President — John Whitfield, PO Box 1989, Keystone Heights, FL 32656; phone: 352-475-1904; e mail: email@example.com
Vice President — Dane Dwyer, 426 East End Rd., San Mateo, FL 32187; phone: 386-325-9642, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary/Treasurer — Carol Lokken, 7047 Spinnaker Blvd., Englewood, FL 34224; phone: 941-475-1206; e-mail: email@example.com
NTA Director — George Dykhuizen, 8110 Casa De Meadows Dr., Englewood, FL 34224; phone: 941-697-7634; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site: www.FloridaTrappers.org
• Family membership, including subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $25
• Associate membership (without magazine) — $15
• Lifetime membership (without magazine) — $100
• Lifetime membership with two year subscription — $125
Complete membership application on first page of association section, and send dues to:
7047 Spinnaker Blvd.
Englewood, FL 34224
OUTGOING PRESIDENT’S REPORT
First of all, a hearty Congratulations to our new president, Cody Sikes and to our new vice president, Bill Crowder. Cody and Bill are two mighty fine trappers, who are skilled and passionate and they really have a heart for our trapping heritage. The Florida Trappers and Fur Hunters Association is in good hands.
And a special thanks to Terry Mayne, who stepped in and served as VP this past year. Carol Lokken has remained on board as our Sec/Treas., and is the glue that holds us all together.
Great job, Team.
We just held our 30-Year Celebration Rendezvous — Sept. 25, 26 and 27 — at Dave Enfinger’s farm, near Chipley, FL, and we had a blast.
With over 70 trappers and their families attending, a good time was had by all. Many trappers camped out right there at the farm, some camped at nearby Falling Waters State Park and others stayed in the local hotels in the area.
We got started off Friday night with a great, informative demonstration by Ron Braxton on snaring. Ron has snared hundreds of beavers and other furbearers and he passed a lot of tips and know-how.
Then we had a hot dog supper/wiener roast and the younger trappers tried their hand at target shooting cans tossed from an “aluminum can launcher.” The young trappers had a great time target shooting.
As Friday ended, the darkness came and the tall tales started up. These unscripted sit-around-the-fire conversations are terrific. You always learn from other trappers.
Saturday morning started off with lots of coffee and donuts, followed by a full morning of demos and seminars. Bo Carlton did a great job on Cage Trapping, followed by biologist John Dunlap on Wildlife Diseases. Next was Mike Townson on Gang Sets and Blending Traps. And, for our beginning and newer trappers, George Dykhuizen held an informative Orientation for Beginning Trappers. Each demo was well received and valuable for our trappers.
At noon, we all enjoyed a great chicken dinner with all the trimmings. It was a great time of fellowship and interacting with fellow trappers. After lunch, we had our annual membership meeting where Carol conducted a financial report and our 2009 new officers were elected.
Then, the highlight of the day, our annual auction. Many trappers, vendors, trade associates and FTA supporters had donated items for sale at our biggest fundraising event of the year.
The auction was a ton of fun, and a rousing success. Coupled with some gifts and donations, the raffle and the sale of our logo’d merchandise, we raised right at $2,000 for the day. A big thanks to all who gave, supported or participated in the auction. And Dave Enfinger was fun to watch as he led the auctioneering.
The winner of the grand prize for the raffle was Mike Townson, who will, no doubt, really enjoy owning and using that classic, custom made knife!
After the auction, some of our trappers shot skeet, the kids played several games and we had our Chili Cook Off, with the Best Chili award going to George Dykuizen. He won a beautiful, dutch oven set, ready for camping.
Then we lit the bonfire, relaxed and listened to the Swiftwater singing group, with Al Webb, and heard a great mix of country, bluegrass and good old fashioned songs. Amazingly, while the group was singing “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” it started raining. We all ran up under the pavilion pole barn and enjoyed the rest of the songs. A super evening.
We broke camp Sunday morning and all headed back home loaded with a ton of ideas, plans, a passionate spirit for our heritage and a host of both new friends made and old acquaintances renewed.
