Minnesota Trappers Association April 2011 Report

President — Shawn Johnson, 6122 McQuade Road, Duluth, Mn 55804; phone: 218.525.4970; e-mail: mcquaderoadfur@msn.com

Vice President — Dave D’Aigle, 29765 Holly St NW, Isanti, MN 55040

Secretary — Linda Salo, 5927 McNiven Road, Chisholm, MN 55719; e-mail: linda.salo@mwcradio.com

Treasurer — Tricia Coons, 403 Wood Ave., Bemidji, MN 56601; phone: 218-444-8244; e-mail: MTATrish@paulbunyan.net

Membership Coordinator — Kathy Peterson, 57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661; phone: 218-659-4535; e-mail: kpeterso@paulbunyan.net

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: mcquaderoadfur@msn.com

Membership Options:

• 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
Kathy Peterson
57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661



It appears that recent fur auctions have confirmed the rumors that the market is rising for most articles. I’ll refrain from offering any numbers here as they will no doubt be published everywhere and shouted from the rooftops just enough to flood the market next season. (Look, I’m starting to sound like you now Frank!)

But seriously folks, higher prices usually mean a rise in numbers of trappers as well. Certainly there are many that hung up their traps back in ’87 and will never return to the sport but another generation that has never known “the way things used to be” are actively trapping and enjoying every minute of it in spite of the mediocre prices offered over the past twenty- some years.

That gives me hope that the sport will continue to be passed from generation to generation.

As promised, here’s the report on our progress with the DNR on snaring issues. MTA members attending included VP Dave D’Aigle, District 1 Director Bert Highland, District 4 Director Buzz Neprud, District 5 Co Director Jerry Larsen, MTA Furbearer Specialist/Legislative Liaison Con Christiansen and I.

Representing the DNR were Jason Abraham, John Erb and Ken Soring from Enforcement.

The members of the Furbearer Committee that were in attendance at the Grand Rapids meeting had no opposition to three out of the four proposals but of course could not speak for the entire committee that won’t meet until mid March.

To start things going in the right direction, the DNR representatives had no opposition to looking into rewording the snaring rules that outline loop height. The current wording in the 2010 MN Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook states:

“No snare may be set in such a way that the top of the loop is more than sixteen inches above the ground or when the ground is snow-covered, more than 16 inches above the bottom of a person’s footprint made in the snow beneath the snare with the full body weight on the foot.”

Difficulties to say the least, complying with this rule in deep snow conditions were discussed and it was agreed that a more practical standard be considered. Wording similar to what Wisconsin has in place may be used as a guide.

“…above the first surface beneath the bottom of the set cable restraint loop where the surface is ground, ice, crusted or packed snow or any other hard surface.”

This should help trappers in the field as most would prefer to stay within the framework of the law but the traditional rule made compliance nearly impossible in significant snow.

The second subject up for discussion was opening land snaring in the Farmland Zone with the water opener. There was little opposition to starting the land snaring in the Farmland Zone closer to the water opener but perhaps not on the same weekend to avoid unnecessary conflicts with hunting dogs.

MTA members are encouraged to speak with local hunting dog groups in order to let them know what we are proposing. All are in agreement that most would rather let a dog out of a snare than a body gripper, nonetheless, be aware of the presence of other user groups in the woods at all times and make wise decisions regarding the harvesting tools you choose.

The third item was the proposal to raise the total snare height to 20” instead of the current 16” maximum allowed. Although the proposal asked only for 20” (IE:a ten inch loop, ten inches off the ground), the Committee is open to considering even greater latitude in maximum loop size and height restrictions with a caution to snare users to exercise even greater caution in their use to avoid possible non-target catches.

The use of breakaway devices was strongly encouraged as well but not mandated as a condition.

Those that prefer blind setting trails as opposed to setting on bait will now have the option of greater selectivity should these changes materialize. Setting snares higher should result greater selectivity for those targeting coyotes. Special care should be taken to avoid non-targets. Most states mandate lock size and type, deer stops, break-away devices etc. yet Minnesota trappers are fortunate to have more liberal restrictions than most, however as has been stated many times before,

“Headlines force Legislation.”

Be responsible out there so we don’t risk losing these valuable tools on our traplines-it’s in everyone’s best interest.

The final proposal was to pursue and extended check requirement (ideally three days) on land snares. This was not so well received. The major opposition to an extended check was the opinion of the Committee members present that snares do not dispatch animals as quickly nor as dependably as a bodygripper.

The MTA has been encouraged to find scientific data that suggests the contrary. Although snares in the hand of a competent trapper with experience can be very lethal it was the opinion of the Committee members present that for most, the efficiency and reliability of fast snare dispatches was not comparable to that of bodygrippers.

