Born: May 30, 1935
Hometown: Northome, MN
Arnie Peterson was born May 30, 1935, in Elk River, MN. He was an only child. His parents were Bert and Ella Peterson. Arnie is proud to be a true-blooded Swede as his mother came over to America from Sweden as did his father’s parents. This led to the nickname “Swede” which for many years Arnie was known by his friends. Since his move to the Northwoods of Minnesota, he has more commonly become known amongst the people who know him as the “Jackpine Savage.” Arnie is proud of both his heritage and his nicknames.
When Arnie was about 6, he started trapping on the farm for his dad and managed to catch 3 mink by the creek near their house. Mink brought a lot of money during those days, often helping supplement the meager living the farmers of those times made. This got Arnie started and from then on he was hooked on trapping. He has not been without a trap or trapping since catching those first three mink.
In order to become a better trapper, Arnie read any trapping books he could find – a mass of books he still has with many of the older texts of trapping knowledge published in it. Along with reading, he talked to any trapper around the area absorbing any knowledge they were willing to share and pass on to the young trapper. His real secret in learning to become a good trapper is beginning from a young age and continuing on. He loved to walk and explore the woods, fields, and lakes. What was over the hill has always fascinated him and pushed him to learn about the habitats and the animals that live in them.
Arnie probably missed his time era as he easily could have been a Mountain Man of the Old West or a Voyageur of the Northwoods due to his love of the outdoors. He instead has mastered trapping all Minnesota animals, having trapped large numbers of furbearers over the years including but not limited to beaver, muskrat, and weasel. He often catches his limit of bobcats each year using his wood lore to walk the miles needed to do so. If asked, he probably would tell you the weasel or ermine has now become his favorite animal to pursue as he catches large numbers of them each year. When he isn’t trapping, which isn’t often, he can be found harvesting boughs, picking wild rice, fishing, picking berries, or any other activity that takes him into his beloved outdoors.
He has been an active member of the MTA for many years, currently serving as District 1 co-director which he enjoys doing. He likes the time it allows him to associate with all of the trappers from the state. Arnie likes to converse with them and can often be found discussing the finer points of some type of trapping in a group at any of the MTA functions. He is a good Christian man and is proud to talk about God or Trapping whenever there is an opening for either one.