It isn’t always about putting up numbers on the trapline, and Tom Chapin and Dan Hertle are a great example of how much one can enjoy small time trapping. These two old veterans get out on foot during Minnesota’s very short and limited trapping season.
Most trappers these days drive their traplines, hopping out to check a couple of sets here, a couple there. Chapin and Hertle park once and walk all morning checking a half-dozen traps. One of them backtracks and gets into a canoe, paddling across a small lake to meet the other and to check their final four traps. If the lake is frozen and the snow is deep, they might cross the lake by snowmobile and check traps on snowshoes.
“If you’re into it for the numbers, most people wouldn’t go to the effort we do,” said Hertle, a Department of Natural Resources forest technician. “We’re just looking for a few animals.”
They have little competition.
“In 15 years, we’ve never seen another human or another footprint,” Chapin said.