The NTA Convention is a priceless resource for trappers
We’re in the dog days, and although trapping season isn’t as far away as it was, it’s still way off out there in the mists of the future. Too far off, certainly, to get excited about just yet.
But there are things going on that help us stay sane through the hot months. One of those things, of course, is the more or less unbroken string of regional, state and national conventions, rendezvous gatherings and trapper appreciation days that begins in May and continues into the cool weather of early fall.
The biggest of these trapper get-togethers is the annual convention of the National Trappers Association, and it’s happening right about the time you’re reading this — Aug. 1 to 4, at the Steele County Fairgrounds in Owatonna, Minn. If you haven’t been to a national convention before, you need to bite the bullet, scrape together the money and go. Even in this tough economy, it will be money well spent.
There are numerous advantages and reasons to be there. For one obvious thing, it’s the best place to stock up on the things you need for the coming season. There will be literally hundreds of vendors, most of them selling lures, baits, traps and other trapping supplies. Many of these dealers and manufacturers offer special convention pricing that’s cheaper than at any other place or time. It’s an excellent opportunity to compare prices between various dealers and find the best deals, and of course, you won’t have to pay any shipping charges, either.
In addition to the trapping supply folks, there’s always a liberal sprinkling of booths featuring tanned fur, wildlife art, animal calls, candy, other foodstuffs, handmade jewelry, clothing, decals, bumper stickers and the like. Name it, and you just might find it here.
Then there are the trapping demonstrations — 31 of them in all scheduled for this convention. These demos alone are worth the cost of coming to the convention since you get to listen to the tried-and-true techniques and secrets of a host of accomplished trappers from all over the country. Guys with names like Hess, Pedersen, Lariviere, Noonan, Jepsen, Hauser, Sullivan and Graham, plus a bunch of less-well-known (but just as deadly) local trappers.
In addition, both North American Fur Auctions and Fur Harvesters Auction have booths where they host free fur-handling demos throughout the convention. These demos show you how to do a better job of skinning and/or putting up fur. Sitting in on a few of these sessions will show you how to handle fur easier, shorten the time you spend in the fur shed and put more money in your pocket when you sell.
But as informational and valuable as the demos are, they don’t hold a candle to the knowledge to be gained from talking to the hundreds of other trappers you’ll encounter as you prowl the vendor buildings and tailgater streets. I’ve picked up more good stuff sitting around campfires and under shade trees at NTA conventions than I’ve learned from any other source. No matter what level of experience a trapper has, he can learn something at a convention and help another trapper or two learn something as well. None of us is as smart as all of us.
So what are you waiting for? Go. There’s still enough time between when this magazine arrives in your mailbox and the start of the convention for you to get packed and get to Owatonna.
See you there.
Jim Spencer, of Calico Rock, Ark., is executive editor of T&PC. To contact Jim, send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.treblehookunlimited.com.