Travis Tannahill is an alumni Kansas State University football player as well as a former NFL player for the Cleveland Browns. Travis was born and raised in Kansas and still resides there today.
TruthAboutFur: How did you become a trapper?
Travis Tannahill: I started trapping and harvesting furs in my teenage years with my grandpa. He has been active in the fur harvesting industry since he was a young boy. My life got busy in college while playing collegiate football and now that my NFL career is over, I have more free time to get back to trapping.
TaF: What does trapping mean to you?
TT: Trapping is a challenging hobby that actually pays for itself. Most outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and camping are very expensive. it is nice to have a pelt to sell and offset the cost of gas and other expenses. My grandpa has used trapping as a secondary income his whole life. He is semi-retired now and selling furs is a necessity for him to pay his bills. Another bonus is that it keeps him physically fit and he gets exercise when setting and checking traps.
TaF: Do we need to trap?
TT: In Kansas, the two main species I target are raccoons and coyotes.
Raccoons flock to urban environments. They can carry diseases like rabies, and their droppings may contain roundworm. They have very few natural predators so trapping is the only way to keep their numbers in check.
Coyotes, on the other hand, can cause a huge problem with deer and cattle herds. Deer hunting in Kansas is a major part of our culture and people take it very seriously. Trapping coyotes to keep their deer herd safe and healthy is common practice. Coyotes have also been known to go after a young calf. A calf can be worth up to $1000. I don't know about you but I am going to protect my cattle herd, which is some peoples primary income, from coyotes.
TaF: What do you say to people who claim trapping is “cruel"?
TT: Traps are designed to be as humane as possible. All the traps I use are designed to instantly kill the species or simply trap it unharmed until I check the trap and put down the animal. By state law, traps must be checked every 24 hours. So if I am using a live trap that animal isn't going to starve to death because I will be there within the day to check it and put that animal down.
TaF: Do trappers need special training before they receive their trapping permits?
TT: In Kansas, we must complete the Kansas Furharvester Education course. It can be taken as a class in person or online. This class is designed to inform fur harvesters of the laws, regulations, and ethics involved with fur harvesting. A person may trap on his own land without a license but in order to sell the furs they must have a license.
TaF: Would you encourage younger people to trap?
TT: I will always encourage young people to get outdoors no matter what they are doing. There is a lot more to trapping than just setting a trap in a field. It takes years of practice, knowledge, and skill to become a successful trapper. Contact a farmer you know and get written permission to start trapping on his land and get out there! The internet is a great learning tool to start and you will learn what works best for you in your specific area.