It was a great Rendezvous. A special thanks to all the team who assisted in putting it all together — Ronnie, John and Heywood Braxton, Eric Rice, Colon Ward, Mike and Kelly Townson, Terry Mayne, George Dykhuizen, Bo Carlton, Randy Engleman, John Dunlap, Cody Sikes, Bill Crowder, David Smith and Carol and Len Lokken.
And our greatest appreciation goes out to Dave and Judy Enfinger — our host for the occasion. Thanks for opening up your farm and lands to us all. Your hospitality was superb.
It was a grand weekend. Can’t wait until next year!
It has been a pleasure serving as president the past two years. Thanks for all your help and support.
All the best for a terrific trapping season this year.
— John Whitfield
And as Swiftwater sang and serenaded us into the sunset, we all agreed “it was the best.” And, yes, we say that every year. And we expect we will be saying it each year for years to come. It felt more like a family reunion than a Rendezvous. And we certainly celebrated our 30 years. Fellowship, fun and foolishness seemed to be the theme. Information, education and networking were definitely in abundance. And the food, well, I’m still stuffed!
As promised, we held a “sell it til it’s gone” sale on some of our promotional merchandise. All of the mugs and t-shirts quickly sold out. We have a few patches left. We unveiled our newest promotional item: a front license plate featuring a picture of a bobcat with our FL Trappers & Fur Hunters Association around it, along with our Web site address across the bottom. These were a hot item at $15 each. We are still selling our hats at $13 and window decals at $6. Anyone interested in making a purchase, please e-mail or phone for information and shipping prices.
We signed up five new members, one who became our 36th Lifetime member, and renewed two memberships. A warm welcome and thank you goes out to these new and continuing members. We handed out many membership applications and we expect to see those in the mail in the next few weeks. With only a couple more months left in this calendar year, we are still hoping our members will sign up new members and take advantage of our gift card incentives. Some of you only have one or two more to sign up!
Our annual auction was extremely successful. The variety of donated items was just that, a variety. And everything sold, even the “kissing booth.” I suspect the “kissing booth” will be up for auction next year. We’ll see. The proceeds from the auction, memberships, raffle and promotional items sale earned us $2,000. So, it was a great Rendezvous.
I would like to take this time to thank the men and women who made it such a fantastic weekend. Honestly, I think I’d have to thank a great majority of the membership, so I’m not sure where to begin or where to end. I’ll say it again, it felt like a family reunion. The kindness, warmth, generosity and love of everyone who attended was overwhelming. It was a pleasure to meet new friends, put faces with names of those I’d not met yet, and spend time with old ones. And I can promise you next year will be just as wonderful. So… THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR A FANTASTIC RENDEZVOUS AND 30-YEAR CELEBRATION!!!
One last note. I mentioned Swiftwater in my opening sentence. This is a wonderful group of singers and musicians who provided us with wonderful songs and fun as we closed out our busy day. Please check them out at www.swiftwater.us.
— Carol Lokken
NTA DIRECTOR’S REPORT
The National Trappers Association is a non-profit organization committed to defending and promoting the safe and ethical harvest of furbearing mammals and the preservation and enhancement of their habitat. Fifty one state trapper organizations, including the Florida Trappers and Fur Hunters Association, make up the core of this national organization. The NTA is internationally recognized and has established itself as the largest trapping organization in America. It is recognized by legislators, media, outdoor writers and wildlife management agencies.
Most of the out-of-state members of our Florida Trappers Association are already members of the NTA, and over half of the resident Florida trappers have joined up. If anyone else is interested in supporting trapping by becoming members of the NTA, memberships are available for one year at $30, or two years at $55. Simply send your check or money order to: NTA, 2815 Washington Ave., Bedford, IN, 47421. Be sure to specify your complete name and mailing address, as well as your birth date. In turn, you will receive a complete membership packet.
— George Dykhuizen