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Local trapper to speak at Toronto Sportsmen’s Show

Cutline: Tracy Herold shows a marten and a fox she and her trapping partner recently caught in the Red Lake area. They collect furs throughout the season from a number of animals including beaver, muskrat, otter, weasel, red squirrel, fisher, ermine and linx and then sell them in lots at auction. Photo: Lindsay Briscoe
Tracy Herold shows a marten and a fox she and her trapping partner recently caught in the Red Lake area. They collect furs throughout the season from a number of animals including beaver, muskrat, otter, weasel, red squirrel, fisher, ermine and linx and then sell them in lots at auction. Photo: Lindsay Briscoe

By Lindsay Briscoe

As soon as Amanda Mayhew-Hare read about Tracy Herold in a recent Ontario Fur Managers Federation issue, she knew Herold’s story would be perfect for the event she was planning and set out on a mission to track her down.

“I was on the phone trying to get her number, e-mail, anything,” says Mayhew-Hare.

Now, just four years after starting out in trapping, Herold will be speaking at the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show this weekend in a special event called “Targeting the Huntress.”

Herold does admit, however, that she was a tad reluctant at first because trapping is a controversial topic (not to mention the fact that she also runs a funeral home for a living and jokes that people might start getting the wrong idea about her). She finally agreed, knowing that the event might be a chance to dispel some of the negativity around trapping.

“People in cities might think trapping is about rich women walking around with fur but they might not have any idea about the management side,” says Herold.

She explains that she and her trapping partners work closely with the MNR to modernize the trapping methods – including the traps themselves – and also to develop quotas for different animals.

They’ve also partnered up with sports lodges and mining companies to help keep the animal populations under control. Beavers, for example, can wreak a lot of havoc if left unchecked, she says.

“Last year, just before South Bay on Gull Rock, they caused a lot of damage,” says Herold. “They dammed there and the suckers weren’t able to get up the creek. It was all flooded out and the water was very close to the highway so we had to do some serious beaver management. We only have one highway out of Red Lake. We have to make sure it stays open.”

She also points to the fact that faux fur uses non-renewable petrochemicals. Trapping, on the other hand, is a renewable resource.

“I think it’s important that people realize trapping is green,” she says.

In the end, Herold says she agreed to speak at the event because she’s proud of what she does and is grateful the men who got her started in trapping always made her feel welcome – never different just because she was doing something unconventional to most women.

And that’s just what Mayhew-Hare had in mind as she worked on putting together a panel of four “diverse and inspirational” outdoors speakers for this weekend’s show. Although they’re all female, she’s hoping the discussion is less about gender and more about their sports: trapping and hunting.

“I’ve never thought of myself as a girl hunter – just as a hunter,” says Mayhew-Hare. “But down here in the city, a lot of girls who want to get out there and hunt are with guys who are like ‘no, no, no, it’s guys only’ or ‘are you sure you want to do that? You’re a girl.’”

Mayhew-Hare also says that through her radio show, “Nothing but Outdoors,” she receives lots of questions from women who want to know more about outdoors activities.

“They want to go hunting, or they want to learn, or they don’t know where to start,” she says. “So by bringing these women together for the event – and all of them are so different – I think it’s really going to rock.”

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