Twenty Questions with Accomplished Young Trapper “Redbonechick”
Austin Passamonte 04.26.12
It’s been my pleasure to meet, work with and get to know Danielle Madore (aka Redbonechick) through the past couple of years. Danielle is an accomplished young trapper, runs her own taxidermy service and raises Redbone hounds for show in all of her “spare time”. Recently we sat down together over a pair of keyboards and shared the following conversation and insights.
Danielle: I have been married for six years and have been with my husband for over nine. We have a 7 year-old daughter. I have many in my four-legged family: four dogs, two cats, three horses, and a flock of chickens and ducks. We just recently moved to New York from Connecticut, and are settling in nicely.
Austin: How long have you been trapping?
Danielle: I have been messing with trapping for as long as I can remember. I would say I had my first true trap line around age 13, it was a land trapping line. I guess that is where my love for land trapping comes from, it is where I started. Around the age of 18 I was living for my fall trap line, this is where I started getting into all types of trapping.
I always dabbled with many facets of trapping but after high school it became more than a hobby so I learned to be more versatile.
Austin: How did you get started in trapping? What are your earliest memories involved with that?
Danielle: I grew up in the woods hunting fishing and trapping. I learned a lot about trapping from my dad, who shared with me the value of all natural resources. I spent every weekend of my childhood doing some sort of outdoor activity depending on the season, and trapping was one of them. Some of the best memories I can remember were on my first attempt at catching a canine.
When I was 12 I ran about a half dozen of my own sets, I did all the work (I was stubborn like that) and the goal was to catch a canine. I caught a beautiful gray fox on the first night (the best one I can remember!), and I was hooked. That season I caught a bunch of canines and ended up with 13 in total. I learned a lot in that season and to me was one of the best yet.
Danielle: There is a ton of great knowledge out there, but I cannot say I have been influenced by one trapper. I am a firm believer in the idea that everyone has something to teach, and some of my best methods have sprouted from ideas of a complete novice and sometimes not even a trapper.
I think to be most successful as a trapper you have to be driven a lot from within; those who are not driven by their own goals will not find success. I have probably learned the most from the animals I have trapped, and more specifically the animals that elude my techniques. To me trapping isn’t about the numbers I have caught, but more so the ones I didn’t. That is a major part of what drives me season to season.
Austin: Have you ever or do you regularly attend any trapping conventions or shows?
Danielle: I attend as many as my schedule allows, I really enjoy the atmosphere. If I had to choose one that I rarely miss it would have to be the NYSTA convention each fall, it isn’t far to travel and has some of the nicest people. I do enjoy attending the national conventions when the opportunity presents itself, it is fun to talk with fellow trappers from throughout the country and hear some of the trap line tales.
Danielle: It is hard for me to pick! I really love targeting the canines because just when you think you have it all figured out you get one that won’t play your game. I also really enjoy trapping members of the weasel family, fisher and otter have some of my favorite fur and can also present a challenge when targeted. There are many more species I haven’t yet got to trap and I have a feeling those would rank up there as well.
Austin: Do you consider yourself more efficient or successful with any certain type of trap or restraining device?
Danielle: I learned how to trap with some very strict laws and regulations, this has helped me tremendously to become a successful trapper with what I could use. The foothold is one of the most affective traps for me because of its versatility to catch any furbearer given the right circumstances. I have the ability to catch most furbearers in a foothold on both land and in the water. I have also become proficient in using cage traps for fisher as that was the most effective method in Connecticut.
Austin: Are there any certain brands, sizes or types of traps that you prefer?
Danielle: I am a firm believer that the trap you use will not make you a better trapper, that being said not all traps are created equal. I always try to choose the best trap for the area that I am trapping, taking in to consideration both the animal I am trapping and risk of theft (if any), then choose from my arsenal. I for foot holds am a big fan of the Bridger #2 , to me it is well made, has great versatility and is reasonably priced.
I like Bridgers for Conibears as well, but do prefer Belisles for my 280s and 330s when trapping otter. I have many other brands in my shed, and all get use on the line and contribute to my fur check each spring.
Austin: What is the local trapper competition like in your area?
Danielle: There is quite a bit of competition in my area of New York. I live in a rural area that has a lot of prime trapping areas and a variety of habitat with nice fur that can be easily accessed, this is the recipe for lots of trappers.
Austin: Does that influence how you operate?
Danielle: The competition makes me more cautious where and when I trap, and to also do my homework when scouting for areas before the season begins and throughout the season.
Austin: What has been your experience in gathering private ground permissions to trap?
