Michigan Upper Peninsula Trappers Association February 2009 Report

President — John Gunville, N 125 Co. Rd. 577, Vulcan, MI 49892; phone: (906) 563-5940; email: jgunville@hotmail.com

Vice President — Dan Harrington, 305 Grant Street, Kingsford, MI 49802; phone (906) 774-3571; email: danh1111@charter.net

Secretary
— Gary Watters, 328 Kalla Walla Trail, Crystal Falls, MI 49920; phone (906) 875-4252; email: lauriewatters@att.net

Treasurer — Dan Absolon, 598 Premo Creek Road, Crystal Falls, MI 49920; phone (906) 822-7764; email: elkhunterdan97@yahoo.com

NTA Director — John Hongisto, Box 115, Deerton, MI 49822; phone: (906) 343-6679

Membership Options:

• Individual membership including subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $25.50
• Junior (16 & under) with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $14.00

Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:
Dan Absolon
Treasurer, U.P. Trappers Association
598 Premo Creek Road
Crystal Falls, MI 49920

Please specify the district you would like to join: District 1 (Keweenaw, Houghton, Baraga counties), District 2 (Ontonagon, Gogebic, Iron counties), District 3 (Menominee, Dickinson, Delta counties) or District 5 (Marquette, Alger, Schoolcraft counties).

If you have access to the Internet, a better option is to print out the order form found on the “Join” page of our Web site at www.uptrappers.com so your membership can be sent directly to the correct district for processing.

DISTRICT 3 REPORT

2008 has been a great year for Upper Peninsula trappers and District 3 has played a large role in nearly everything good that has happened this past year!

Regional officers were no longer attending the Furbearer Workgroup Meetings with the DNR in St. Ignace, so District 3 stepped up to the plate! What began as an effort to get the concerns of District 3 trappers heard by representatives of the DNR has mushroomed into so much more! Three other Michigan trapping organizations were also there struggling to make their voices heard. And guess what? Many of the issues being dealt with by all four organizations were the same.

So, why not WORK TOGETHER on these issues and speak with ONE VOICE that can be heard from one end of Michigan to the other?

That’s now what’s happening and Gary Schinske, President of the Michigan Trappers Association, was so impressed with this new partnership that three of his four coveted “President’s Awards” went to the other three Michigan trapping associations: U.P. Trappers Association, District 3; Northern Great Lakes Fur Harvesters; and Mid-Michigan Independent Trappers. And all four organizations have put their differences aside and are all now members of the United Trappers Council of Michigan.

Once again, most Michigan trappers can speak with one voice and have some real power and influence.

This great year quickly got rolling back in February with our most successful Mid-Winter trapper’s workshop ever. The number of kids attending nearly doubled from 2007 and every kid attending got a weasel box and related equipment to get them started trapping. These workshops have proven to be an excellent way to introduce youngsters to trapping. The 2009 event will be held in Hermansville on Saturday Feb. 7 and promises to be even better!

Then in July, District 3 hosted a fantastic convention. The demos were great, the dealers made money, trappers saved money — learned a lot — and had a great time. It doesn’t get much better than that. Or does it? Come to the 2009 convention in Escanaba on July 17 and 18 — then decide!

District 3 President Rick Arduin, believes our displays at the fairs in Escanaba and Norway may be among the most important things that we do. We are educating the general public on the necessity for, and the benefits of trapping so non-trappers will be in our corner when it’s “crunch time” with the Anti’s. And this year, besides having our display booth, District 3 shelled out $1,000 of our hard-earned money to sponsor the Growing U.P. Foresters Building at the U.P. State Fair in Escanaba.

At peak times, up to 300 kids per hour go through this building. That’s a lot of kids to expose to trapping in a positive way. Hundreds of kids watched “Destroying the Myth” — the excellent NTA DVD — and bought trapping coloring books and furbearer trading cards at the “company store” with their wooden nickels. Rick Arduin is convinced this may be the “best $1,000 bucks we have ever spent!” And at the conclusion of the Dickinson County Fair in Norway, we drew the winners in what might have been our most successful fund-raising raffle ever!

Then in September, District 3 spearheaded the revitalization of the Region. As most of you know the Region is supposed to be the “glue” that holds the U.P. Trappers Association together — and this great organization (established in January of 1962) was falling apart. The Region is supposed to coordinate the efforts of the five local districts and speak for all U.P. trappers with one voice.

Due to inactivity at the regional level, the districts had to “fend for themselves” and some of districts weren‘t doing too well. District 3 set up a meeting date, send letters to nearly 1,000 trappers, sent news releases to dozens of U.P. newspapers, and gathered together nearly 50 trappers in Merriman on Sept. 13. New officers were nominated and elected and The Region is functioning again!

Right behind that, District 5 was revitalized — and once again, District 3 did what they could to help. News releases were sent to the newspapers in District 5’s area promoting their reorganization and a list of all known trappers in the District 5 area was sent by District 3 to past president, Dave Basil. District 5 now has a new slate of officers (ready to get to work!) and are, once again, 100 members strong and poised to grow by “leaps and bounds” in 2009.

I have belonged to District 3 of the U.P. Trappers Association for almost 40 years and I don’t believe I have ever seen a more successful year than 2008. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back and relax. When every single trapper in the U.P. belongs to the U.P. Trappers Association and at least one of the National Associations (FTA, or NTA), then maybe we could relax a little?

— Bob Steinmetz

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