Compiled and edited by Jeremiah Wood, 2020
Walter Arnold lived a lifestyle many of us could only dream of, surviving in the backwoods of Maine, testing his skills against Mother Nature and harvesting furbearers for a good part of his annual income.
In these pages, we look back on the stories that made Arnold a household name among outdoors folk throughout North America for several decades. In the process, we open a window into a world that's mostly forgotten, but can still be experienced by some folks in some places, if they want it bad enough.
Walter Arnold (1894-1980) was one of the last in a long line of independent fur trappers from the mountain man era. Living most of his life in the woods of Maine, Arnold spent his early decades guiding sportsmen in the summer and trapping furbearers in winter, on foot out of remote cabins deep in the Maine woods.
Arnold built a reputation in the trapping industry through the dozens of articles he wrote in national outdoor magazines, particularly his writings in Fur-Fish-Game magazine from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. He also manufactured trapping lures and sold scents and ingredients to trappers throughout North America.
In his later years, Walter Arnold sold his business and most of his possessions, and retreated to a full time life in the Maine woods, in a trapping cabin only accessible by airplane. It was these years that Arnold gained nationwide popularity as the last woods hermit from a bygone era.
In this book, I revisit many of the stories Walter Arnold published in the old days and provide a modern perspective for those of us still fascinated by a traditional lifestyle that’s all but gone today.