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A sister’s love for her late younger brother has resulted in the publication of a book with deep roots in Ringgold County and the town of Benton.
Trapping Trigonometry: Increasing Your Numbers, by the late Tony Butler, is now available thanks to the dedication of his sister, Vickie Butler Pierce, who acted as typist, reader, and editor on the book while her brother battled cancer.
“This book is Tony’s legacy and is published as a tribute to him,” Vickie wrote in the synopsis that appears on the back of the 100-page book that recalls her brother’s 50 seasons as a professional fur trapper and their family’s 200-plus aggregate years in the trapping profession. The book is dedicated to Butler’s father Merle and his uncle Hollis, both lifelong trappers.
While the book’s target audience of fellow trappers will gain a lifetime’s worth of knowledge of trapping sets, locations, bait, methods, ethics, planning, and trapline management, it’s Butler’s sense of humor and unique writing style that open Trapping Trigonometry to a much broader audience.
“You have in your hands one of the most powerful publications you have had or ever will have hold of,” writes Butler. “Outside of the Bible or a subpoena, this book will change your life forever… You will learn the secret set that will enable you to become the greatest trapper ever. Most importantly – a better person, husband, father, employee or boss.”
And what is that secret set? Among the detailed discussion of the art of successful trapping, Butler sprinkles his thoughts on personal virtues such as curiosity, positive attitude, ambition, hard work, love of family, and integrity as well as the joy he found in making others laugh.
His goal, he writes, is “to entertain, educate, and motivate.”
First diagnosed with cancer on Halloween 2016, Butler endured repeated sessions of chemotherapy before deciding in July 2019 to share his knowledge of trapping.
“My time on this earth is limited,” he wrote. “I have no children or grandchildren to teach to carry on the tradition. Let’s talk legacy.”
Literally putting pen to paper (as Butler wrote his entire manuscript by hand), he finished Trapping Trigonometry on September 26, 2019. His final paragraph reads: “Enjoy the outdoors and take your kids’ or grandkids’ cell phones away from them and spend some time with them and take them trapping. The fun and memories you have together are irreplaceable.”
Too weak to review the finished manuscript, Butler relied on Vickie, who frequently traveled from her home in Las Vegas to assist her brother, to ultimately see the finished product through to publication.
Just three months later, Tony Butler passed away on January 5, 2020.
Tracking Trigonometry is now available to order from Vickie Butler Pierce at 7777 S. Jones Blvd., Apt. 1080, Las Vegas, NV 89139 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The $20 cost includes shipping and $10 of each book sold will be donated to the Greater Regional Healthcare Foundation’s gas card program at the Cancer Center in Creston.