President — Shawn Johnson, 6122 McQuade Road, Duluth, Mn 55804; phone: 218.525.4970; e-mail: email@example.com
Vice President — Dave D’Aigle, 29765 Holly St NW, Isanti, MN 55040
Secretary — Linda Salo, 5927 McNiven Road, Chisholm, MN 55719; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer — Tricia Coons, 403 Wood Ave., Bemidji, MN 56601; phone: 218-444-8244;
Membership Coordinator — Kathy Peterson, 57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661; phone: 218-659-4535; e-mail: email@example.com
Director of Trapper Education — Deb Offerdahl, 14788 Lynx Rd., Milaca, MN 56353; phone: 320-983-6023
Mandatory Trappers Education Director — Shawn Johnson, 6122 McQuade Road, Duluth, MN 55804; phone: 218-525-4970; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Individual membership including subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $25
• Junior (under 16) with subscription — $15
• Lifetime membership with subscription — $400
Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:
MTA, Membership Coordinator
57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661
As I write this column, the Barnum convention is merely three days away and I’ve suddenly realized that it would be highly unlikely that I would have the time to put these thoughts down on paper before the August 1st deadline right in the middle of the convention, so here I sit at the keyboard.
Everyone involved in the preparations necessary to host a convention is chomping at the bit awaiting the starting bell.
The dog days of summer are on the immediate horizon but autumn awaits!
As the temperature cools, thoughts drift to the crisp mornings that await us in the fall and beckon us back to the fields and streams once again. Fur prices by early indications should be at least as favorable as those experienced in the middle of last season and many who sat the last one out are cleaning up their equipment in anticipation.
It seems as the years go by in spite of the fact that I’ve been at this game for so many years, I never seem to have been quite as adequately prepared these days to head into the woods on opening day as I was years ago. The anticipation is every bit as strong as it ever was but the challenges and stresses of everyday life tend to take a greater toll on my time and priorities must be readjusted.
Nonetheless, I will be heading into the woods along with you to make the most of the time I can tear away from making a living in order to bring me back to the annual healing of my soul that only the natural world can provide. As the awareness of my own mortality continues to become clearer and clearer as the years pass, the importance of taking a break from the realities of everyday life and to immerse myself in the greatness and splendor of the natural world becomes that much more crucial.
This point is driven home each time I attend the funeral of a fellow sportsman. This summer many bid farewell to a dear man who well understood the importance of spending time in appreciation of God’s many gifts in his natural creation. George Fortier a trapper, educator and friend as well as former MTA Vice President, passed away at eighty-years-of-age and many of those who knew him gathered with his family to selfishly grieve for ourselves and to rejoice for him.
George is a man that understood his place in the world and his responsibility to his Creator. His smile and his encouragement will be missed by countless others as well as myself.
It was indeed a privilege to have known the man and to have called him friend.
Please continue in prayer for his wife Irene, his son Bob and daughter Jacques along with the rest of their family as they grieve his absence.
Upward and Onward my friend.
I’m confident that we will meet again.
In George’s memory Irene has donated $400 to the MTA to be used as a education scholarship in keeping with George’s strong dedication to teaching the next generation to appreciate the great outdoors and the one who created it all.
The MTA and trappers everywhere thank the Fortier family for this fitting tribute.
I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank two members for their dedication to the sport of fur trapping in Minnesota as well.
Both Bill Regnier- Echo and Al Hultin- Fergus Falls made personal contributions to the MTA’s Legal Defense Fund to insure that when those that threaten to end our sport can be fought successfully in the courtroom.
With this goal in mind the MTA will be hosting it’s first annual Legal Defense Fund Banquet the Saturday evening of our Winter General Membership meeting. A large array of sporting goods and other items will be auctioned off to benefit this fund and to ensure that the MTA will have the funds necessary to fight the battles that no doubt lie ahead. A fantastic meal and a relaxing evening with fellow sportsmen will be a very worthwhile event to attend that will ultimately benefit us all.
