Minnesota Trappers Association June-July 2009

President — Gary Meis, 69555 One Mile Rd., Bruno, MN 55712

Vice President — Tim Bauer, 17290 155th Ave. N.E., Foley, MN 56329

Secretary — Liz Thom, 173 Prairie Lake Rd., Wright, MN 55798 e-mail:wlthom@frontiernet.net

Treasurer — Tricia Coons, 403 Wood Ave., Bemidji, MN 56601 e-mail: MTATrish@paulbunyan.net

Membership Coordinator
— Kathy Peterson, 57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661; e-mail:

Director of Trapper Education — Deb Offerdahl, 14788 Lynx Rd., Milaca, MN 56353;

Mandatory Trappers Education Director — Kenneth Olson, 353 Stearns Ave., Paynesville, MN 56362-1211; e-mail: mta-ed@clearwire.net

Membership Options:
• Individual membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Junior (under 16) with subscription — $12
• Senior (over 65) with subscription — $12
• Lifetime membership with subscription — $350

Complete membership application on first page of
association section and send dues to:
MTA, Membership Coordinator
Kathy Peterson
57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661

I honestly think spring has arrived here in Bruno, MN. We have actually been having weather in the 40-degree area with some strange object in the sky that is most commonly referred to as the sun. I have a huge urge to get out after some spring beaver and plan on doing that as soon as the ice is off the ponds, lakes and swamps. As I start this report, it is the middle of April and everything is still frozen solid. I just hope with the poor fur market I will be able to at least get my gas money back.
I see our trapping brothers and sisters in the state of Connecticut are in real danger of losing their trapping privileges all together. These folks are in for a real fight and need the financial support of every trapping organization, regardless of how big or small they might be. As the MTA president, I have the luxury of spending a maximum of $500 per quarter without board approval if I feel the money is needed. I instructed the MTA financial secretary to cut a check for $500 immediately and send it to the Connecticut Trappers Association. This is only the second time in my tenure as president that I have used this privilege. We here in Minnesota had most trapping associations and a whole lot of kind and concerned individuals both in Minnesota as well as around the country send us financial assistance during our two lawsuits to keep our trapping privileges. The least we can do is help others in time of need. Should you feel generous, any help can be sent to CONNECTICUT TRAPPERS ASSOCIATION, P.O. Box 2183, Manchester, CT. 06040-2183.
 Speaking of helping out and generous people, I want to thank the following for their generosity in sending money to the MTA Legal Defense Fund: Bill Regnier of Echo sent in $100, John Yackel of Winona sent in $50, Jork Miehlisch of Lanesboro sent in $5 and a DVD was sold at the district 8 meeting and $10 from that was sent in. As always, any and all donations are appreciated. As I have stated over and over, your MTA will always be there for you the trapper whenever our trapping privileges are in danger.
 It is with great sadness that I report the passing of the 2008 MTA Lady Trapper of the Year, Lois Pauly. After several years of fighting cancer, the battle is over. Lois fought a long and hard battle with this demon and never gave up. Right up until the end, Lois continued to trap with whatever strength she had left in her. She never tired of teaching her children and grandchildren the sport of trapping. For those of you who recall the lady pulling her finished furs around in a wagon at the winter meetings, that was Lois. See the fall 2008 issue of the MTA newsletter on her write up for winning the award or look at the June issue of the MTA newsletter for her obituary. I know Lois is in heaven smiling down upon us.
 I was also just informed that Cheryl Thompson, wife of MTA member Alan Thompson, just passed away from her long battle with cancer. Cheryl and Alan are two of the most dedicated MTA members you will ever meet. They never missed a convention and were always among the top raffle ticket sellers. I know your heart is heavy Alan. Your Cheryl is in a much better place and rest assured she made this world a much better place while she was with us. I just know that her and Lois are in heaven and smiling down on us.
On March 21, your MTA held a board of directors meeting and as always a lot of work was accomplished. I urge you to read the minutes of this meeting in the upcoming MTA newsletter. We covered a lot of ground and worked very hard on a lot of issues. Heck, I even let the board act on the letters sent in by the spineless few who don’t have the courage to sign their venomous letters. Any unsigned letter is not legal, but by me not allowing the board to act on the letter would make the accused look guilty and the cowards innocent. One issue I would like to cover that is not pleasant is the MTA will be forced to raise your dues effective Jan. 1, 2010. Because of the rising cost of postage and the increase of the subscription price to this magazine, the dues increase is necessary. You will see that the increase is very small, especially for all your MTA does for you the trapper. I do hope you will understand and accept the increase. Trust me folks, your board works very hard for the membership. I hope you appreciate these volunteers and the work they do for you.
The 2009 MN Legislative session is nearing an end and, at this time, I see nothing coming out of the session that is detrimental to trapping. Can we come out of yet another session with no harm to trapping? I certainly hope so. Your MTA and its affiliates are constantly monitoring the session for any related issues to trapping and we have a lot of contacts in the House and the Senate watching out for us. Should anything come up we will be on top of it.
It is early yet, but I’m pleased at the MTA raffle tickets coming in. As of this time, a little over 400 members have returned their tickets and about 200 more have requested additional tickets. This leaves about 2,000 members to yet return theirs stubs and money. As I said, it is early yet, but why not fill out the 10 tickets, make out your check for $10 and send them to me? This is the only solicited fundraiser your association has and as state law dictates 100 percent of the proceeds must be spent on youth education or education projects. Remember, our future is in the hands of the youth of today. This frees up our other monies to work on the numerous projects we have to make our sport of trapping bigger and better.
Before you know it, the MTA summer convention in Chisholm will be here. Ray Sogard and the volunteers of district one are working hard to make this 50th anniversary of the MTA the best convention ever. The economy is down as well as fur prices, but anyone who has ever been to an MTA convention will tell you it is a fun filled event. Make your plans now to attend on Aug. 14-16. Renew old friends and make new ones and enjoy the many events your MTA will have to offer. There will be more on the convention in the upcoming newsletter.
Remember, this is an election year and the seat of both MTA president and vice president are up and both seats are being challenged. Vice President Tim Bauer and I are not running for re-election. There will be information about both candidates in the upcoming newsletter. I urge every member to read the information submitted by each candidate and cast your vote. Should you have questions you wish to direct at any candidate, I urge you to attend the convention or give the candidates a call and ask what you have on your mind. Remember, if you don’t vote, it wouldn’t be right to complain.
That is about all I know for this issue. Should anything come up between now and the convention related to trapping, I will put it in my next report. Until that time, and as always, remember, be safe. — Gary Meis

