The History of Trapper’s World magazine

The Making of Trapper’s World Magazine

In the 1940’s a Virginia trapper named Clayton Gates published a magazine called, Trapper’s World. After a few years the magazine folded. Clayton Gates’ Trapper’s World left a mark on our industry. Gates had a great staff of writers including Bill Nelson, John Ehn, James Mast, Herb Lenon, E.J. Dailey, and the list goes on. Why he was forced to stop publishing Trapper’s World is most likely a matter of business flaws.

Let’s fast forward nearly 60 years to the late winter of 1998. In a passing phone conversation, Bob Young (maker of Fox Hollow Magnum Lures) and Mike Marsyada discuss the need for a hardcore, all trapping magazine. As time goes on the conversation gets revisited, and they decided it needed to be discussed further. Bob suggested sitting down to talk about it more seriously at the NTA convention in Syracuse later that summer.

When the Syracuse convention rolled around, things began to take shape for the new magazine. Don Shumaker showed up at the convention and both Bob and Mike considered him perfect for the job of editor. Don had previously edited The Trapper and had the knowledge of how a magazine worked. When approached with the idea, Don said he was willing to give it a go.
Don started to round up a few trappers as staff writers. The goal was to have the best staff writers ever assembled in a trapping magazine. Also, research was done to see if the name “Trapper’s World” could be used. Upon finding that copyrights had expired, the new magazine now had a name, “Trapper’s World.”

In December of 1999, the premier issue was published. The response was very positive, and remarkably was off and running only a few months after Don first started working on the idea. Trapper’s World quickly gained support from many of the nations best trappers, and leaders in the trapping supply business.

After 16 issues, Trapper’s World changed. Sadly, this was not a change for the better. The 17th issue, April 2001 was noticeably different. The cover was newsprint instead of the normal glossy cover. This set off an alarm, and rumors circulated that Trapper’s World was going out of business. When the May 2001 issue wasn’t showing up, Trapper’s World’s fate was being questioned; even amongst it’s strongest supporters.

Finally, late that month the May issue was sent out. Sadly, Don Shumaker announced in his editorial that it would be the last issue. Some business mistakes were made, and Trapper’s World was in financial ruin.

On July 3rd, Tom Parr and Kyle Kaatz took over the reigns. Tom as General Manager, handling the subscriptions and billing, and Kyle as Editor.

Tom and Kyle struggled to figure out a system of making Trapper’s World work. They knew they would have to change from a monthly magazine to a bi-monthly magazine, as there simply wasn’t enough revenue to make a monthly magazine work. That was the key reason Don was forced to sell the business in the first place. They learned rapidly as there was no other choice, but to get a new issue out.

A few weeks later the first issue was debuted at the NTA convention in Mason City, Iowa. The first goal was met.

“Since December 1999, Trapper’s World has risen, fallen, changed, and persevered through it all. We have a unique thing with this magazine; it is owned, operated, written, and read by trappers. The best part of Trapper’s World is the people that are involved, namely you the readers. We hope will be a further means of providing you what you want, more trapping info from the best trappers in the business.” – Kyle Kaatz

The July.August 2013 issue was Kyle Kaatz last issue as editor of Trapper's World. Tera Roach took on the job of being editor along with being the advertising manager. Tom Parr is now the owner and general manager.