I hesitate to give out too many details at this point other than to say seats are limited and I encourage any that are interested in attending to purchase their tickets as far in advance as practical. Stay tuned for more detailed information as it becomes available. A special thank you to the Van Driels, Buzz Neprud, Shannon Cohrs, and Gary Meis for all the behind the scenes work that was accomplished to make such and event possible.
Make every effort to attend for an enjoyable evening to cap off the Winter General Membership Meeting event.
At this time, I haven’t been able to review the newest MN Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook for the 2010 fur harvesting season. I encourage everyone to review the new publication carefully and note many of the clarifications that have been made in the Handbook in response to suggestions brought forward by trappers over the last year. This has been a great step in the right direction and special thanks go out to Con Christianson, Jason Abraham and Capt. Ken Soring in the collaborative effort that made these changes possible. The MTA looks forward to continuing this dialog annually for years to come.
On a final note for this issue, the Dark River Restoration Project near Chisholm has been dropped at this point by the DNR. The MTA had concerns with this Project as soon as we became aware of it and joined with the Dark River Basin Association in opposition to it. We still have concerns that a project that has been “dropped” could be “picked up” again at some point and we continue to demand that the DNR explain the rationale behind the decision to drop the project as well as assurance that out of season beaver control activities associated with this project will also be halted.
Decisions will be made at the Board Meeting prior to the convention which will determine where the MTA chooses to go from here.
The Knife River Project on the shores of Lake Superior and many miles inland continues to be monitored seriously as well.
As long as I’m on the subject of beaver resources, the MTA is currently in dialog with the various counties in Minnesota in an attempt to come to some sort of statewide policy regarding the way individual counties, land departments and other arms of government handle beaver problems and when. Many trappers have had the sad experience of setting up an area to trap in the fall only to find that dams were removed after the fact and many trappers have lost both traps and animals due to this late season activity.
It is without question that the goal of removing these dams in the fall is generally devastating to local ecosystems just prior to freeze up.
By design, many animals are left without suitable habitat and are exposed to almost certain death- and a waste of resources.
It is evident that these dam structures didn’t just appear overnight in most cases, yet the authorities chose to let the dam building go all summer long only to “pull the plug” just prior to winter with the unstated goal of freezing out the remaining beavers.
What the MTA would like to see is a moratorium on dam removal after the beginning of the fur trapping season except in the case of a legitimate threat to public safety.
I am hopeful that at long last such a policy can be developed.
More to follow as these dialogs continue.
Have a great fall.
Keep your skinning knives sharp.
— Shawn Johnson
EDUCATION COORDINATOR’S REPORT
I’m pleased to announce that currently there are nine Trapper Education Classes offered across the state at this time.
Information on all of these is available at the MTA website at www.mntrappers.org and the Outdoor News (Minnesota) regularly publishes these opportunities as well in their Outdoor Calendar section. The electronic link between the DNR website and ours is proving to be invaluable in directing prospective students to available classes.
I thank each and every one of you for stepping up to host these vital class opportunities for our young and first time trappers.
With autumn just around the corner, the thoughts of running a trapline are becoming more and more inviting.
Many more active instructors are required to keep up with ever increasing demand.
With the approval of the Board of Directors, another option for becoming a certified instructor should be available for those with access to the Internet in the near future.
Offering only two instructor certification opportunities per year has proved to be inadequate for the need. In order to assure that volunteer instructors hold their teaching to the highest ethical standard, we are implementing a “Code of Conduct” pledge necessary for instructor certification.
This will help to insure that all MTA certified instructors maintain a high level of ethical teaching in the classroom and will also help to insulate the Association somewhat from ever present liability concerns in this day and age.
It is in the best interest of the Association, the students as well as the instructors that the MTA take this important step.
A copy of this Code will be published in upcoming columns.
