money trapping business — August 20, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Being a Professional trapper, fur trapper or predator control guy, the reality, part 1

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Welcome to Trapping Across America, we have a kind of a different show tonight, I’ve talked about business before and this is going to be a little bit different.  But uh, I’m supposed to be in Little Valley this weekend.  And I didn’t get to make and I’m not used to not showing up at shows and I called, and, and told folks and it was disappointing all the way around.  And if you went up there to meet me, I greatly apologize.  But believe it or not I do have a pretty good excuse.  And it’s embarrassing but just so you know what it takes to keep me from going to a convention you’ll know what it is.  When I got back from the NTA show, I was taking some stuff out of the van and somehow I got my feet tangled, the next thing I know I’m grasping for air.  I hit the bumper dead center of my chest on my van and then I slammed to the ground.  And what I did was I broke 3 of my ribs, right where my ribs come together.  And for about a week I just tried to tough it out.  The longer it went before I went to the doctor and got some pain medicine there was no way I could drive 12 hours up there, do a show, and drive 12 hours back.  I can’t bend over, I can’t pick nothing up, I’ll probably be way too grumpy after driving 12 hours nobody’d want to be around me and it just didn’t work out.  So, broke bones is the reason I didn’t make it to Little Valley.  Saying that, I was going to give a demo on making a living full time trapping and I’m going to go over the notes I had on tonight’s’ radio show.  So if you were planning on going to the Little Valley, you went and you wanted that information I’m going to give it to you right now.  That way, that’s just my way of trying to make up for not going up there.  Now, if you’re, I’m getting several comments and emails which I always do about big pans, where do I get them, yada, yada.  So if you’re one of those guys that’s looking for the big pans, if you call Jeb at Okie Cable and Trap Supply he’s got those pans I believe from Chip or will be getting them soon and he’s one of the sponsors you’ll see his link with his phone number and everything down in the show notes.  So if you want those big pans give him  a call and if there’s anybody out there who doesn’t know, I’ve talked a lot about portable pocket, and how excited I’ve been about it how well they’ve been working, well I’ve got a DVD out now it’s just called Portable Pockets you can pick it up on my store.   A lot of the other dealers are getting it now.  And its 2 hours of how to catch a coyote with the same equipment you go catch a coon with and a bobcat and muskrat and a mink and a beaver and an otter it’s a really cool system.  I’m very proud of  the video because especially on the coyote side, once you get a grasp on what the portable pocket is and how cool it is, you never have to fear the rain again.  No more washed out dirt holes, that type of stuff.  You can actually set these portable pockets and have other trappers walk right past you and never know you’ve got a trap set.  I mean it’s definitely elevating the game of predator trapping with these portable pockets.  Last thing, is if you haven’t seen Trapping TV you can go to my channel on YouTube – it’s Wolfernation, and you can see Trapping TV and there’s 13 episodes and they’re really neat.  There are 5 of us, we go around doing what we do, and we film a lot of it.  A lot of good pointers some education, even show Albert catching a teddy bear in a trap.  All kinds of weird stuff like that plus a lot of good information.  And we also have a Trapping TV page now on Facebook so if you’d go like that I’d greatly appreciate it.  Now before I get into this interview.  If you, I’m going to use some examples that are sexual in nature, so if that’s s going to offend you, you might want to go head and turn off the show.  The reason I’m doing that is I know that 99% of the people that listen to this are guys, and I’m using these examples to get a point across where there’s no confusion whatsoever  because they’re serious points for anyone that’s thinking about being a full time trapper.  The concept – the only way I can really get it to where I think it’s got enough punch to get through to guys is to use these.  There may be a few bad words in this one, whatever, you know, I’m a little high from narcotics they gave me so there’s no telling what I’m going to say so I’m just warning you ’cause these are not scripted.  If you got little kids or whatever or you’re going to get offended if I say the word masturbation then you need to get off the channel right now.  But for everybody else, it’s not just to be a potty mouth, but it’s 2 examples are the only ones I can find that really really emphasize what it is.  I’m going to be extremely brutal and honest during this show, way more than normal.  Because if someone’s thinking about full time, that is very serious decision that can not only affect you, it can affect your family, it can affect your credit, your house, your truck.  Everything can decide on if you make it or not.  Some guys are made to make a full time living at trapping, and some guys just aren’t.  That’s just the way it is.  There are guys who are good enough to be in the NFL, and no matter HOW BAD those other college kids want to go, they just are not going to be there.  Not that they’re bad guys, not that they’re lesser guys.  There’s just a level of performance, and a mindset to being a NFL player.  Nor an NBA player, or whatever you call baseball, whatever that’s called  pro baseball players.  You know, not everybody’s going to make it and it doesn’t make you any less of a person if you don’t do it.

