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‘When I Was in High School’
When Your Job Sucks: Teen Jobs
When I moved to Western Pennsylvania at age 13, the first thing I did was gravitate to the woods for my recreation. I soon discovered, in the streambeds, metal contraptions about the size of a child’s shoe sole. I asked Mister McCaroll, the man next door, what they were, and he told me that some boy was probably trying to make money trapping muskrats and to leave them undisturbed. I eventually tried my hand at trapping muskrat and was a failure. I did manage to kill some rabbits with throwing sticks. But rabbit pelts only brought 15 cents at Pete’s Surplus. I just let my dog tear them up. Interestingly enough, Ishmael, my host for next year’s Liver-Eater Excursion, has offered to teach me the cruder points of ruining a creeping critter’s day. As it turns out, Ishmael is one of those fellows who made some money trapping as a boy.
“When I was in high school, not wanting to get up at four a.m. to milk cows and then go to school, I trapped. I set traps for Mink, Bobcat, Muskrat and Beaver—I didn’t even know what a cougar was yet, so don’t go there. It was a way to get out of doors, out from underneath of The Thumb.
“In 1973 a Bobcat pelt was worth seventy-five dollars. A mink pelt brought ten dollars. Beaver brought fifty bucks. I only got three-seventy-five for a Muskrat pelt. I could skin a Muskrat in thirty seconds.
I caught six bobcats, fifteen mink, a dozen beaver and four-hundred-and-seventy-five muskrats. Milking cows, you received two dollars an hour. My investment for traps and pelt boards—some of which I made myself—was about a hundred-and-fifty dollars.
“I will show you how to trap when you arrive next fall.”
-Ishmael
Ishmael, I’m particularly interested in learning how to set hoodrat snares—or would I use something bigger?—when we get together next year.
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Add Comment
Bernie HackettSeptember 11, 2015 8:37 PM UTC

JL, see if you can find one of the many guerrilla war manuals.

I recommend the Malay Gate, and the classic punji stake.

If you have ammunition, the VC toe popper is another option.

Have fun!

Bernie