It’s always nice to learn a little bit about trapping history. For instance, many of today’s young trappers don’t realize how big trapping was as an industry in the U.S. during our grandparents’ early days. Being such a large part of our country’s economy (and being more accepted by society), trapping and the fur trade were markets sought after by mega-retailers like Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward.
As part of their efforts to make money selling traps and supplies and buying furs, Sears Roebuck started a publication called “Tips for Trappers”.
Sears Roebuck mailed more than 7 million copies of an annual publication, Tips to Trappers, a magazine of about 30 pages in length, written and edited by “Johnny Muskrat” (a trapper, as well as a Sears spokesman) “and his trapper friends.”
Tips to Trappers had articles and photographs showing the best ways to find and trap animals and prepare their pelts, as well as letters from readers, techniques from renowned trappers, information on state trapping seasons and limits, news on the fur market, and instructions on how to prepare and mail pelts to Sears. Included in each issue were shipping tags for mailing packages to a Sears raw fur depot.
7 million copies! Back then, every kid in the neighborhood was reading Tips to Trappers. You can still find copies of the old publication for sale on Ebay now and then.
Be sure to check out the explanation of Tips to Trappers by historian John Buescher at teachinghistory.org.