The Furbearer Committee has traditionally been in unanimous opposition to an extend check on land snares.

Later start dates, road restrictions, special zones and even 48 hour checks were offered with the same result.

Not supported at this time.

It is evident that the MTA has to do some work on lethal snaring techniques while at the same time devoting more time and experimentation with various break-away devices and target selectivity in order to make any headway on this endeavor.

I’ll leave you with that for now and encourage you to make reservations now for the annual MTA convention which will be held in Redwood Falls this summer.

Motel rooms are limited and filling up fast.

Please seriously consider patronizing those motels that advertise in our MTA Newsletter magazine.

Keep your skinning knives sharp,

— Shawn Johnson



I’ve attended 3 of the District spring meetings so far and all seemed to have really good turnouts. Had quite an interesting ride home from the District 7 weekend in the snowstorm. District 4 has their meeting scheduled for April 9th in Finlayson.

Lots of discussion on hosting the NTA Convention in 2012 if you’re interested in helping Todd Roggenkamp is in charge of organizing the workers so get in touch with him.

Looks like District 7 has a good handle on this summers convention. Very well organized (probably their wives doing most of it). Time to start thinking about room resevations as I’m sure they will fill up fast. Sounds like there will be some tours for the ladies as well this year. If you can help out this summer contact Leon or Shannon and I’m sure they will find something for you to do.

Time to start getting things ready for spring Beaver Trapping.

Take care.

— Dave D’Aigle


Greetings trappers,

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the last of winter. By the time you read this temperatures should be rising and the snow should be starting to melt– at least I hope so!

District 1 had it’s spring meeting Feb. 26 in Cotton. Temperatures ranged between – 23 and – 35 degrees that morning, but trappers are a tuff bunch and we had over 60 people attend. Walt Gessler put on a very interesting presentation on beaver control in lakes managed for wild rice. Some of the other topics discussed were proposed snare regulation changes, the up coming convention in Redwood Falls, the 2012 NTA convention in Owatonna, moving the trapper auction to the winter meeting only, and co-director Frank Brula’s work on the marten nesting box project. While this project is just in its start up stage, I believe it has great potential to help marten nesting success and to really show the public that trappers are true conservationists and very serious about sound wildlife management practices.

I’d like to thank Minnesota Trapline Products and Smokey Reds Snare Supply for their generous donations that made our raffle a great success. I’d like to thank Frank Brula for donating moose burger, John Nelson for donating the pickles and beans, the lady ( sorry I didn’t get your name ) for the delicious bars, and to my lovely wife for preparing a great lunch. Also I really appreciate all who helped with the set up and clean up, in the kitchen, and with the raffle, you’re a great bunch!

About a year ago a college student from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario contacted me about a study she was doing about giant kidney worm and other parasites affect on the mink population around the Great Lakes area. I’d like to thank District 1 trappers Rey Lakso Jr., John Holt, and Shawn Johnson for helping me put together a large collection of mink carcasses to aid in her research. Hopefully we can have her speak at a district meeting about her findings on this study in the future.

I had the opportunity to work the MTA booth at the Duluth Boat Sport and Travel Show this past week. We had a collection of premium fur on display from the MTA tanned fur project and all I can say is that it really drew in the people. I heard nothing but positive comments and people couldn’t walk by without running their fingers thru the beautiful fur. I believe we sold around $3000.00 worth of tanned fur during the show. Donations of raw fur for the tanned fur project were very low this winter– probably due to higher prices paid this season. If at all possible consider donating some fur next season. Minnesota produces some of the best fur in the country– lets show off to the public the quality product we produce!

Well that’s about all I have for now. Spring beaver trapping is coming up soon, so sharpen your knives. Till next time.

— Bert Highland


Where did February go? It has been an interesting month to say the least, 32 below to 58 above, only in Minnesota. It started for me by attending the District 5 meeting at Scott Johnson’s Fur House, which had a very good turnout. Pete, Jerry and Mark do a very nice job.

My next meeting I attended was held in Sandstone, with Gary Meis, Dave D’Aigle, Gary Leistico, Con Christianson and the DNR represented by Wildlife, Forestry, Parks and Trails and Enforcement to develop a pilot program on beaver removal in state forests, parks, etc. It should work very well and hopefully be implemented around the State.

The next day I attended a meeting in Grand Rapids with Dave, Con, Shaun Johnson, Jerry Larson, Bert Highland, DNR-Enforcement and Wildlife and also the Forest Zone Trappers Association to talk about snaring issues. First issue discussed was the opening date in the south to coincide with the water opener.

