Minnesota Trappers Association April-May 2010 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

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

Greetings Trappers,

Things have really been happening since my last report. I am happy to report that all four MTA legislative/DNR initiatives have been addressed by the DNR and will be reflected in upcoming trapping seasons. There has been give and take on most issues, but the end results have been acceptable trade-offs to accomplish what we had intended. Through the combined efforts of Con Christianson and Jason Abraham along with Steve Merchant, Capt. Ken Soring, Major Rod Smith and John Erb, as well as influence brought to the process from State Senator Pat Pariseau and State House Rep. David Dill (District 6a), these talks have been very productive.

I hate to steal any thunder from Con or Jason and their upcoming columns so I’ll give an overview of recent developments.

Suggestions from the membership to address certain laws/rules and their clarification have resulted in a list for the DNR to address and hopefully clarify in future Hunting and Trapping Regulation Handbooks. The DNR has been open to making these adjustments in their publications. At this time, it appears that there are insufficient changes/clarifications that would make the publication of a separate handbook necessary or cost effective for the taxpayer although the door is still open to that possibility should enough suggestions materialize.

As I encouraged the membership in past columns, if you have additional concerns that you would like to have addressed in future publications, please send them to MTA Legislative Liaison Con Christianson as soon as possible to have them included.

The DNR has agreed to streamline the manner in which sportsmen are able to contact Conservation Officers. Generic contact information will be included in the Handbook that will guide sportsmen to specific information that will allow them to make a connection with a CO. Due to the fact that CO’s often change reporting stations between Handbook printings, it was felt that the most efficient manner to contact a CO would be pertinent information on dispatchers that could forward requests to CO’s. A map will be provided outlining regions/ jurisdictions etc. to speed up the process. It was generally agreed by all parties that this was a crucial area to address.

Fox and raccoon trapping season should begin on the Saturday closest to Oct. 15 but not before Oct. 15 in the North Mink/Muskrat/Beaver Otter Zone. This rule change had virtually no opposition and will be reflected in future Handbooks.

Otter and beaver trapping seasons should run concurrently and a quota of muskrats taken incidentally in sets made for otter and beaver will be included in the legal take. This item, as expected, proved to be the most challenging to address. In order to make this a reality, several factors needed to be considered. In a nutshell, tying the beaver and otter seasons together has it’s drawbacks. Should otter harvests border on surpassing predetermined “safe” harvest levels, the beaver trapper would be effected to the same degree regarding season length etc.

As things now appear, beaver and otter seasons will be married in the near future. Incidentally taken muskrats will also be included. It is very likely that the trade off will be shortening the beaver/otter season to April 30 at the latest and possibly as early as April 15 depending on future otter harvest data gathered. To discourage the intentional take of muskrats in the spring, it is likely that reasonable trap size restrictions will also be implemented after the close of the muskrat/mink harvesting season. (Nothing smaller than a #3 foothold, #280 bodygripper etc.)

An additional problem that will have to be addressed by the DNR is the trapping/small game license year. As things currently stand, our license year only runs until the end of February. By extending the otter season into the spring, the license year will have to be changed as well, along with adjustments in the ELS System.

To summarize: all of the issues addressed above will result in the changes promised, however, it will take some time for all of the behind-the-scenes work to be completed.

It is likely that we won’t see these changes reflected in next year’s handbook as the process for printing next season’s publications have already been contracted (800,000 Handbooks are printed annually) and it will take some time and considerable effort to put all of the various pieces of these changes together for publication.

To put it another way, “Christmas” is coming folks, it’s just going to take a little longer to get here than we would’ve preferred.

Speaking of otters, the DNR is considering extending the otter zone to include the entire State with a season limit of four across the board. DNR public input meetings will be held across the state in coming months so if you’d like to see this change take place, I strongly encourage as many trappers as possible to attend these public input meetings. There is no doubt that anti-trapping advocates will make every effort to attend. Will you?

On a related note, MTA will be working with Enforcement to come to a commonsense manner to report out-of-season incidental catches. Changing the otter season doesn’t solve the problems encountered with fishers, marten, bobcats etc. and all sides agreed that it was time to seriously address these difficulties head on.

Details will be revealed as they become available.

All in all, most of what we set out to accomplish has been attained. Please remember to thank these fine folks for the hard work they have done in service to the MTA.

Your appreciation means a great deal.

