I just finished reading “Hoof Beats of a Wolfer”, a coyote trapping book written by L. Craig O’Gorman, predator trapper from eastern Montana. O’Gorman has been trapping coyotes for decades and has tens of thousands of critters to his name. He traps and hunts coyotes 12 months out of the year. His experience in predator control with both the government and independently for sheep ranchers has forced O’Gorman to learn things about coyotes that many fur trappers never do.
Hoofbeats of a Wolfer, published in 1990, is a culmination of O’Gorman’s coyote trapping experience and government research and includes excerpts from an earlier book, “The O’Gorman Style of Predator Trapping”. Topics covered include equipment, set types, coyote behavior and many, many other aspects of coyote trapping. The book’s 167 large pages serve as a bible of coyote trapping in the eyes of O’Gorman, and contain information that just isn’t covered in most coyote trapping books.
I’m sure O’Gorman would agree with me when I say that “Hoofbeats of a Wolfer” is truly a book for the most serious of coyote trappers – the men who do, or wish to, consistently put up big numbers of coyotes year after year. It goes way beyond the basics of trapping and really gets into the mind of the coyote, as well as the mindset necessary to capture Wiley E.
To go into detail about the many aspects of this book would be near impossible. It really contains so much information, it can be read over and over again, which makes it a great reference for the trapper to return to. In fact, I’ve already started reading it a second time around.
While it’s a great resource, the book does have a couple of shortcomings. In a book with such extensive content, better organization of topics would be helpful in allowing readers to easily find specific subject matter. For instance, I think the 40-plus topics covered in the book could be organized as chapters within three or four broad topics. Second, the spelling and grammar quality are sub-par, and really don’t do justice to the quality of information discussed. Granted, O’Gorman is a trapper first and a writer second, but I think better editing would have greatly increased the quality of this book. Still, I believe these shortcomings can be somewhat overlooked in the interest of truly realizing the extensive knowledge provided in the writings.
In addition to his extensive coverage of proper equipment, coyote behavior and advanced trapping techniques, O’Gorman spends a substantial amount of time in the book acknowledging the pioneers of coyote pursuit, including legends such as Louis Bakken, John Ehn, Slim Pederson and many more. At the same time, O’Gorman takes numerous shots at people he refers to as the “copy boys”, who have apparently jumped on the bandwagon and copied many of his and others’ new ideas in the trapping field.
It’s probably his dislike for the “copy boys” and numerous other statements made by O’Gorman that have made him a very controversial subject in the trapping community. Some will swear by his trapping instruction, books, lures and other products, while others claim that all the ‘hype’ is unwarranted and other trapping sources provide equal or better results.
Like him or not, O’Gorman has proven himself an extremely successful figure in the trapping community, and his coyote numbers speak for themselves. “Hoofbeats of a Wolfer” is a book filled with coyote knowledge, from broad concepts to small tidbits, and provides a unique journey into the mind of a serious and accomplished trapper.