Demonstrator:

Rick Friedrich MO: Western Bobcat Trapping

Rick Friedrich lives in Mid Missouri. He started trapping at the age of 14 with his grandfather. Then a good friend really got him into going to trapping conventions and fur sales – and his love for trapping grew quickly as he saw piles of furs at the sales and heard all sorts of trapping stories as he wandered around the conventions. When he started trapping without the help of his grandfather, he began catching raccoons around their hog building on their farm. Slowly he worked his way up to catching a few coyotes around the farm. His skills grew as he read some trapping books, watched demos at the trapping conventions, began talking with other trappers around home and to some of the experts he met at the conventions.

Not one to let everyone else to do the work of saving this great pastime he enjoyed, he has been involved in the Missouri Trappers Association for the past 48 years. He has served in almost every position within the Missouri Trappers Association and has tried to help them anywhere and everywhere he was needed.

Rick became a member of the National Trappers Association in 1974 and has been very active at the National level fighting for trappers. He served as the NTA Director for Missouri for many years; he served as the NTA’s Conservation Director, he has represented the NTA working on BMP’s with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; he spent six years on the Executive Council; he served as Director at Large; he has attended five NASC summits advocating for trappers – and was asked to speak at one of the summits; and, as you can see, he really enjoys working with and fighting for trappers all over the country.

Bobcats are few and far between in the part of Missouri where Rick traps and he hoped to one day see a nice prime bobcat in one of his traps. His wish finally came true when one cold January day as he was pulling traps he saw something jumping around in the tall grass. As he got closer, he could see that he had his first Bobcat. He will never forget that date!  It was January 5, 1978. From that day on bobcats were at the top of his list! Catching another bobcat was always on his mind as he wondered what would up his odds for harvesting a few more? The very next year he was invited to head West to Colorado and trap Coyotes. He was quite sure there were more Bobcats in Colorado then in central Missouri. Maybe he could catch a big male Bobcat out there? His trip went well; they caught some coyotes and had a lot of fun, but still no “big tom” bobcat!

His mind was wandering again, and Rick began thinking about doing some “State Hopping” in search of bobcats. In 1983 he met an old trapper from Arizona, and they really hit it off. They talked off and on for two or three days. This old gentleman knew of a property owner who was looking for a trapper. Rick almost shouted out, “Look no more, Arizona, here I come.” He now describes this trip as the best time he has ever had. For 7 years he was able to spend 6 weeks a year doing what he loves – catching lots of Coyotes and Big bobcats! But all good things come to an end. In the last 30 years Rick has trapped in many states including Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah, and New Mexico.

Recently he has been trapping in midwestern New Mexico for two to three weeks at a time with a good friend from near his home in Missouri. Yeah, you may have seen them on “Wiebe Trapline Adventures” because Mark Steck rode along with them several times in the last few years. In Rick’s own words: I’m really looking forward to coming to the UP Trappers Convention and Outdoor Show this year and giving a demo on Western Bobcat Trapping. Look me up while I’m there and we can sit down and tell a few ‘Trappin’ Tales’. Be safe and see you in Escanaba. Rick Friedrich.” 

Demonstrator:

Paul Antczak MT: Trapping wolves in the West

Paul Antczak started trapping in 1977 in Sussex Wisconsin. He trapped rabbits and other critters till he found out from a neighbor that there still was a fur trade, and that he could get paid for doing something he loved! He then began trapping muskrat and raccoon. His first fur check was $34.50 and he was off and running!

From there he left Sussex and moved in with his sister and her husband for a short period of time in Pembine Wisconsin. He was there for only one season, and it was there he caught his first mink. Then he found his way to Tomahawk Wisconsin where he graduated from high school. After graduating he got a job at a mink ranch and worked there for 5 years. In Tomahawk he really began to expand his trapping and it was there that he caught his first otter, first beaver, first fox and racked up a few more “firsts.”

At the age of 26 he needed to spread his wings and decided to fly south. He began his Southern adventure trapping East Tennessee from Chattanooga to beyond Gatlinburg.

In 2004 he was the superintendent on a remodeling in Carbondale. In the evenings he would drive around the countryside and could see the land was rich with fur. He also guessed that many other places probably had even more fur than Tennessee, so Paul decided to start state hopping to expand his adventure. First it was Illinois and then it was on to Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and more. As Paul’s reputation as a trapper grew, he was asked to do a Trappers Education Demo during a Hunters Ed Class in Tennessee. After class a man approached him about doing contract trapping in Alabama. That started a whole lot of other work offers for Paul. He has now trapped 9 states and that probably won’t be the end of his state hopping!

