Arkansas Trappers Association August 2012 Report

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

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

Secretary/Treasurer — Rocky Weeks, P.O. Box 987, Cabot, AR 72023; 501-259-3610;

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

Editor — Mark Alexander, P.O. Box 1681, Greenwood, AR 72936; 479-310-0692;


Membership Options:

• Individual membership including subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $22

• Family membership with subscription — $27


Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:

ATA, Secretary/Treasurer

Rocky Weeks

P.O. Box 987

Cabot, AR 72023



I want to start this report with a BIG THANK YOU! to all of the volunteers that helped make the 9th annual National Trappers Association Southeast Regional Convention a success! Volunteers from every district in the State showed up and pitched in to make this the best NTA Southeast Regional Convention I’ve yet to attend! We had a few things working against us, high gas prices, the threat of severe weather, and opening weekend of a very short turkey season in Arkansas! Yet, attendance was good, and we had plenty of help to pull it off and make it a great convention. I’m very thankful for EVERYONE’S help, but there are a few volunteers that I feel deserve special recognition. Randy and Karen Davis Rounded up a huge smoker and spent all day Friday cooking chicken and brisket for everyone, along with Joey Morris. They were able to get some of the meat donated, but purchased some of it themselves. The meal donations brought in $722.00. Randy handed all of it over to the ATA. He told me to consider their out-of-pocket expenses a donation to the ATA. Several of our ATA ladies cooked up side dishes and deserts and made tea for the meal, as well. The meal was delicious, and proved to be a great fundraiser for our association. We also raffled off a Dunn knife while folks waited in line, and raised a few more dollars! Another member deserving a special shout-out is Danny Ross. Danny was one of the very first to approach me and volunteer to help at this convention. Danny injured himself and dislocated his shoulder at work on Friday, but still showed up with his entire Boy Scout Troop from Hot Springs on Friday night. He spent Friday and Saturday nights sleeping in a tent at the fairgrounds, when he should have been at home in bed. His Scout Troop did all that was asked of them and more! Thank You Danny for bringing the boys to Russellville to help us, when it would have been much easier on yourself to call the trip off and stay home. Dub Shankle and crew did an outstanding job setting up the demo area. Dub hauled his tractor to the fairgrounds, set up the demo area, dismantled the demo area, then hauled his tractor back home. Dub also hauls a huge trailer loaded with trapping supplies, so this was no simple job. It required several trips and a lot of time! Thanks Dub! I can’t tell you how proud it makes me feel to belong to an association made up of so many caring people just like these! I could name several more that went above and beyond, but don’t have room here to list them all. Please know that your attendance and help were very much appreciated!

As you’re aware, the association voted to go to Districts at our annual convention at Petit Jean in September. Since that time, several Districts have held meetings and signed up many new members. There has also been a few members, however, that have questioned the legality of our vote. At our Spring Board Meeting on March 31st, 2012 it was decided that we will revote (have a do-over, if you will) on the District Proposal amendment to the by-laws at this year’s convention on Saturday, September 8th at Petit Jean. It appears that we may not have had all of our i’s dotted and t’s crossed at the last vote. I assure you that will not be the case in September. Around the 1st of August, our Secretary will send a letter out to the membership with details on exactly what is to be voted on. Read it carefully, and make sure you understand it before voting. At this time, only verified members in attendance at the meeting will be given a ballot and be allowed to vote. Memberships will be available at the door. Whether your vote is to move forward with Districts, or leave things as before with Chapters, YOU MUST ATTEND THIS MEETING FOR YOUR VOTE TO COUNT!

