Georgia Trappers Association June-July 2009

Georgia Trappers AssociationPresident — Earl Thompson,5079 High Rock Rd., Pitts, GA 31072;phone: 229-648-6475; e-mail: thomp@sowega.net

Vice President — Gary Newman, 1182 Hwy 107, Denton, GA 31532; phone: 912-375-3795

Correspondence Secretary — C.R. Benson, 139 Waterway Court, Macon, GA 31220; phone: 478-935-2940; e-mail: johnrick@pstel.net

Membership Secretary/Treasurer — Tommy Key, P.O. Box 1005, Pine Mountain, GA 31822; phone: 706-628-4686

Legislative Director — Gene Pritchett., 107 Seaboard Rd., Jesup, GA 31545; phone: 912-586-6905

NTA Director — Rusty Johnson, Rt. 1, Chula, GA 31733; phone: 229-382-2499

F.T.A. Director ­— C.R. Benson, 139 Waterway Court, Macon, GA 31220; phone: 478-935-2940; e-mail: johnrick@pstel.net

Executive Director — Wade Keys, 3158 East Fairview Rd., McDonough, GA 30252, phone: 770-388-7951

Membership Options:
• Regular membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $25
• Lifetime membership with subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $300

Complete membership application on first page of
association section and send dues to:
GTA, Membership Secretary/Treasurer
Tommy Key
P.O. Box 1005, Pine Mountain, GA 31822

CORRESPONDENCE SECRETARY’S REPORT

Why in the world do you trap beavers? A logical enough question I suppose, however the answer might not be so logical.

I was actually pondering that question recently as I waded across the neck of a farm pond after checking an empty trap.

Any other time, the question might not have even come up, but the preceding events made it inevitable. As I was making my way carefully through a minefield of sharp beaver-gnawed stobs near the trap I was checking, I mistepped and drove one of the stobs through the rubber boot foot of the chest high neoprene waders I was wearing. Normally that probably wouldn’t have been a big deal, but my wife was along and we had planned to go out to eat after checking these traps. So now I had to get back across the chest deep water of this upper pond neck without getting my clothes wet. As far as I could see, there was only one way to accomplish that particular task; off came the ruined waders, then all of my clothes which I wrapped into a compact bundle.

Leaving the waders on the ground and sucking in a big breath I stepped gingerly into the icy February water. Holding my clothes high over my head and blowing like some kind of fresh water whale with each step I made my way toward the opposite bank all the time pondering that opening question!

Actually, that wasn’t the first time I’d pulled that particular stunt. Way back when I first started trapping, I went to check some traps one afternoon after work and realized I’d left my waders at home. It seemed like a simple enough job to take off my boots and socks and pants and wade quickly across to check the trap and wade quickly back to the waiting clothes. I think that was the only time I’ve had to break ice with my bare feet.

As for trying to answer the question about trapping beavers, it’s a long story. In the late ’60s when I was first introduced to trapping by my friend J. K. Jones, the first traps I owned were #330 Conibears from F. C. Taylor and the first animals I caught were beavers. The furbuyer, Mr. J. A. Butler paid us $3 for them. I thought I’d struck gold!

Then in college I discovered trapping beavers was a way to gain access to land to hunt on and ponds to fish in. Gold of a different sort!

I can’t drive down the highway without keeping an eye out for beaver sign no matter how far away from home I might be. It might be I have a trace of mountain man blood coursing through my veins or maybe I just like the occasional bite of ice-cold water on bare feet and legs, but beaver trapping is in me through and through. And I reckon I’ll be chasing ’em as long as I can here on earth and continue in the Big Trapping Ground in the Sky!

— Steve Rainey

LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Here we are once again, spring has sprung, the birds are here, the fish are biting and its politics as usual in Georgia. It seems to me that the entire political structure within our government, from the House of Representatives to the President of the United States of America, is set up to serve only the common-good of all. In general, politics and politicians do very little to assist the individual. It doesn’t matter whether you voted for someone or not. I suppose right about now ya’ll are thinking “so this guy has finally figured out what we have known all along”…

I’ll tell you, it’s not that I have finally figured it out, it’s just that when you stick your nose repeatedly into something that just doesn’t smell quite right, it tends to have an effect on you after a while and it tends to frustrate me to no end. Alright, now that you have all allowed me to vent a bit, here is what’s going on…

The politicians have decided to further cut the state budget and they are looking very closely at DNR funding. In particular, funding of our WMA’s, Federal Lands and leased acreage. The House recommended a cut somewhere around $200,000. Then it went to the State Senate and they recommended a cut of $500,000.

All in all, it looks like it could have the potential to effect up to 14 WMA’s or even more by the time they finish deciding that the sportsmen of Georgia don’t need land to hunt as much as the state needs our money for other things. I called the office of Casey Cagle, Lt. Governor. Spoke with a very nice young man that treated me like an idiot because I called to voice my opinion to the Lt. Governor’s Office about something that effects us all as sportsmen. It’s my guess that they have probably been inundated with calls concerning this issue. I don’t mean to sound sarcastic about all of this or like I have an attitude concerning politics.

Well, I guess I do in a way to an extent, but for the most part, I do understand the process and most of how it works. I know the little man can be forgotten in the end very easily and usually is. It’s unfortunate that the system has become what it is.

Of course, you have to keep in mind that we are in a recession and cut backs do occur. I also know that once something is lost, it becomes especially difficult to get it back, this is even more true when it comes to issues regarding sportsmen, hunting and fishing. We are fortunate to have a long heritage in this state of hunting, fishing and trapping. Hopefully, as we move forward from these days of cutting back, we will once again get back what we have lost. I do believe it will not happen without the voices of men and women being heard. If we sit back and do nothing, those we put in office will not be doing it for us unless they hear what it is exactly that we want. Think about all of this and decide for yourself what you are willing to give up and what you’re not.

Let your politicians know how you feel. Nobody likes to step into a big fresh cow-patty, but you have to admit that at times like this, it’s better than the alternative. Getting active in letting your representatives know where you stand on the issues can be a big first step, but once you take it, the rest is a piece of cake. The Camo Coalition, as I mentioned in last month’s article, is a great first step to take. They make it easy to have your voice be heard. Go to their Web site and sign-up for the free alerts, you will be surprised at what all is coming down the pike that directly effects you.

While I have your attention, I wanted to mention that it is looking like hunting and fishing license sales will be changing to biennial, we will only have to buy them every-other- year. I will let you know more on this as the information comes available.

Catch plenty of fish, breathe as much clean air as you can and enjoy the springtime. Fill that freezer with fish and call me when you plan to cook some, only kidding about that.
Please continue to keep our servicemen and women in your thoughts and prayers. They are truly doing a heroic job.

Best regards.

— Ted Gustin

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