Fur trapping is a trade that built this country and it's still popular today though we seldom hear about it.

The expansion of the United States can be attributed to one industry and one only: the fur trade. Trappers led the way west following the beaver, the otter, the mink and the muskrat. A trade seldom given the credit it deserves is alive and well in the US today but thanks to misguided bunny huggers, it's true importance is not being recognized.


I often talk about urban blight, but the suburban blight has enveloped the eastern and western seaboards. The land changed but the creatures that lived here before we came are still here and the havoc they wreak on the little natural environment we have left is seldom discussed.


A recent event, hosted by our Amish neighbor William Ray Byler of Byler's Raw Furs brought that to light. He invited speakers from the USFWS and the Maryland Fur Trappers Association to give seminars on how to deal with the Mud Mill invasion of another non-native pest, the nutria. About 90 people attended the event.


My thanks go out to Bob Dunn, a reader of my column. He admitted that trappers tend to be a quiet lot and certainly the Amish don't go around with billboards advertising such events.  Bob did tell me, however, that the Maryland Trappers Association is hosting their annual banquet and funds raiser at Bowles Farm in Faulkner, Maryland on March 31. If you'd like to learn more about trapping along with stuffing yourself with great Eastern Shore tablefare, this is the place for you. Cost is $45 per person. That includes an open bar,and a dinner of steamship round, chicken, crab balls, fried oysters, and side dishes. There will be both a live and a silent auction. You can make reservations by calling Bill or Linda Rice at (301)259-2736 or by email at ricefarms3@gmail.com.