Youth trappers learn new skills at Cypress Cove

“It’s dying art. The new generations don’t understand it. When I was a boy, it was fairly common.”

Those are the thoughts of Toby Hutcheson, National Trappers Association director for Alabama, about trapping – a skill he thinks people are once again beginning to value. “I’m seeing a strong hunger from folks trying to learn again what we’ve almost lost,” Hutcheson said. “We have quite a bit of interest actually.”

Hutcheson was recently part of a Youth Trapping workshop hosted at Johnny Mack Morrow’s Cypress Cove Farm. Numerous state, national and volunteer organizations were involved, including Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, USDA Wildlife Services, the Alabama Forestry Commission, the U.S. Forest Service, Safari Club International and the Alabama Trappers Predator Control Association.

“The program started nine years ago as a pilot program,” explained Mike Sievering, Alabama Trappers Predator Control Association president. “The conservation department felt trapping was an important wildlife management tool.”

The youth trapping workshops now educate about 300 students yearly in ten sessions annually held across the state – eight specifically for youth and two for adults.

Sievering said students who attend the workshop are taught about the traps, how to safely handle them and trappings ethics, laws and regulations. Students get to practice handling the traps and then go out with mentors to set their own traps.

“That’s just not being passed down to the next generation,” Sievering said. “It’s a far reaching project that has had nothing but positive results out of it.”

Other states, Sievering said, are now trying to emulate the trailblazing program started by Alabama, which has received national recognition. He gave credit to all the agencies involved, with whom the free workshops would not be possible. “They all understand the importance of it,” Sievering said.

Trapping, Hutcheson said, is a wildlife management tool that helps to limit pesky predators in Alabama, such as beavers, which are a threat to both farmland as well as timber, along with deer populations.

“We just offer a way to control that,” Hutcheson said, citing an estimated $30 million of damage a year by beavers.

He said the class is also effective at dispelling rumors and myths put forward by movies and television about trapping – the negative connotation implied.

“It shows people that will never trap – they understand it and how it works. The young folks that want to learn, they can figure out how to do it,” Hutcheson said.

This was the second year such a workshop was hosted at Cypress Cove, and Sievering thanked Morrow for use of the property.

“He’s a great host. I can’t say enough good things about him,” Sievering said.

For more information about future workshops, go to www.outdooralabama.com/alabama-youth-trapper-education-workshops, or go to www.atpca.org search for outreach events.

 

 

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