Greetings to all,
I do believe that spring has finally returned to Minnesota. It has been a seemingly long winter, and I am anxious to do some gardening. I am hopeful that all who did some spring beaver trapping had a safe and successful season.
The scholarship applications are due to me NO LATER THAN JULY 1! I need the applications in by that date to give me and Kathy time to meet and review each application. The winners are announced at the membership meeting at the summer convention.
Once again, the board of directors have approved the following scholarship amounts: $2,000, $1,000, $1,000, $500 and $500.
Another reminder is for the Youth Photo Contest. All youth under the age of 17 are eligible to enter. PLEASE keep the photos no larger than 4×6 and no more than three photo’s per youth. I will ask that you put their name and address on the back of each photo so that we know who the person is in the photos. The winners are announced before the auction/raffle on Saturday night at the summer convention.
This past weekend, the USSA sponsored Trailblazer program, was held at Camp Ripley in Brainerd. I would personally like to thank the following members for manning the trapper’s booth: Cory VanDriel, Tim Parker, Pete Jonas, Mike Flanagan, Curt Freudenberg and his sons, Blake and Cole. These men did another bang up job representing the sport of trapping.
There will be a certified instructor class on Friday, Aug. 13, 2009, in Chisolm, Mn. The class will start at 10 a.m. and run approximately two to three hours. If you are interested, please pre-register with me by Aug. 1 , so I can be sure to have enough materials for everyone attending the class.
And last, but not least, I would encourage everyone to attend this summer’s convention. This the 50th Anniversary for the Minnesota Trappers Association and is going to be a great convention.
I wish everyone a safe spring and summer and hope to see you all at the summer convention. — Deb Offerdahl


