Enterprise Stories – Lost Trap

This story was taken from the book, “100 Years of Enterprise Folklore.”

Lost Trap
by Kevin Laub

In 1940, not long after the depression, money was scarce for my grandpa, Normand Laub. and his family. His brother, Merril, was working and living at Foster’s ranch. Grandpa lived on the Laub ranch which is located along the road going up the canyon toward the Enterprise reservoirs. He trapped coyotes and bobcats and sold the pelts for two or three dollars each. He set many traps by the creek and up and around old Hebron that he checked twice a week.

Norman Laub in his military uniform. ~ Photo Credit: A Century of Enterprise

Normand Laub in his military uniform.
~ Photo Credit: A Century of Enterprise

He had one trap set by Eagle Rock. When he went to check it he found it missing with the brush all around the area chewed up by a coyote. The bush the trap was tied to was chewed off and the coyote drug it away with him and the coyote was long gone by then.
He went to visit his brother, as he often did, and told him about losing the coyote and the trap. His brother started teasing him about being a “great trapper.”
A couple of days later he was riding along the creek below the dam early in the morning. There had been a trace of snow fall the night before. He saw a coyote just a little way off. He quickly noticed it had a trap still on its foot. He saw the coyote go up the hill and so Grandpa went up right behind it. He caught up with it at the top then it turned to the side and started down a little draw to the south which was overgrown with scrub oak. Riding his horse named Old Paints, he tried to rope it. The coyote went down the draw. Because the horse wouldn’t get very close to the ledge Grandpa got off and went over to a ledge that sloped a little before it dropped seventy feet down. He slipped on the snow and went over the edge! He slid and fell down thirty feet to a small shelf where he hoped he might catch himself, but he had too much momentum. When he hit he tumbled forward and fell twenty feet more landing on his back. He rolled off and fell another twenty feet to the ground.

Laying there, he wondered if he were still alive. He looked around and saw he had beaten the coyote down to the bottom. It turned around and headed back up. He looked up and saw his horse looking over the ledge at him. Grandpa had broken his left ankle, lost his rope on the first shelf, and lost his hat on the second shelf.
Struggling, he climbed up to each shelf and retrieved his hat and rope and then climbed to the top where he caught his horse and led it to a big rock. He climbed onto the rock and then onto his horse.
The coyote had gotten away by then so he rode the two or three miles back to the ranch house. He got there by noon and crawled into the ranch house and onto a bed. When his brother rode in they wondered what they should do. When their dad came home in the Chevrolet car with the rumble seat, they had to cut the boot off his leg because it was too swollen to pull it off. They decided to go to Enterprise to the nurse. The nearest doctor was in St. George. The nurse checked it and gave him some crutches to use. He had to use them for a long time.

His brother took care of the family ranch and the traps. One day while he was checking the traps with their dad, they found the coyote with the trap still on its foot about a mile from where Grandpa fell. They lassoed it and brought it home, still alive, and put it in a cage so Grandpa could see it. They got the trap back and they were able to harvest the pelt of the coyote.

Stacee Seegmiller

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