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Inuvik woman trapper best in the territory
Marilyn Maring continues trapping traditions of her family

Samantha Stokell
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, December 8, 2011

Marilyn Maring has been a trapper for so long that she doesn't remember her first time trapping, or her first animal caught.

NNSL photo/graphic

Marilyn Maring was chosen as Youth Trapper of the Year for being the most productive youth trapper in the territory. - Samantha Stokell/NNSL photo

She's a third generation trapper who won Youth Trapper NWT of the Year for being the most productive youth trapper in the territory. At 19 years of age, she learned trapping skills from her father and grandfather, James Maring Sr. and Jr., for almost two decades.

"I've been going out on the land my whole life," Marilyn said. "My dad taught me how to set rat traps, lynx traps, conibears. I've just done it forever, trapping with my brothers and dad."

Despite all the other trappers recognized across the territory being male, Marilyn says she doesn't face any sexism out on the land. Everyone treats each other equal while trapping. Marilyn and her family spend about two weeks at a time trapping at their cabin on the Mackenzie Delta.

They trap lynx, fox, marten, minks, wolves and wolverines, using different traps for each. Wolves, for instance, use a trap that hangs across a path. When the wolf walks through, the trap snaps shut on its head, killing the animal. Last year, Marilyn caught two wolves.

A typical day on the trapline would start on the snowmobile, with a check of all the traplines and bringing back the animals to the camp. Then, once the animals have thawed out, they skin them and stretch the skins on boards.

In addition to setting traps, Marilyn's father taught her how to kill animals that didn't die in the trap, how to set fish nets in ice and how to hunt muskrats with guns in the spring.

"He just shows me what his dad knows. It's nice that it stays in the family," Marilyn said. "You just have to set (the traps) right and check them when we need to."

Marilyn recalled the lesson on how to kill a lynx that didn't die in the trap.

"You can't just go up to it, or it will attack," Marilyn explained. "You have to take time walking to them, go so slowly, then put a rope around its neck and pull. Just hang it until they stop moving."

Setting fish nets in the winter isn't that hard either. Marilyn can do it by drilling three holes in the ice, preferably on the bend of a river, and then put sticks in the hole that pull the net through. Then, when she's ready to check, just use the sticks to pull the net and fish out of the holes.

Home for just a few days last week, she was set to go back out on the land now, or once the wind dies down, to trap some more.

Other trappers who won awards include James B. Firth for highest sales and most number of pelts, and Sam (Inglangasuk) Lennie for senior trapper in the Inuvik region. Highes sales are based on the cash value of harvested furs sold through the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Furs marketing program.

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