In my youth, I read about trapping the North Country in the “Big Red” novels by James Kjelgaard. The tales of a teenager and his Irish Setter running a trapline and confronting trap-raiding wolverines and vicious pumas held me in rapt attention. As a city kid, I could only dream of someday doing that myself.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to hunt all over the Western U.S., Alaska and Canada taking mule, whitetail and blacktail deer, elk, bear, caribou, wild boar, antelope – and assorted waterfowl, upland and small game. But I had still never run a trapline. By chance on a Spring black bear hunt with Dave Hooper of Babine Guides and Outfitter in British Columbia, the prospect of my trap line dream becoming reality began to unfold. Dave mentioned coming back to Tukii Lodge in the winter to hunt wolf and trap various furbearers native to that part of Canada, on what he called a trapline hunt. My wife needed little encouragement since she had thoroughly enjoyed her time at the lodge while I hunted bear. So, after making the needed arrangements, she and I flew to Smithers, BC from California in early February 2009 to begin our weeklong adventure.
The trapline equipment this time of the year consists of wolf and coyote snares, pine marten tree boxes, and wolverine or lynx cubby sets with conibear traps or snares. However, it was not uncommon to catch a wolverine with a wolf snare or a pine marten in a cubby set. Several weasels (ermine) were also caught in the tree box sets.
If you have ever thought about a trapline hunt or desire to have a wolverine, lynx or wolf mount for your trophy room, you really should contact Dave Hooper at Babine Guides and Outfitter. I recommend them highly and I know you’ll enjoy every minute!
My guide would be Dave and Marilyn’s son Lloyd who had helped me bag a great black bear on my earlier trip. Our daily routine was to get up early each morning to glass for wolves and coyotes, and then after eating a hearty breakfast, we would jump on our snowmobiles to check the traps. Lloyd’s traplines cover a wide expanse of country around Babine Lake. Checking, resetting, rebaiting and expanding the various sets on one line alone consumes most of a day, so we would recheck traps every other day or so.
During my week at Babine Lake I shot a large silvertip/black male wolf that we ambushed on the frozen lake, and trapped a wide range of animals, including wolves, wolverine, lynx, coyote, pine marten, weasel and a beaver. One of each skin taken was expertly skinned and salted for shipment to the U.S. including assistance with the necessary paperwork to clear the border. My taxidermist has begun to create several life size mounts and a wolf rug for my trophy room.