Danielle: I trap a lot of private land for predators; I find they are the gateway into acquiring land to trap the other furbearers as well. In Connecticut it was much more difficult to find and get permission for private lands as it wasn’t a trap friendly state. I find it much easier in New York as the people here are more outdoors-driven and understand the need for healthy population management.
Austin: Do you trap on state lands much?
Danielle: I trap state lands when they coincide with the private lands I already have. Next year I plan on trapping them a bit more to make a more complete trap line to help warrant my travel expenses.
Austin: You have other hobbies related to the fur trade, such as raising Redbone hounds. How did you get started in that?
Danielle: My love for hounds started back when I first got into trapping, I had a neighbor with hounds and he took me out a couple nights with his walker hounds and I was hooked! I have always been a dog person and had at least one dog growing up but convincing my mom to get a hound was out of the question. I waited until I moved out did my research and knew I wanted a Redbone, to me the most beautiful of all the coonhound varieties.
I bought Ruger and the rest is history, he is 8 years-old this year and the first hound I have ever trained start to finish. I currently have three others and love to compete with them.
Austin: Have you enjoyed your experiences at the dog shows?
Danielle: Showing my hounds has been a great experience. It has introduced me to some good people, and given me yet another full time hobby to worry about. When I am going to a show I get so excited days before and the rush continues until the next one, whether I win or lose I always learn something so I always have fun. I show my dogs in UKC bench shows and I am currently branching out to AKC shows, keep your eyes open for me or one of my dogs the next time you watch a show on TV, someday I will get there.
Austin: I know you have become quite busy with your taxidermy business. How did that come about?
Danielle: The business (Lost Art Taxidermy) has taken off very well so far, I have big plans for the future but I am impressed with its success! I worked part time for one of the best taxidermists in New England throughout high school and always wanted to take it to the next level. I had the opportunity to attend taxidermy school for formal training this past summer and I couldn’t resist. I had most of the basic knowledge I needed to mount animals but I wanted to take it to the next level and do the best work I could do. I went to school for a month learning all aspects of taxidermy from mammals to fish and even tanning.
Austin: What has been your biggest surprise or eye-opener in that operation so far?
Danielle: Tanning is more popular than I expected. I knew it would be a part of my business but wasn’t aware how many fur enthusiasts there really are. I am also surprised how fast word of mouth can get business. I think in this industry if you take pride in your work and turn out a quality product in a timely manner customers seem to spread the word fast. I can also see that going the other direction, if the product they got was unsatisfactory.
Austin: Any chance we will see you serving an officer’s role inside a trapping organization someday?
Danielle: I recently left my position with the Connecticut Trappers Association as the Secretary/Treasurer due to my move to New York. I will slowly get more and more involved as time permits me to. I would like a position as the NTA Director or a County Director if I do get the opportunity to become a NYSTA Officer.
Austin: How do you juggle everything when trapping season arrives?
Danielle: I am lucky to make my own schedule with my business, I try to plan ahead and block off working times. At this point trapping will always be a part of my life so I do as much as I can when I can and cherish that time. I do not get to run a long line due to family and taxidermy, I run an 8am-3pm trap line and usually work at night. I am lucky my hound exhibiting hobby season is more of a spring/summer thing, and there is always time to make a quick hut at night.
Austin: What are your general plans for this next season ahead?
Danielle: For the upcoming season I just want to have fun! I still need to catch a New York otter, maybe I will try and hit some bobcat country, and nothing is set in stone yet. I will definitely set for canines as much as I can for as long as I can, and run a fisher line along with it. Maybe next season will be my year of the weasel, I still need to catch a long tail and a short tail in full color transition, I wouldn’t mind catching a bunch of mink, and I always love to grab some fisher, and of course my favorite weasel of all – the giant water weasel, a New York otter.
Danielle: I would love to try trapping out of my element possibly down south, or some mountain trapping out west. I would like to catch some furbearers that we don’t have in the north, possibly a wolf in the near future now that its legal. I would also like to learn how to run snares.
Austin: If you could give words of advice to newer, upcoming trappers out there, what would they be?
Danielle: Trapping is a lifetime type of hobby. It is an investment of time, money, and energy but you get witness things in nature that most people will never see. You may not be a great trapper overnight but stick with it and keep you eyes and mind open and you will get what you put into it out of it.
Always do your best to respect the animals and land you get the privilege to harvest and it will share its bounty for many seasons. Go out on your line looking for more out of it than just a catch, and you will take home a lifetime of memories. Most importantly have fun!
Danielle, thank you for your time. As always it was my great pleasure to visit with one of our rising talents in the field of trapping and outdoor pursuits. Check out http://moderntrapper.com/ for more articles on trapping today.