As always, I encourage those instructors that haven’t yet taken the opportunity to host or assist in hosting a class to give it a try. If you’d like additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I’ve yet to meet a single trapper that was disappointed with the experience.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of those on the instructor list have never been present in a single class.
During the course of the next few years, we will be trimming the instructor list down to a list of only active instructors- those that have taken part in teaching at least a portion of these classes during the past five years. If you would like to have your name removed from the instructor list please let Deb Offerdahl or I know and we will honor your wishes.
We are also working on developing a system for recognizing long time instructors something along the lines of a special edition shoulder patch with words to the effect.
“Training future trappers since 1992…..”
In this electronic age, opportunities to introduce young people to the great outdoors are becoming less and less commonplace.
Let’s all do our part to ensure the existence of our sport far into the future.
A select group of you are doing just that and should be recognized for their dedication.
Keep your skinning knives sharp.
— Shawn Johnson
DISTRICT 1 REPORT
Hi folks! I just got back from our 51st annual convention in Barnum and rushing to get this letter off to TPC before the deadline. The convention was very well attended and I understand had the second most successful raffle we’ve had- good job to everyone that bought or sold their raffle tickets!
I had alot of fun visiting with old friends and meeting new ones. Convention coordinators, Cory & Deb Van Driel, and the rest of their team really know how to put on a good show!
The MTA board has decided to take its opposition of the way DNR fisheries are removing beaver and beaver dams from the Dark and Knife River watersheds to the next level. Con Christanson is leading the way on this. MTA wants the beaver to be managed as a resource and not a nuisance animal,as it is being managed now. Remember if it is being done on these watersheds it is probably being done else where as well. The new small game regulation booklets are out. Please read them carefully as there are many clarifications, that the DNR and MTA worked on together to help make them easier to understand. Also take note of some of the season and registration changes. 1) Fisher & Marten- limit of 5 combined but no more than 2 may be fishers- heads of martens and fishers must be surrendered at time of registration. 2) Fox, coon, badger season opens on Oct. 16 in forest zone. 3) Beaver season closes on April 30. 4) 3 day check on weasel boxes Well it’s off to the NTA convention in Marshfield next weekend. Should be alot of fun. Enjoy the rest of summer and remember it’s only 3 months till trapping season. Take care.
DISTRICT 4 REPORT
Greetings District 4
It’s Sunday, August 1 and I just returned from our Summer Convention. I got to see a lot of old friends and meet some new ones. There were good deals every where you looked. If you have never attended you should because I would guess you can save at least 20 to 25% on your supplies.
We had a short meeting Saturday at 8:00 a.m. and informed our members about the new rule changes for the coming season. They are: 1.) There is no pre emptying muskrat houses. 2.) Foot traps 4 3/4 or less or snap rat traps inside a box with an opening 2” or less can now be checked every 3 days. 3.) Any body grip with an opening of 6 1/2” or larger can not be set within 500’ of a building occupied by people or livestock without written permission of land owner except at a water set. 4.) Coon, Fox, Badger in the north zone will open October 16th. 5.) Beaver season will close April 30th. 6.) The combined Fisher, Marten limit is 5 but, here is the kicker, only 2 can be fisher and you must present the heads at registration.
I know this last item is not going to sit well with most of our members outside the “traditional fisher range” that are overrun with them. That is why it is so important that you turn in incidentals and attend public hearings so you are counted. Some other convention news, Linda Salo stepped down as secretary and Linda Johnson has been appointed to take her place.
I want to thank the members who helped with our duties at the front desk and gate. The old and new, I would list names, but might get someone’s wrong. You know who you are so thank you again. Our winter meeting will be in Isle, Jan. 8th, more details later. It will also be on that evening our 1st annual legal defense banquet. Tickets I believe are still available. The next State Convention will be held in Redwood Falls tentatively set for the last week in July, 2011.
There is also talk of possibly hosting a National Convention in 2013 or 2014, more to come.
