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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 trappersworld.com 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.

Tera Roach is the New Editor of Trapper’s World

    I am very honored to become the new editor of Trapper’s World magazine. Although this is a new position I am no stranger to the magazine.  It all started when I picked up a free copy of the magazine in 2002 at the Maryland Fur Trappers convention.  The magazine was full of great articles and I subscribed right away. From there I started writing for Trapper’s World in 2003 and some of you might remember I was on the cover of the September/October issue that year.  Then in 2006 I became the advertising manager for Trapper’s World. I will still be handling the advertising along with being editor.  As you can see there is no real change of hands. Kyle is moving on, Tom Parr will be the owner/general manager, and I will be the editor/advertising manager. 
    For those of you who don’t know me I would like to introduce myself.  I am from Maryland and started trapping over 20 years ago. My traplines have covered three states and everything from weasels to black bear.  Red fox trapping in my home state takes up most of my season.  For a few years I worked with the Maryland Fur Trappers and the National Trappers Association to promote trapping. I testified against several anti-trapping hearings in Maryland and spent a week in Washington, DC advocating fur trapping. Trapping has always been important to me. This is the next chapter in my trapping story.
    We want to hear from you! Send your trapline photographs in for our Photo Album. Got a good story or technique?  Submit your article to Trapper’s World.  Along with articles from our seasoned staff writers I would like to start the “Through the Eyes of a Woman” column again. If you’re a female trapper consider sharing your experiences with our readers.  Know a woman trapper? Encourage her to submit an article.  Trapper’s World will have a booth at the Pennsylvania convention June 7th-9th and at the NTA convention August 2-4th.  Stop by and introduce yourself. This magazine is for you our readers.  Enjoy and we appreciate your feedback. – Tera

Kyle Kaatz’s Last Issue as Editor

    Through the course of my life, there have been people that have helped me accomplish my goals. I’ve learned that living out your dreams is directly impacted by the people who enter your life. Although Trapper’s World is not a person, it was the reason I met many of the people that helped me accomplish my dreams. I’m so grateful for where I am, and what Trapper’s World has introduced me to since the summer of 2001 when Tom Parr and I took over the reigns.
    It might come as a shock to many of you that this is my final editorial. I think quite frankly, Trapper’s World will begin to grow to new heights as Tera Roach takes over as editor. Tom Parr has bought out my ownership, and I know Tom and Tera together will achieve great success moving TW forward. I’m not riding off into the sunset, I will be helping transition the editorial duties to Tera, and believe me I have plenty of articles of my own to write for TW in the future.
    So I want to thank Trapper’s World for every goal it has helped me achieve. I want to name a handful of names, first off, Keith Winkler. Thanks to Keith, I met Tom Parr and got to be involved in TW in the first place. Thanks to Tom Parr, in business it is rare to find such an amazing partner, and I’m proud to have worked with such a gracious man. Wayne Derrick and Jackie Malone, I will forever cherish the memories of the traplines these two men introduced me to. To Morris Fenner, who gave me the great advice, “Remember the people that help you on the way up, as you’ll meet them on the way down.” To Mike Marysada for always being there when an article was needed, and for sharing your insights on so many aspects of this trapping business. To J.C. Conner, Matt Jones, Tim Caven, Slim Pedersen, Scott Welch, J.P Wilson, Craig O’Gorman, and all the great staff writers that have been apart of these 12 years, I thank you for sharing the ride.
    Before I was ever involved though with TW, other people set the stage for me to be a young trapper, and to be in a position to recognize the opportunities life presents. I was just 21 years old when I took over as editor. I was very naïve, but I realized this was a great opportunity.
    My dad always told me, “do it while you’re young,” whenever I daydreamed about far off traplines. I listened to that and did. I’m glad I have the miles of traplines behind me that I do. My knees hurt, and my feet ache because of it, and I have as little hair as my trapping mentors told me I would after trying to study on what a coyote may or may not do. The reason I have this, is because I listened to my dad, and the reason he had that was probably because he also listened to his dad.
    My grandpa has logged more trapping miles with me than any other person I have ever trapped with. Grandpa was there for the first failed efforts on my Iowa roadline, and for so many great memories I should write another book. At 90 years old, Grandpa still makes me stretchers when I need them, and reads every issue of TW. I don’t know where Grandpa learned to be a Grandpa, but I can only imagine he learned from his dad, and from his brother, and from his uncle, and from his cousin like I have along the way.
    A lot of it is work ethic. Most of the short comings and failures life offers can be overcome with extra effort. Sometimes that extra effort is simply applied towards gaining the knowledge you don’t possess but feel you should. Whether you’re short on the funds to pay the mortgage, or about to start a round of chemo, it’s hard work, and really the only measure of getting a passing grade when we are really tested seems to be based on how hard we worked. I didn’t understand that always, but now I think about all the people that look down upon us now that were apart of the trapping world in 2001. A lot has changed. That’s a little sad, but it’s life; and change always opens the door for new opportunities.
    So I’m very excited about the opportunities that lay ahead for me, and for Trapper’s World. With the fur markets as high as they are, there is no greater time for new beginnings in the life of a trapper if you’re willing to work.
    When I was young, and we’d be at the cabin hunting, often Grandpa would say, “Are you up for all day?” in the morning. I generally laughed and said, “I think so.” Well as time goes by, I start to see meaning in that question, it’s not a joke. It’s really an eloquent question that pretty much is the difference between success and failure. If you’re tired you will not seize the day by going back to bed. Every day presents a ton of opportunities, and you know I think I also realize why after 90 years Grandpa sometimes needs a nap.
    Thanks for the memories Trapper’s World.- kk

The work has begun!

After nearly a year, trappersworld.com is beginning to come together. Over the next few weeks you will find a bunch of the back issues available for sale, along with updated staff writer bio's, article clips, and much much more! Thanks for visiting trappersworld.com, hope you keep an eye on the site as it develops. – Kyle Kaatz