In 1969, at the age of 12, Dale Thorne was given four muskrat traps from a family friend named Ellston Robinson. He wasn’t given any directions as to how to trap other than, “figure it out”! said Robinson. Dale has been figuring it out for over fifty years now with 2,000 plus beavers to his credit.
Dale does dry land trapping as well but outsmarting the “flat tails” as he calls them is his greatest passion.
Dale has been trapping alone his whole life, enjoying the solitude of nature. He does say having a partner with you helps when the dangers of trapping arise. This can include falling through the ice or mistakenly catching a bobcat and releasing it.
Taking pride in his passion is something Dale takes seriously. As a teen, Dale and his brother Fred (an excellent muskrat trapper) went through some difficult times. Not always having a lot of money, they lived off the beavers and muskrats they caught.
The pelts and hides are then shipped onto to buyers who auction them off to various companies and create garments.
Dale’s greatest memory was catching a mink and a muskrat at the same time, in the same trap! You never know what you are going to catch while trapping and that’s what keeps Dale on his toes and coming back for more.
Over the years, Dale has taught students his trade as well and some have gone on to trap as adults. Trapping is not for everyone; it is a dedicated sport that you choose to pursue every day.
Dale even says you can find an abundance of information on Google or even YouTube on trapping tips. Although these tools were not around when Dale was growing up, he learned all he knows in the school of life.
Spending countless days and hours honoring his craft has led his fur handling skills to win many awards over the years including the “Top Lot Trapper” award.
Dale’s passion is also admired greatly by his loving wife, Lori. It makes her heart happy to see him do what he truly loves to do.
According to Dale, “trapping is the best journey I have ever taken. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Whether it’s the solitude of rowing a canoe down the river, to the great friends I have made in the trapping community, it has all been a blessing. If you want to learn how to trap, remember that the animals are the best teachers.”