In 2008 when the economy crashed, he lost his construction job and decided to start his “Predators And Prey” wildlife control in the smoky mountains. Within 3 years they were already the #1 wildlife control business in the smokies. They did everything from bats to urban coyotes.

After a long painful divorce, Paul sold his business in 2014. He spent some “quiet time” building boarding stables for a wealthy man and did a little hobby trapping.

By 2017 Paul had enough of the crowded mountains of east Tennessee and headed west to NW Montana and the wide-open spaces he longed for. He bought property and built a homestead that was totally of the grid. When the market was right Paul sold this property for an even more desired location. He bought land 13 miles due north of Happys Inn Montana where he lives off the grid and is completely self-sustained. Wolves were a big part of why Paul had moved to Montana in the first place, so he put his “student cap” back on and started learning everything he could about wolves – their habits, preferred habitat, quirks, inconsistencies, preferred foods, needs, and wants – until he could almost think like a wolf. And he loves to trap wolves! His trapline is approximately 80 miles on snowmachine during the wolf season. He traps for one of the biggest landowners in Montana on his private 15,000-acre ranch. Paul lives about as remote as a man can live in the lower 48 states and enjoys every minute of it. He describes himself as “a blessed man.”

In December 2021 he met Tom Oar when he was needing some wolf snares. They had never met before but became instant friends.

Tom thought Paul would be a good candidate for the show “Mountain Men” on the History Channel. Paul agreed to give it a shot and the audition process began in March of 2022. In August of 2022 he received news that he was approved to be on the show! Paul’s description of his character on the show: “It is who I am. I’m a trapper. I was excited about the opportunity to educate the non-trapping public about what we do, the importance of trapping and how trappers are a key ingredient to the conservation of furbearers and predators. I take my role on the show seriously and work with field producers to keep it as factual as we can. I’m not much for the big city and the income from the show allows me to live off grid and to retain my self-reliant lifestyle. I just finished filming season 13 and I’ve now done 20 episodes between season 12 and 13. I am truly blessed to be able to enjoy my chosen lifestyle.”

Demonstrators:

Laura & Zac Gidney NY: Fox & Coyote

Laura is the current Treasurer for Fur Takers of America, a Master Trapping Instructor for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the first woman in the state of New York to win the Wayne Jones Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is also the Secretary for the Orange County Trappers Association.

Zac is a Junior Trapping Instructor for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

They both belong to several State and National Trapping Associations.

Laura and her husband John grew up loving the outdoors and have instilled that love in their children Maggie, Johnny, and Zac. Today, they all have a shared love and respect for nature and the outdoors. They ironically just happened to stumble across trapping when they went to an outdoor show in 2012 when Zac was 5 years old. The local trappers club had a booth and called them over to give their kids a safety whistle and a rabbit’s foot keychain. After an interesting trapping conversation, the Gidney’s decided to sign up for the trapper education class they were holding in a few weeks. Later that year when the season came around, they started trapping as a family but more recently, due to work obligations, Laura and Zac run the trapline together.

Laura and Zac teach a couple of trapper education classes each year, set up educational booths at outdoor shows, have given trapping and fur handling demos for the Boy Scouts,  local gun clubs & trapping conventions, and have given the trapper education class at the NYSDEC Summer Camps. They continue to keep relationships with their former students where they send photos, ask questions, and even come to their fur shed for help with fur handling.

The Gidney’s live in Orange County, NY, about an hour slightly northwest of New York City. In a 10-minute drive, they can also be in New Jersey which allows them to trap both states. They run what most would consider a small, multi-species trapline, with 23 total private properties ranging from 1 to 50 acres each. Their trapline is a mix of suburban neighborhoods and farms. They drive a 60-mile loop to those properties around their home.

In their first season, they managed to catch a handful of mostly foxes and raccoons, and in each year since, they’ve tried to grow and improve. They have always trapped a little bit of everything with fox and bobcats being their favorites. With no family history of trappers and not anyone nearby having the time to go out and help them, they decided in 2015 to start attending some of the trapping schools. With a few years of trapping experience on their own and the added knowledge from the schools, in 2021, their 10th season of trapping, they broke 100 canines and 50 beavers for the first time. In 2023, their land season total on canines was 244 with 117 raccoons, 22 bobcats, and 33 skunks.

