United Trappers of Kentucky, Inc. March 2009 Report

President — Stephen Pickard, P.O. Box 52, Rockhold, KY 40759; phone: 606-528-2726; cell phone: 606-521-0968; e-mail: spickard1@bellsouth.net

Vice President — David Kriege Jr., 3513 Cowie Ave., Erlanger, KY 41018-1608; phone: 859-342-8109

Financial Secretary — Dave Dykes, 152 Mapleview Ct., Mt. Washington, KY 40047; phone: 502-538-3290

Executive Director
— Chet Hayes, 3951 Neises Rd., California, KY 41007; phone: 859-635-3102; e-mail: lhayes@fuse.net

Membership Options:

• Class A Kentucky trapper including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $25
• Family Membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $35
• Associate Membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Youth Kentucky trapper including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $15
• Lifetime Class A Kentucky trapper — $250

Complete membership application on first page of
association section and send dues to:
UTK, Financial Secretary
Dave Dykes
152 Mapleview Ct., Mt. Washington, KY 40047
502-538-3290

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

Hello again from the hills of SE Kentucky. Trapping season is about over for us this year. The general consensus I have gotten from our members I have talked to is many of us curtailed our season quite a bit. This was also the story from reading last month’s statewide organization reports in this magazine. I suppose the fur price uncertainty had a lot to do with it in some cases. I know out west that ’cats went from $500 to $1,000 last season down to less than $400 averages. That still sounds fantastic to us as our Kentucky ’cats probably won’t average $50 this season. I still am holding to my guns and predicting fur prices will be much better at the May NAFA sale than they are at the time of this writing. I don’t know how many seasons I’ve had in the past wishing I had went longer and harder during the season when it came time to sell. One thing is for certain, you can’t sell them if you don’t have them.

Big Windy Trapping Supply will be running their fur routes in eastern and western Kentucky all on the same day, March 21, 2009. Jimmy goes one direction and Heather goes the other. The stops in western Kentucky will be at Russellville, Hopkinsville, Dawson Springs, Morganfield, Henderson, Owensboro, Beaver Dam and Caneyville. The east Kentucky stops will be Shepherdsville, Shelbyville, Waddy, Crittenden, Williamstown, Mt. Sterling, Berea, London and Somerset. The entire routes and times are posted on our Web site or call Jimmy or Heather at 270-524-4930 or 270-268-2027. If you are a member of UTK, you will be helping our organization and probably yourself with better fur prices if you meet them on this route. I will be at the London stop with my catch along with Stacy White, Stan Broyles and a few others. We’ve got a good stop lined up for you in London, Jimmy.

In case you haven’t heard, next season will be extended through February for bobcats like all the other furbearers. This is a good management move to harvest the best ’cats during the season. I waited until mid January this year to take my ’cats and they were OK, but February ’cats will be the best. The ’cats that are taken in November don’t have fur, they just have hair. I think for some reason as well a high percentage of the early ’cats are females and juveniles. Try waiting on the ’cats next year. You’ll get much nicer ones and mostly toms late.

The snare clarification will be in effect next season as well. The local CO came by my house with a snare he found and asked if it was a legal snare. I replied that next year it would be legal without question, but right now it’s up to you to decide. He liked the fact that next year it wouldn’t be up for interpretation. Stacy White and I are going to meet with the ninth district CO’s sometime in the future and just go over equipment, trapping technique and some types of sets and where they are likely to be located. We have several CO’s in Kentucky that were born after the last fur boom and trapping is fairly new to them.

I talked with Oral Jones and he’ll about be living down at Camp Energy in April. He’ll be there three weekends so let’s pick the middle one, April 25, to loosely gather at the camp. This will not be an official meet of UTK. It’s just a weekend we can get together and do some fishing or turkey hunting without a structured time table to adhere to. If you want to come, you must call and make your reservations for a campsite beginning on March 1. You can reserve a spot by calling 1-800-525-7077 or through their Web link at www.lbl.org. I plan to be there.

