President — Gene Pritchett, 107 Seaboard Road, Jesup, GA 31545; phone: 912-586-6905
Vice President — Gary Newman, 1182 Hwy 107, Denton, GA 31532; phone: 912-375-3795
Correspondence Secretary — Steve Rainey, 1923 Beattie Road, Albany, Ga 31707; phone: 229-449-9533
Membership Secretary/Treasurer — Tommy Key, P.O. Box 1005, Pine Mountain, GA 31822; phone: 706-628-4686
Legislative Director — Ted Gustin, 494 Eastside Drive, Thomaston, GA 30286; phone: 706-648-1951
NTA Director — Rusty Johnson, Rt. 1, Chula, GA 31733; phone: 229-382-2499
F.T.A. Director — 92 Rocky Point Road, Covington, GA 30014; phone: 404-402-2207
Executive Director — Chris Johnson, 2448 U.S. Hwy 411 S.E., Fairmount, GA 30139, phone: 706-337-5608
General Organizer — Teresa Keys, 3158 East Fairview Road, McDonough, GA 30252; phone: 770-388-7951
• Regular membership including subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $25
• Lifetime membership with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $300
Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:
GTA, Membership Secretary/Treasurer
P.O. Box 1005, Pine Mountain, GA 31822
CORRESPONDENCE SECRETARY’S REPORT
You know how you see hot coyote or otter sign and set a trap enthusiastically anticipating a first night catch? But unbeknownst to you that coyote or otter had lit out for the most distant part of its range and may not be back for a month, so you have to do without or anticipate its return longer. Well, just like trapping when sending in reports to the Trapper and Predator Caller timing is everything one day one side or the other can make a month of difference!
I think we have the timing figured out now so hopefully you won’t be “checking an empty trap” where the GTA report is supposed to be any more.
On the weekend of January 21 – 23 the GTA held its annual trapping competition at the Thomas Farm on the banks of the Flint River. This was my first time entering the competition but it certainly won’t be my last! The setting and accommodations were amazing enough, but the opportunity to be among like minded people and participate in the good natured competition made for a perfect weekend – wish it could have been a week – I was nowhere near ready to leave.
And I haven’t even mentioned the food! Sam Stowe and his amigos fed us three great meals a day that would have put many fancy caterers to shame.
Saturday morning after breakfast, the crowd set out with high expectations even with the temperature at a low 24 degrees. For some of us it didn’t take long to check our traps and we waited with anticipation as others returned and the fur pile mounted.
Sunday morning was a degree or two colder but that failed to dampen the spirits as everyone set out hoping for the kind of day that would put them over the top. As the trappers returned from their respective corners of the property and again the fur pile mounted the answer to the question of who would claim the title of winner slowly began to resolve itself. When Randy Zerwig pulled up and awed the crowd with his “hoochie mama” rendition of the “Zerwig Shuffle” a victory dance that left no doubt about the kind of morning he’d had it was all over. The fat lady had sung – loud and clear!
Randy claimed the title with 290 points. Chris Pope finished second with 250 points. Chris Lee and Cody Zerwig tied for third place with 190 points apiece. If everybody did everything with the excitement and enthusiasm that young Cody exhibits the world would be a better place! It’s been a lot of fun watching Cody grow-up in the GTA.
Thanks to everyone who helped plan and direct the competition and a special thanks to Dave McClintock for hosting the GTA at the Thomas Farm!
Prior to the tournament I was mixing some preservative with some “aged” bait. Guess my sniffer was busted because it didn’t seem that bad to me but when I came in and put my clothes straight in the washing machine when I turned around they were all on the floor. I had to hold the top down on the washing machine and put each piece back in one at a time. The washing machine was disgusted. Bon Appetite! Mr. Coyote!
— Steve Rainey
So you think you have bad neighbors. I had a fifteen year old non-trapper riding with me hoping some of the thrill of the trap-line would rub off on him. We’d already picked up a couple of coyotes (I was excited even if he wasn’t!) when we turned the corner in a field and there, illuminated by the early morning sun, was a huge bobcat and another coyote!