Laura and Zac are looking forward to what they can accomplish together in the years to come. They also enjoy sharing their experiences and knowledge with anyone wanting to learn more about trapping, about the necessity for trapping as a wildlife management tool; or those wanting to start trapping themselves or improve their skills.

Demonstrator:

Jeff Dunlap MI: Beaver and Otter Trapping

Jeff Dunlap is an accomplished professional trapper and lure maker from Michigan. He grew up in the trapping and fur industry. Jeff owns and operates Dunlap Lures. He took over the business from his father who started it in 1970. Jeff takes great pride in providing quality baits and lures to trappers, just as his father did before him.

Jeff has trapped all over the lower 48 states and Alaska for all types of furbearers with success. He promotes trapping and techniques to new trappers on a variety of social media platforms. You can follow him on Facebook through Dunlap Lures Facebook page (with 100,000 + followers) or join the Facebook group “Trapping Talk” which has over 70,000 trappers in the group. Jeff and Sarah bought “Predator Control Group” from Clint Locklear, and he also runs “Trapping Radio 2” (https://www.trappingradio2.com/tag/jeff-dunlap/) and on all streaming platforms.

Last season Jeff trapped Michigan, Iowa, Arkansas and North Dakota putting up large numbers of furbearers in all three states.

Jeff doesn’t talk “numbers” much anymore because his in-state and out-of-state adventures produce incredible amounts of fur of all kinds. Here are some examples from the past – and Jeff continues to break many of these old records: In the 2011-2012 season he caught 1105 rats, 495 coon, 76 otter, 326 beaver, 25 grey fox, 21 bobcats, 3 red fox, and 18 mink.  In the following year he caught 53 otter, 703 raccoons, 97 grey fox, 5 red fox, 54 coyotes, 404 muskrats, 32 bobcats, 18 mink, and 243 beaver.  In the 2013-2014 season he concentrated on bobcats, grey fox, and coyotes for a portion of the season, catching bobcats in three different states on a three-month multi-state trip.  The remainder of the season was spent in his home state of Michigan trapping mink and muskrats. During the few months when he isn’t trapping, he concentrates on Dunlap Lures, traveling the country to various trapping conventions – selling his proven and personally tested lures and baits and other trapping products and doing demos at many of those conventions. And of course, he uses some of his “extra time” to get ready for the next grueling season.

Demonstrator:

Jeff Hagerty MI: Mink & Muskrats; the right set at the right time

Jeff Hagerty is the owner of J3 Outdoorz and Inventor of HAGz Trapping Products. He grew up hunting and fishing as far back as he can remember. Always an outdoorsman, he was never introduced to trapping nor got excited about it until after he returned from the Marine Corps in the late 90’s.

He started noticing more coyote tracks than deer tracks on late season hunts. In 2002 he tried his hand at trapping coyotes and after 2 seasons caught his first coyote.  In that same time period he tallied up numerous mink, muskrats and raccoons – it soon became clear that he was hooked on trapping!

A few seasons later he was already breaking 50 Michigan coyotes a season and now generally averages around 75 coyotes a year while working a full-time job, running their trapping business, and doing as much state hopping as he can.

In 2012 he began proto-typing a device that would allow the use of 3/8” rods and a “set anywhere mentality.” The same bracket also incorporated a stake swivel and drowner lock for various water line sets. One major hurdle was this bracket needed to stay attached to prevent looking around for miscellaneous devices on the line, increasing efficiency. That prototype is now their patented HAGz® Bracket.

Soon after he invented and was issued patents for the HAGz® Spring Clip and Spring Clip XL for body-grip trap stabilization on rods. Since then he has developed several other products and continues to proto-type new trapping products to this day. He has utilized his engineering and technical skillsets to develop American made products in an industry he is extremely passionate about. It has been said countless times that the HAGz Brackets and Spring Clips have revolutionized water trapping – and Jeff is happy to provide quality, American made products benefitting trappers. Jeff not only supports trappers and trapping by inventing simple, effective tools trappers can use but also believes that he (and all trappers) should belong to their local and national associations. Jeff is a proud member of both the Michigan Trapper and Predator Callers Association and is now a Lifetime member of the National Trappers Association.

Jeff has trapped 11 different states so far. Although he enjoys his local muskrat or coyote lines in Southern Michigan, he really loves the adventure of a remote, wilderness line for a change of pace. Some of my favorite traplines have been Fox trapping on Kodiak Island AK; High Elevation Bobcat Trapping in NM; beaver, otter and marten trapping in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan;  Predator trapping in the mountains of NV and UT or large plantation tracts in GA.

