Georgia Trappers Association April-May 2009

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

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:

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:

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


Here’s a question for you; what have you done lately to ensure the future of trapping? You’ll notice the question isn’t what have you done to ensure your future in trapping, but rather what have you done to ensure the future of trapping period?

I got to thinking about this after reading Jim Spencer’s excellent editorial in last month’s Trapper and, after a couple of conversations I’d had with other members of the GA Trappers Association.

It seems that some trappers have an inflated value of themselves and their abilities and therefore put more emphasis on what they can get rather than what they can give. How did you learn to trap? I’d be willing to bet most of us had a mentor, a friend or relative, who got us interested, answered questions and showed us the ropes. Did that mentor start out by saying, “I’ll be glad to teach you to trap, but it will cost you $300 a day”? How many of us would be trappers if we’d had to start by paying somebody $300? Yet, that is exactly the reply one member of the GTA gave to another member! What about fellow members helping other fellow members? I’ve been trapping since 1966, have shared information with anyone that expressed even the slightest interest and never thought of charging for what I was taught for free. That’s how we develop new trappers and how we do something for trapping rather than for ourselves.

If you are a professional trapper with a well established reputation and have advertised to provide trapping instructions, then you have every right to expect compensation, but if another trapper or a beginner does you the honor requesting help, for the future of trapping you should do all you can to help them. Why? Because, it’s the right thing to do.

If we get all wrapped up in how much money we can make or what a great trapper we think we are without thinking about the future there may not be a future!

As more and more wildlife habitat is consumed by an ever expanding human population, and people are more and more removed from the natural world opportunities to do the things we love like trapping, hunting and fishing are diminished. We are all aware that trappers are the smallest segment of a minority of resource users and we owe it to ourselves to ensure the future of our sport by reaching out to those around us, to recruit new members and to share information with fellow trappers.

Think about it.

— Steve Rainey


You just never really know about things these days…

As your newly appointed Legislative and Congressional Director for the GTA, I decided to really have a dig into the workings our state legislature and try to find out what is really happening within the arena of hunting, fishing and the outdoors in general. The more I dug, the more I found and it’s all beginning to really make me question the overall direction we are headed in as outdoor enthusiasts. To sum it up in one sentence I’d have to say “The Sporting Community in Georgia is in trouble.”

The 2009 proposed budget for Georgia included $35 million, proposed by Governor Perdue for the acquisition of land for the purpose of hunting, fishing and other outdoor oriented use. The Georgia House of Representatives cut the amount to $10 million and the opportunity to do anything about it by making your voice heard has past.
On the Federal level, conservation funding for the Farm Bill has been slashed and it’s too late to make your voice heard. The Farm Bill helps to provide opportunities for hunting and fishing.

$3.3 million dollars in new taxes for sportsmen and women in Georgia for the privatization of our states hunting and fishing licensing system. The cost of our licenses is going up folks and we didn’t even have a say so in the idea. Not sure if it will impact us for this year, but for next year for sure, if you want to buy a license, you will be paying more for it and I believe it will only be available online. Imagine that, no more dropping by Wal-mart to pick up a license and some dove loads… I have heard from several small sporting goods stores that are not too happy about this change and are considering a class-action lawsuit.

Then comes Senate Bill 12. State Senator Ronald Ramsey of Dekalb and Rockdale Counties prefiled legislation to require a unique identifier be etched on the base of bullets to be used in handguns in the State of Georgia. This bill of course includes another new tax to cover the bullet identifier and future record-keeping requirements. Another new tax on ammo… Have you bought a box of dove or rabbit loads lately? All I can say is get ‘em while you can because it’s not looking to good for us as sportsmen.

The latest item is the attempt to remove the 25-foot buffer on streams. Yeah, they have decided we don’t need it anymore and that it wasn’t important to begin with. What I am talking about here is the set-back requirement for new building construction along streams in the state of Georgia. This buffer in my opinion is way too short to begin with. It needs to be 100 feet and it used to be further than that. The buffer provides a barrier to trap soils and other forms of siltation to assist in keeping them from entering our streams. Siltation is the most common form of stream pollution in the United States and accounts for smothering nearly all of the naturally occurring insect larvae, one of the base items within a stream eco-system. Ever see a stream that used to be rock bottom and full of fish go to a mud bottom and no fish? I see it everyday in Metro Atlanta and beyond.

These are just a few items from the Georgia Camo Coalition list of alerts. There were more than 30 items on that list and they all affect us in one way or another. All of these items have occurred within the past 12 months. The bottom line here seems to be a blatant disregard for our environment, outdoor sports and opportunities to enjoy state and private lands (unless you ride a mountain bike or take pictures of birds). We are now seeing a higher cost with less benefit. This is the way of the future. You and I can do something about it. Go online to Camo Coalition ( and make your voice heard. The Georgia Camo Coalition is an alert group formed by the Georgia Wildlife Federation to serve as a network to keep sportsmen and their families informed about issues that will impact us. It’s free to join and they write the letters for us and send them specifically to your politicians from the State House to the President.

Now is the time for action, don’t just say you will do it later, do it now. Sportsmen need to work together to keep what we have and to continue to build upon our accomplishments. Let’s not allow those we elect to represent us to have their way with us and just smile about it. If you are active on the Internet, check out this Web site and make an effort to keep yourself up to date on the happenings. The more informed we are, the more effective we become. You just never really know about things these days… Please keep our servicemen and women in your thoughts and prayers, they especially need them at this time. I can already hear a spanking sound at next year’s competition….  Can’t wait!

Best regards.

— Ted Gustin

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