Oral History Interview:
Larry Kritchen was born in 1928, and raised on a small ranch in California. His family enjoyed hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. Larry grew to share these interests.
Kritchen moved to Cordova in 1949. He describes the community as a "wild West town." Larry made a living by hauling freight along the coast, fishing commercially for salmon and halibut, and shooting seals and eagles for bounty.
Within a couple years of arrival, Kritchen met Jimmy Weber who would become his hunting and trapping partner for the next fifty years. The pair trapped essentially all species of furbearers which were present in the area, with a focus on mink and otter. Larry describes one season when they caught over 100 ermine and decided to sell them to "pay for gas." To their great surprise, they received $5 each for the pelts. They learned later that a coronation in England had pushed the demand (and thus the price) to such a high level.
Kritchen began selling a few tanned seal skins to the local Natives. This sideline soon grew into a full-scale fur-buying business. Larry relates the highs and lows of the fur industry, including the demise of the Seattle Fur Exchange.
Larry kept many different species of wildlife in captivity including wolverines, ravens, mink and lynx. Each of these 'pets' generated many stories, which Larry shares with his hearty laugh.
Kritchen fed his family on game meat. He shares many stories of hunting goats and deer, most of which are humorous. On the harrowing side, Larry also relates tales of guiding brown bear hunters.
Larry and Jimmy Weber were not above playing a few tricks on the local game wardens. Once again, his sincere laughter accompanies each story.
Kritchen is a keen observer of the natural world around him. He describes changes in weather patterns and wildlife populations, along with his personal interpretation of the causes and effects.
Larry has shared his love of the outdoors with his family. He takes great pride in the accomplishments of his kids and grand-kids. This man has not only built a reputation as an outdoorsman, but has shared this legacy with later generations.