Ernie Moses is what Cree in Quebec call a tallyman – someone who is in charge of their family’s trapline. It’s something Moses has done for over 20 years. Located near the Cree First Nation of Eastmain in the James Bay region of Quebec, there’s not much else the 64-year-old would rather be doing with his time.
“How do I explain it… it’s just so open!” said Moses, illustrating with his arms. “Seeing nature, that’s what I love. And trapping, moose hunting, setting snares, and all of that.” Moses’s favorite animal to trap? The beaver.
In late October Moses took APTN’s Nouvelles Nationales out on his trap line, where his rapid tongue clicks caught the attention of a beaver swimming near their dam. His call wasn’t quite enough to fool the beaver, but no matter, that’s what the traps are for. “One more inch, off the ground…” directs Ernie to his 17-year-old grandson Winston.
Winston is standing in a couple of feet of water, holding a couple of recently cut saplings with a spring-loaded body grip trap attached to them at the bottom. With Ernie’s approval from the shore, Winston jabs the saplings downward, submerging the trap underwater.