One of the items our district proposed is going to a 3 day check on snares in the Forest Zone, to be consistent with body grips and is being presented to the DNR. Also, thank you to all the members of our district who donated fur to our tanned fur project. With your efforts we won this years contest and will receive credit for Top Gun on next years raffle. Great job. Well that is all I can think of for now.
Till Next Time.
DISTRICT 5 REPORT
I will be having a trappers education class on Friday, September 10th from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. this will be the classroom part of the course. Saturday, September 11th from 9:00 to 3:00 we will have in field training, and a skinning demo. If you are interested in taking this class or helping with it give me a call. It will be held at the Kimball Rod & Gun Club in Kimball.
We just wound up our state trapping convention and it was a good one. I would like to thank everyone who helped out in building the demo areas, and helping tear them down Sunday morning. I would also like to thank everyone who helped out behind the MTA booth and at the gate. Your help was greatly appreciated. Congratulations also to Gene Anderson on his induction into the Minnesota Trappers Association Hall of Fame, it is well deserved.
Congratualtions to all the other deserving award recipients.
We are planning a fall meeting at Mark Melby’s along with his customer appreciation day, possibly the first part of October. Definite date to be announced, we will be sending out postcards.
— Pete Jonas
DISTRICT 7 REPORT
Hello fellow trappers. I just got home from this year’s convention. It was another busy, fun filled convention. The convention was filled with many good demos. I hope if you were at the convention, you were able to see some of them and pick up a few tips. I talked with several vendors; they seemed to have been happy with the good attendance and the sales they made. Thank you to all District 7 members who volunteered their time to help at the front gate and the MTA booth duties.
One of the fundraisers going on was for the Legal Defense Fund. For every $100 raised, someone’s name was pulled out and they either had to get a Mohawk or pay $100 to get a pass, but their name went back in and could be drawn out again. The Mohawk challenge lasted longer then anticipated. Shannon Cohrs from District 7 put up a challenge at the end and if another $100 was raised at the dance, he would get a Mohawk as well. He is now a proud supporter of the Mohawk.
District 7 won the bid for the 2011 convention for Redwood Falls. It will be a nice change to have a convention in the southern part of the state. Let’s make it a convention that they will remember.
District 7 will be having a fall meeting at Schmitt Enterprises Open House on Saturday, August 28. Mark Steck from South Dakota will be doing a demo in the morning and afternoon. District 7 member, Brian Fischer, will be doing a demon on trap preparation and trap adjustment/modification. Shannon Cohrs and I will be doing demos as well. Schmitt Enterprises will be providing lunch for the Open House. Watch for your post cards for more information. The doors will open at 9:00 and demos will begin at 9:30. The meeting will be at 11:30 am. This will be at a new location this year. Their new location is 12799 County Highway 24 (near the old gas station by Searles, MN). This is just off of Highway 15, South of New Ulm.
I hope to see you at the fall meeting.
— Leon Windschitl
Our summer convention went well. We had a good crew that helped set up and take down many thanks to everyone! Corey and Deb know how to put things together and we all need to thank them both for the time they put in. Thank you – Corey and Deb.
The MTA has been asked to host the National Trapper convention two years from now. A committee has been formed to look it to this. Our 2011 summer convention will be held at Redwood Falls. It will be hosted by District 7. Personally, it will be nice to have it closer to home for a change.
Winter board meeting will be held in Isle with the general membership meeting on Saturday. There will be a Legal Defense Fund Raiser on Saturday evening. There will be a meal served and games to play. Corey and Deb may have tickets so call them if you would like to attend.
Scott Staples is on the board representing the DNR as a working CO from the Cromwell area. Make sure you all take a look at the new changes in the law regulations for trapping. We have an otter season now in all of southern Minnesota – limit of 4 and the beaver season will close early.
Cumberlands will be hosting our District 8 fall meeting Sept 18th. Come and get your last minute things. There will be programs, demos and great food.
Please be sure to thank the Cumberland Family for providing a very successful and fun event. Thank you – Cumberland family!
— Bradley Wobbrock