professional fur trapper trappingI’m going to start off with fantasy.  And this is where I believe a lot of guys get really confused.  I’ve learned over time guys, I’ve given a lot of instruction to a lot of different people.  I’ve also given a lot of business instruction to a lot of different people.  And one thing that’s become clear to me over time is my mind and the way that I think, and since I’ve already made a living trapping, from just fur or from fur and the fur industry.  I just automatically think that anybody can do it.  If I can, anybody can, cause there’s nothing special about Clint, nothing whatsoever.  So if I can do it, anybody else can do ti and I’ve given instruction to several people, some have went on to be full time trappers.  They have a great life from it and some people it has destroyed their life.  They just weren’t’ ready, they weren’t mentally capable of being their own boss or they didn’t understand the difference between production and being busy.  I really don’t know what it is but I do know that after some business planning you can give someone a business model you show them how to do it, the numbers work out.  They think they can but then when life and everything smacks you down a little bit; it falls to the wayside and all of a sudden you’re in trouble.  So the fantasy of what it is, and what it is are 2 different things.  Now we’re going to be doing our next show is going to be with Dustin Drews from South Dakota.  He’s a full time trapper now for South Dakota and the reality of being full time is a lot different than being a hobby trapper which you’ll hear in that interview.  So don’t think that I’m just making this up. The fantasy of being a full time trapper, I mean if you’ve ever read some of Craig’s books or some of the books written in the 80s, I mean you know they’re writing very creative writers you can smell the cool mornings, and you can smell the fox, and you can get all wrapped up into what’s going on and you start visualizing and fantasizing about what it would be like to be doing that and, and going out and making your living as a trapper.  When you catch yourself thinking about that and you start thinking all the cool stuff about being a full time trapper- the big catches, going out of state, all this type thing.  Guys this is trapping mental masturbation, this is what that is.  Because it’s not real.  When you’re in the act of being with yourself thinking about something else, it’s PURELY FANTASY.  Being a full time trapper is very hectic, it’s very uncontrolled, it’s very stressful, it’s a lot of times you go from having money to no money in the course of a couple weeks.  It can be very rough on your family; it’s EXTREMELY abusive on your body.  But when you’re thinking of full time trapping, the long hours don’t really seem to connect in real life.