Stream Restoration Projects — The MTA has many irons in the fire with the DNR at this point. I have assembled a ground team to work on these concerns and as information becomes available, it will be passed on to the membership. DNR Deputy Director of Fish and Wildlife Ed Boggess has directed Regional personnel to assist in gathering information the MTA is seeking. I am confident that he will deliver on his promise to have these issues addressed in the immediate future. We refrain from making further comments until we have that information in hand.

Be assured, the MTA is concerned about our fur resources and possible degradation to crucial habitats for other wildlife.
Our voice will be heard.

Your MTA has earned the respect of the DNR as well as that of our elected officials and all of these factors played a major part in the accomplishments that have been made in recent months.

We cannot afford to take these relationships lightly.

Only by conducting ourselves in the field with the strongest degree of professionalism and conservation ethic, can we hope to maintain these essential relationships.

Some of the most dedicated sportsmen in Minnesota have MTA membership cards in their back pockets.

Let’s be worthy of that respect.

Keep your skinning knives sharp.

— Shawn Johnson

EDUCATION COORDINATOR’S REPORT

Greetings Trappers,

February proved to be the calm in the storm for the Trapper Education Program. All Directors received a list of students that require the In Field Training component of the course in order to receive their certification. Many thanks to those who participated in teaching these young people the ropes.

On Feb. 17-21, the first annual Duluth Deer Classic was held in conjunction with the annual Boat, Sport and Travel show at the DECC. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the folks that took time out of their busy schedules to assist in manning the MTA booth: Jim Anderson- Floodwood, Phil Mannon- Duluth, Bill Brown-Duluth, Dan Croke- Duluth along with my wife Linda and number two son Hunter.
The show was a successful endeavor.

Around $2,000 worth of donated tanned fur changed hands and those dollars will be added to our Education account for further education opportunities. In addition, 13 students signed up for my upcoming annual March/April trapper education class.

You can’t beat this type of advertising.

A special thank you to all trappers who have donated pelts and to DNR CO’s who have demonstrated their confidence in the program by doing the same. Whenever possible, please encourage your CO’s to consider donating confiscated pelts to the Tanned Fur for Education Program. Some CO’s that might otherwise be reluctant to issue pelting fees to trappers generally view the Tanned Fur Project positively.

Fur collections are loaned or gifted to schools and other worthy organizations, along with Fur Banners and tanned fur, all help to educate the public on the health of Minnesota’s diverse and thriving furbearer populations.
Your donations make this all possible.

As spring looms in the distance, please consider hosting a trapper education course within the next few months.

Before spring beaver trapping becomes all consuming, schedule a class offering now.

If any of you have read my education columns in the past, you are well aware of the demand for trapper education courses rises dramatically as fall approaches.

Let’s see if we can’t decrease the volume of this yearly occurrence by giving young people the opportunity to become certified now?

If you’d like more information on how to put a class together, advertise, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or drop me a line.

The Minnesota version of the Outdoor News weekly continues to extend the offer to advertise these classes free of charge.

Simply let me know when you’re going to host a class and I’ll see to it that these opportunities are advertised in this weekly as well as on our Web site.

While on the subject of our Web site, if possible, take a minute or two to see all the positive changes. www.mntrappers.org.

Our treasurer, Trish, has happily taken the reins and has given the site a fresh new look along with updated information and easier navigation.
In this day and age, our Association’s presence on the Web is becoming more and more crucial as more and more people use the Web as their primary resource for gathering information they seek.

I’m also pleased to report that through the online option, eight more students have been added to the program, which will save the Association considerable money over the long run.

Don’t forget to consider using one or more of the trapping films that have been donated to Education during your classes. Response has been favorable to this resource by instructors that have chosen to exercise this option.

Also, keep in mind that all expenses you incur in hosting a trapper education class should be sent to Deb, our education director, for proper accounting and documentation first. Perhaps the easiest way to accomplish this for those that have access to a computer is for you to send a copy to Deb and the originals to Trish, our treasurer, for reimbursement. Requisition forms are available from Trish as well as your district director.

Please remember that costs associated with hosting these classes such as advertising, room rental, mileage, etc. can be reimbursed by the Association, but please remember to seek out all free advertising opportunities available to you. Most towns have community education classes available to residents and routinely provide advertising free-of-charge for courses. Local 4-H and Boy Scout troops generally welcome these classes as well. Scouts in particular can gain credit toward merit badge requirements by merely attending these classes and learning from you the instructors, as well as from the manual and other resources provided to these students.

This provides an attractive incentive for young people to attend our courses.

