Georgia Trappers Association February 2010 Report

Georgia Trappers Association

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

Membership Options:

• 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
Tommy Key
P.O. Box 1005, Pine Mountain, GA 31822

CORRESPONDENCE SECRETARY’S REPORT

2010 already! What happened to 2009? I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We wound up December with over 8 inches of rain and now we’re having the coldest weather of the season. I hope you remembered to put up plenty of dry dirt during the summer.

Whenever I see a gray fox dancing in a trap, I’m reminded of the first gray fox I ever caught. It was during the winter of 1969 at Onslow Beach, Camp Lejune, NC. I caught it in a #1 ½ Victor jump trap using bacon from the chow hall as bait. It was a very crude set, but there were lots of foxes and trapping was easy. Onslow Beach is actually an island, a narrow spit of land, separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway, with the ocean on one side and the waterway on the other, mainly sand dunes covered by shrubby growth inhabited by lots of skunks and gray foxes.

A friend of mine named Stahl, from Pennsylvania, and I set traps during the winter of ’70–’71 along the remote section of the island above our barracks. With nothing else to do, we’d sometimes check the traps during the night, then again in the morning! Our plan was to skin the foxes, dry the fur and let Stahl carry them to a buyer back home in PA.

A military base isn’t exactly set up for trapping and processing fur, so we had to do some jury rigging to make things work. For stretchers, we disassembled some wooden equipment boxes, replete with olive drab paint and yellow ID numbers, and whittled the boards to shape. Then there was the problem of a drying shed, which we solved by emptying out the contents of a wall locker out behind the barracks that was designated as a paint locker. We fully intended to replace the paint after the furs were sold. What we didn’t anticipate was a Commanding General’s inspection of the battalion area!

A Colonel from the Division Headquarters and his entourage plus some folks from our Battalion were making the rounds of the barracks and grounds when they came to the “paint locker” — our makeshift drying shed. Seeing the gallons of paint stacked outside the locker prompted the Colonel to question why, and of course no one could explain, so he opened the locker for a look. Seeing our furs he asked, “What’s this stuff?” The Corporal from our Battalion said “Oh, that’s Sergeant Rainey’s stuff.” According the Corporal, the Colonel replied “Well, it looks like he knows what he’s doing!” Then he closed the locker and walked away. Whew, close call!

Our annual trapping competition is just around the corner; hopefully we’ll have good weather and a good turnout. Until next time, good trapping!

— Steve Rainey

LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Hello Fellow Trappers,

It’s been a while since I have posted a report so I figured it was time. I’d like to take a moment to recognize the GTA Correspondence Secretary, Steve Rainey. Since taking his post as our Correspondence Secretary, Steve has consistently provided very timely articles for the Trapper & Predator Caller Magazine. He has done this without fail. His articles are always enjoyable as he shares personal experiences from his life that are factual, relate to trapping in one way or another and always contain humor. Steve, I’d like to thank you for what you do… and also thank you for your service to our country. It’s men like you that make the GTA a great organization.

I would like to inform everyone of some recent changes in the regulation of Commercial and Recreational Fishing. Some changes have been good and other changes, the most recent changes, will have a significant impact on Recreational Saltwater Fishing. The way I understand it, states have some control and the federal government has the majority of control when it comes to fishery harvests. The feds have the main say, but states can further control but not reduce federal regulation. It all started some years ago when the powers that be implemented a reduction on the redfish harvest. Not only did they reduce the limit, but also implemented a slot limit. Now, fishermen can only keep two Redfish between the lengths of 19 and 27 inches. This change has resulted in a thriving redfish fishery with lots of keepers available.

I believe this change was for the better, but it was a hard one to swallow. Then came limit reductions on Red Snapper and Grouper and a minimum length limit of 20 inches with a limit of two per fisherman. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission imposed the two-fish limit as a result of several studies conducted that indicated declining populations. During the mid 1990’s, both Federal and State governments acted to reduce both Commercial and Recreational harvests as a means to encourage population growth. Gulf Shores Alabama has an incredibly thriving Red Snapper population with over 1,000 natural and artificial reefs.

The same restrictions were imposed on Alabama Waters without consideration in regards to actual scientific evidence that clearly shows a growing population. I have personally spoken to a number of deep-water fishing guides that have seen considerably fewer booked trips resulting in a diminished income. Many are saying they will not be able to afford to continue recreational fishing because there is just not any money in it anymore. Now, the Red Snapper Ban is adding insult to injury and might become the proverbial “Nail in the Coffin” for many guides. The Federal Government has not made any changes in the Red Snapper regulations for a period of 17 years.

This seems to be the main reason for the declines in population. Their lack of addressing the issue seems to be the catalyst for a knee-jerk reaction resulting in an overall six-month ban on keeping the fish. I say this is purely poor management by the Feds at the cost of the fisherman and their families. The six-month ban goes into affect on Jan. 4 and can be extended by an additional six months if NOAA Fisheries biologists feel it is warranted. In addition, the NOAA has also imposed a six-month ban on the Black Sea Bass Fishery off Cape Hatteras North Carolina. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration) is in charge of managing these resources for the betterment of mankind by utilizing proactive measures to maintain a sustained harvest. Instead, their actions clearly show a lack of Direction and Management resulting in bans that affect the livelihoods of untold numbers of recreational fisherman and their families.

The limits imposed upon the fishing industry do indeed have an effect on us right here in Georgia. The new limits and bans make the Annual Deep-Sea Fishing Trip hardly worth doing… that is, unless you don’t mind paying all that money to go only to end up bringing home very little fish for the frying pan. The impact we are seeing on the Recreational Fishing Guides makes me wonder just how much of this is a result of the changes we have seen in Washington DC. With an admitted Animal Rights Guru, Cass Sunstein, now in charge now over the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Federal Regulation is his primary job. Mr. Sunstein believes animals should have the same rights as people in our current legal system and be able to sue people that impose harm.

It only makes sense that Recreational Fishing is only one of the many new items on the chopping block. I encourage each of you to educate yourselves on this man and his beliefs. He was quoted as saying “We might ban hunting altogether, at least if its sole purpose is human recreation.” We are only beginning to see the effect of the anti’s with this guy in power. They will use the system as it is set up to make many more changes in the future. What’s next?

Please keep our nation’s military in your thoughts and prayers as they continue to risk their lives in Afghanistan. Also pray for the families of our fallen heroes.

May 2010 be a Healthy and Prosperous New Year for you and your family.

Best regards.

— Ted Gustin

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