This season, a brand new magazine has entered the ranks of those dedicated to North America’s trapping industry. Trapper’s Post, a bimonthly publication focused on all things trapping, printed its first issue in September and has already begun to develop a strong readership in the trapping community. After reading the first two issues of Trapper’s Post, I was pleasantly surprised by the large amount of practical trapping information included in its 44+ pages. In addition to being loaded with great content, the layout and design of the magazine was very refreshing and made it easy to read. Overall, I was impressed and wanted to learn more about Trapper’s Post, so I requested an interview with publisher and editor Bob Noonan.
A lifelong trapper, Noonan has been a freelance writer for decades and has written countless articles for trapping publications including Fur-Fish-Game, Trapper and Predator Caller and International Trapper. He has also been the editor of Wildlife Control Technology for 15 years. After developing numerous connections in the trapping industry, Noonan began to see opportunities to share more trapping information than was currently available in today’s media. It was this abundance of story ideas and encouragement from other trappers helped Noonan and his wife Debbie decide to start Trapper’s Post.
During tough economic times and a low point in the fur industry, you might be wondering why anyone would decide to start a new trapping magazine. Either they’re downright crazy, or truly see an opportunity where few others have been looking. One late December day, I had the chance to talk with Bob Noonan to find out more.
TrappingToday: Can you tell us about your background as a writer for trapping publications, and what prompted you to start Trapper’s Post?
Bob Noonan: I’ve been writing for the trapping industry for over 25 years. I started doing cartoons for the Trapper magazine in the 1970s, and began writing articles for them in the ‘80s. In the mid-1980s I became a field editor and contributed stories until recently. I was a freelance magazine writer for publications in other fields, but my real passion was writing about trapping. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to make a living writing trapping articles.
Throughout my writing career, I had the opportunity to meet lots of people in the trapping community and came up with a lot of ideas. I always had more ideas for articles than I could sell to the trapping publications. I also discovered a great deal of information that never gets written about. Since I loved writing about trapping and had all of these ideas, why not start a magazine? It was a great way to justify writing about trapping for a living.
TT: How is Trapper’s Post different from other trapping magazines?
Noonan: We publish, and will continue to search for, information from real experts who have never before been in print. Due to time constraints, other magazines usually work with trappers who are also writers. I have the time and resources to work with articles from very knowledgeable trappers who aren’t necessarily great at writing.
TT: I noticed that Trapper’s Post is loaded with content, as opposed to many publications that are loaded with advertisements. Do you plan to continue this pattern?
Noonan: While we are just getting started and would like to increase our advertising, Trapper’s Post will never have as many ads per page as many other publications. Some publications have ad ratios (ratio of advertisements to editorial content) of up to 50% or more. Our current ad ratio is about 20%, and we’d like to eventually get that to around 30%. You need advertisements in order to make money, and advertisements do provide readers with access to products, but when you get too many ads you have to break up articles more to fit them in, and readers begin to balk.
TT: Many nationally known trappers are featured on the pages of Trapper’s Post. How have you been able to make the connections necessary to bring these folks aboard, and do you plan on recruiting others to the ranks?
Noonan: It took a long time. I went to a lot of state and national trapper conventions and got the chance to meet many other trappers and folks around the industry. My favorite type of article to do is the interview, which doesn’t seem to be very common among other writers. While writing for the Trapper and Predator Caller, the editors and I would brainstorm and come up with ideas, which often led to assignments to interview a particular trapper, usually a well-known one. Whether it was by phone or in person, I made friends by doing these interviews, and they introduced me to other expert trappers not known to the public. In Trapper’s Post I want to introduce these people to the public. After you’ve been around the industry long enough and keep networking, it’s amazing how many connections you have, and how small the trapping community really is.
TT: Do you have any special advice for those wishing to contribute to Trapper’s Post?
Noonan: First, before writing anything, contact me. Otherwise, you might spend time writing an article similar to one that I already have in hand. You can call or email, but phone is probably better. That way we can toss around ideas. I love to talk trapping, and we can probably identify and focus an idea for an article based on our conversation.
Second, this is not a literary magazine. Perfect writing skills aren’t needed. I want information, period. Don’t be intimidated if you’re not a good writer, there is so much valuable information in the trapping community that is being lost because it isn’t written about. Just relax and get the information written down. I will take care of the editing.
TT: What should we look for from Trapper’s Post in the future?
Noonan: Overall, we want to make the North American trapper more aware of his community. That’s why we chose our slogan, “The Pulse of the Trapping Industry”. We want to be an organ for communication between trappers by striving for the same thing that has made Trapperman.com so popular, that sense of community.
We also want to preserve and protect our trapping heritage. One way to do that is recruit new young trappers. In future issues we’ll have a regular Young Trapper section, which will include a story by a trapper 16 or younger, and a short instructional article for beginners. We have provided free subscriptions to six local school libraries already, and they have been well received. We will work to expand this outreach to school libraries here in Maine and in other states. We want to keep growing and be a voice for the trapping community.
We are constantly searching for valuable trapping information to grow and preserve trapping knowledge. Trapper’s Post will always have very specific, time tested, practical information from trappers who have done it before. We will continue working to offset the urban culture that has caused people to lose touch with their roots, and help strengthen the fraternity of trappers in North America.
You can subscribe to Trapper’s Post by visiting www.trapperspost.com.