Babbs in the Woods: A New Year’s resolution, a woman trapper and interesting neckwear

babbsarcherytnTime for a resolution … I want to revisit the days of The Accidental Ozarkian, a self-syndicated column that I wrote for about eight years that appeared in various magazines and newspapers in Missouri. With nostalgia of the good old days of writing that column in my mind, I promise to bring you more of the quirky, interesting people of the outdoors this year in this blog. You know, the ones you couldn’t-make-this-stuff-up-about-if-you-tried folks.

And so, I give you freelance writer and Arkansas trapper of the year (2008) Jill Easton Spencer, who probably can be found in the woods checking her traps almost every day near Calico, Ark., and who also is a woman with a most interesting hobby. She crafts ‘coon-pecker necklaces.

I wrote about Jill last fall for Turkey Country magazine, and that part about the necklaces never made it to print. Then, I noticed online that Pete Thomas blogged about Jill at the LA Times outdoor blog, but he mostly just used Jill’s words from my article to tell the story about how amazed he was that a woman would a) trap and b) be so comfortable with her place in the animal world. If Pete would have just picked up the phone and talked to Jill, he wouldn’t have been so amazed. But, he would have been impressed.

Here's Jill, in the middle of a good laugh, at the NWTF convention last year in Nashville in February. Notice the necklaces. Photo by Barbara Baird.

Here's Jill, in the middle of a good laugh, at the NWTF convention last year in Nashville in February. Notice the necklaces. Photo by Barbara Baird.

Here’s what he didn’t get: “Let nothing go to the waste,” says Jill. And with that in mind, she crafts ‘coon-pecker necklaces and sells them at her website, Made with intricate beads, each necklace is unique because no two raccoon baculum are alike. In a You Tube interview, filmed by The WON’s associate editor, Paige Eissinger, Jill explains more about the process and the philosophy behind the necklace. I bought a necklace from Jill, in fact. I believe it has brought me good luck.

OK, we’re on a roll now, and I’ll be on the lookout for more interesting outdoor outdoor personalities, like Jill.

~Barbara Baird

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at


The Conversation

  • JJ says: February 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks everyone who has said nice things about the raccoon ivory necklaces.

    It is interesting wearing one. I usually tell the person asking that they are raccoon bone and let them hold it. Then ask them to guess what part of the raccoon it comes from. When I tell them it’s the pecker some people actually throw the ‘bone’ away.

    The necklaces are either Arkansas toothpick style (sharpened to a point), or natural. Jill

  • kmurray says: February 3, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    When I read this article my first thought was, “I HAVE to have one of those!” So I did what any smart girl would do, I bought two!

    They are really fun to wear for a conversation piece. Just today, a gal asked me what that was on my necklace and I gave her my common response- raccoon ivory. Then she said (and I quote), “raccoon ivory? I didn’t know they had tusks!”

    Too fun! (and so you know doing business with Jill was a cinch and the pieces are beautifully made.)

  • Bryan says: January 11, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Good to see you found a creative use for them Jill! I always knew them to be Arkansas Tooth Picks…..My grandpa gave me the first one I had ever seen. Some years later I started coon hunting and saving them from the boars and giving them to folks for conversation pieces.

  • NorCal Cazadora says: January 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    When I started reading this post, I thought, hey, I’ve read about this woman before… Duh. Figures it would’ve been your story!

    Thanks for the, er, unique outtake from your story 🙂


  • Lisa Snuggs says: January 4, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Jill’s necklaces are not only unique and beautiful, they are great conversation pieces. I especially enjoy wearing mine when I know I’ll be in the company of outdoors enthusiasts. It gets a wide range of reactions, but when someone looks at my necklace and simply chuckles, I know he’s a trapper or hunter. Great fun!

    • Women's Outdoor News says: January 4, 2010 at 9:38 am


      Good to hear from you in the New Year! I will put my renewal check in the mail today for SEOPA and also, is that new logo ready yet? We’ll want it up here at The WON.
      And, as far as Jill and her necklaces … her website reflects the simplicity and beauty of her hobby. It’s really nice. Have you seen it yet?

  • Paige "Chicki Chicki" Eissinger says: January 4, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I have a couple of Jill’s necklaces and the only person who knew what they were is my husband’s friend, Charlie, who is also a trapper.

  • Bill Cooper says: January 4, 2010 at 7:53 am

    You should see one from a bull! It makes a walking cane. Barb, check my new blog. Linked to

  • Stacey Huston says: January 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    lol.. people laugh until they see them, most male rodent type animals have them, bear do also.. My dad knew a man who carried one around as a tooth pick..THAT is just not right..