Even if most of these young people never set another trap in their lives, they will have a practical understanding of modern fur trapping that their peers likely will never have.

The more that know the truth about our sport, the more secure our sport will be politically for years to come.
That, my friends, is an investment worth making.

Keep your skinning knives sharp.

— Shawn Johnson

DISTRICT 4 REPORT

Greetings District 4,

This morning it is 17 below and by noon it is 30 above. Ah, springtime in Minnesota, you have to love it! I believe by the time you read this, the DNR Public Hearings on possible regulation changes will be over. The one trapping issue was on opening otter season statewide. Hope you had a chance to give your opinion.

One of the major auction houses, Fur Harvesters, had their first sale. Everything went pretty well for us in Minnesota. Hope the following sales hold up.

Remember our dates for the summer convention in Barnum are July 30 to Aug. 1. Don’t forget to sell your raffle tickets. I know you have heard that many times, but it is important to get out and sell them.

Another date to remember and be in attendance is our District Meeting on March 26 at Gander Mountain in Brainerd from 6:30-8:30 p.m. If you need to reach me for anything, call me at 218-851-5989.
Till next time.

— Buzz Neprud

DISTRICT 5 REPORT

Hello everyone,

We are looking for suggestions for information that you would like to see added in the new trapping synopsis. If there is anything you would like to see added, give me a call or e-mail and I will get this info to Con Christianson.

I have list of six students in District 5 in need of in-field training. Two from St Cloud, one from Hutchinson, one from Canby ad two from Elrosa. If anyone is having a trapper education class and you have room in your class, call and I will give you their contact information.
The DNR is having public input meetings again this spring. Watch your newspaper for upcoming meetings in your area. One item of interest is allowing otter trapping statewide. If you are unable to attend a meeting but have comments, you can submit them via e-mail to wildlife.dnr@state.mn.us, or written comments can be sent to

Season Comments
DNR Section of Wildlife
500 Lafayette Road
St Paul, MN 55155-4007
Take care.

— Pete Jonas

DISTRICT 7 REPORT

Hello Fellow Trappers. District 7 held its Spring Meeting on Feb. 20 in Dovray. We had an excellent turnout with lots of district members and many board members also attending. Because of the large turnout, we might need to start looking for a new location to hold the spring meeting. The meeting went well and the raffle was very successful. A lot of prizes were donated for the raffle. I would like to thank all of those who donated. It is greatly appreciated. I would like to give a special thanks to Schmitt Enterprises for donating the videos to the kids. Every kid under 15 received a video of their choice. They were all excited to pick out their own video.

For the meal, we served chili and chicken noodle soup, with bars and cake for dessert. Everyone brought an appetite as the food went fast. On behalf of District 7, I want to thank Angie Cohrs, Denise Windschitl, Geri Carter, Sarah Budenski, Tom Sando, Felicia Cohrs and Nikki Windschitl for preparing and serving the meal. After the meeting, we had three demos, each one done by a director or co-director of District 7.

A lot of people stayed throughout the day to take in the demos. Also, while the demos were going on, Jason Wiebke was there buying fur. It was District 7’s first time having someone there to buy fur. Jason seemed to be busy buying fur throughout the afternoon, especially coyotes.

Once again, District 7 will be having a booth at the Tracey Area Sportsman Show. The dates are Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18. They have added more activities to the show this year. Also, on April 24 and 25 is the Worthington Gun Show. District 7 will have a booth there as well. If you would like to help out with either one of these shows, please let me know. If you haven’t helped out in the past, think about it. It is a good time talking not only to the people coming to the booth, but also talking and sharing ideas with the guys working at the booth.

March 6 will be the next board meeting. Be sure to check future reports for information on what was discussed at that meeting.

— Leon Windschitl

DISTRICT 8 REPORT

Greetings,

Spring beaver trapping should be in full swing now. Use good judgment on the flooding rivers. Two years back, I was skinning beavers and cut the eye of the beaver with my knife. Some of the fluid from the eye hit me in the face; I wiped myself up and kept on skinning. Two days later, I went to the eye doctor and found out I had a serious bacterial infection. Eleven trips to the eye specialist and I now have some permanent damage. After that experience, I of course continue to use gloves and I am now wearing safety glasses or a face shield. Be safe when you trap and skin these critters.

Trapping instructors, please try to put on a class this summer. I know there are many youth and adults that are eager to get involved in our sport.
Give Jim or myself a call if you want to have a MTA booth at a county fair.

Safe trapping.

— Brad Wobbrock

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