Peru Resident Compiles Book on Renowned Trapper

Scot Dahms, Peru, holds his book about the adventures of trapper Richard "Dick" Wood. Photo provided

Trapping fur bearing animals is an important part of history. Our earliest ancestors relied on these animals for their very existence, in more ways than one. Beaver, mink, muskrats and raccoons provided food, shelter and clothing that turned away the worst of weather. Furs were also one of the first forms of currency. Although we no longer rely on pelts for survival, trapping still plays a vital role as a wildlife management tool.

As a young boy, Scot Dahms grew up hunting and fishing the woodlots and streams of north central Indiana. His zeal for consumptive outdoor activities soon led him to trapping our area’s furbearing animals.

With each passing year his passion for trapping grew. But instead of setting more traps his interest turned to research. The emphases of his studies were on the turn-of-the-century companies who produced traps and the early inhabitants who relied on them.

During the off season, Dahms found enjoyment searching out antique traps. He would visit rendezvous, antique shops, flea markets and the internet looking for them. He also attended numerous trapping conventions. “I then began collecting products made by the Triumph Trap Company,” said Dahms. “They produced different types of traps from 1913 to 1935 and were the highest quality, unlike those that are mass produced today.”

The Peru resident then directed his research from the company to the hardy souls who worked there. He admired those who made an honest living trapping, hunting and fishing. One nationally renowned trapper in particular caught his attention. His name was Richard K. “Dick” Wood, and was arguably one of the best trappers of his time.

Born in 1895, Wood worked for Triumph Traps from 1917 to 1921, serving as their public relations manager. Even back then Triumph Traps knew the importance of promoting the skill of harvesting furbearing animals. Wood was an ambassador for the sometimes controversial activity up until his death in 1977.

Dahms became enamored with his exploits and admired how this hard working man not only mastered the skill of trapping, but was adept at writing and photographing his experiences. “What I found the most interesting was that Wood detailed his adventures in trapping more than trapping itself,” he added.

Through the years, Dahms, age 45, had an insatiable appetite to read every account of Wood he could find and view every picture he could locate. Even though he never knew Wood personally, he admired his ability to cope well with difficulties of living in a raw land and the way he faced demanding situations in a spirited, resilient manner. But there was one thing missing – a single compilation of all his works.

It was the fall of 2015 Dahms set his sights on a specific project, to write a book on the famous trapper complete with original photos. He reached his goal in 2016. The book is titled “Adirondack Dick” The Illustrated Life of Richard “Dick” Wood.

Reading the hardback you get a feel of what it was like to tag along with Wood as he trapped the Adirondack Mountains as well as areas in Tennessee, New York, Maryland and Virginia. It also describes how Wood took a motor camping trip with his family in 1925 that covered 12 states. “You have to remember this was almost 100 years ago and the vehicles and road systems were nothing like they are now,” Dahms explained. “Many roads were nothing more than two-track dirt lanes.”

The book references over 300 of Wood’s original articles in chronological order so readers can follow his progression as a writer and promotor of our outdoor exploits. Also contained within the hardback covers are 373 black and white photographs taken by Wood himself, some never seen by the public until compiled in Dahm’s book.

“I have really enjoyed putting it all together,” said Dahms. “But there were things I originally didn’t think about,” he added. “There are copywrite laws that must be adhered to.” “Then you must locate a company willing to print and sell it.” In all, it took roughly one year of continual work before the book hit the press.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of “Adirondack Dick” it can be purchased on Ebay or by contacting Dahms directly at ranger1971@comcast.net

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John Martino

Martino is a well-known outdoor writer throughout Indiana and has served as longtime outdoor columnist for the Kokomo Tribune newspaper. Martino has won numerous awards for both his writing and his service to youth, conservation and the community. He recently retired as Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City of Kokomo and now works as Ivy Tech Executive Director for Facilities for the Kokomo region.

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