Like when you watch a movie about the SEALS, or the Rangers, or Special Forces and it shows them going through the training.  You know, they’re in the middle of Hell week and they haven’t slept in 5 days, and they’re carrying these logs around and they’re getting beat up in the surf and they’re getting hollered at and they’re running and they’re doing all these calisthenics.  It’s just in a guy’s makeup; and the caveman side of a guy that he’s gonna go “that’s freaking cool.  I can do that”.  That’s mental masturbation.  And when you’re thinking about it, because when you see it on TV or you read about it in a book or you hear about it on a radio show like this or a blog or a DVD or whatever, everything that you see is micro.  When you haven’t slept in the SEALS for Hell week for 5 days, you never, not slept for 5 days.  Because normal people don’t do that.  You’ve never exercised for 20 hours a day because normal people don’t exercise for 20 hours a day with no sleep for days on end.  But when you see it in short spurts it looks kind of cool.  You know, it’s like the gladiator in every guy wants to come out, and be on top.  But in reality it SUCKS. Now I’m not saying being a full time trapper always sucks, but there’s times when it sucks.  And you’ve got to understand that before you get started cause if you go into it totally off of fantasy of just big catches and everything else like that.  I promise you you’re not going to stay in it very long because reality is not going to be anywhere near what you thought it would be.  So you kind of need to know that.  You have to make a logical, critical thinking type of decision before you make the jump to trapping.  When I made the jump to trapping, it was foolish.  I’m too hard-headed though to back down.  I made it work.  But let me tell you, there were a lot of times we had no money.  You know, eating beaver wasn’t just because I thought it tasted good it was because I wanted to eat.   It was not the best thing to do to my wife.  You know, looking back on it I should have kept the pool business at least maybe doing liners or something like that, in the summer to pad the fur money.  But I had the fantasy of what full time trapping would be, and reality was a lot more abusive than that.  So if you catch yourself fantasizing about it you need to step back and really ask yourself some questions.  Is this what I want to do all day?  Now this brings up another good pint.  Guys that only get to trap before or after work or on the weekend or 2 weeks’ vacation, yeah, they want to do it all the time.  If you stuck them in a situation where it was really 60-90 days straight without a day off, most of them would be under the bed in a fetal position before that’s over with.  Because it gets so monotonous and the excitement is not the same for a pro trapper as it is for a hobby trapper.  And that’s one aspect that’s a shame about being a pro trapper.  There’s no way you’re going to get excited about coon 3 and coon 1100 the same way.  It’s all going to start turning into work just like a regular style job.  So the fantasy part of that guys, I’m telling ya if you catch yourself doing it just keep in mind what you’re doing it’s just mental trapper masturbation is all that it is.  It’s not real.

It’s no different than girls that try to look like girls on TV.  They don’t step back and think, you’ve got a beautiful girl to start with that’s got 4 people putting makeup on her, 2 people fixing her hair.  Someone is dressing g her.  They’ve got ultra-photography equipment, fans, light, and wind, everything else to make that one picture look like that.  Some girls going to get up in the morning and think she’s going to go to her bathroom by herself and look like those women?  It doesn’t make any sense.  But they sell that to the girls.  And a lot of times, I think guys try to sell the appeal of full time trapping because it makes them feel better to other people and it’s dangerous.  The right person it’s a good fit, the wrong person it’s not a very good fit.  You have to really do some soul searching before that.  Is it because of fantasy you’re doing it?  Or is it because you’ve actually got a plan that’ll make it work that you’re doing it?

Another reason I think a lot of guys want to be pro trappers is solely off of ego.  Ego ego ego.  They want to be able to go to a convention and stick their chest out a little bit “I’m a pro trapper.  I’m above the hobby trapper”.  They want people to go “Hey did you see Joe over there?  He’s going full time.  He’s a professional trapper now!”  The ego part of that is a terrible reason to go full time trapping.  Because if you are doing good, you’ll find out you’ve got haters.  If you’re doing bad, you’ll have a lot of people “I told you so”.  So if you’re doing it for outside reasons, people outside of you and your wife, or your kids, girlfriend or whatever you’re doing it for the wrong reason.  When times get really tough, cause it will, I promise you those outside reasons will not be enough to get you through.  So if you’re thinking it just be cool to say you’re a pro trapper, people recognize you, want to shake your hand, get your autograph all that type stuff, if that’s the reason you want to do ti, don’t do it.  It’s not going to pan out for you.   It’s not exactly what you’re looking for.  Now the other example I want to get into before we get more into the details, because I want to get your mind thinking in the right place

