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 with Rob Miskosky

Low-life Scumbag Losers!

I have heard many stories over the years of trappers’ cabins being broken into, vandalized or robbed—sometimes both. I even had a trapper once tell me that after spending the summer and part of the fall replenishing his wood pile in preparation for the coming trapping season, upon arrival to his cabin in December, he discovered his woodpile had been burned—he had no wood left to fire up his cabin’s woodstove. This particular trapper always started his season after hunting season had finished; in fact, many trappers do this for several reasons, including stolen fur and traps. In this particular case, hunters had set up their wall tent at his cabin site and proceeded to burn all of his wood during the time they hunted there. He was very agitated telling me the story because now instead of trapping, he was back to cutting wood—his trapping season had been set back dramatically. Another trapper told me that one year during hunting season, somebody tried to break into his cabin, couldn’t, and then took a chainsaw, cut their way through the side of his cabin, and stole what they could. The trapper, upon building a new cabin on a different trapline, strung rebar through the walls to prevent the same from happening again.

At my first registered trapline where I trapped for ten years, I always left my cabin door unlocked; however, I locked my shed. It was a remote location and in the ten years I was there, I only had visitors once—a group of three couples who left me a kind note and never touched a thing—if that was you or someone you know, thank you.

The reason many trappers leave their cabin doors unlocked is because if a thief wants in, they’ll destroy the door to do so, or cut their way in as happened to the aforementioned trapper.

Three years ago, I purchased a new trapline in the Slave Lake region that had no cabin. So for two years I worked my ass off with the help of friends and built a new cabin and shed. Everything had to be hauled in by quad, as the closest you can get to the cabin site by truck is two kilometres. I followed all of the rules as set down by the Ministry of Forests and Parks and this winter, I was ready to run a full season of trapping. I had trapped there the previous season but had only managed a partial season because of the time consumed by the cabin build. In the three years I’ve been there, nobody has visited my cabin site, not a soul that I’m aware of. That was until this year.

One day, a guy on a quad showed up as I was getting geared up. He was dressed as a hunter and in fact said that he had filled his deer tag the day before and was now just scouting around. He seemed nice enough, probably in his late twenties, early thirties, and he asked if he could see inside my cabin. I agreed. Prior to leaving, he sarcastically said to me, “Living the dream, eh.” I ignored his sarcasm, but I remember thinking to myself, “If you only knew how hard I’ve worked to get this trapline ready. Spend a fall and winter with me and you might not be thinking I’m ‘living the dream’.” Most folks don’t realize how hard trappers actually work, it’s not an easy job, and not a job for just anybody.

Two weeks later, I parked my truck where I normally do, unloaded everything I had with me and strapped it to my quad, and then I began the journey to my cabin. I would be there for a few days getting my lynx sets out, as lynx season had just opened. When I made the cutline turn to my cabin, I noticed a piece of tin lying on the trail. I immediately recognized it as coming from my shed, and my heart sank. A little further, a snow shovel, mine, lie broken in two on the trail.

When I reached my cabin site I was already sick to my stomach but it was only going to get worse. The locks had been cut off my shed and my cabin door had been booted in (yes, I had the door locked)—I had been robbed! In fact, they took everything, including generators, tools, the wood stove and stove pipes from inside the cabin, all of my kitchen supplies, food, silverware, pots and pans, and chairs. They even took my sleeping bags and clothes, plus numerous other items. They also took my quad trailer, using it to haul my stuff out. Effectively, they ended my trapping season on the spot. The RCMP have been given a full report.

Now, I recognize that there are low-life scumbags such as these losers in the world, and having a cabin in the middle of a forest just begs for you to be robbed. But outdoorsmen and women have a code, at least those in my crowd do, and that is to respect other outdoor folks and their property, including trail cameras you might come upon while hunting. And this includes respecting a trapper’s property too, should you stumble upon one. If you don’t, you aren’t wanted in our outdoor community; in fact, you are a repulsive human being.

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