The five questions on the hunter education test about trapping are included on the test this year. One of the answers is wrong on the template so make sure you make note of it. I plan to do a five- or 10-minute discussion on trapping being sure to include all five questions and answers while doing so.

The elk hunt bid is at $9,000 at this time. This will sure solidify the Jim Ferguson Scholarship. I will be contacting a couple more persons asking them to be on the scholarship committee. We need to decide how the recipients will be awarded the scholarship and how much per year. When that is ironed out, I plan to get the word out all over the state to the high school seniors. A scholarship from a trapping organization should generate some discussion about UTK in the schools.

As Dave mentioned last month, this is an election year for UTK. It is important for others to step up and we have a turnover of a few directors and officers IF they are willing to do what it takes and are fired up. If this doesn’t happen, there will be a complete change next time. There is absolutely nothing wrong to nominate yourself if you’d like to be an officer. The nominations will be sort of secretive as it will be by mail or phone to Dave. If you are a current officer or director and you wish to step aside and let someone else try it a while, please make it known. None of us are irreplaceable and UTK is on very solid ground as an organization.

I have had something on my mind that I’d like to address at this time. Those of you that help with the hunter education classes know that a large part of the class is about ethics. Ethics are defined as self imposed rules that prevent you from doing things that are, while not explicitly illegal by law, might be the wrong thing to do. An example would be shooting ducks on the water or grouse on the ground. Is everything that’s unethical illegal? No. Is everything that’s illegal unethical? Probably it is.

I know of no other outdoor activity that ethics should be more of a consideration than ours. The tools we have to control and maintain furbearer populations are very necessary to do the job and losing just one of them would be going backwards and in the wrong direction for trappers. That’s why I have always been suspect concerning BMP’s. It seemed they were intent on narrowing “acceptable” traps according to their research. We are allowed a very adequate choice of traps in Kentucky to manage wildlife. Can you imagine trying to trap coyotes with cage traps only? With rights also comes responsibility. We must self impose some things from time to time to not place undue attention on everyone else affecting perhaps their future traplines.

It would problematic to have to start delving into separation of equipment and enacting specifics on our sport. The fact that everything is the same statewide and WMA’s and the 700,000-acre Daniel Boone National Forest are open for trapping under statewide regulations just as they are for hunting makes it simpler for everyone, trapper and KDFWR alike. Some states are piece milled by WMA’s, counties, zones, dates, quotas and so on. We do not want this if at all possible in Kentucky.

There has been a steady increase each year in trapping statewide since UTK formed and made this one of our goals. I have no doubt that we, by making trapping so visible statewide, going into schools, holding trapping weekends for the public and talking it up on the Web sites, are largely responsible for this. I have been slightly concerned that there is a chance we are creating some that think they want to trap, but don’t love the sport and have a vested interest in prolonging it. Also, in society these days there is no “thinking” about consequences if there is an ethical problem even if it was legal to do so.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s, there were a lot of what I would call “pseudo” trappers around just because of the fur prices and they had little or no interest in being good stewards for future generations. Under these politically “incorrect” times, we must always present ourselves as we should be perceived. We aren’t into trapping to get rich and we provide the citizens of this state with a very valuable service that largely goes unnoticed and unappreciated. It is impossible to say how many hunters experience a successful hunt due to a trapper that took a ’coon that would have broken up a turkey nest, a bobcat that pulled a liter of rabbits out of their shallow den in February or a coyote that found a young fawn hiding in the honeysuckle in May.

Next season, think about what you are doing before you do it. Rest assured, there are groups that would jump at the chance to limit or chip away at trapping. With the snare clarification changes there are those that will be looking at it under the microscope even though we know nothing is really much different than it was as before. It’s just easier to understand. It would just be a chance for them to say, “See, we never had any problems until now.”

