Archive for March 1st, 2012

Mar
01

Gaining New Ground

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As a trapper, one of our most important needs besides equipment is the properties or locations to trap. Without private land we would be restricted to state land only; sometimes it is not the best option. Asking for permission to trap can be a tedious task and at times discouraging. I have found a few things that seem to work for me when I get my permissions ready for the upcoming season or as I see new locations throughout the season.

One of the most important things when asking for permission is your appearance. When I approach a landowner I think of it as a job interview. You don’t have to dress up by any means, but you must look presentable. This means put on a fresh pair of jeans and a clean shirt. First impressions are everything and after all it is a start of a partnership between you and the landowner. Depending on the part of the country you are from some landowners may or maynot be accepting of a “trappers” wardrobe, it is best to use you judgement for each or always play it safe.

So you are all dressed up for your “interview” what’s next? Another important thing you need to take into account is the timing of when to ask. Asking permission in the late spring or early summer seems to be the best timing. This is the time of year when all of the furbearers are the most active due to reproduction and, taking full advantage of abundant food sources. What this means is that the animals are noticed more by that landowner and more likely than not causing some sort of inconvenience. In the fall and winter (during the season) trapping is on our mind but not the landowners, the popular saying seems to make sense “out of sight, out of mind”. I personally like to be preparing way ahead of the season so I can scout and plan for my sets anyway. Asking early has always been common practice for me.

Now comes the hardest part of getting permission, posing the question to the landowner. It’s the right time of year and you are dressed to impress its time to ask. Being fully prepared is the best way to get this done and done right. The way you word it is not the important part, I find that a simple question like: May I trap your property? Can be all it takes for a yes answer and you officially have a new trapping location. You must also prepare yourself for the other side of that, the just plain no. If you do get the no answer make sure to be polite and thank the land owner for there time but still offer your phone number if they change there mind. This sometimes will lead to a call a little later in the year, especially if you make a good impression. I always try to be prepared with a simple business card with all of your contact information, along with “Fur Trapper” somewhere on the card so your intentions can be remembered. When it comes to asking for permission it usually isn’t an easy yes and a plain no, you must also prepare yourself for the tough questions that may be the difference of you getting sent down the road packing or getting to set steal in the ground during the season. Most of these questions are asked by people that couldn’t really care either way but if it makes sense they will answer in your favor. The land owner may ask something like: “tell me more about trapping? What kind of equipment do you use? What are you trapping? How can the animal affect me? Will your traps affect me?” You can answer most any one of the questions that may come up by understanding two things, you must know the target animal or animals, and know your equipment and methods. This is why you need to think about what you are going to be asked and think ahead to the possible answers, if you are prepared for the tough questions you won’t be surprised when they come up. Confidence shows competence and that is what most land owners are generally looking for during the first impression.

Getting permission is not always easy but once you have it you want to keep it. Be sure to respect the landowner’s wishes and property. Remember word travels quickly, if you are well received and do your job you will get permission to more locations just by recommendation. I always try to keep my relationship active with the land owner year round not just when I need them. By staying active our partnership will stay intact for the trapping season and, many more seasons to come.

Happy Trapping :)

Danielle

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