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Terry Barnes is a trapper and pest control officer

Has run traplines since he was 10 years old
Terry Barnes has lots of experience.

CARLYLE - Terry Barnes is a 66-year-old trapper and pest control officer who was born and raised in Gainsborough.  

Several years ago, he moved to the Carlyle area. He has four children and eight grandchildren.  

Since he was 10 years old, Barnes has run traplines and has rarely missed a trapping season since childhood. Since 1991, he has been the collector of rough skins and whole animals, skinning them in his shop at Gainsborough.  

Fellow trappers receive funds for the pelts and Barnes in turn sells them to one of two dealers located in Winnipeg.  

Contrary to popular belief, trapping is a very above board industry. Individuals must have a trapper’s licence to sell any furs and Barnes is also registered as a bonafide dealer.  

Barnes has sold many animal furs over the years, including mink, marten, weasel, fox, beaver, wolf, bear, muskrats and skunks. His main sales revenue however, consists of coyotes.  

Says Barnes: “Some years the trapping is good, sometimes it’s lean. Prices vary widely from year to year. Coyote pelts can fetch from $20 to $100. It all depends on the market conditions. In one recent winter, I collected over 700 coyote pelts.” 

Barnes is also the maker of various trapping lures. His most popular lure is made from skunk essence. The smelly liquid is placed near the baited meat located on the trapline and that scent can attract coyotes and other canines from long distances.  

Barnes has attended many national trapping conventions in the United States and pre-COVID attended them annually. In 1998, he wrote an interesting article for The Canadian Trapper highlighting his adventures as a young boy trapping along Gainsborough Creek.

Barnes is also the local pest control officer for several rural municipalities in southeast Saskatchewan. His work there is concentrated on mice and rat eradication. He also does pest control privately for moles, raccoons and beavers. 

With the RMs, Barnes has the job of checking grain bins, grain bags, old buildings and corrals. If rodents are found, he supplies the farmer with poison and teaches them on its application. All farmers diligently watch for vermin and other pests and he is called on more often than one thinks. If grain bags are not cleaned perfectly when emptied, they are an attractive home for rats.

Some grain bags are often left unattended for years for no apparent reason. Once they make it their home, the rodents are very hard to exterminate. Under the Pest Control Act, “Every person shall take measures to destroy, control, and prevent the spread of all pests on any land or premises owned, occupied, or controlled.”

All sites thought to contain vermin must be investigated by a pest control officer. Interestingly, grain bags are not allowed to be burned and there are stiff regulations and fines for doing so.  

Adds Barnes, “Some people think that there aren’t many rats around. Even hopper bottom bins sitting on oilfield matting and cement foundations can get the rodents under them. Sometimes it is very hard to tell when they first appear.”

He also provided us with some very interesting information regarding rats.

“A rat can jump ten times its height, and chew through lead pipe and glass. A pair of rats can produce 1,200 offspring in one year and under perfect conditions can multiply to over one million in just three years. They cause between 15 and 20 million dollars in damage to Saskatchewan farms each year. Rats can spread up to 40 different diseases among humans.” 

Barnes also wanted to mention that he has been treated very well by all the RMs, reeves and councillors he has worked for over the years.

“I got to meet a lot of very nice people around the countryside doing this job and have made many lifelong friends along the way.”  

He concluded our interview with this quip. “The one main qualification you have to have in the fur business, especially the skinning part, Wear a size 48 jacket and a size three hat!” 



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