Posts Tagged ‘Condon’

A lot of people display the trappings of frontier life in Montana’s Swan Valley. Bud Moore has the actual traps. When his daughter Vicki has a chance to talk about them, and about the winter she spent trapping with her father a few years back, her eyes light up.

But many people in the valley are suspicious of Vicki. She talks to them about managing their land to preserve the environment. She looks a little like a hippy. And most dangerous of all, she has lived most of her adult life in Paris. So when she asks the ranchers and the summer cabin owners to consider committing to a land management plan that will last for generations, naturally they are wary.

At her father’s mill last week, we came across a long wall of traps and got Vicki talking about how they worked. She could catch mink, beaver, even the reclusive wolverine. But of all the traps, the most fascinating was the one they had for coyotes.

“You see this big hook on the end of the chain,” she began. “You need it because you trap coyotes along the side of the road where they hunt for mice. If someone drives down the road and sees your coyote, they’ll just take if for themselves. So instead of staking the trap to the ground, you leave a loose hook. The coyote gets caught and then runs off to into the forest dragging the hook behind him until it snags on something. And then you really have him.”

Land owners in the Swan Valley have a lot to worry about these days. With dramatic mountain ranges on each side and plenty of mountain lakes for fishing and swimming and boating, it’s little wonder that the property around them is no longer affordable for the average resident. Add in the invading noxious weeds, the bad economy, and the uncertainties of life, and the wisdom of developing and committing to a land management plan becomes pretty clear.

But then there’s that hook.

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