On March 27, 2009, we drove to Normal, Illinois for the National Trappers Association Regional Leadership Conference. The conference was a full eight hours of class. A main point from President Kaatz was asking us to monitor the National Wildlife Refuge program. The Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCPs) for all National Refuges are reviewed every 15 years by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). Here are some of the facts that you cannot change:

1. Environmental and Compatibility studies along with Mission and Goals of a refuge will determine usage on the refuge.

2. There is no law that states a refuge must include trapping or hunting.

3. Public usage is determined based on No. 1 above.

4. The Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 is the law that must be followed in formulating CCP’s.

5. Committee reports, past laws, previously published documents and personal interpretation of the law doesn’t change the Act of 1997.

6. Trapping can be considered a management tool or as damage control, depending upon the compatibility with the Mission and Goals of that specific refuge.

7. Trapping considered as commercial use can be resolved with special use permits.

In Minnesota, the following CCP areas will come up for review in the next few years:

• Crane Meadows NWR CCP — scheduled to begin in 2009

• Hamden Slough NWR CCP — scheduled to begin in 2010

• Glacial Ridge NWR CCP — scheduled to begin in 2011

• Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR CCP — scheduled to begin in 2012

Minnesota has a total of 19 National Refuges. When the CCP reviews come up, NTA and MTA need to send as many trappers as possible to the reviews. It is important to understand that in reports by the State or Federal government, “HUNTING DOESN’T MEAN TRAPPING” so our voices have to be heard. To do this, I would like to ask MTA and NTA members to send their e-mail addresses to me so I can forward information to everyone about when the meetings will be held. I will send e-mails as “blind copy” so e-mail addresses aren’t shared. Or, you can give me your e-mail address when you come to the MTA Convention in Chisholm, MN, Aug. 14-16, 2009. By having e-mails, we can quickly alert our members about meetings so we can make sure trapping is included in the reviews.

As of the end of April 2009, I have served as your NTA representative for almost two years. I made a request to the MTA Board to be reappointed for another two years. Being your NTA representative has been interesting, rewarding and fulfilling. Please stop and see me at the NTA table at the MN Trappers Association Convention in Chisholm to renew or sign up for membership in the National Trappers Association. In checking our total NTA members, we are down to 552 members. In Sept. 2008, we had 589 members. Please renew your membership.

The Maine lynx lawsuit trial started the middle of April. We don’t know the outcome yet.
I received a letter today (April 30, 2009) that wolf trapping under MN DNR rules is to start on May 4, 2009, so all certified wolf trappers along with Wildlife Services will be able to trap gray wolves. This will be an option for managing wolf-livestock conflicts.

Beaver trapping has just 15 days left for this season. The rain we had in the last couple of days has gotten the beaver moving. The fur is still good and may last for some time yet. I sold furs last week. The price was down $6 per pelt from last year. I will be doing a beaver trapping demonstration at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 14 at the MTA convention.

If you have any questions on CCP’s or anything else, feel free to call me.

Take someone trapping.

— Wayne Thom


Greetings Trappers!

Exciting new developments in the Trapper Education Program. With the Board’s blessing, the request for In Field Training Instructors has been approved!

So if you’re a little apprehensive about teaching in a classroom setting but would like to host the In Field Training portion of the coursework, kindly give me a call.

Due to the generosity of many trappers who were willing to provide this training, the former backlog of Correspondence Course students waiting has been reduced substantially. Thank you so much for all who have participated. Guidelines for In Field Training were published in the last issue of the Newsletter on page 30. Please contact me if you need a copy.

I’m also happy to report that in the near future there will be a computer link from the DNR’s Web site to the MTA’s for perspective students looking for trapper education classes. We are also working on having the Minnesota Trapper Education Manual available in downloadable form (along with the exam for correspondence students) on the MTA Web site as well. Several students and instructors have asked for this option.

