Oral History Interviews:

Red Beeman

Red Beeman describes his life in simple terms: "I fished [commercially] in the summer. I guided hunters in the autumn. I trapped in the winter. That's what I did. That's who I am."

Like many sourdoughs, Red can thank his Uncle Sam for bringing him to Alaska as a soldier. Red fell in love with The Great Land and never left. He trapped several places in the Mat-Su drainages without finding a place that suited his fancy. One year, a guiding opportunity took him to the Alaska Range south of McGrath. Red found the place that would be his winter home for the next several decades.

Red pays tribute to many of the trappers who preceded him. His stories of Einar Carlson, Oscar Vogel, Roland Osbourne and others tell of a time long gone but fondly remembered. He recalls how the methods of transportation evolved from snowshoes to dog teams to snow machines and airplanes.

Red describes one of his favorite aspects of trapping, shaking the cobwebs off his gear and cleaning up his trail as part of the pre-season preparation for what he hoped would be another good season. Red remembers many years when the fur prices were low and he trapped for the love of the outdoor lifestyle. He shares his insight on the rise and fall of lynx populations in different areas of the state.

Red recalls how one old timer explained the basic approach to trapping: "When trying to attract an animal to a trap, you must remove all suspicion and lay a great temptation." Red clipped that quote and hung it in his trapping cabin near McGrath. It remains his credo to this day.

Click here for excerpt from Beeman interview (MP3)

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