In his spare time, he is either furthering the development of even more useful, time saving trapping products or traveling to various trapping conventions throughout the off season.

Not that Jeff isn’t busy enough as it is, he and his wife Jessica started Trapline Coffee Co. – The Official Coffee of the NTA – and they pride themselves on supporting fair and ethical trade practices abroad, providing great small batch coffee — and giving back to the trapping community — through portions of product sales & change roll-up and donation programs.

Demonstrator:

Sarah Gomez MI: Coyote trapping and using cable restraints

Sarah Gomez is an accomplished trapper from Iowa.  Her earliest memory of trapping was going with a family friend to check raccoon snares, at the age of 5.  Though not a morning person, she quickly bounced out of bed, whenever trapping was involved! She quickly learned what a coon trail looked like, and this young girl was even spotting coon trails as they traveled between the various farms.  The seed was planted and soon she was dreaming about catching raccoons on her own and began reaching out to every trapper she knew to gain more knowledge – and most were more than gracious with their knowledge. It wasn’t long before she was headed to a trapping store to buy a dozen DP’s and some name tags!

And in her first year of trapping Sarah hit the ground RUNNING. Within the first couple of nights, she already had 8 raccoons. At that moment she was definitely hooked and went back to the trapping store and bought 2 dozen more traps and continued buying traps until she had 5 dozen DP’s.  Soon all her traps were set, and she was catching piles of raccoons. Then she started buying freezers and had to add more electricity to her storage building to keep them all running!  But she never counted the raccoons; her goal was just to keep filling the freezers!  When the first season was over, she was just shy of 200 raccoons.  With a full-time job as the Executive Director of a four-county economic development organization, you might say she was a little busy?  Her cherished trapping friends helped her survive that first grueling season. One friend came down to her shop and taught her how to flesh and stretch raccoons.  And a year or so later this same friend helped her skin her first coyote.  Allen Sayre at Funke Trap Tags lives near her and spent hours talking to her about trapping and helping her find the right equipment needed to get started and he also connected her to the Iowa Trappers Association.  For her, those are all special memories and she’s grateful for the people who took the time to help this 30-year-old uncertain, new trapper – wondering what to do, how to do it, where to place the trap, how to connect the trap, and what to do with the fur when she caught an animal?  The help she received is what now drives her to help others – to be that special person giving someone the confidence and encouragement needed to become a trapper!

After Sarah’s successful first season she continued to focus on filling freezers with raccoons and leveled off at around 200 coons per season. After a few years of just catching raccoons, she was eager to catch more fur, so she attended a coyote trapping school and learned the basics. She started the next season with some coyote traps and was soon walking up to her first coyote!  She was so excited; she could hardly talk! That overwhelming and confusing feeling of not knowing how to catch a coyote quickly evaporated along with almost all her remaining doubts.  So, she confidently started setting traps for bobcat, red fox, beaver, otter, muskrats, and weasels – she now truly believed she could catch anything she set her mind to. And being able to catch raccoons, beaver, and coyotes led to some great relationships with Iowa farmers and to those treasured permissions on prime properties – another necessary tool for being a successful trapper.

Sarah enjoys the challenge of pursuing each species she goes after – in fact she says her favorite animal to pursue – is whatever one she is trapping at that time!  She usually starts the season setting heavily for coyotes, and then the DP’s come next.  Early winter finds Sarah having fun making bobcat cubbies and getting creative with lights, feathers and squeakers trying to catch the eyes and ears of a few big Tomcats.  And when it turns cold, and the snow is deep she enjoys some laid-back weasel trapping. And after a long winter, she looks forward to spring water trapping, especially setting for those traveling beaver.

When asked if she trapped alone or with a partner she said, “Let me tell you about my Uncle Tom! He is always up for an adventure and has been along for the ride since the very beginning!  Every time we go out, we know it will be unpredictable and something will always happen. We’ve been stuck in the mud and snow, we’ve been sprayed by skunks, we’ve been in some sketchy areas, we’ve taken calls to help people out who have had raccoons or skunks and ask ourselves ‘what did we get into this time.’ We have fallen in the mud and have slid down steep ravines. We have learned from A LOT of mistakes. But the quality time that we have spent together in the woods – I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world.”

