Arkansas Trappers Association August 2009 Report

President — Gary Helms, 1092 Vanderbilt Rd., Texarkana, AR 71854; phone: 870-772-3834; e-mail:

Vice President — Aaron Hitchcock, 9331 Sister Ln., Mulberry, AR 72947; phone: 479-997-8401

Secretary/Treasurer — Karen Davis, 1350 Hwy 70 E, DeQueen, AR 71832; phone: 870-642-3674

NTA Director — Mike Fischer, 13823 Masoner Rd., Lonsdale, AR 72087; phone: 501-939-2325

Editor — Bill Fields, 543 Riverbend Rd.,
Mammoth Spring, AR 72554; phone: 870-625-7457; e-mail:

Membership Options:
• Individual membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Family membership with subscription — $25

Complete membership application on first page of
association section and send dues to:
ATA, Secretary/Treasurer
Karen Davis
1350 Hwy 70 E, DeQueen, AR 71832


It’s been a hot summer down here in the Southwest corner of the state. I hope everyone’s doing well and keeping cool.

We had our Spring Board-of-Directors meeting May 2. Despite the heavy rain, we had a good turnout and the meeting went well. Our annual convention is set for Sept. 11 & 12, 2009 at Petit Jean State Park. Terry Funderburk (501-984-5994) and Willard Watson (870-554-2376) are convention coordinators this year. If you can help out in some way, or have suggestions or need information on the event, you can check out the Web site or give one of them a call.

Wallace Funderburk (870-867-2642) is heading up the Trapper Education Workshop again this year. The dates are Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1, 2009 at Camp Clearfork. If you’re interested in attending, please make your reservations early. Our cut-off date for registering is Oct. 5, and I expect another “full house” this year. Please visit our Web site at or give Wallace a call for more information at 870-642-3674.

We have a tentative date of Jan. 30, 2010 for our fur sale. Randy Davis (870-642-3674) has agreed to be the Fur Sale Director again. He’s working out the details on the location and I’ll let you know when he lets me know. I’ll post additional information here on all of these events as we get closer to them.

Before I go, I want to mention what a great job the Southwestern Arkansas Fur Takers did hosting the Fur Takers of America national convention in Mena. If you didn’t get a chance to go, you missed a good one. I was only able to attend on Saturday (The only really hot day of the event). Everyone who worked their tails off to make it a success is to be congratulated for a job well done! I want to thank all of the people who worked at the ATA table selling merchandise and memberships, as well.

That’s it for now. See ya here next month!

— Gary Helms


I do believe that summer has arrived. According to my thermometer, two recent days have topped out at over 100 degrees. Of course, this is not a certified thermometer, but I feel that it is awfully close to being correct. That’s certainly a warm temperature for the month of June.

With all the rain that we have been blessed with this spring, fishing has been good. Everyone who fishes often that I have talked to has given good reports. My brother came over from Fayetteville this past week and we fished Spring River for a couple of days, doing really good on catfish and smallmouth bass. We also caught three walleyes. I have heard of a lot of walleyes being caught lately.

Folks fishing Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes have been catching walleyes as have those fishing Spring River. I know of one smallmouth bass being caught out of Crooked Creek just last week that weighed in at 7.2 pounds. If that fish had been caught a month earlier before it spawned, it probably would have broken the state record that has held since 1969.

That record weight stands at 7.5 if I remember correctly. This is a record that my brother and I have been trying to break. My three most enjoyed endeavors are trapping, turkey hunting and fishing for smallmouth bass. I guess though that I should include a fourth; looking for ginseng. You can see that I certainly have things to keep me busy since retiring.

The muskrat numbers seem to be increasing nicely on Spring River after being really down last season. The big flood that we had last spring really did a number on them. The Outfitters on the river tell me that the flood that occurred in 1982 did the same thing, but the muskrat numbers bounced back in a couple of years. I am sure that in the surrounding area that a mother otter raises her young, the ’rats really take a beating. Over the last two or three years, I have noticed an increase in the number of ’rats that I have caught with noticeable tail injuries. My own personal belief is that otters do this while playing or perhaps teaching the young to catch ’rats and not all ’rats are killed, some escaping with injuries.

I was able to attend The FTA Rendezvous at Mena and although I was only there for one day (Saturday), I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of great demos. It was a great facility for the affair and things went smoothly. I would like to congratulate those in charge of putting the thing together.

A great job guys. This was the first time that I had attended an NTA event and I really enjoyed it. I finally got to meet up with Morris Fenner. He and I had corresponded back and forth for several years and he was instrumental in teaching me to put up numbers of otter instead of maybe one a season and I cannot thank him enough. I really enjoyed getting to finally meet him and hear his stories of catching those “high dollar” lynx ’cats. Thanks “Mo” for your friendship and your help on taking those otter.

I finally received my result from NAFA and although disappointing, was gladdened by the fact that they were able to sell most things at some price. I was able to get another “Top Lot” on Muskrat. That means that I have only failed once in the last six years and I am proud of that.

— Bill Fields

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