I would like to share with you a little bit of history on this issue. Missouri has Districts in their State, as many States do, and each year the annual convention is moved to a different District. While attending the Missouri Trappers Convention in Sept. 2009, a young couple came up and stood beside me and watched a man give a coyote trapping demo. Afterwards, the young man asked to look at the trap. It was obvious that he had never had his hands on one before. I asked him if he was a trapper. He said no, but he was very interested in learning about it. I asked him how he had found out about the convention. He replied that he lived just up the road from the fairgrounds, and had read about it in the local paper. I introduced him and his wife to the Representative in that District. The young man learned that he had a local trapper who lived nearby and offered to help teach him to trap. I felt like the guy in the cartoons with the glowing light bulb over his head…I’VE GOT AN IDEA! Before the convention ended, I saw the young man and his wife carrying arm loads of traps and supplies to their car with a smile from ear to ear! I couldn’t help but smile myself. I immediately located some of our members at the convention, and shared my story with them. They seemed as convinced as I was that the ATA was missing out on something here, and should form Districts. At our Spring Board Meeting in 2010, I shared my story with the Board and let them think on it until September. At our Fall Board Meeting at Petit Jean 2010, we voted to take it before the General Membership and the members voted overwhelmingly to MOVE FORWARD WITH DISTRICTS! At the Spring Board Meeting in 2011, a committee was formed to come up with a District proposal. The committee presented their proposal to the Fall Board Meeting at Petit Jean 2011. The Board took it before the General Membership the next day and it passed. We should have gone ahead and voted to amend the by-laws to accommodate for Districts at that time, but didn’t. This is an issue we will be addressing in September, as well. For the members that voted in favor of the District proposal last September, I apologize to you for making you have to vote again. You did your part by passing it by a simple majority vote of the members in attendance, as stated in the by-laws. Your Board Of Directors, however, have decided that since the vote was so close, and there were so few people voting, that another vote will be taken at the Convention this year.

The ATA was formed in 1975. I began trapping in 1983. I didn’t find out about the ATA till ten years later, through the Trapper & Predator Caller magazine. To this very day, I still run into trappers who have never heard of the Arkansas Trappers Association. Clearly, our current method of operation is not reaching the majority of the people in this State. The AGFC Trapping Permits show that we are not making ourselves visible enough. While we have about 500 members, there are over 2,500 Trapping Permits issued each year! Not all trappers are going to join, but who knows just how many would love to be a part of this great Association of ours? I feel that active Districts will far exceed what Chapters have been able to do for the last 37 years. What do we have to lose by giving Districts a try? I’ve been told by a couple of people that Districts will be bad, and we should not go to Districts. Not one of these people have given me a reason why we shouldn’t. I can give several reasons why we should give Districts a try. (1) It would immediately put a member on the Board Of Directors from each section of the State. Instead of 3 or 4 members from one area having votes while some areas have none, it would give each area a voice and a vote. (2) Having meetings in each District makes the ATA more accessible to ALL members of the Association. (3) Having the annual Convention in a different District each year exposes us to new potential members. (4) Each District could hold smaller one day Workshops and educate more people. AGFC has asked us numerous times to do this, we just didn’t have an organized force throughout the State. The formation of Districts would achieve this goal. The bottom line here is NOTHING IS SET IN STONE! If we go to Districts and it doesn’t work out, all we have to do is vote to change it back. Is it not better to try and fail, than to have never tried?

One final note, my term as President ends in September, and I do not plan to run again. It has nothing to do with Districts. There have been changes in my life over the past year that have affected me personally and financially. I just need some time to step back and reassess things. I feel very honored to have been President of this Association for the last 4 or 5 years. The ATA is like a second family to me, made up of some of the best people in the World! I’m not going anywhere, I just feel the position deserves someone that can devote more time and energy to it than I’m able to give right now.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in September! — Gary Helms



Hello Arkansas Trappers, hope everyone is having a great summer. Most district and chapter activities are on summer break while a few others have had the occasion for picnics and meetings. District 5 and Central Arkansas Chapter had a potluck, demo’s and kids activities at Toad Suck Park back in June. Besides the potluck menu, Doug Henderson cooked a whole hog and Rocky Weeks made a “Dump Cake” for dessert. Heath Shaw would like to thank Doug, Mr. and Mrs. Rainey and all of the Central Arkansas Trappers who attended.

