Arkansas Trappers Association February 2010 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


Happy New Year! 2009 is finally behind us and we can look ahead to a brighter year. Seriously, can things get any worse? I hope everyone’s season is going well. If you’re trapping, you’ve probably noticed less competiton in your area this year. When fur prices drop, and there’s little to no profit to be had, those that are in it just for the money quickly drop out of sight.

When that happens, all that’s left are those that trap for the love of trapping, those that have it in their blood, and enjoy being out there running traps and can’t wait to round the corner and see if anything’s waiting on them in the next set. The REAL trappers also understand the importance of controlling populations of furbearers. For these men and women, and boys and girls, the paycheck at the end of the season is secondary. It’s only a bonus for doing something they’ve enjoyed doing for the past three months. Deer hunters and duck hunters don’t do it for the money, and if someone tells you they’re not going to trap because there’s no money to be made, then they’re not a REAL trapper.

The ATA is primarily made up of REAL trappers that enjoy trapping, and working to promote it and educate the general public about it, while passing on the tradition and teaching the next generation to love it as much as we do. These are the type of people I want to be surrounded by, and the reason I first joined the ATA. I’m stepping down from my soap box now. It just makes me so darn mad when people tell me they’re not trapping because there’s not enough money in it for them. On the upside though, it does open up more territory for the rest of us.

One of the benefits of being an ATA member is the annual fur sale. The ATA reserves a building, hires an auctioneer, tries to get as many fur buyers to come to the sale as possible, and works their tails off to make the whole thing run smoothly. We do this to provide our members with a place to bring their furs and get a fair price for all of their hard work. The deadline has passed for reserved lot numbers. Info for obtaining those was included in last month’s report. However, anyone can still come and sell their fur at our sale.

Here’s all of the information you need:

2010 Fur Sale
Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010
National Guard Armory
1717 Airport Rd. Russellville, Arkansas
Sponsored by Arkansas Trappers Association

Host Hotel: The Comfort Inn, 3019 E. Parkway Dr., I-40 & Exit 84, Russellville, AR. (For Reservations call 479-967-7500. For a group rate, let them know you are with the ATA).

The sale will proceed as follows:

6:30 a.m. — We will begin issuing lot numbers at the front door for those of you who do not already have one reserved. You must pay the $10 deposit before you will be issued a lot number. A checklist, lot tags and lot forms can be picked up inside at the secretary’s table.

 7 a.m. — Lots 1-15 can begin bringing fur into the building. We will post on a dry wipe board when other lots should be brought in. Do not bring in fur until your number is in the range posted. Exception – otters and bobcats must be brought temporarily to the AGFC table to get CITES tags.

 8 a.m. — The auction will begin.

Sale Guidelines:

1) There is a maximum of 27 sub-lots per seller. For example, if you receive lot #15, you can label tags and forms with the following sub-lot numbers: 15,15A 15B 15C,…15X,15Y and 15Z.

2) There is a 5 percent commission on the total selling price of your fur as well as a 25¢ charge per sub-lot.

3) Each sub-lot can contain as many furs of one species as you wish to sell simultaneously. No more than five green beaver or otter OR 10 green raccoon can be bundled together (for weight reasons). Each sub-lot can contain several bundles.

4) If you wish to reject a bid (PO – pull out), you must do so before the fur leaves the auction table.

5) A representative of the AGFC will be available to issue CITES tags for bobcats and otter. You must bring these furs to their table to get the tags. Untagged otters and bobcats will NOT be sold.

6) Sellers must be ATA members. Anyone desiring membership can acquire it at the ATA table.

7) No “outside deals” (selling privately or not across the auction table). The only exception is deer hides and antlers. All fur will go across the auction table for all buyers to bid on. Violators may be banned from future ATA events.

Fur Sale Checklist:

1. Upon arrival – get lot #, if you have not already been assigned one.

2. Pick up lot tags and lot forms.

3. Get CITES tags for otters and bobcats. You must bring these furs to the AGFC table to get these tags.

4. Decide how you will group your furs into sub-lots. Each seller may have up to 27 sub-lots: For example, if you draw lot #15, label your forms and tags as 15, 15A, 15B, 15C, . . . , 15X, 15Y, and 15Z.

