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Life lessons come from a lifetime of trapping

Tony Butler wrote about his life trapping raccoons, fox, mink and other small animals before his death. The book "Trapping Trigonometry: Increasing Your Numbers" is part instructional and part life lesson, with his own brand of humor thrown in.
Tony Butler wrote about his life trapping raccoons, fox, mink and other small animals before his death. The book "Trapping Trigonometry: Increasing Your Numbers" is part instructional and part life lesson, with his own brand of humor thrown in.

A lifetime of trapping gave Tony Butler bits wisdom he wished to share before he died. “Trapping Trigonometry: Increasing Your Numbers” is part a primer on trapping various animals in Iowa and part life lessons for anyone who reads it,

Butler’s sister, Vickie Butler Pierce, said she has had positive feedback from those who enjoyed the book even though they had no interest in trapping itself.

“Amazingly, a lot of women, we’re talking women who are 40-plus ... loved the book,” she said. “There’s more to it than meets the eye.”

Butler weaves stories of his life and practical tips for catching raccoons, mink, muskrat and fox with his thoughts on how the lessons from trapping can apply to everyday life, with Butler’s unique sense of humor stitching it all together.

“Effort equals results,” and “spend time with (family),” Butler says in the closing paragraph of his book. His life echoes this sentiment. He spent his life working at various jobs including at Palm Clothing in Creston and taking time to trap on vacations and before and after work. He moved several times to be nearer to family, eventually moving home to Benton to be with his father after his mother was placed in a nursing home.

He had learned how to trap from his father, saying they were “tight-lipped” about their methods to keep ahead of the competition. However, at the end of his life, with no new generation to teach, Butler decided to share that knowledge with the world.

Pierce was not involved in trapping, but family was an important theme in her life as well.

“I think what you find in life is your favorite experiences all have to do with family,” she said.

Pierce spent the last months of Butler’s life with him before he died of colon cancer in 2019. She picked up the task of publishing his book for him, and, although he never got the chance to see the finished project, they shared the progress through those months with Pierce reading it to him.

She calls finishing the book a “labor of love.”

“It was probably one of the best things I have ever done, and I’ve had a whole career,” she said.

With Butler gone, Pierce is promoting the book, hoping to fulfill his wish of distributing 2,000 copies. Due to the restrictions of COVID-19, she has decided not to travel to Iowa from her home in Las Vegas.

Most of the proceeds from the book will go to charity, with $10 of the $20 cover price going to support Greater Regional Foundation’s gas card program at the cancer center.

Those interested in purchasing a copy can contact Pierce at vbutlerpierce@live.com or 702-715-2164.

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