From the Dec. 28, 2011 Warren Times Observer
<span style="color: #3333FF">Local trapping expert gets TV contract
He's "The Animal." That's his nickname on the softball field because of his all-out style of play, and he's just as much an animal when it comes to trapping animals. He knows them - especially predators - as well as anyone.
Darin Freeborough, of Pleasant Township, has made a name for himself locally and statewide, and soon he'll be a national name. He landed a contract for several television programs on Pursuit Channel and other DirecTV and Dish Network channels on trapping coyotes, and they'll begin airing in January 2012.
When Freeborough talks trapping, people listen. And he talks a lot. In the last four years he has produced four instructional DVD recordings where he shares his techniques for trapping canines. He also speaks at 10 to 15 seminars and trapping events per year. You know it's all good stuff when seasoned veterans of the trapline whisper to him at a seminar, "You're giving away too many secrets."
Freeborough says, "My feeling is a person still has to go out on the line and put all the knowledge to work, and they still need to develop their own system. Some trappers might change my ideas, and that's OK!" So, if you're an aspiring trapper, or a seasoned veteran, Freeborough can take you to the next level.
His first DVD in 2008, "Trapping Eastern Coyotes," started it all. It quickly established Freeborough as an expert in trapping coyotes and created an instant demand for him as a seminar speaker. Freeborough speaks often at outdoor shows (such as the Warren Outdoor Show at the Warren Mall January 14 & 15). His programs last from an hour to a full day. He also attends fur trader conventions and enters coyote hunting and trapping contests, usually with success.
When he can, Freeborough will speak anywhere he is invited, including sportsman's dinners, Scout meetings, schools and hunter safety classes. He holds his own training seminars and does one-on-one trapline instruction.
Freeborough can catch animals anywhere. Last year he went to Texas to trap. He had never been there, but in four days without even a chance to scout he caught four coyotes and three bobcats. He hopes to travel more to states with larger numbers of bobcats and coyotes, such as Kentucky and Kansas.
An exciting experience with a black bear now has him thinking he'd someday like to try trapping bears in Canada. Although he has caught small bears in his coyote traps, a few weeks ago he caught a 200-pounder. "That's one of the most exciting things that has happened to me on the trapline, maybe a little too exciting," he laughed. Local Wildlife Conservation Officers Dave Donachy and Dustin Stoner helped release the bear safely and without injury, and Freeborough came away with some great photos and video footage to use in upcoming DVDs.
Freeborough has been trapping for many years, but it takes lots of time so he took a hiatus when he started his family. He began hunting coyotes when they began showing up locally in greater numbers, but would get only 2 or 3 per year. His buddy Bryan Culver told him to set a dozen traps near his house where he'd hear coyotes regularly, and just trap for fun. "That first year I caught nine coyotes. Six more pulled out of my wimpy little fox traps." So, Freeborough learned to modify up his traps. The next year he caught 20, with the catch increasing every year. "It has been crazy ever since."
Freeborough followed the success of his first video with a second called "Trapping Winter Coyotes." He says, "That DVD is my best seller. I tackle all the diversified climate conditions in Pennsylvania. Next came 'Rattlin' Chains,' an advanced DVD for the canine trapper, and this year I did 'Trapping Backwoods Coyotes in the Snow.' My DVDs are so popular that sometimes people pre-pay for my next one when it isn't even finished yet! I'm now planning videos that will include information on trapping fox, raccoons, fishers and bobcats." All his videos are available on his website at http://www.coyotevideos.net.
All Freeborough's videos run for two full hours, and he aims to keep them suitable for family viewing by involving his family as much as he can. He and his wife Julie have three daughters, Lindsay, Molly and Katie. In fact, Molly and Freeborough both caught bobcats on the second day of the Pennsylvania season on December 18.
Without question, Freeborough is one of the foremost trappers in the eastern United States, but this master trapper didn't seek out television. Television sought him out. His high level of success and his positive, educational approach got the attention of Ralph and Shawn Inglis of F & T Fur Harvester's Trading Post in Alpena, Mich. one of the leading trapping supply houses in the United States. They approached Freeborough in June 2011 about appearing on their TV program because he's the kind of person who can introduce new people to trapping.
Freeborough signed an 8-year contract with them and will be featured in three of the 13 episodes they'll produce in 2012. The programs will be broadcast on the Pursuit Channel, Dish Network channel 240, DirecTV channel 608, and possibly other channels. Initially, some of the footage for the TV program will be excerpts from Freeborough's DVDs, probably with some added footage. Everything is filmed in Warren County. The plan for Fall 2012 is to shoot new footage specifically for the 2013 season. The contract includes a commercial promoting Freeborough's DVDs, which will run whenever F&T North American Trapper programs air.
"I'm excited to be part of the strategy of F & T, because these guys have grown the trapping business by leaps and bounds, and they're as competitive as anyone in today's market. They're positive, respectable trappers. They have a complete line of supplies for trappers, houndsmen and predator callers, and they're geniuses when it comes to marketing everything about trapping. "
Freeborough has already established his own brand name. A take-off on his nickname, "Animalistics Outdoors" includes not only his videos, but also a full line of trapping hardware and supplies, his own lures and baits, plus premium scents for nearly every species in the eastern US.
Freeborough has added a new element to his business by having Denny Kyser of Kyser Photography in Russell ride along on his trapline. Kyser takes composed quality photos of the animals, and Freeborough sells the photos. He sells wildlife art prints, too, and it's all available at Grizzly Gary Outdoors on the east side of Warren.
Freeborough also skins and dries furs for others in small quantities, and will have his fur buyer's license in January 2012.
On top of all that, Freeborough has been asked to contribute a chapter on coyotes in a new book about trapping in Pennsylvania.
Freeborough works full time for Orchard Brands/Blair LLC, and currently serves as an assistant analyst at the company's Irvine Distribution Center. "I'm starting my 30th year with a great company, and I couldn't do any of this without them. My trapping business is a great part-time job that I can't wait to go to every day."
As Freeborough's trapping business grows, he has less and less time to trap for himself. He takes it all in stride saying, "If you like to trap, don't start a trapping business!" The upside to spending less time on his trapline is that he loves helping others and being a part of their success. "Nothing is better than someone calling or emailing to thank me for helping them catch their first predator!"
With working, trapping, speaking and running a business, you might think Freeborough wouldn't have time for anything else. But he's also an active volunteer; he serves on the board of the Warren County Youth Baseball / Softball Association, and coaches his daughters in softball and basketball every year.
The first airing of Freeborough's TV show will be the week of Jan. 8. Information about the show will be available at http://www.natrapper.com