Illinois Trappers Association October 2012 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, 700 East Locust St. #25, Fairbury, IL 61739; 815-674-8004;

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 subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $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



Hello Trappers,

On October 5th-6th in Lincoln we will be holding of 50th anniversary convention at the Logan county fairgrounds. I hope everyone has a chance to attend this event this year, because the lineup of demos and the list of fun events at this year’s convention are many. We have contest of all types, and events for the kids this year, and door prizes that would make any trapper happy. We will also have special drawings for special prizes going on throughout each day, and yes we will still have our regular sweepstakes as well. We will be offering a free fish fry Friday night, and on Saturday night we will have the Heartland clogging group preforming, and we all can dance the night away to Richard Withers and the Illinois boys. I hope to see everyone there.

On Friday night October 5th right before the fish fry we will be holding our yearly general business meeting and I hope most members would please try and attend. We have some things that we need input from the general membership from, and would hope those that are interested would try and attend. The association is only as strong as the membership is, so come please share your ideas and thoughts with everyone.

The season is fast approaching this year, and with the lack of rain fall this year we know furbearer populations is some areas may be off some. Trappers might spend a little more time this year scouting out their lines, and looking for new areas still holding populations of furbearers, that may not have been effected by the drought as much. Management of one’s trap line is never a bad thing, and could pay off way more down the line.

We have a lot of new regulations this season, and the new otter season is one of them. This will also be the first year for the extended muskrat season, so I ask everyone to please look over the new regulations in the 2012-2013 digest that came out in late July. The regulation that concerns me the most is the tagging of otters within 48 hours after taking possession, that means 48 hours after you have removed it from your trap you have to go to a license agent (Wal-Mart , bait shop, sporting goods store) anybody that sells a trapping or hunting and fishing license, and purchase your cites tag. The DNR will then send you your tags, and these tags must be placed upon your otter once received. The part that concerns me is trappers getting their otter tagged right, before they try selling them, and getting tags from the DNR in a good amount of time. We will have to wait and see how this all work out in the wash , and yes I am sure there might be some bumps in the road, but the bright side is now your able to harvest an animal that was once considered endangered within our state. The river otter in Illinois is a wildlife management success story, and trappers played a large part within that story. The efforts by trappers all over the state have not gone unnoticed, and trappers should be proud of this season that was impart made possible by those efforts along with the help of wildlife professionals. Congratulations trappers on a job well done.

We have several new changes to the fur auctions coming this year, and the hopes is that these new changes make life better for all those that attend the fur auctions. Paul Kelley in now the chairman of fur sales, and him and those that set on the fur auction committee, and the BOD have decides to make these changes. The fur auctions should be a good time, and a fun event enjoined by all that attend, but the last few years that has not always been the case. The ITA does not make much money off the fur sales after expenses, and the position of the BOD the last several years in that the fur sales are a benefit the ITA provides to it members. The fur auctions are an added perk to being a member, and another reason for trappers to come together, and share ideas, thoughts and concerns during a time of year most of use never see one another. Good fellowship amongst our trapping brethren is the main reason, and I hope these new changes makes things better than ever before. Look for news on the auctions at the convention and in the publications as well, and I am sure Paul will have information coming out as well about these sales.

This upcoming season will be season of first for many trappers, and only a dream by some that never got to see this season come to be. There are many that worked for years with the hope that this season would arrive that will never enjoy the fruits of their labor. I ask that you say a little prayer, and tip your hat to those no longer with us, because without them the ITA would not be 50 years old. Hope to see everyone in Lincoln, Take a kid trapping, stay safe, God bless. — Mike Gragert



I just returned home from 53rd Annual NTA convention in Owatonna MN. It was a record breaking convention as far as attendance goes, and I would like to personally thank all of the members of the Minnesota Trappers Association for the outstanding job they did in hosting this convention.

As your new NTA director, this was the first board meeting I have attended and it was an interesting and exciting experience for me, which I am glad to have had the chance to participate in.

The American Trapper will now have a new Editor. Rich Faler of Pennsylvania will be taking over as the new editor. Some of you will remember Rich from his time as the editor of Trapper and Predator Caller magazine, as well as the numerous articles and books he has written.

The convention site selection committee has decided on the location for the 2014 National Convention. Wisconsin Trappers Association, and the Upper Peninsula Trappers Association both entered bids for the convention, and the U.P. Trappers Association was awarded the contract. It will be held in Escanaba, MI. This association has put in a lot of effort in hopes of hosting the national and I know the turn out will be good there. The U.P. of Michigan is some of the prettiest country in the nation, and I look forward to this convention.

Due to budget constraints, the NTA did not host the Regional Leadership Conferences this past winter. This year a surplus has allowed for these important conferences to be budgeted back in. However, in past years, there has been a lack of participation, and these conferences will only be held if there is sufficient interest to do so. We in Illinois are lucky in that the Midwest Leadership Conference is generally held in Bloomington IL. I feel these conferences are very important, as they provide a chance for the NTA directors of all the Midwest states, as well as the officers, board members, and membership of all those states associations to get together and discuss the issues going on that will affect our own home area. Many of you may not be able to attend a national or regional convention, and this would be a chance for you to meet up with people from other state and national organizations on behalf of trapping. If you think you will be able to attend, please call me at 309-221-1593, or NTA General Organizer John Daniel at 423-595-0986 and let one of us know. Even if you’re not 100% sure you can attend, at least call or email and let us know you’re in favor of these conferences being held. Remember, without your support and willingness to attend, these important meetings may not take place!