There’s another potluck coming up in September. This one happens to be right in the middle of the Arkansas Trappers Association 2012 Annual Convention which will be held on Friday, September 7, 2012 and Saturday, September 8, 2012 at the Recreation Hall at Petit Jean State Park. The Recreation Hall is north of the Visitors Center right next to Lake Bailey.

Admission to the convention is FREE to members and non-members. If you’re not a member of ATA or your membership has expired, you can become a member at the convention. ATA T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, cookbook and other merchandise will be for sale.

Friday night will start off the weekend with a meal at 6:30pm. The main course, side dishes and drink are supplied, just bring your appetite. A Board of Directors meeting will be held directly afterwards.

All day Saturday you can look forward to: Trapping Demonstrations, Kids and Ladies Activities, Vendors, Tailgaters, Potluck Lunch, 2012 General Business Meeting, Awards Ceremony and Auction.

Saturday Schedule of Events:

8:30am – Recreation Hall opens, vendors booths and tailgater area open for business

9:00am – Trapping Demonstration – Mike Fischer – Bobcat

10:00am – Trapping Demonstration – Tony Malone – Beaver

11:00am – Trapping Demonstration – Mink – Still looking for someone

12:00 noon – Potluck Lunch – ATA will provide the meat, paper products and plastic utensils. Everyone else please bring some sort of side dish and or dessert.

1:00pm – General Membership meeting

2:30pm (or following membership meeting) – Awards ceremony for Mr. and Mrs. Trapper and Trapper of the Year. Please be considering your nominations.

3:00pm (or following awards ceremony) – Auction of items donated by vendors and ATA members, proceeds go to ATA. During the auction there will be raffles from your door ticket and other raffle chances.

4:30pm (or following the auction) – Cleanup! We’ll need some volunteers to stack tables and chairs and cleanup the hall.

Mather Lodge reopened on May 8, 2012 after a $4.3 million renovation so all 24 guest rooms and other facilities at the lodge are now open. There are also 33 cabins available for rent and 125 campsites. Call 1-800-264-2462 for lodge and cabin reservations, 501-727-5441 for campground reservations. Nearby cities of Dardenelle, Russellvile and Morrilton may have hotel rooms available.

For more information contact convention coordinators: Dustin Lundsford – (870) 942-6944 or Charlie Bass – (870) 698-1154.

Members should be receiving a mailing in late July with info on the convention and registration information for the ATA Trappers Workshop. This year the workshop is October 26, 27 and 28, location is Camp Clearfork, 20 miles west of Hot Springs on US Hwy 270 W. If you are just starting out trapping or looking to sharpen your skills, the workshop will certainly help you out. Cost is $10 for under 18, $20 for age 19 and over. This covers lodging in a rustic cabin and your meals. You will need to bring your bedding for the cabins. First time attendee’s get priority on the cabins although there is a tent overflow area and other campgrounds close to Camp Clearfork.

Topics covered will be land trapping, water trapping, fur marketing, fur handling, ethics and safety, and more. Sponsors are Arkansas Trappers Association, Southwest Arkansas Fur Takers, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and North American Fur Auctions.

For more information, contact workshop coordinator Aaron Hitchcock at (479) 997-5361. Reservations must be received by Friday, October 12, 2012. Make Reservations Early, Space is Limited!

Trappers Workshop Registration Form

Name: ____________________________________

Age: ________

Address: __________________________________

City: ________________________State: ________

Zip: ____________

Phone: _________________________

Arrival: Fri PM ___ Sat AM ____

Have you previously attended an Arkansas Trappers Workshop? Yes ___ No ___

Will you be staying in cabins? Yes ___ No ___

Please list all names, ages and addresses in your group on a separate page

Mail reservations with check or money order to: Arkansas Trappers Workshop, c/o Aaron Hitchcock, 9331 Sister Lane, Mulberry, Arkansas 72947.

Hope to see you there! — Mark Alexander

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