Illinois Trappers Association November 2013 Report


President — Mike Gragert, 511 S. 5th St., New Douglas, IL 62074; 618-637-9061;

Vice President — Carroll Williams, RR4 Box 135, Fairfield, IL 62837; 618-516-2275;

Secretary — Wes Johnson, 26704 N. 3360 East Road, Chenoa, IL 61726; 815-419-5204;

Treasurer — Bill Paulsen, 2443 Penn Blvd., Lake Villa, IL 60046

Membership Director — Cody Champ, 9530 E. Meadows Road, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864

NTA Director — Angela Billings, RR 1 Box 127, Stronghurst, IL 61480; 309-221-1593;


Membership Options:

• Individual membership including T&PC — $20


Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:

ITA, Treasurer

Bill Paulsen, 2443 Penn Blvd.

Lake Villa, IL 60046


As I write this we are now within one week of our state convention Oct. 4-5 at

Carlyle. Where has this year gone? It seems like our 50th convention was but a month or so back, but here we are approaching 51. Hope the weather holds out for a decent convention, but only time will tell. It sounds like Mike has things under control and a good demo line up.

This month of Sept. usually is very busy with National Hunting and Fishing days of which we attended two, those being Silver Springs at Yorkville and Lake Carlyle.

Thanks to Chris Kaforski, Bill Paulsen , and Leon Bilbrew for manning our booth at Yorkville. I believe Mike Gragert and Bob Steinkamp took care of Carlyle. Also earlier this month the Young Trappers Camp was held at Lotus Camp at Carlyle Lake. I wasn’t able to attend this year but all reports were it was small but one of the best yet.

Wes Johnson had a Trapper Ed. class in Fairbury a couple of Saturdays back, and all students graduated. Bill Paulsen also has one scheduled at the Northern Illinois Conservation Club for Oct 12, contact Bill for further info. We will have a Trapper ED. class at the convention on Saturday, Oct 5. By the time this report makes print most of these issues will be history, but if they are not mentioned somewhere, who can you gripe at?

I know that this report is on the last minute, but it’s darn hard to get the board members to write anything for our column, and I made a promise to myself after Dick Daniel died in the car accident taking his report to this magazine in 1987, to have something in this column in his remembrance. Most of our current board didn’t know Dick as well as I, or not at all. Doesn’t mean quite as much to some, but I’ll try to hit every issue if possible.

At present only the larger rivers seem to have water in this area of the state. More than likely be a few fist a cuffs over territory even if you have sole permission. High prices bring more people into the sport, but only for the millions they are going to make.

The middle seventies thru mid eighties, brought out a lot of poachers and fly by nights that gave trapping a black eye to the general public. From 1977 till 85 we were introduced to 18-20 anti-trapping bills. We beat them all, but to a cost. Toothed traps were given up and no 330’s on land, yet even today you will find unscrupulous trappers using them and bragging about it. If you witness this type of behavior, don’t say it’s not my business, because if you wish to continue to trap for years to come, it is your business. Contact a CPO and get it stopped. I’ve had wardens stop me years ago three and four times daily, but I wasn’t in violation, just a jealous competitor.

It’s one heck of a lot better to address violators and poachers in the field and not at the state house. With the new influx of trappers we are bound to see some repeat of the abuses of the past fur boom. Don’t let the past idiots and new ones as well, bring about an end to our sport. For my part all first time license holders would have to have a Trapper ED class regardless of age. I know that won’t set well with many of you, but for the ones that disagree show up in Springfield for our next anti-trap legislation. During my time as ITA president, more violations came from the trappers that didn’t have to take a class than those that did. Sure the whole idea is that a twenty year old or sixty five year old will have more traps in the field than a teen age kid without a car, but it still doesn’t make them better trappers. Ignorance of the laws, and a willful wish to violate said laws is what makes a bad name for trappers. Back in the fur boom, people would tree a coon with a light, and cut the den tree down to get at the coon or coons. Let’s hope we don’t lower ourselves to some of the past practices.

I’m sure I probably riled up a few, of which is my intention to do so. Trapping isn’t all about the money derived from such, but it helps. Do it lawfully and honestly.

Enough for this missive. Stay safe and God Bless. — Paul Kelley Region 3 Director

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