We have had a couple of instances locally with trespassing and an untagged snare. I’ve heard Robbie Hoover say many times, “If you’re not going to do it right don’t do it.” We don’t need any negative attention. Both hunters and trappers must have permission before trespassing and the trappers I know personally ask the landowner before setting traps. We are in a transition period in Kentucky between the old days and how it is now and will more so be in the future especially over here where I live.

When I was a kid, hunters could just roam carefree through the woods at night or trappers could set traps just anywhere as long as they weren’t bothering anyone. Back then, we just never gave it a second thought if it was ethical or legal. Today if you wouldn’t be on another’s property comfortably without looking over your shoulder during the day in full hunter orange, you shouldn’t be there trapping or ’coon hunting at night.

Property lines are more tangible than they were 20 years ago. You only have to be caught over the fence on another’s property to be cited for criminal trespass if the landowner wants to pursue it. We trappers and hunters need to work together to ensure neither of us lose any part of what we are passionate about. Just keep these things in mind next season and we’ll continue to have a very good standing with the KDFWR and the general public.

See you next month.

— Stephen Pickard

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Trapping season is winding down, and at the time of this writing we have received a statewide blizzard and ice storm, which will likely cost us a minimum of 10 days or more of trapping. This will contribute to an already light catch of fur in much of the U.S. and might help prices a bit.

For me personally, this has been a low-key season from the start, by design, but I’ve had fun and caught as much as I wanted to skin, took a youngster trapping and experimented a bit. I told someone recently, I don’t trap for the money, but I do skin for the money. Why skin a truckload of underpriced fur and toil to catch it when you can skin a few sacks of fur, relax and have fun?

Elections for UTK offices are coming up and nominations are open. If you’d like to serve, don’t be bashful. Get someone to nominate you or nominate someone you think will do a good job. Working for the UTK has been a real pleasure and I’ve enjoyed it, especially the great team of officers we have.

Everyone brings something to the table, the workload is shared and nobody has to work too hard. The team is full of good ideas and winning seems to be contagious. We have a lot of talented and innovative members who can hold offices and are encouraged to do so. This way we will keep new ideas and energy and avoid burnout and stagnation. That is so important in maintaining an effective organization when volunteers are involved.

The snare definition, bobcat extension through February and dusk closing of trapping season have passed the Legislative Research Committee in Frankfort and will become effective for the 2009-2010 season. Also passing and slated to take place was the first limited bear harvest in Kentucky in many, many years.
The last I checked, the bid on our elk tag for the Scholarship Fund was up to $9,000 so that is going very well. It would be interesting to fast forward to June 15 and see what the final bid might be.

Don’t forget the NAFA pickups here in Kentucky. If you need information on the March 21 pick up at Crittenden in Grant County, give me a call. Until next month.

— Chet Hayes

FINANCIAL SECRETARY’S REPORT

If anyone has an address change, phone number change, magazine problem or any membership questions, just give me a call. Also if you need any membership applications let me know.

The UTK, NAFA fur pick up in Shepherdsville, KY will be March 21, 2009, at the Bullitt County Co-Op Extension Service Building from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Directions – Shepherdsville is located off I65 between Louisville and Elizabethtown. Take I65 to Exit 117 travel east on Hwy 44 for approximately 2.5 miles, turn left on Halls Lane. Travel about ½ mile, facility on right. You need not be a member to ship fur, all is welcome to ship with UTK. Jimmy and Heather Childress our NAFA agents and others will be there to help everyone bag and tag their fur.

UTK, Inc. Officers elections are due this spring. Nominations will be accepted from until April 30 by phone or mail to secretary Dave Dykes at 152 Mapleview Court, Mt. Washington, KY 40047 or 502-538-3290. Ballots will be mailed out May 1. The election committee will do the count in June and new officers will take office July 17, 2009. Reminder to receive a ballot you must be a KY resident and current with dues.

Till next time.

— Dave Dykes

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