As many of you figured out I am brand new to trapping and so far I have been having a ball with it despite nothing in the traps. That changed last night! I started with a very short line not far from my house in a spot where I figured I had a chance at muskrat and the larger fur barrers. Really more of a practice area while I am waiting for deeper snow and thicker pelts. My third set was on the blind side of a switchback leading up a rather steep hill and can only be seen as you crest the hill and make the turn through the switchback.
I headed out with a smile on my face and optomisim in my heart ready to see if my game of wits with Alaskas fuzzier criters had paid off. First and secound trap nota rounded the switchback and "holycow I got...........a bald eagle!" Then he went for my leg "and he still has a ton of fight left in him!" Feeling incredibly disapointed and giulty I let my pack fall to the ground and sat on it. My capture and I studied each other for several minutes. I traced the snares course with my eyes "yup got him solid around the neck, wings look good, I'll bet he hasn't been caught long." The eagle just sized me up. I then began the process of evaluating any damage a close encounter between we two souls would cause us. Didn't take long to realise those tallons and that very impressive beak could do some real damage and my clumsy ass could easily brake a wing bone if I was not careful. I clamly reached over with a snare and clamped ith thghtly around a log and ried several theods of loosening it, "I'm going to have to release this with my hand! No choice about it this bird and I are going to have to get CLOSER!" What followed seemed like an hour of slow motion wresteling punctuated with blinding speed as I got an arm, leg or hand out of reach of beak and claw. I finnaly managed to get my fingers on the lock........."dang I can't do this with gloves on. OK now thats got it". But his head wouldnt come out of the snare, I had opened it up as far as I could but he had so much pressure against it it couldn't slip over his head. We did a slow motion tugawar to a near by stick that I used to move the loop over his head. He was stuned! He took a hop and stared at me for a secound before heading down the hill to a small clearing. A few minutes later he was at the top of a tree. I moved on to check the rest of my set, very mixed feelings and a great deal of relief that all so far was going well with the eagle. My last sight of him was his flight twords the glacier, strong and steady.
I got into this to get some cool fur gear for my famlily and have some fun. Following the trappers code of ethics and making as humane a kill as possible while limitting incidental catch are paromount to me! I imediately pulled all my sets and moved away from open water. I plan on running my line up the mountain out my back door and focusing on bigger predaters, screw muskrats I am not doing that again!