Deb and I are also working on coordinating trapper education class offerings in each district of the MTA. Currently there are three upcoming classes being offered and advertised on our Web site. If you’re considering hosting a trapper education course in the near future, kindly contact me for supplies and provide me with dates, times, locations, etc. I’ll see to it that they are published on the Web site for perspective students. As of now, I’m looking for classes in District 1 (fall), District 2 (spring/fall), District 3 (spring/fall), District 4 (spring ), District 5 (spring/ fall), District 6 (fall), District 7 (spring/fall), District 8 (spring/fall).

Thank you to District 1, District 6 and District 4 for providing their class schedule.

Have a great summer. See you at the convention.

Keep your skinning knives sharp.

— Shawn Johnson


My name is Russ Sikkila and I am a co-director in District 1. You might have also have heard my name as the professional witness in the lynx case, therefore I feel compelled to tell you what has been transpired in the district over the past two years. Make no mistake, if I could not verify or personally witness these activities I would not be wasting your time.

About two years ago, I received a phone call from District 1 Director Ray Sogard, who asked me if it was OK to submit my name as a professional witness in the lynx case. I agreed and received a call from MTA legal council Gary Lestico and this began my involvement with the MTA. Later that year, Ray asked me to be a co-director and since that time, I have personally witnessed the following events under Ray’s leadership.

• Attendance at district membership meeting, which allowed for the free flow of ideas and the members needs and suggestions respected.

• Attended a special meeting in Barnum regarding the lynx. District 1 was represented by Ray, John Malek and myself. Also Gary Meis, Gary Lestico and Con Christianson. Ray presented additional lynx research and contributed to the direction the case should follow.

• The directors and co-directors of districts 1 and 2 met in the hallway during a break in a board meeting in Isle, to decide the direction the MTA should adopt in the lynx lawsuit before going into the Federal Court. To the shock and better judgement of the MTA legal council, the direction presented was to fight for our trapping rights without compromise. After the case was decided the MTA legal council praised district 1 and 2 directors and co-directors and could not believe the favorable outcome. Ray was a major part of this leadership effort.

• Ray personally led the charge against the proposed lynx critical habitat proposal and letter writing campaign. The “lynx talking points” published in our newsletter were composed by Ray.

• We have met with the Iron Range Delegation, which consists of two senators and six representatives. As a result of this meeting, we presently have many things ready to be proposed to the State Legislature. In fact, due to Ray’s efforts, we might have as many as three new rule changes in 2009 just by bringing them to the DNR’s attention.

• Ray and I have attended the 2009 DNR Roundtable and met with DNR Commissioner Holsten, Deputy Commissioner Martinson, Mike and Kathy DonCarlos, Steve Merchant, Ken Soring, Ed Boggess and other DNR officials to promote the future of trapping.

• We attended the DNR furbearer and enforcement meeting where the 28 points developed by District 1 two years ago were finally clarified or defined. In addition, the legislative agenda proposed for 2010 was discussed openly.

• Ray has made numerous alliances within the past two years. His first alliance led to the appointment of John Malek and this gave us access to the local politicians. The second was with MDHA Executive Director Mark Johnson, which led to shared advertising in each organization’s quarterly publication. Third was a joint sponsored letter between the MDHA and MTA to the DNR Commissioner, in support of opening state parks to hunting and trapping. Fourth was the alliance with Delta Waterfowl, which created mallard nesting cages, wood duck houses and the future opening of USS Steel’s tailings ponds to predator trapping. Knowing Ray, there are more things presently in the works.

• Ray has successfully secured the 2009 50th Anniversary Convention in Chisholm and the first one in MTA history to pay for the entire event through proceeds of a 50th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet.

• Ray has recruited many new MTA members and has won the membership contest by recruiting 56 new members in one year. In addition, Ray has personally sold in excess of 10,000 raffle tickets over the past three years and it’s second-place ticket seller overall.

