By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal
I was fortunate enough to have one of my April 2014 blogs (“Mountain Monsters” — They’re more familiar than you think) catch the attention of the folks at Destination America who produce the show. A few e-mails were exchanged and before long it was all set up for me to have an interview with Trapper, one of the stars of the show.
Of course I was very excited, but a little nervous. I really like the program and I enjoy letting my imagination run wild as I watch it. I was afraid I might meet a polished actor rather than the man from the mountains that I had grown to admire on the show. Luckily, my fears were not founded.
As I sat down to talk to Trapper amid the forests of Salt Fork State Park, it became obvious pretty quickly that he is just a normal “good old boy” who hasn’t been changed by his television fame.
Although I refuse to make claims about the legitimacy of the “monsters” or the evidence shown during the shows, I can tell you that from what I can see, the men of “Mountain Monsters” are truly a group of fun-loving, hardworking hunters from Ohio and West Virginia. I personally think they would be a fun group of guys to get to know.
Though the program rarely portrays them as such, these guys are also a well-rounded group of intelligent and skilled men. Don’t let the TV drama fool you. These guys know the woods and what they are about, but they are also intelligent enough to know what draws an audience. Here are some quotes from Trapper about the guys in the show.
“Huckleberry was an operator, and I was a boilermaker so we knew each other. Sometimes I pay so much attention to what‘s going on in front of me that I need someone to watch my back all the time. So he’s my ‘Huckleberry.’ He takes care of us.”
“He is Huckleberry’s friend. We just love Buck. The first time I met him he was a real skeptic. He’s coming around. We needed someone to do the heavy lifting and the grunt work for us. We’ve got some age on us — me and Huckleberry and Jeff. He’s always game for anything.”
“Willy is my neighbor. He’s the jack-of-all-trades. What a hard worker he is. During the filming season, he went from 215 pounds to 175 pounds building all those traps.”
“We had a mutual friend say, ‘You’ve got to meet this Wild Bill guy,’ and we needed a really good climber to help Willy out on traps. They are both expert climbers. He is exactly the way he acts on the show. He’s the kind of guy you only give one shell to.”
“Jeff was a good researcher so we brought him on. He knows his stuff.”
Trapper (About himself)
“The wampus beast, or wampus cat, in northern pleasant county is a pet peeve of mine. I have a ritual that virtually every Sunday morning I go up into the northern part of Pleasant County. I have a pipeline that I walk right away that is real fresh with tracks.”
In addition to finding out more about the men in the show, I had a few questions for Trapper about some of the episodes I had seen. In particular, I asked for details about my favorite creatures featured on the show, “The Hellhound of Kentucky.” During this episode, it appeared that, while the guys were searching for the beast in a corn field, the creature hit Trapper in the elbow and nearly knocked him down. I asked for clarification as to what really hit him.
“That’s terrible in that corn field,” he said. “It had to have been him. He made passing charges on us. I swung around and he hit that elbow, and he virtually knocked me down. We never got a clear view of him. You can’t see in those darn corn fields. I can’t even believe I took the team in there after him. He used those corn fields for cover. He moved from corn field to corn field undetected. In a corn field, if you got in there just after it rained you could see tracks. There was one set of tracks where you could tell he was after coyotes. His tracks and the coyotes ran together. It was pretty cool.”
So whether or not you chose to believe in the folklore or just consider it a form of Friday night entertainment, “Mountain Monsters” is sure to fit the bill. This fast paced adventure-filled show keeps viewers guessing and on the edge of their seats as the men chase after critters in the Appalachian region. When questioned on the hunting style the guys portray during the show, Trapper said with a laugh, “Nobody would want to watch us lay on a hill with a night-vision scope all night.”
I’ll agree with that. The fast-paced action of the show combined with the mysterious creatures it showcases are what keep me watching.
Mountain Monsters airs Friday nights at 10 p.m. on Destination America.
Be sure to also read, “Men of ‘Mountain Monsters’ investigate Ohio folklore.”
Jan. 2016 update: Trapper is not dead. Read the article at this link: https://ocj.com/2016/01/mountain-monsters-trapper-is-not-dead/