Dana R. Johnson, Sr., 77, known locally as “The Creature Catcher,” died at his home in Wells surrounded by his wife and children on Feb. 28, 2023.

Dana was born May 19, 1945, to Raymond and Beatrice (Hutchins) Johnson. His mother died when he was 8 and he grew up in the Turbat’s Creek area of Kennebunkport. He attended Kennebunkport schools and graduated from Kennebunk High School in 1963. He went lobstering as a boy and always had a boat or two. He was 2 years old during the ’47 forest fire and for safety was taken with his sister to Monhegan Island where his mother was from. He said he remembered getting sick on the boat going over.

After high school, Dana began working as a carpenter, then was drafted into the Army. He also started a family with his wife Carol. They had three children together, divorcing after 12 years. In 1980, he met his current wife, Cindy, and they enjoyed 40 years of marriage.

Dana was a skilled carpenter and builder, having built many houses in the Kennebunk area. In 1996 he and Cindy bought 16 acres in Wells. Together they designed and he built their current home. He said that after all the houses he had built, it was the only one he had ever built for himself. He cut over 50 trees from the property, sawed the logs at his father-in-law’s sawmill and used the boards in building the house. He eventually bought a portable sawmill of his own and built a fur shed, lumber drying shed and sugar house, a cluster of buildings that his wife called, “Dana’s Village.” He was a real craftsman when working with wood and created many unusual pieces.

Dana spent the majority of his time outdoors, whether hunting, fishing, trapping, gardening, or boating. He was an outdoorsman to the core. He spent a lot of time up north hunting and fishing, but especially trapping while staying in the family camp on West Lake. He knew all the dirt roads and where all the animals were.

After 30 years of carpentry, Dana started a new venture in animal damage control. Known as the “Creature Catcher,” he live-trapped and relocated nuisance wild animals. For 17 years he worked from Kittery to Biddeford solving animal problems for homeowners and businesses.


Among his clients, he trapped dozens of woodchucks out of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery and also trapped muskrats and foxes at Walker’s Point for the Bush Family. Unfortunately, during this time, Dana contracted Lyme disease more than once. He was featured on Channel 6 by Vivian Leigh for her piece on Lyme disease.

Due to his passion for animals, trapping, and learning, Dana became very involved with the Maine Trappers Association, serving as vice president two years, then as president for 10 years. He became a trapping education instructor in 1996 and gave countless hours to educating about Maine furbearers and trapping, whether at Acton Fair, Fryeburg Fair, 4-H clubs, and the Maine Justice Academy. He worked closely with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, as well as the Maine Warden Service and received many awards.

Retiring from the Creature Catcher business in 2012, Dana soon found another passion, maple sugaring. He bought his first evaporator, then began inventing better and more efficient ways of operating. Dana was a creative inventor, often inventing unique ways of doing things.

Dana was very courageous when faced with the triple diagnoses of lymphoma, lung cancer and Parkinson’s Disease. He never complained, enduring all the appointments, tests and treatments.

Dana is survived by his wife of 40 years, Cindy; his son Jeff and wife Penny; his son Hank (Dana Jr.) and wife Roxanne; and his daughter Becky and her husband Shawn Hamelin; his mother-in-law, Rita Drew; his sister Carmen and husband Henry Wildes of Augusta; also five grandchildren and their families, including 10 great-grandchildren, as well as his nephews Russell Wildes and wife Judy and Henry (Junior) Wildes and wife Sharon.

Visiting hours will be held on Monday, March 6, 2023, from 5-7 p.m. at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 111 Chapel Road in Wells. A Memorial Service will take place at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, also at Bibber Memorial Chapel in Wells with a reception following at the Wells Elks Lodge on Bald Hill Road, in Wells.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the York County Chapter of the Maine Trappers Association, c/o Joe Young, PO Box 222, North Berwick, ME 03906.

To share a memory or leave a message of condolence please visit Dana’s Book of Memories Page at www.bibberfuneral.com.

Arrangements are in the care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, 111 Chapel Road, Wells, ME 04090.

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