Trapping keeps Young busy

REMUS — LaVern Young started trapping at age 10, has stayed with the sport and doesn’t plan on giving up on it any time too soon.

“My grandpa, Otto Young, gave me four traps, muskrat traps and my dad went with me and showed me how to set them, that’s how I got started.” said Young, a rural Remus resident.

SHOW OFF: LaVern Young of Remus shows samples of some of his hides by virtue of his trapping talents. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

He’s now 65 years old and hasn’t stopped trapping since he started except when he served in the military.

He lives in his current Remus home in 1983 after previously living on 20th Avenue.

Young has been in Remus his entire life except for two years, nine months and 17 days he was in the Army.

He was in Mecosta-Remus High School before it consolidated into Chippewa Hills High School.

Trapping keeps Young busy.

“Season opens for fox and coyote Oct. 15 and I didn’t start until the 25th,” he said. “The 10 days makes the hides better. Then I trap until season ends April 14. I start trapping fox, coyotes, muskrat, mink, beaver and otter, raccoons.”

Young does it as a hobby, not as living.

“You can’t make a living on it anymore,” he said. “I used to work for the feed mill in Remus, I was getting $4.50 or $5 an hour. I took two week’s vacation and all I did for two weeks was trap. The best day I had was I caught eight fox in one day. That year, in two weeks, I caught 46 fox; the 46 fox averaged me $78 apiece which was a lot more than I could make than working. I also had mink and muskrat and coon and all that stuff. In the mid-70s was the best time. That’s when fur prices were the best. Muskrats are pretty good right now.”

Young retired in 2001 from Austin gas fields at age 53. He then worked for nine years for Chippewa Hills High School, doing outdoor maintenance before retiring two years ago.

But Young hasn’t missed a trapping season.

“I trap everything,” he said. “I’ve caught two bobcats (by accident). They’re not legal to trap or hunt in this area. I catch them in fox or coyote sets. I’ll pick up a bobcat once in awhile. I carry a three foot high by four foot long piece of plywood and have a notch cut in the bottom edge of it. I just walk up to them, force them back, set the notch over their leg, step on the spring of the trap with my feet and let them go.”

Young traps locally.

“I’ve trapped around here for years,” he said. “I cover quite an area catching muskrats and stuff. It’s all private (land). I get permission. A lot of the farmers expect me to be around every year to set traps. It’s getting rough. A lot of people are not deer hunting and they don’t want you on their property until after nine in the morning and then they want you off by 3 or 4 in the afternoon when they start deer hunting.

“Back in the 1970s, gas was 40 cents a gallon. Now it’s $3.50 a gallon. A good fox will bring you 40 bucks. Back in the 70s, it was $70. It’s just recreational for me. It’s just a hobby. It’s something I enjoy doing. I’ve done it so long, it’s in my blood now. There’s a few kids that do it a little bit. Carl Hartman in Barryton traps a lot. I trapped beaver a little bit last year for the drain commission.”

The key behind being a successful trapper, Young notes, is knowing where and how the animal is going to travel.

He’s also an avid deer hunter and bow and rifle hunts.

“I don’t kill as much any more because I’m into the Quality Deer Management,” Young said. “If they’re not a big buck I don’t shoot them anymore. I raise my own beef, it’s something to do. Rabbit hunt, I love to run rabbits with my beagles.”

On deer hunting, “the numbers are down, I think in this area. My own opinion is I think deer season lasts way too long. I’d be happy if it ended the first of December. I don’t know why you need a three-month season to kill a deer.”

The biggest buck he shot has been a 10-point buck with 16-inch spread on his own farm.

“I shot him with a bow and arrow and 12 yards,” Young smiled. “We have about 100 acres here. I prefer bow hunting. It’s more of a challenge. You have to be closer to the animal. It’s a quieter time of year.

“I shot a buck this year, first buck I’ve shot in six years. Last year, opening day, I saw eight bucks, nothing I wanted to shoot.”

Young also enjoys turkey hunting.

He goes to the U.P. every year with his brother to run snowshoe rabbits.

Young also enjoys salmon and steelhead fishing, plus trout in the summer.

“We have a cabin in the U.P. by Rudyard,” he said. “We go up there and I fish trout quite often.”

He also likes ice fishing this time of year, especially private lakes.

Steelhead and trout in the U.P. is his favorite form of fishing.

Young at one time went to Canada caribou hunting and fishing for pike and walleyes.

“I’d like to go moose hunting,” he said. ‘I’ve been to Alaska, that was fun fishing up there, it’s beautiful country. I’ve been up there twice.”

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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