Meet Your Board of Directors Member:
Keith D. Bayha
Occupation: Fish and Wildlife Biologist (Retired)
Number years Served on BOD: 8
Age When Started Trapping: 7
How did you get started trapping? My father showed me the slanted board set for catching muskrats under the ice on the pond in the pasture on our farm in Michigan. I caught two that first year and was hooked. I was essentially self taught until I joined ATA and began attending the ATA trapping schools.
Special memories from early years of trapping? First muskrat , mink and red fox. When about 17, I got permission to trap muskrats on a lake on one condition. The owner insisted that I carry a 16 foot pole under one arm in case I fell through the ice of this spring-fed lake. I agreed and did so. One day it was 20 below when I was checking traps. I spotted a mink track that went up on top of a beaver house. I thought I would make a mink set on top of it. As I approached the beaver house, I fell through the ice up to my arm pits and my feet did not touch bottom. The pole under my arm kept me from going under the ice and I was able to climb out with the aid of the pole and my ax. I made it to shore, dropped everything I was carrying, and jogged the half mile back to my car. I got the car started and sat there for a while with the heater going full blast until I stopped shivering then drove home. Upon pulling off my wet clothes I discovered my levi pants had all but come apart at the knees from repeated bending of the frozen fabric. Thanks to Dr. Mustard, (the land owner), I survived to trap for many years.
Number of Years Trapping in Alaska: 31
Location(s) Trapped in Alaska: Tributaries of Susitna River from Parks Hwy (Big lake Rd to Petersville Rd. - 7 years), Palmer hay flats - 1, Chulitna R. tributaries - 1, Matanuska River tributaries in vicinity of Glacier View - 22.
Special Memories of Trapping in Alaska: First wolf (in fact all 18 of them), first wolverine, lynx, and marten. In 1989 I trapped beaver on tributaries of Chulitna River with Paul Stavenjord. This was Paul's home area and he knew it well. The early cold snap had frozen the beaver ponds with 3 to 4 inches of clear ice and we could see the bottom of the pond and the light spot where the beaver kicked off the bottom when exiting their lodges. I had ten 330's and we set about making sets at these kick spots. We took 10 beaver in three nights.