Exploratory Nature: This is our second year offering Life on the Trapline. However, due to the demands of sustainable trapping, and the shifting whims of beavers building lodges, the exact route will change every single year, making this a unique adventure every time! We have the incredible fortune of spending nearly every day right on our crown trapline, so we will scout the area in the fall, and again in the early winter and adjust or modify our route based on what we find.
This 8-day adventure will likely start with the first day right out in the bush. We will travel and camp on the line, setting and checking traps, and hoping to harvest much of our food as we go. We will be primarily focused on what has historically been Ontario’s most important fur-bearing species: the iconic North American Beaver*, though we may also trap other species, including Snowshoe Hare* and North American River Otter*. We will take a route that will finish up at Lure’s base on Golden Pond. The final day or day and a half of the experience will be in the “skinning shack”, where we will each have a beaver to skin, scrape, stretch and butcher.
*North American Beaver, Snowshoe Hare and North American River Otter are all listed by the Internatioal Union for Conservation of Nature as species of “Least Concern”, on their 7-grade ranking system. (Links lead to Wikipedia articles for each species).
Please note: The primary focus of this experience will be living and working on a crown trapline. While we will break camp and travel to new parts of the line, if you’re really keen on a hard-travel trip, you should probably look to one of our other offerings.
- Safe trap handling;
- Underwater sets with both Conibear traps and snares;
- Snowshoe hare snaring;
- Game processing and meat preparation;
- Legal and ethical considerations;
- Of course, all other aspects of traditional winter camping typically covered on Lure trips, including site selection and setup, firewood selection and processing, safe travel and so much more!
What this course does not include:
IMPORTANT: This is not a licensing course. This is an experiential course for those wishing to have an adventure and experience trapping in Northern Ontario first-hand. If you wish to become a licensed trapper in Ontario, you need to take the “Fur Harvesters, Fur Management and Conservation” course. A great place to find more information about getting licensed is available on the Ontario Fur Manager’s Federation website.
Legal questions and requirements:
You do not need a trapping licence to take this course. In fact, this course is designed for non-trappers to experience life on a trapline. In Ontario you are allowed to join a licensed trapper on their line without holding a licence of your own. Snowshoe hares are managed in Ontario under the Small Game hunting licence. To set snowshoe hare snares, you will require a valid hunting licence with Small Game seal. While great trapping ponds don’t always make great fishing locations, there may be some opportunity to fish. If you wish to fish on this course you will require a valid Ontario fishing licence.
Both Kielyn and Dave are lovers of nature and wildlife and concerned about the ethical treatment of animals, both in nature and in the food industry. We have both eaten vegetarian diets for years while exploring what our options were in the ethical sourcing of our food, before moving towards harvesting much of our meat ourselves. Trapping in Ontario is highly regulated, both so that animals are killed in the most humane way possible, and also so that populations are managed sustainably. Regulations dictate how animals may be harvested, when and where they may be harvested and in what quantities.
Yes, individual animals are killed by trapping, but the important distinction to us is that ecosystems and populations are left intact. Done correctly, this is a sustainable system that has been practiced for thousands of years. We feel that harvesting our meat locally and sustainably allows us to be a part of a system that ensures wilderness areas are valued and protected and reduce our dependence on the food production industry.
We eat all animals that we kill, and strive to eat as much of the animal as possible. This includes organ meat such as liver and kidneys, and also grinding tougher or less desirable meat to make burger or jerky. Of course with fur-bearing animals the hide itself is also a valuable resource that we have tanned for use in making traditional, sustainable and warm winter clothing.
Note: If you are unfamiliar with “traditional winter camping” as we practice it, and for more general information about all of our guided trips, head to this page.