Sarah feels a strong bond with all trappers – but especially with young girls and women. Her passion and excitement are contagious, and she loves to talk to beginning trappers and hopes to plant the same seed that sprouted in that five-year-old Iowa girl many years ago. She is actively involved with Women’s Trap Camp in Wisconsin where 40 women each year attend a weekend long camp to learn the basics of trapping.  While the camp has been highly successful in teaching women trapping, it has also created lifelong friendships among the participants and instructors. She has now trapped in Iowa, Northern Michigan, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Texas. Sarah also attends 14-15 conventions throughout the year and does demos (at most) to help new trappers and always has time to encourage others. In 2019, Sarah started SheTraps and Sarah’s Trapline Lures and has the selfless goal of making a good product that ANY trapper would feel confident in using.  And would you believe that Sarah enjoys skinning, scraping, and stretching her catches as much she loves catching fur?

Demonstrator:

Roy Dahlgren MI: Fisher Trapping

Other than the many trapping articles in Fur-Fish-Game magazine that Roy Dahlgren devoured as a youngster, his trapping skills were mostly self-taught – as no one in his family trapped.  He did get a few pointers from one older trapper that he worked with; but in those days few, if any, trappers were sharing their secrets.

Roy began trapping at 9 or 10 years old and has now been at it for 50 years!  When fox were plentiful in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (before the coyotes expanded – after the bounty was removed) Roy took 116 fox in a single season and said they were almost equally divided between red and gray fox.  He has also had some pretty impressive catches on coyotes, muskrats, and coons.

Roy describes himself as an “all-around-trapper” as he rarely goes after any one animal as a primary target.  His motto is “Why should I pass up gas money” and by this he means that if there are muskrats in a ditch on his way checking coyote traps why wouldn’t he make a quick stop and add 8 or 10 rats to his pile of fur?  Or that place where he saw a mink run across the road?  Why not slap in a few sets and add a mink or two to the fur shed on his next time by?  Roy has caught and sold every furbearer in the state of Michigan except the pine marten.  He has however vowed that the 2021 season will solve this problem.  When asked what animal he likes to trap the most Roy quickly answered that it was coyotes.  He loves trying to outsmart these more wary animals.  But then he quickly added that he may be changing his mind on coyotes being his favorite animal to trap since the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is now being overrun by wolves.  They are not only running coyotes off of the properties he traps but he finds many of his trapped coyotes shredded to pieces in a pile of blood, with wolf tracks all over the catch circle.  “Kind of takes the fun out of coyote trapping when you see a beautiful piece of fur totally destroyed,” he added.

One year he did decide to target raccoons and wound up with about 80 coons, which is a nice catch for his area.  He also made a muskrat trapping trip to North Dakota a few years back and came back with about 2000 rats.

But Roy’s love for trapping doesn’t end with catching animals.  He has been a strong advocate for Trappers and Trapping throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and beyond.  He puts on many trapping presentations at area schools and is particularly interested in getting young people into trapping.  He has put on programs for both grade schools and high schools and one especially interesting program he did was at the Escanaba High School.  He put in a coyote set in a patch of trees on the high school property (less the trap) but otherwise a “working set.”  The students could “check” the trap via a game camera and could also “check” the set in person, looking for and identifying tracks, etc.  He has also mentored various teens on his own lines, many of whom are now accomplished trappers.

Most U.P. trappers agree that Roy is the best convention coordinator the U.P. Trappers Association has ever had.  In just a few short years he has increased our annual attendance from a few hundred attendees to thousands!  Also in 2014 we broke a 10 year record for attendance at the NTA convention we hosted – and much of this was due to Roy Dahlgren’s efforts.  Almost as soon as the dates are set for the next convention the planning and work begins, his phone starts ringing, and it’s almost impossible to count how many times Roy is on the radio to promoting trapping and trapping events.

Roy also talks “trapping” to most people he meets and advocates for both UPTA and NTA wherever he goes.  When he gets someone new to join the U.P. trappers or the National Trappers or to attend a trappers meeting, Roy is in his glory – he is a real asset to trappers everywhere!

Demonstrator:

Jim Engel MI: Marten Trapping

Jim Engel was 13 when his family moved from Detroit to Pinckney in SE Michigan – which was mostly rural farmland and woods at the time. He and his best friend built a box trap and caught one cottontail during his first winter. He was hooked and after getting some Herter’s traps for a Christmas gift from Dad, that second winter he caught a red fox. Over the next few years, success was slow because there was no one to teach him trapping basics besides magazines and books. Over the next couple years, the first mink came – plus coon, short-tailed weasel, muskrat, skunk, and possum. Jim moved to the UP in 1980 for a career in forestry, so trapping was a natural hobby to continue to pursue. Eventually marten, grey fox, long tailed weasel, coyote, fisher, bobcat, otter, and badger were added to the list, which covers all of Michigan’s legal furbearers.

