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By Michael Christianson
Last weekend hunters, trappers and enthusiasts gathered at the Agricultural Centre for the Dryden Trappers Council annual workshop and this year featured an animal most in attendance had never come across before, a wolverine.
Wolverines have been protected in Ontario for decades as they are considered an at risk species. There exists a residence population in the Ear Falls/Red Lake Area and each year some wolverines accidentally get caught in traps. Trappers have not historically been allowed to keep these animals and they must be surrendered to the Ministry of Natural Resources.
A couple of years ago regulations have relaxed to where a trapper may, at MNR’s discretion be issued a permit to possess one wolverine to be used for educational purposes, that is where the Eady brothers come in.
“We trap on the Mckenzie Bay area of Lac Seul,” said youngest brother Matt Eady. “We have traps on the lake and traps on the road. We were having trouble with something raiding our marten boxes and in the same area we have what we call cat boxes. Finally he stuck his head in a cat box, he was dead, they are an instant kill trap.”
The wolverine was caught back in November and eldest brother Rob Eady explained the animal has been in the MNR possession since then. The MNR weighed, measured and photographed the wolverine as well as taking blood samples.
Rob was the one getting his hands dirty on Saturday skinning and stretching the animal.
“Eventually they issued me a permit to possess it,” said Eady. “So they want the carcass back and they’ll dissect the carcass, try to determine what the animal was eating. The more history they can get on these things, the more information, the better for the animal.”
Eady will be allowed to keep the pelt and said it was a unique experience to bring out the wolverine and enjoyed all the reactions.
For Finona Johnson from Toronto it was a day of firsts but she said trapping is a part of our country and it is something you need to see to understand.
“I was most impressed by the wolverine. I was not ever expecting to see a wolverine at a show like this,” said Johnson. “It’s just fascinating and everybody is willing to let you ask them questions.”