“Tell me more stories about the trap line,” my little girl asked me.
She was around eight years old when I started sharing stories about my life when I was her age.
The stories I told her weren’t exactly the whole truth — like the time my dog and I fought off a whole pack of wolves. The truth was that I was inside our cabin when four wolves came to visit. Only my dog and my mom and I were home.
I remember my mother telling me not to panic and to stay low. There was always a rifle around for emergencies such as this. My mom loaded the rifle and stuck it out the window. When a rifle is fired it is very loud, but when it’s fired indoors the sound is almost deafening.
She took one shot and the wolves scattered. I quickly got up to look out the window, and I could see the wolves running for it. This is what I meant when I told my girl my dog and I fought off a pack of wolves.
In the early 1990s, we were living in Prince Albert. During the winter I would share stories. Most, by the way, really were true.
“I want to be a trapper when I grow up,” my girl said.
I asked her if she wanted to go and catch rabbits. She got all excited and agreed. The next day, I went and purchased snare wire and made four snares. I drove around the forested areas near P.A. I could see rabbit trails all over the place, but there were also coyote and dog tracks.
I found an island north of the city and noticed there were no other tracks other than rabbit. That evening, my little girl and I set off to what would be “our” trap line. We walked to the frozen island and set the traps.
The best part of walking to the island was walking with her as she asked questions. A couple of times, we fell flat on our backs and made snow angels. We would lie flat on the frozen ice and look at the millions of stars.
“Are you ready to see if we caught any rabbits?” I asked.
The first night we didn’t catch anything. One rabbit had been caught, but managed to get away. The following evening, we once again headed towards the island.
This time I went and checked the snares while she ran around playing hide and seek with our dog. It was the third snare where I found a rabbit.
“Joci,” I screamed. “We have a rabbit.”
I could hear her running towards me, and then all of the sudden she stopped. I was holding the rabbit up with a big smile on my face. She started to cry.
I asked her what was wrong, and she told me she thought we were just catching the rabbit – not killing it.
“But that’s what trapping is all about,” I replied. “It’s not like it’s a bunny rabbit or anything,” I tried to explain.
The car ride back home was silent.
Her mother, on the other hand, was excited when I walked in with a rabbit. Joci made her way back to the bedroom and wouldn’t come out. The next day, Arlene made a soup out of the rabbit for supper.
We didn’t tell Joci what was on the menu. I had made bannock to eat with the soup and I could tell Joci was enjoying her meal. We didn’t tell her she had just eaten rabbit soup. It wasn’t until years later I told her about our supper.
She is now married with her own family, and she claims she takes her boys to “our” island to lay down snares for rabbit.
I’ve been following all the television programs about life way up north. Today, there are plenty of TV programs about trapping, fishing and hunting. Every time I watch one of these shows, I am reminded of the time my girl and I went trapping.
I just don’t understand why they don’t film people making snow angels.