The Brown County Fairgrounds saw an unseasonable influx of visitors thanks to the Fall Rendezvous, which hosted trappers from across the country Friday and Saturday.
The Fall Rendezvous focused on a variety of animal trapping techniques, but the demos that tended to draw the largest crowds were those focusing on coyote and pig populations with Montana-based trapper Kim Harris saying coyotes, due to their intelligence and cunning, are often the most difficult infestations to rid.
“When the bombs fall, there will only be cockroaches and coyotes, and the coyotes will feed off the cockroaches,” Harris said. “A coyote can live off cow manure. Even if that’s all they eat, they will thrive.”
While ridding farms of nuisance animals such as rabbits, moles and other varmint has become commonplace for the area, a recent uptick in the coyote population drove many hunters and farmers to attend the demos. Sammy Petty, who does predator control for a variety of local properties, attended to learn a few new techniques in ridding farms of coyotes.
“There are a lot of ranchers and deer hunting in Texas is a big business. The coyotes will virtually wipe out a fawn crop every year if you don’t keep them under control,” Petty said. “They say one pair will kill between 40 and 50 fawns a year. I do predator control on five or six different ranches. I’m doing it year-round. It’s very beneficial to the people who don’t know about trapping, snaring or predator control.”
This year’s Fall Rendezvous offered a bit more variety than one would expect after reading the event description. Although trapping was a top priority for many in attendance, Fall Rendezvous organizer Robin Wheelus said he sought to bring in a variety of demos, including women’s and children’s crafts, while also not diluting the Fall Rendezvous core focus.
“We try to cover for predators, we try to get a couple of different people to approach coyotes and some to do demos on bobcats,” Wheelus said. “We had a predator calling earlier and the next demo is going to be on snare building … We try to spread it out to all different kinds of species. We have members that are from all over the U.S. Personally, I am a member of three other state organizations.”
Wheelus said attending events such as the Fall Rendezvous is important. When it comes to setting traps and snares, it’s best to learn the about the animal and its habits instead of setting traps that make an unintended kill such as a family pet or any other non-evasive, non-predatory species.
“They need to know what they’re doing,” Wheelus said. “You can catch non-targeted stuff if you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing. If you’re trying to catch predators like bobcats and coyotes, you’re not wanting to catch a domestic dog that’s running away from the house or something like that. You need to know, more or less, what you’re doing.”