Legendary trapper Jake Korell died Wednesday in Riverton at 98; He was a Riverton institution and a nationally known personality

Jake Korell (Photo by Jennie Hutchinson)

Jake Korell (Photo by Jennie Hutchinson)

By Ernie Over, managing editor, county10.com

(Riverton, Wyo.) – For hundreds of Riverton fourth grade students, the study of Wyoming History always included a field trip to the 1838 Rendevous Site and a trapping demonstration by Jake Korell. For 75 years in Central Wyoming alone, when most are content to retire and kick back a bit, Korell plied his trapper trade, and he did so up until death Wednesday at his rural Riverton home at the age of 98. He would’ve been 99 years old next month. Korell delighted in telling anyone who would listen about his trapping, which began in Eastern Wyoming as a youth. He never gave up the trade and became a master at it.

The prime benefactor of the Wind River Heritage Center in Riverton, Jake’s wildlife mounts of Wyoming and North American wildlife and his campfire stories have thrilled young and old alike for decades. The Heritage Center maintains some 60 mounts from the Jake Korell Wildlife Collection plus an historic collection of traps dating to the early 1800s that Jake had collected over the years.

Just a few years back, a book was published chronicling the life of the well known and personable trapper. “The Last of the Breed” was written by Kit Collings and is available at local bookstores, the Heritage Center, and through on-line book sellers.

Jakes 98th birthday party was featured on County10.com. For a link to that story, click here.

A full obituary will be posted on County10.com when available.

The Wind River Heritage Center on South Federal Boulevard in Riverton is dedicated to preserving the natural and human history of the West, and is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

In an interview with our County10.com news partner Leslie Stratmoen, news director at KVOW/KTAK, Wind River Heritage Center Director Lew Diehl and long time friend said just this year Jake had trapped 100 coyotes, four bobcats, 8 or 10 badgers and 10-12 raccoons. Diehl said Korell was preparing another trapping trip for Wednesday. Hear his comments here. 

“It was just something that came naturally, for him,” Diehl said, “as a way to earn a living, from the time he was a little boy, but it did cut his traditional school learnin’ a bit short.” Hear that clip here.

Stratmoen interviewed Jake right before his birthday last year. To listen to the show that aired live on April 17, 2012, click here.

Some 60 mounts of the Jake Korell Collection are on display at the Wind River Heritage Center in Riverton. (Ernie Over photo)

Some 60 mounts of the Jake Korell Collection are on display at the Wind River Heritage Center in Riverton. (Ernie Over photo)













  1. Sarah Kalbach

    Sad day for Riverton. My condolences to the family.

  2. Ginger Bennett

    What a man! We could all aspire to be a little more like him.

  3. John Birbari

    Jake was a classic. I spent a wonderful afternoon with him a few years ago. It was living history. I'll never forget it or him.

  4. William Nelson

    I will always cherish every moment I spent with him he was
    Amazing man

  5. Michael Eggers

    wow! i knew jake! he will be missed by all!

  6. Richard Trout

    the finest man I have ever had the privlege of knowing.

  7. Ellen Trout

    We were so looking forward to seeing Jake at the 1838 this July. I (Ellen) met him only once and would have loved to have him back here in West Virginia.

  8. John Topper

    One of a kind and easily the finest example of a genuine man I have ever known. My world is missing an irreplaceable friend.

  9. Ellen Trout

    We send our condolences to all.He was a fine man and a dear friend,he will be truly missed. Fish& Ellen Trout West Virginia

  10. Janice Erhart

    A sorrowful time for all of us, however I can just imagine Martha's smile when Jake enters the big room. Heaven will never be the same!

  11. Nathan Topper

    He died with his boots on.

  12. Debra Spearman

    Sad indeed! A man with so much known

  13. Debra Spearman

    Knowledge., sorry

  14. Wyoming Mountaineers

    Many years have gone by visiting with Jake, sharring many stories and many more laughs. I take this time to celibrate his life and the many lives he has touched. Now it has come to celibrate the wealth heavan has recieved and celibrate the time when we once again will rendezvous with a great man. May his stories of his trappings in heaven be as great when I join him again as they were here in my mortal life. Good luck Jake, my prayers will rise with the smoke from my meager fire.

  15. Diana Nottingham

    Dan and I feel so very, very fortunate to have known Jake and all of his stories. Jake was by far one of a kind. He certainly has touched a lot of lives in his 98 years. Good Bye Jake.

  16. Barb Spigner-Branch

    Oh no!! I'm so sorry I know how close you were to him..,

  17. Randy M. Weigel

    "Known" is a better statement,,,,,,

  18. Edie Boelz

    Is he the one that got your beaver pelts? So sorry he's gone

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