Arkansas Trappers Association February 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


I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I also hope your trapping season has gone well so far. Equipment failure has plagued me, from trucks to four-wheeler. Still, I’ve managed to get a few traps out and have enjoyed every minute of it. I guess no matter how much planning you do. There’s always going to be something happen that you can’t prepare for. That’s how it usually works for me, anyway.

Like everything else, it seems the fur market is being effected by the current recession. I’m not going to let it get me down. I’m going to trap as often as I can, enjoy spending time outdoors with my family, sell my fur for what it brings this year, and hope things improve next year.
Our Fur Sale will be at the Pope County Fairgrounds in Russellville, Ark. on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009. The address is 517 Knoxville. The host motel is the Quality Inn (formerly Comfort Inn). The name has changed since last year, but it is the same motel and location. The address is 3019 E. Parkway Drive (I-40, Exit 84). For reservations, call 479-967-7500. Let them know that you are with the Arkansas Trappers Association. The rate is $58.49. By now, everyone that reserved a lot number should have received their number in the mail. If you have a low number, please make sure you’re there at the beginning of the sale. If you’re not there when your number is called, you’ll be skipped and sent to the end of the line.
Sale Schedule

6:30 a.m. — Doors will open. Anyone who does not have a lot number may obtain one at this time by paying their $10 deposit. A checklist, lot tags and lot forms may be picked up inside.

7 a.m. — Lots 1-15 may begin bringing fur into the building. We will post on a dry wipe board when other lots should be brought in. DO NOT BRING FUR IN UNTIL YOUR NUMBER IS POSTED! Exception — Otters and bobcats must be brought temporarily to the AGFC table to get CITES tags.

8 a.m. — Sale will begin.

Sale Guidelines

1) There is a maximum of 27 sub-lots per seller. For example, if you receive lot #15, you may 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 cent charge per sub-lot.

3) Each sub-lot may 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 may be bundled together. Each sub-lot may 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 otters. 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 may 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 tag 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. (No more than five green beavers or otters or 10 green ’coons should be bundled together.) There may be several bundles in a sub-lot.

5) Fill out lot forms and lot tags. Each lot form must be filled out completely, since each could end up with a different buyer.

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 percent)
– Pay sub-lot fees (25 cents 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 number, 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.

There will be several ATA Directors on hand to assist sellers and answer questions. Just inquire at the secretary’s table. If everyone pitches in and helps with moving fur and cleaning up, the sale should move along smoothly and quickly. If you have any questions or need additional info, contact myself or Fur Sale Manager Randy Davis at 870-642-3674.

Hope to see ya there!

— Gary Helms


Today is Dec. 21 and is a cold winter day. So cold in fact, I hesitated to vacate the warmth of the bed earlier this morning because when you are retired, you can do that sort of thing without creating too much of a problem. There are traps to check though, and I must use steaming oatmeal and hot coffee to get the old body in working mode, but that doesn’t mean that I have to rush it.

After seeing the recent reports on the expected prices for our furs this season, my motivation seems to be in low gear. I believe that next season should really be good, but I am afraid that this one is going to be a bummer. Our economy here in Arkansas is not as bad as most states, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. Our jobless rate is well below the national average, but everyone I know is struggling to make ends meet.

I agree whole heartily with what Jim Spencer said in his recent editorial in The Trapper. We do need to do our part to keep the fur industry alive. We need to keep trapping to keep our heritage alive and create interest to others. We also do a good thing in keeping the numbers down on certain species to curtail the damage that happens from overpopulation. We as trappers know first hand how much better it is to utilize a resource instead of wasting it to starvation or disease. When overpopulation occurs and there is too much competition for the available food, the animal becomes weak and diseases that wouldn’t affect a healthy animal will wipe them out.

Now is a good time to experiment on some of those sets that you have been intending to try. Or perhaps, trying your hand at finishing your own fur for the first time. Since it’s probably not going to be worth as much then you don’t have as much to loose. The only way that you are ever going to learn is to pick up that fleshing knife and get started. It’s one of those things that just gets easier as time goes by; the more you do it the easier it gets. Who knows? It just might come natural to you, and you will wonder why you waited this long to try it out.
If you feel that you just can’t do it without help then our Trapper’s Workshop, which is held each October, is very helpful in getting you started; hands-on help is given and I will guarantee that you will come away with the feeling that you have certainly gotten your money’s worth. I did not get a chance to attend the Workshop this fall, but I have heard that it was a really a good one.

I had a chance to visit with Aaron Hitchcock and his family over the Thanksgiving holiday. They were visiting Seth and Jamie and the older daughter was with them with her new baby girl. If you see Aaron or his wife, ask them about their grandbaby. They have a right to be proud because she is a little “cutie.”

The White River Toe Pinchers met on the second Thursday this month because Charlie Bass had a trapping program scheduled on the first Thursday. He said that he had a good turnout and I am happy that he put it on because we need all of the public relations on trapping that we can get.

I just talked to Charlie on the phone and we decided to have our January meeting on the second Thursday because the first one is New Years day.

All that I have for now.

— Bill Fields

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