I’d made a double set with a dirt hole and a flat set and the traps were only about eight feet apart. The catch circles touched but did not overlap. Way too close for comfort for either critter. I’m reminded of a quote attributed to an old Indian by a writer in The Trapper back in the seventies. Referring to the relationship between the gray fox and the coyote the old Indian said “Fox and coyote heap, heap, heap bad friends.” That would probably sum it up for the coyote and the bobcat as well.
After I removed the critters from the traps my young friend asked a good question, “Which one do you think had the worst night?” I don’t know for sure but I bet the coyote tried to spend as much time as possible as far away from that cat as he could!
It’s the day after Christmas as I write this and our local paper has the total rainfall deficit for the year at FIFTEEN inches! Here’s a little something to think about: an inch of rainfall on one acre is equal to about 27,000 gallons of water. The 15 inches of rain we haven’t gotten equals 405,000 gallons of water for each acre! Extend that over the whole county or two or three counties and it’s no wonder I can’t find a place to set an otter trap!
I’ve gotten some really nice feedback from GTA members concerning this column and I want to take this opportunity to thank you. You have to want to read something mighty bad to brave the micro-font these reports are printed in!
We held our annual GTA Trapper’s Competition at the Thomas Farms on the the banks of the Flint River on the weekend of January 21 – 23. I’m going to include the results here and use next month to give more details. Randy Zerwig was the overall winner with 290 points (we may also talk about the “Zerwig Shuffle” in next months report!). Kris Pope was second with 250 points and Chris Lee and Cody Zerwig tied for third. Congratulations to those winners and thanks to everyone who helped to make it a successful and memorable weekend!
— Steve Rainey
GENERAL ORGANIZER’S REPORT
It’s just after the GA trappers 30th annual convention, so far this year I have made it to the southeast annual NTA convention, the 51st annual NTA national convention and the annual Georgia Trappers convention. Needless to say I am extremely excited as the season approaches. I have recently moved and had my trap shed relocated, my anticipation level is overwhelming this year all the conventions have really got me looking forward to the coming winter. I have built a new coyote holding pen over the summer and it’s big enough to hold 20-30 coyotes.
I have also bought a new mini truck to haul all of my trapping essentials, my trailer that I haul the mini truck from farm to farm is loaded with clean traps and ready to go, I’ve started boiling and waxing the few dirty traps left over from last season. I’ve talked to my trapping partner and made somewhat of a game plan as to where we will start. Rob has put in to have his job changed from train engineer to a yard job so he can transfer by the start of season and have his days free to trap.
All the internet forums are starting to stir with questions of how, why, and where to trap. Phone calls are coming in, “are you guys trapping for us this year” everyone it seems, is ready for us to start removing coyotes. Our calls go out to the fox pens to inquire of their stock and needs. It seems everything is falling into place, even the weather is calling for a cold, dry winter unlike the muddy mess we had last year, not to complain too much we had a decent catch and learned a lot about trapping in the mud and rain. Just one problem comes into play for this season it seems, my work has been very slow this year, I own a roofing company and with the lack of eastern storms my business has declined by 90% from last year.
The lack of work has me concerned with my finances for this winter, then the call comes in “big storm in Arizona, hundreds of thousands of homes damaged”, wow I see dollar signs in my head, and a lot of work for the winter, but no trapping what a predicament. I have done everything this year to prepare for the season, I’ve been to every major trapping event I could get to and BOOM two weeks before the season opens, mine comes to a dead stop. Could I have any worse luck? Sometimes you have to give up what you love to do for what you need.
I am going to miss the whole season including the GTA annual trapping competition. I’d give anything to be able to trap for a living, I guess I was born 100 years too late. I still hope everyone has the best trapping season ever, and to Rob and Sean, good luck and please keep the pictures and updates coming. It’s tough but I am living vicariously thru you guys and every text, call, or picture is a bitter sweet.
— Travis LeMay