Born: January, 1948
Hometown: Two Harbors, MN
Dan Croke was born in Two Harbors along the north shore of Lake Superior. He continues to reside in this area living near Two Harbors inland from the big lake.
He got a start trapping around 1960 when he was in the 6th grade. His uncle Cecil Swanson got Dan started by teaching him how to trap foxes for bounty. Dan states along with Uncle Cecil getting him started he also had a big influence on Dan and his early trapping. Others who influenced Dan and his trapping include past MTA President Don Bolen. Don was also from Two Harbors and gave Dan good advice on fur trapping and how to handle and put up his fur. Father-in-law Cab Thubault from Duluth also guided Dan in his trapping by teaching him how to trap beaver and use snares on canines. Dan states he also learned many tips from fellow MTA members over the years.
Once Dan learned how to trap beaver and snare canines from his father-in-law, the trapping really kicked into high gear and Dan started to really catch the beaver and canines. Dan still feels the beaver to this day is his “bread and butter.”
A favorite animal of Dan’s to trap is not the beaver, but, instead, is the marten. Dan really enjoys going after those big-eared, silky weasels. Dan says what he loves about it is usually it is cold, the ground is snow-covered, and he is in the deep woods. He imagines it is most like an Alaskan trapping experience. Dan states he also likes the advantage the snow affords to see tracks of different animals including wolves, responding to lure at his sets.
One of his most memorable trap line experiences over the years happened on a late November day one year while checking two otter sets behind his hunting shack. When he checked them, he discovered he had not caught one otter but three in two traps! One trap held a large adult female and the other held an adult male and a male pup. Dan has caught two otters a couple of times since then in one trap, but never three out of two traps. Trapping wolves as a federal trapper has been quite memorable to Dan as well.
Dan has also been active in supporting trapping over the years. He served as District 1 Director from 1979-1985. Along with this, he served two terms as MTA President in the late 80’s. When the NTA held its national convention in Duluth in 1985, Dan served as the state chairman for the event.
Dan still enjoys trapping and can be found afield after beaver or in the deep woods pursuing those marten.