Jim mostly traps alone, for enjoyment, not numbers, concentrating lately on beaver and marten. He has registered at least one marten (every year) in Michigan, since the animal became legal to trap in 2000. All raw furs are handled by Jim and shipped to Fur Harvesters Auction. He believes in utilizing animals fully including saving meat from beavers and muskrats. Beaver meat is one of the tastiest and under-utilized wild game used for table fare. Jim enjoys cooking various dishes made from beaver meat and says it makes delicious sausage! Jim lives outside Chassell in the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula and traps the Western UP. Jim is a member of two local sportsmen’s clubs, Michigan United Conservation Club, UP Trappers and the National Trappers Association. Besides being addicted to trapping, he is an avid deer hunter and fisherman.

Demonstrator:

Mary Theoret MI: Trapping for beginners

Mary was in fourth grade when she had her first encounter with trapping.  She would help her dad and her brother set traps for pocket gophers in the fields on her grandmother’s farm. In one county, you could turn in the front feet of the gophers and get $2.00 and in a neighboring county, you could turn in the tails for $2.00. Pocket gophers were plentiful and $2.00 for a pocket gopher was a pretty sweet deal when she was a kid. This led to other farmers wanting their fields trapped for pocket gophers. Mary remembers packing her school bag with traps, a shovel, cardboard and a pocketknife. The bus would drop her off at the farmer’s field so she could check her traps and walk home.

Fast forward to 2020, the year that Mary retired to start enjoying more of the outdoor activities that she loved. She helped prepare for the upcoming hunting season by cutting brush in the shooting lanes, getting the blinds ready, baiting, and setting out cameras. There seemed to be more big fat raccoons eating the bait than there were deer. Her husband said that they were going to need to go to the trapping convention the following summer and pick up some raccoon traps.

In 2021, she was excited to set out those raccoon traps and even more excited when they were full of raccoons on the following day. She ended up catching 11 raccoons that year – she was hooked! She wanted to learn all that she could about trapping.  She joined the U.P. Trapper’s Association and also the National Trapper’s Association. The support and information, she received from fellow members has been invaluable.

She was very excited for the upcoming 2022 U.P. Trapper’s Convention. Here she attended EVERY demo. She was particularly interested in Mark June’s Coyote demo, as she had issues with coyotes stalking the goats on her hobby farm. She purchased his book and read it cover to cover and also purchased the traps and equipment that she would need to catch her first coyote. Her goal that second year, in addition to trapping raccoon, was to catch one coyote and one bobcat. She surpassed her goals and caught 9 raccoons, 4 coyotes, a bobcat, 2 skunks and a weasel! She was definitely hooked and planned to up her game the following season.

Demonstrator:

Les Johnson NE: Coyote Calling

Les, a Nebraska native spent his young life growing up on a farm.  While learning to trap at a very young age, his passion quickly turned towards trapping predators.  Red Fox around the small farm towns and coyotes in the more rural settings. 

His craving for outsmarting the wily coyote only grew each year and he began to call coyotes at about the age of 16, or 1986.  Several years later he began to enter what would be known as Coyote Calling Competitions.   The bigger western calling Competitions then turned into what is known as the World Championship (Nevada, Arizona and Colorado), National Championship (Wyoming) and Midwest Championship (Kansas).  Les won these Championships many times mostly with his brother Jeff and he also was the only predator caller to ever win all 3 of them during the same year which would be known as the Triple Crown Champion.  He was winner of the National, World and Midwest Championships during the same season.  42 coyotes, 4 ½ days total – in 3 different states.

After accomplishing this, Les still had a passion of wanting to teach new hunters how to call predators, so he started filming a Television Show named Predator Quest.  Predator Quest was the first ever Coyote Calling television show and quickly gained views and popularity with the hunting crowd.  After 14 years of airing his show, over 280 original Television Episodes and many awards, Les decided to retire from television.

Les is a very accomplished trapper, archery hunter, outfitter/guide and marksman.  Now his time is spent enjoying God’s beautiful creation and passing on knowledge through demonstrations at Trapping Conventions. 

The slogan that has garnished a lot of attention from Les’s show; Predator Quest was “Let’s Get To Callin!!!”