I received 50 or so invitations to speak at Rotary clubs in the La Salle area. Most of the time I get a nice lunch, which is very generous. I always look forward to talking to the locals about hunting, fishing and traps. At the end of the discussion, I always open it up for questions and comments.
One strange day I spoke in the hall called Cooley Concert Hall in the west end of Ottawa. A very large group showed up, and I asked if any of the group had a topic they wanted to talk about. As it turned out, many wanted to know more about baiting. Many people wanted to know how this was done and if any animals suffered as a result. At first, I invited some to accompany my fur shed sometime in the future.
Some immediately refused, and one said he did not possess a firearm or even shot him. He should have given me that red flag. I assured the audience that an ethical hunter always made sure no animal got caught in the trap. I even explained that most, if not all, traps hold the animal until the hunter runs his line. This is required every 24 hours.
The stories that the animals suffered for hours in the trap were not true. I even put my fingers in a long spring trap, which allowed it to catch my fingers. I have indicated where I cannot pull my fingers out of the trap until I depress the spring. Then I pointed out the place where no damage was done to my fingers.
Despite all the illustrations, some still don’t believe me. I think most of my fans did, and I had a good hand when it was over.
Then it was the way I sent an animal. I explained that a good .22 headshot always puts the animal down without any pain. I had one person get up and leave the room after that. So far, I have not tried to skin an animal alive. I was pleasantly surprised that I had few who would like to accompany me into a trap line in the future.
While I didn’t want to create any bad scenes about baiting, I just did what the audience wanted. I don’t mind constructive criticism, but I don’t care about someone who thinks they know more about the outdoors than I do. Until I was 9 years old, I lived on a farm. Hunting, fishing and traps were a family tradition at that time.
The cattle are still laid the same old fashion as they used to be when I was a kid. Most people don’t see it. We were taken to the cattle ranches in Chicago when we went to school. After that, I haven’t seen anyone give up eating steak.
Cooling lake work remains fair for gill catfish and catfish. An occasional hybrid striped bass was caught fishing for Karnak bait near the western end of the lake. Waxworms are a very good bait for any of the cooling lakes. The night skis were good for catfish and big mouth bass. Some hybrid striped bass hits chicken livers, strange as it sounds.
River fishing is still at a standstill. The water is still high and stained.
I hope all the ladies had a happy Mother’s Day.
• Fred Krause is Shaw Media’s reporter.