Well, with the way the weather has been going you can sure feel the bite of fall in the air. I have always thought that it is hard to get up in the morning and figure out just what to wear. It can be around 40 degrees when you get up and into gear then about the time you dress for this type weather it warms up into the 70s and you are going through a meltdown. Then you have to start shedding clothes. But it sure makes life interesting up here and I love it.
Now that bear season has opened and small game season will be here at the end of the week, fall is getting into full gear. I have observed a lot more pats in my travel this fall than I have in years. No kidding, I have even seen some large enough coves to make me think back to when I was a kid hunting with my dad. It has been years since I have watched pats taking off in all directions when you flush them walking through the woods.
It just could be one of the best small seasons up here that we have had in years.
As I travel around I seem to have these flash backs thinking of all the trappers I used to know that are no longer with us. Then when you add to this the fact that a lot of times when one trapper passes on it seems that his trapping partner (that he has had for years) hangs up his traps and calls it quits. It just seems that the old time trappers like I grew up with are becoming a thing of the past like so many other things.
Now there are some new trappers coming along but they like a lot of other things are just a different kind of trapper. Then when you throw in the fact that a lot of those that are now setting and enforcing the trapping regulations never set a trap in their life, things have changed.
Of course you have to remember that when I started out as a conservation officer there still were what they called “state trappers” working with law division. These trappers were uniformed conservation officers whose main duty was taking care of problems caused by beaver and other critters out there.
This was one of those sections of the old Conservation Department that just outlived their time and time passed them by even though they were always used. I could tell you interesting stories about working with some of these old trappers with their outlook on life.
When I was working down in the flat-land thumb area of Lower Michigan things could get interesting. Where most of Tuscola County was controlled by a ditched draining system, plugged up ditches could be big problems and back up larger amounts of water. I had one of those problems.
So the “Big House” sent over the state trapper to take care of the problem with the plugged up ditch. Now some of these ditches were really big and deep so when beaver dammed them up they would back up water for miles. When this happened it was not long before some of the farmers who farmed this area on tiled fields had real problems with all this water backing up into their fields. So off went the state trapper with the local game warden tagging along to be his personal pack animal. We crossed this farmer’s field to the area in the ditch where the beaver dam was and got set up. The trapper loaded up a good number of charges (big explosive charges) and packed them into the dam in holes I had made with an iron rod. Then we moved up onto the top of the cut, out into the field where the state trapper set up and got ready to blow the dam.
Now using 20-20 hindsight I have often wondered just how many dams sitting in drainage ditches this state trapper had ever taken out in his career. Now you have to understand that this ditch was about 12 feet high and real wide and full of water.
So we set up, ducked down and “kaboom” sent this dam in pieces half way to the moon.
This was the least of what happened because there was no way anyone figured out just how much water this 12 foot high dam had backed up. When the dam disappeared into the air there was almost instantly a tsunami heading down stream with a 10-12 foot high wall of water leading the way.
This too was the least of our worries when you consider that the town of Vassar was downstream in the path of our instant tsunami.
So being the wise people we were we threw our gear into our vehicle and headed out of the area.
I was later to hear that the people of Vassar were left in wonderment when the small creek that went through town to empty into the Cass River all of a sudden expanded to three-four times its normal size for no reason they could figure out, only to drop back to normal a short time later. Life sure was interesting back in the “Good-Old-Days”.