GRASSROOTS YOUTH TRAPPING GROUPS
By: Chris A. Berson (Trapper Dan)
Getting youth trapping is an important endeavor for our industry. Many are taught by their fathers and grandfathers. Others are not so fortunate and attempt it on their own. But Grassroots trapping education groups are popping up across the United Statesby guys who want to help the kids along. The Andy Denner Trapping Youth Mentor Group is one of these grassroots trapping education groups, helping kids who are entering the industry without any other source of guidance.
ADTYMG got started at the end of 2012 and had six kids for 2013. The kids first had to study and learn information needed to pass a test, which is a requirement to trap in their state of Wisconsin. They met weekly to go over the test material, but also to learn how to use the tools and where to set traps and why. They were not just taught just to pass the test. They were taught the skills they would need to run a line of their own. Upon completion of the test and classes, they were given a trapping kit with the materials they would need to set their own line for their first year. Of the six original kids, three made it to set their own lines.
The ones who have stayed with trapping have done well. Several companies have helped make that possible, such as Duke Traps, Okie Cable and Trap Supply, and Kaatz Bros., among several others. Donations to youth trapping groups are important, as the kids and their families are often not able to incur the cost to get started on their own. Guys who start groups like these often have the time and drive to make it happen, but also cant take on the cost. Luckily, the industry helps its own.
ADTYMG has two kids committed to the next season already, with more expected to join. A good source of new members is coming from Facebook associations. Andy Denner recently became Pro-Staff with Huntn & Fishn Kids, which is his states youth outdoor organization, to help answer trapping questions that many kids are asking. During an upcoming Huntn & Fishn Kids Youth Day, he will be putting on a demo for the kids.
The industry needs more of these grassroots youth trapping groups. As we lose many trappers to age, we need new blood in the industry. If our numbers dwindle we lose not only the knowledge base, but our political lobbying powere as well. Teaching the youth the right way has benefits beyond the industry as well. It teaches them responsibility, finance, and a respect for the outdoors. With more groups like Andy Denner Trapping Youth Mentor Group we will see more kids spending less time in a digital world.