participants who successfully complete the course.
Onsite we have comfortable cabins and great meals combined with expert instruction and plenty of hands on opportunities make these workshops a premium deal. If you are brand new to trapping or if you are a seasoned trapper this is a great time to give the TrapperGord Wilderness College a try. It’s as good as it gets and you won’t want to leave!
We are also on the road a lot. We hold about 25 workshops across Canada every year.