Veteran trapper Keith Jones took some caution Friday morning during his demonstration of how to set a foothold trap for a coyote.
He told the audience of approximately 135 to stake the trap firmly into the ground. His set-up in the Eby Arena of the Madison County Fairgrounds would only allow him to drive it a few inches before hitting concrete, something the audience would not encounter in the wild.
Jones, of southeast Ohio, was just one of many presenters for the two-day show presented by the Ohio State Trappers Association (OSTA) in London.
Dave Linkhart and his wife, Karen, said the event is drawing a good crowd. More than 400 had already paid to enter the gate, which before noon on the first day of the show was a solid number.
The Linkharts farm in Greene County, but involve themselves heavily in the trapping sport. They have trapped together for many years and even venture out of state to trap live otters for animal exhibits all over the country.
“We’re trying to get more (people) interested,” Linkhart said.
While the current market for furs in general is “flat,” there is more to trapping than just selling a pelt to a fur buyer. Trappers help to control the population of fur-bearing animals, which Linkhart said is important to stem the spread of disease among an animal population.
He gave the example of distemper among raccoons. Without trapping of raccoons the over population of them will accelerate the transfer of the disease.
“They’re gonna die anyway, from disease, starvation or predation,” Linkhart said. “With trapping the population is controlled by limiting the number of animals and their contact to potentially spread a disease.”
While wild animal populations will have “peaks and valleys,” with trapping, those fluctuations won’t be so great and the remaining population will remain healthier.
“You’re harvesting a renewable resource and helping farmers to manage problem animals,” Linkhart said.
Dave Ryan and his daughter, Emma, trap together in Greene County. He had come to the London show to purchase components to build snares for coyotes. He said trapping provides a way to see more of nature, to see animals in their natural habitat, “that people don’t know exist.”
Emma said it has taught her much about animal biology and habitat so she can answer questions in her high school classes.
“The people are nice, accepting and always teaching new things,” she said.
The show runs through Saturday.
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.
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