Some odds and ends…. The NTA now has a credit card offer for members, if you get one of their cards a small percentage of each purchase you make will be donated to the NTA. The NTA also has a Facebook page, for those of you who may be members of that social media site. And for you ebayers, Furbearers Unlimited is now listed on eBay as a charitable organization. Buyers may choose to donate a dollar or more on any purchase they make, and sellers have the option to donate a percentage of their sales profits to the NTA as well. For more information on all three of these items, please check out the NTA website at

NTA supplied assistance to MN this year in their 220 legislation, and continues to work with Idaho on possible legislation regarding Lynx and the ESA, as well as with Maine in their Incidental Take Permit application process with the USFWS.

Some of you, like me, may renew your NTA membership at the National Convention each year. If for whatever reason you were not able to attend this year, please remember to mail off your renewal when the notice comes, or you can renew on the website. If you’re unsure when you’re due to renew, you can give me a call and I’ll look it up for you. Thanks for your continued support!

If anyone has any questions or comments about the NTA, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. If I’m not home I will get back to you as soon as possible, so please, feel free to call me, or shoot me an email. — Angela Billings



The following article was taken from the newsletter called “The Voice Of The Illinois Trapper” It comes from the Spring issue of 1963. Just to show everyone that the ITA has been working for the trappers of the state for a long while. Here is the following written by Irwin John Cox , one of the five founders .

Illinois Trappers Association meet with State Conservation Officers

A meeting of the I.T.A. officers and State Conservation officers was held Wednesday night, February 27th in there Community Hall at Chatham, Illinois

Despite the weather forecast of freezing rain,sleet and hazardous driving conditions, as well as an outbreak of Asian Flu in the Midwest, there was a good turnout. Although there was no official count made, it was estimated there was around 100 in attendance, and some 40-50 counties represented.

Russell Edwards, our acting president, opened the meeting , by having everyone , in turn , stand up and identify themselves by name, and the county they represented.

After a great deal of correspondence, petitions from all over the state, and two or three trips to Springfield by Russell Edwards, this meeting was arranged between the trappers and Conservation Commission.

Therefore , it was a big disappointment to some of us to learn that Mr. Lewis Martin of the Conservation Commission ( who had requested the meeting) had contacted the flu and was unable to attend. However he did send two able conservation officials , who kept minutes of the meeting, which will be turned over to the office of Lewis Martin.

As most of you know we proposed in our petition to have the muskrat, mink, raccoon season to open November 15, and an extension of beaver season through March 31, 1963.

As could be expected , everyone present had definite ideas of their own, either for or against this proposal. Everyone was given an ample opportunity to express his opinion and the reasons for it.

A great many representatives felt that the present set-up of laws concerning the raccoon hunting season was unfair to the trapper. Inasmuch as the hunting season opens November 1st and coon are hardly ever prime before November 15th . Therefore all those taken before then are inferior in grade and price.

After a great deal of discussion and debate , we decided against asking for a change in this law and concentrated on getting the trapping laws, set where we felt they should be. Ironically enough, there were some coon hunters present that stated publicly, that they felt the coon hunting and trapping seasons should open and close at the same time. There was some talk of a spring muskrat season. However this was voted against because there would be a great many female mink taken by rat trappers and this would seriously effect an already scarce, but valuable fur bearing animal.

We finally decided to propose dates for the opening and closing of the season in the northern and southern zones.

The dates for the northern zone for muskrats, mink and coon were November 15 through January 15. For beaver from January 15 to March 31. Those dates were unanimously accepted except for 3 votes, one member from Pike county( who asked that the season run from December 1 to January 31.) and two members from the northwest part of the state ( who felt, their season should open November 1 to December 31. Because of consistently earlier freeze up, than the rest of the state.

I believe that everyone present felt, that those members from the extreme northern part of the state , do have a legitimate grip concerning this. However Russell Edwards informed us that he had talked this over with Mr. Martin and that he had been informed that the conservation officials were trying to work out a solution to this problem. Possibly an early season for some of the northern counties adjoining the Mississippi river and the Wisconsin line.

Because of the six days loss due to deer season ( when it is unsafe to be in the woods in the southern part of the state ) members from the southern zone voted to open their season the same as the northern zone. This would make the conservation officers work considerably simpler.

This would give us an additional twenty days to trap. It was felt by most trappers present that with this extra trapping time we could take care of most of the excess muskrats and beaver that the farmers are wanting to poison. Yet there would be enough breeding stock left so as not to endanger the future of trapping.

Our proposals will be presented to the Conservation Commission and acted upon sometime in the near future. As soon as we learn the outcome, all I.T.A. members will be notified.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members for the efforts they put in, to attend this meeting. I also would like to thank Gene McDonald for his co-operation and help he gave us in obtaining a building for the meeting as well as for the refreshments that were so generously handed out.

Submitted by Irwin John Cox

Most of you folks, that are now members , probably never knew John or any of the founding five, now all deceased, but Gene McDonald that bought much of the fur at that time, is still kicking and somewhere in the Springfield area. Hope to see him at the convention.

Enough for now, God Bless and hope to see you in LIncoln. — Paul Kelley

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