Oscar Sweder

The Trapping Season is Over

Oscar F. Sweder, a charter member of the B.C. Trappers Association, passed away in Vanderhoof at St. John’s Hospital at the age of 91 on December 31, 2008. His four younger brothers predeceased him.

Oscar was born on May 10, 1917 in Trochu, Alberta. His family moved to Woodpecker, south of Prince George, in the late ‘20s. He trapped with Louis Kohse in the ‘30s, and worked for Mrs. Tate in the Germansen area. Oscar and Louis later ran a mink ranch at Tatuk Lake. In the 1950s he operated a portable sawmill o his property in Vanderhoof and worked in his later years for Bond Brothers and as a scaler for the Ministry of Forestry. Trapping was his first love.

To most people, Oscar was a legendary figure. A trapper somewhere north of the Nation Lakes.

Oscar and his wife, Edith, spend over 60 years on trapline #728T009, coming out in the spring to grow a garden before heading back for the trapping season.

To his friends he was a role model. By example he taught us that safety in the bush requires patience, keen observation, and a mind set. His lifestyle was an exhortation. Need and not greed, was his only requirement.

Oscar, unwittingly, was a true environmentalist. The only footprints he left were the tracks of his bearpaw snowshoes.

A great believer in the cycle of life he was never upset over the encroachment of logging on his trapline. The only thing an over mature forest produces in methane,” he would say. Only Oscar could look at a young tree and comment, “that tree is committing suicide.”

He reminded us that those loggers are contributing more to the economy than his take of furs.

The snow has fallen over those snowshoe tracks and Oscar has become as silent as the winter woods he loved so much.

He will be sadly missed by his wife Edith, and all his family and friends.


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