• At the numerous meetings I have attended with Ray, he has always been prepared and asks pertinent questions. Rays positions have always been clearly stated and possessing no hidden agenda.

All of these accomplishments have been completed in a very short period of time under Ray’s leadership.

— Russ Sikkila


Hello everyone,

District 5 had hoped to have a trapper education class this spring, but we only had a few kids interested. We are planning on having a class later this year, in September.

The Boy Scouts are having another event this fall at the scout camp in Fairhaven. I do not have a date yet. They expect around 5,000 scouts and parents to attend.

If anyone is interested in helping out, please contact Deb Offerdahl or myself.

On Saturday April 25, five of us worked at the Camp Ripley Boy Scout event; we had a tanned fur display. Also, we did demonstrations on land trapping and snaring. We showed the kids the different types of traps that we use. A lot of interest was shown by kids and parents. There were many comments from parents that the trappers station was the best station at the event.

Take care.

— Pete Jonas


Hello fellow trappers. On March 21, we had our spring board meeting in Chisholm. District 7 was represented by Shannon Cohrs, Marvin Yahnke and myself. Some of the topics were to increase the membership fees. A small increase will go into effect Jan. 1, 2010. This is due to an increased expense of the Trapper & Predator Caller magazine. Also, it was approved to keep all scholarships at their current levels. You might want to keep this in mind if you are getting ready to send kids off. There are five scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000. The board also passed to re-establish the financial support to the NTA and Fur Takers of America. This was stopped while we had financial obligations to the lawsuit. With the lawsuit over, it is time to re-establish support to these National Associations.

The convention will be held Aug. 14-16 in Chisholm. This year, the convention is a big one for our Association. It is our 50th anniversary. It is also an election year. With the election at the convention, we will be voting for a new president and vice-president. At this time, the work schedule for the districts is still being worked on, but will be available for the printing of the next newsletter. Be sure to check out the newsletter for details. The fairgrounds in Chisholm are the newest in the state. Plenty of camping space is available. We’ve been made aware the ground is hard, so be prepared and plan accordingly if you are camping. Saturday morning, District 7 will have a short meeting outside the dealer building at 8 a.m.

If you are thinking of a donation of tanned fur, you will be able to turn them in at the convention. If you are not sure if you are attending, you can also get them to me and I will deliver them for you. Any donations are greatly appreciated.

April 18-19, we had a booth at the Tracy Sportsmen’s Show. Attendance was down, which also meant raffle ticket sales were down. I would like to thank Shannon, Angie, Caleb and Felicia Cohrs for their taking charge of the show on short notice. The day before the show, I fell at work and broke a vertebrae in my back and was unable to help. I actually spent time in the hospital. I will be OK, just need more recovery time then I would like to admit to. I would also like to thank Curt & Geri Carter, Jan & Mary Vlieger and Shawn Clausen for their assistance as well with the show. It is much appreciated for all of you to help with the show.

I have been in contact with Gerald Schmitt about having the fall meeting at his place again this year. Gerald was more than happy to hold the event this year. We are still working on the date. Please watch for future publications for activities going on throughout the day.

In closing, I would like to say thank you for the cards, e-mails, phone calls and prayers at the time of my accident. It means a lot for the support from all of you. THANK YOU!!!

— Leon Windschitl


Hello Trappers,

Hope you had a chance to catch some spring beaver. I hope the economy starts to turn around so fur prices can rebound a little. Not much for news this month, but I did receive a letter from Brian Stemper this week and was asked to share it with you.

“I would like to thank all the members of District 8 for their generosity and the gift of a lifetime membership to the Minnesota Trappers Association.

I am truly honored and deeply humbled. I have been an outdoorsman all of my life and trapping is very important to me. My only regret is that I was not exposed to trapping earlier in life and that I am unable to do as much trapping as I would like because of my disability. However, I will continue to support trapping both personally and professionally. Trapping is a privilege worth fighting for.”

Thanks, Brian Stemper.

It’s trappers like Brian that make me proud to be involved with our Association.

Take care.

— Terry McElmury

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