• Only one species per sub-lot.

• Similar size/quality may be grouped together.

• Bundle multiple furs within a sub-lot.

• Each sub-lot can contain as many furs of one species as you wish to sell simultaneously. No more than five green beavers or otters OR 10 green raccoons can be bundled together. Each sub-lot can contain several bundles.

5. Fill out lot forms and lot tags.

6. Return completed forms to the ATA secretary/treasurer ASAP.

7. Monitor dry-wipe board, which will indicate when furs should be brought into the building.

8. Seller is responsible for getting his/her fur to the auction table.

9. Observe the sale of your fur. If you wish to reject a bid (PO – pull out), you must do so immediately, before the fur leaves the auction table.

10. After your lots have sold, you will return to the secretary’s table: (Wait at least 15 minutes to allow for processing of forms.)

• Pay commission (5%).

• Pay sub-lot fees (25¢ per sub-lot).

• Receive your copy of lot forms to take to each buyer’s table in order to receive payment for your furs.

11. Group your forms by buyer #, which is located in the upper right-hand corner of the form.

12. Circulate to each buyer’s table. Show them your forms so that they can complete your transaction.

Don’t forget to bring your Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Customer ID# (license # if no ID). You’ll need it to fill out your forms and get your bobcats and otters tagged. Please remember to fill out your forms completely. We try to post prices seperately for green and dry fur, but couldn’t last year because too many people neglected to check the boxes on their forms. We’ll be glad to assist anyone that needs some help filling them out correctly.

I was very proud of the way everyone pitched in and helped with set-up, tear-down and clean-up at last year’s sale. It went very smoothly, and I hope to see the same amount of help this year. Please don’t wait to be asked. If you’re available to help, let one of the directors know. We certainly appreciate it! I want to remind our directors that we’ll have a board meeting on the Friday night before the sale on Saturday morning. Your letter from Karen will have all of the details. Please try to attend.

In case of bad weather (snow or ice), please contact Randy Davis at 870-642-3674 or Gary Helms at 870-772-3834 for information about re-scheduling. There should be information on our Web site, as well at

 Hope to see all of you there!

— Gary Helms


I hope everyone is having an enjoyable season and you all are sharpening the old skinning knife a bunch. I haven’t hit it real hard, but have caught enough critters to keep me busy taking care of them. Right now I am behind on my skinning, but am hoping to catch up tomorrow. I have been targeting muskrats and otters, but catching a few ’coons and ’possums, hoping to make a few bucks off of them.

Our winter has hit us with some pretty cold nights and that is just par for the course here in Arkansas. The wind has been a factor to deal with lately. John Moore and I have teamed up to work a beaver complaint on a lake and the last couple of days of checking, the wind has certainly been a factor, but we have preserved. He and I have talked of teaming up for some time now and I am glad that we finally did it.

Those of you that have membership dues coming up, those dues are climbing up a couple of bucks. Regular membership w/ Trapper is now $22 instead of $20. Let’s try to keep our memberships up so that our Association will remain strong.

The fur market is still very weak, but those of us that are up in years can remember that there were other years when it was weak and it has always rebounded. Sometimes it takes quite a while. Back in the mid-’80s when it crashed, I remember thinking, “ I’ll never see $36 ’coons again in my lifetime,” but three years ago, I had some bring $41 at NAFA. Right now, it’s just a waiting game on a world market. Remember, the Chinese are still learning how to process our beavers and I believe that in two or three years, beaver will become a good-money fur.

We finally had some people show up for our December meeting of the Toe Pincher’s Chapter. We took care of some business and discussed of maybe giving away another gun as a fundraiser for the association. Jim Spencer and Charlie Bass agreed to check on prices and report at our January meeting. All for now.

— Bill Fields

Related Posts

  • No Related Posts Found

Leave a Reply