Live Hunt: The Lynx Line

The whole crew came out to the cabin this weekend. My uncle that I trap with, my aunt, two of their grandsons and I enjoyed an awesome trip. Ethan had us laughing right off the bat here, when we stopped for a break. He said… "real men don't take breaks." He was anxious to check some traps.
Bingo! This lynx has goofed around the same trap for the last three weeks. Last week we made some changes to the set and got him. It's always very exciting to see what you've caught. I get a huge charge of adrenaline every time I round the corner in the trail and see a cat looking at me.
There are few furbearers that are as iconic of the north as the lynx. Lynx are very shy and rarely seen, but unlike bobcats, they are surprisingly docile in traps. They are often content to lie down as if nothing is happening.
Bringing them up right is what it's all about. Ethan (left) and Alex (right), are eager to learn anything about trapping, hunting and the outdoors in general. Taking the time to teach kids the ways of the outdoors and how to be safe is vital to the future of hunting and trapping. Passing on this way of life is the only way it will continue. They are the future.
Another one! It seems that lynx find it nearly impossible to pass up a big piece of bait like this caribou hoof.
Lynx are gorgeous animals, and we are very fortunate to be able to trap them in Alaska. It is important to trap as many as possible when populations are high like right now, as most will starve to death as soon as the rabbit population crashes. Nature is harsh, and because of this unique predator/prey cycle, extensive trapping during population peaks allows fewer animals to go to waste when the rabbit population bottoms out and food is scarce.
The wild cat species have always fascinated me, and it's really something to see them up close. The black "ear tufts" and wide ruffs of fur on the jaws are a trademark of the lynx.
They can also climb trees very proficiently. If my trap wasn't secure, that cat could get quite a ways up there!
Another really cool thing about these critters is their paws. Lynx aren't very strong, and don't fight traps, but it takes large traps to catch them simply because their paws are huge. This large tom's paw is about 5 inches across, which acted like snowshoes for him.
Three cats in one day. On a trap line the size of ours, it doesn't get much better than this.
This big tom cat will bring top dollar from the fur buyer. Like I constantly remind myself, its times like these that make all the bad days worth it.
The work doesn't end with the trapping. Alex is hard at work splitting firewood before nightfall.
The little guy sure took that hatchet of mine to work! This was just a portion of what he split. We would be staying warm that night.
After a long, long day on the trail, I could hardly restrain myself from the dinner of ribs, coleslaw, and biscuits that my aunt had prepared for us.
As you can see, trapping can make a hungry man out of anybody. I sure made short work of that awesome feast.
So did everyone else. For some reason, out in that wilderness cabin everything tastes a little sweeter, everything is a little funnier, and I feel connected to an older way of life … before TV, cell phones, the internet and Xboxes.
It's hard to describe the beauty of the wilderness to someone who hasn't seen it. Things like Orion the hunter standing over a moonlit frozen river send shivers up my spine.
As if straight off of the Alaskan flag, the big dipper settles into a deep blue sky above a stand of white spruce.
Many a trapper has spent long days dreaming of returning to a cozy cabin after a hard day's work.
All tucked in, and logs on the fire. I will be sleeping well tonight!
Although some consider trapping a dying sport, it lives strong in the hearts of those of us who do it, and like hunting and fishing, trapping is an important part of the outdoorsman's lifestyle. Our future depends on passing these skills on to the next generation, and creating plenty of memories along the way.

There's nothing better than introducing youngsters to the outdoors. Check out one of my best days on the trap line.