They were willing to look at moving the date from December 1 to earlier, possibly around the first week in November. Second, they talked about moving snare height from 16 to 20” and this has a very good chance of approval. Third, a three day check on snares to coincide with body gripper laws was met with opposition and will need to be further studied. In my opinion it is not looking good but isn’t totally dead yet.

It was also brought up about the closing date of beaver season on April 30th. It was suggested, if possible in the forest zone, could it be left at May 15th because of lack of open water traditionally. It is something they will look at but they have no firm answer yet.

Next, was the NAFA auction. Fur sold very well for me with the exception of coyotes. The fur quality of my coyotes, according to people in the know, have the fur texture of a rabid dog crossed with a goat! I hope things went well for you no matter where you sold.

On the 26th, I attended the District 1 meeting in Cotton where they had a very large crowd. Bert, Frank Brula, and Arnie Peterson held an excellent meeting.
Now, on to the good stuff! Our District meeting will be April 9th at the Finlayson Community Center. Doors will open at 9:30 with the meeting starting at 10:00 and running until done. We will have a fur buyer present and hopefully John Erb will be able to attend to answer any questions you may have. Also this is the time to bring up any other topics you wish to discuss.

Till next time.

— Buzz Neprud


Hello everyone,

Hope everyone has had a good trapping season so far. With all the snow we’ve had this winter it has made trapping a little tough. I had hoped to get out and get some late season muskrat trapping in, but work and all the snow kept me from that. Starting to get traps ready for spring beaver trapping, but winter keeps hanging in there.

If anyone in our district is planning on doing a trapper education class this spring or summer, let me know. I have extra magazines and books you can have to give to the students. Also, if you need help putting the class on or need help with the in-field training, I would be happy to help if I can.

I am planning on doing a trappers education class in late August before school starts. I will have a definite date and times by June. It will be a 2 day class. One day classroom and one in field training.

The summer convention is coming up quick. This year it’s in Redwood Falls.

Take care.

— Pete Jonas


Hello fellow trappers. On February 19, District 7 had their Spring Meeting. We had a very impressive turnout of 90-100 people. It was great that so many people could attend. After the meeting, Jason Wiebke was there to buy fur and by the time the demos were starting, there was already a line of trappers ready to sell. The demos were all well attended and had a lot of interest in them. Thank you to Jim Blakely from District 8 and Shannon Cohrs for doing demos. Thank you to the members that were asked and brought desserts. It is very much appreciated.

The raffle went very well. There were a lot of prizes all of which were donated. With the success of both raffles from the fall and spring meeting, we have hit our goal of two guns that District 7 will be sponsoring for the general raffle. We would not have this success without the generous people that donate. I would like to Thank Schmitt Enterprises, Minnesota Trapline Products, Dead Coyote Snares, NAFA, Fur Harvesters, Jason Wiebke, Wayne Sieverding, Dave D’Aigle, Duke Trap Company, and the MTA Souvenirs. I would especially like to Thank Wayne Sieverding for his generous donation of a beautiful ranch Cross Fox Pelt for the raffle.

During the meeting we had a lengthy discussion on non-resident trapping. We took a written vote to find out if the members of District 7 were for or against having non-resident trapping. After the ballots were counted the majority was in favor of having non-resident trapping. Then a motion was made and passed to have the MTA pursue non-resident trapping. So I will bring this issue to the board at the March meeting. Also, we had some DNR representatives on hand to talk about the otter harvest in Southern Minnesota. A discussion was also had on trespass and road right away laws.

Thank you to those members from District 7 who donated to the Tanned Fur Project. All donations are appreciated. As Spring Beaver Trapping approaches, please think about any donations that you would like to make as well.

District 7 will be having a booth at the Tracey Sportsman’s Show on April 16 & 17. This will be a good opportunity to promote the Redwood Falls Convention to the area sportsmen. Please keep this date in mind, so if you have a couple of hours to help at the booth. I would appreciate any help that I can get.

Details for the Redwood Falls Convention are starting to come together. Denise and I have been working on getting some dealers for the ladies. We are trying to have a building full of vendors that will have interesting things for the ladies to take in. There are also several local points of interest that could be visited as well. Also, District 7 members keep in mind that we are in charge of set up and clean up at the convention. If you are available on Thursday or Sunday, please volunteer your time.

Until next time.

— Leon Windschitl, Director District 7

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One thought on “Minnesota Trappers Association April 2011 Report

  1. The Government is operating so far outside of its design parameters that this type of discussion is now futile. IMO the place to begin is eliminating tax which would force massive reductions in power and programs, bringing the govt. more in line with the founders structure. Only then can a discussion vis-a-vis federal and state govts. become worthwhile.

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