I’m a red-blooded Appalachian male.  Like sex.  LOVE sex.  Think about sex.  All guys are the same, that’s all you think about.  If you think about anything within 3 or 4 minutes, something sexual is going to come into your mind if you’ve got any testosterone at all.  That’s just the way we’re made.  Now as much as I like sex, there is a way to get paid to be a pro sex guy.  It’s called porn.  But have ya’ll ever seen me?  Just because I like it, love it, want to do it all the time, does not mean that I’m going to be in that business.  One there’s moral reasons, and two, look at me.  It’s not going to work.  So no matter how bad I wanted to do that for a profession, there’s things there that aren’t going to allow me to be a porn star.  Because it’s who I am.  Nobody wants to see that on TV.  Just because I want it doesn’t mean that I can go get it.  Just because I dream about it doesn’t mean anything.  Everybody always talks about follow your dream.  I’m all for following your dream if it’s practical.  You can follow your dream which we’re going to get into here in a minute a lot safer, something I wish I’d thought about years ago when I was doing full time trapping.  Just cause you dream about it and you fantasize about it and you want people to know that you’re a pro trapper, guys that is NOT a reason to get into pro trapping.

Now the reality of being a full time trapper.  Right now, we’ll just take right now for an example.  Say last year you’re getting $25 for coon.  This year you’re getting 9, 10 or 12 dollars for coon.  Your business model just lost half of its money if you’re a coon trapper.  There’s nothing you can do about that.  Absolutely nothing you can do about that.  That is part of the reality of being a fur trapper.  Now when I started, or even more if you go back to the 80s and late 70s when the big fur boom was on, fur was really high, and the dollar was worth a whole lot more.   Compared to the labor and everything else.  So when you read all this stuff about the 80s you have to make a practical, logical understanding that the money is not the same as it was in the 70s and 80s.  If we have a $100 fox, and in the 70s you had a $100 fox, when you take inflation into account, that’s a $300 fox today.  That’s what they were basically catching, a $300 fox.  Raccoons were $100.  Some of the bobcats were $1000.  Muskrats are $5 and $6 so that means they were $15 apiece.  But the cost of living for those guys back then was minimal.  Gas was 50-60 cents.  Food was extremely cheap compared to now.  So you’ve gotta take all this into context because it is a reality.  No matter what the fantasy says, if you’re going to make a decision you’ve got to know what that is.  You can’t control the fur market.  You can’t control buyers.  You can’t control trap thieves.  You can’t control competition.  You can’t do any of that.  So being a fur trapper you’re at the mercy of a lot of stuff that you don’t control.  If you’re going to be a fur trapper today and SOLELY a fur trapper, there’s no way that I believe in reality over the course of 10 years that you’re going to be driving a new truck, or living in a $300,000 house.   Or have the smartphones and extra cable bills and expensive internet bills and all that.  The money just does not work out.  Now, we can play with numbers where you can make a very good wage at trapping.  A very good wage at trapping.  But trapping is only seasonal.  So the reality of that means, that you’ve got to catch enough, and depending upon where you’re at and what you’re doing in 4 – 6 months to be enough to last you for a whole year.  That’s a hard thing to do.  It’s not always as simple as just catching more coon or catching more bobcats.  You’re still going to have bills just like everybody else.  Just cause you’re a pro trapper life doesn’t change for you at all.  You still have automobiles that break down, you still have insurance costs.  What would happen if this was s the middle of winter right now and I was totally living off fur money and I broke my ribs like I’ve got right now?  I’d be screwed. Sure, I’d try to suck up and do a little bit but it wouldn’t be enough to make up for not being hurt.  That’s just the reality of being a trapper.  If you’re going to be a full time trapper all the way around, you’re going to have to seriously downsize your life.  I’m talking cheap house, cheap cars, your money goes into your profession as far as traps and education and stuff like that.

Note: this is a trascript from Trapping Radio 2. More to come in part 2 of this show.

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