Minnesota Trappers Association April-May 2013 Report


President — Shawn Johnson, 6122 McQuade Road, Duluth, Mn 55804; 218-525-4970;

Vice President — Dave D’Aigle, 29765 Holly St NW, Isanti, MN 55040; 612-366-2748

Secretary — Linda Johnson, 6122 McQuade Rd, Duluth, MN 55804; 218-525-4970

Treasurer — Tricia Coons, 8747 Tranquility Ln. NW, Bemidji, MN 56601; 218-444-8244;

Membership Coordinator — Mitzi Heavirland, 31301 County Road 67, Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Director of Trapper Education — Shawn Johnson, 6122 McQuade Road, Duluth, MN 55804; 218-525-4970; mcquaderoadfur@msn.com

NTA Director

Education Coordinator — Shawn Johnson, 6122 McQuade Road, Duluth, MN 55804; 218-525-4970; 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

Mitzi Heavirland

31301 County Road 67

Grand Rapids, MN 55744



Well it’s no surprise that fur prices are the subject on everyone’s lips these days. That bump we experienced in prices in 2008 appears to pale in significance to this one. Its great to hear that prices have finally risen to the point that folks are excited at the opportunity to increase their lines this year. How long these favorable prices will remain is anyone’s guess but all indications are that this is more than a temporary “bump” in prices. Of course, time will tell.

As to be expected, demand for trapper certifications has increased dramatically as well. 672 have completed the trapper certification exam online and many are looking for field training opportunities. So please if you end up hosting a small class or fieldwork session for local young people, let me know so they might contact you to accompany your class. Sadly “emergency” classes are put together last minute by instructors and I never hear about them until I receive the paperwork. Let’s make the most out of opportunities you folks provide for these young people and please give me a heads up whenever possible.

Another fact of the matter is that trapping license sales have increased to around 10,000 the past two years and sadly, MTA membership numbers have not risen proportionally as in the past. Those from outside our Association benefit as well from our work on behalf of all trappers. I encourage current members to pressure those outside MTA to join us in our work and partner with us to pursue increased trapping opportunities and to aggressively protect what is ours.

The potential for drought is a subject of concern once again for many parts of the State the north shore of Lake Superior being no exception. Record floods from spring rains last year did nothing to offset the diminished precipitation we’ve been experiencing the last two years. My regular fall trapline waters were over 90% BONE DRY last fall. I suspect stream trout populations took a beating as well as a result.

As it turned out, I didn’t have the opportunity to trap at all last fall due to my work schedule and judging from what I’ve heard from local trappers, the mink catch was down to nearly 50% of normal take for most. Muskrats were exceptionally scarce as it is likely litters of both animals ended up perishing in their dens or flushed into Lake Superior on account of the flooding.

We’re hopeful that heavy March snows and a gradual melt will bring water levels up closer to normal ranges and that this continuing drought cycle will come to an end.

Our Convention will be held in Litchfield at the Meeker County Fairgrounds this August 16-18th and I encourage all to make accommodations early. Of special importance is the fact that NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED ON THE FAIRGROUNDS in accordance with facility policy with the exception of seeing eye dogs etc. in accordance with state law. This is not something MTA has any say in so please make arrangements for your pets if you plan on attending in August.

As I write this report the bodygripper issue remains in the media. We’re hopeful that the membership did their part to contact their legislators in opposing any additional regulations on bodygrippers fueled by emotion rather than fact. We’re also confident that the wolf trapping season will remain as far as the state of Minnesota is concerned but lawsuits against the federal government have been filed to force the Fed to return the wolf to endangered status and remove management from the States.

We’re cautiously optimistic that common sense will once again prevail.

Our gun raffle fundraiser is in full swing and members are encouraged to contact Gary Meis before 9PM at 320 838 1579 if they desire additional tickets. With gun issues all over the media, it is likely that increased sales in raffle tickets are likely to occur as well. Let’s do our part to protect our second amendment rights through this worthwhile endeavor. All profits from our raffle are spent on Education so it’s in everyone’s interest that we all pitch in for the trappers and voters of tomorrow.

On a final note of interest, I’ve been approached by an individual seeking single mammal specimens for his collection primarily small rodents such as voles, mice, shrews and moles of every species imaginable along with ground squirrels of every type that resides in Minnesota.

Obviously I won’t help him secure anything that is illegal (non-protected animals are defined in the MN Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook and are legal to buy and sell without special licensure.) but if you might be able to secure some of the following species listed, contact me with your asking price.

He’s looking for undamaged whole frozen specimens with intact skulls for educational use.

Additionally anyone that may have a least weasel for sale should contact me as well. There may be a few bucks to be made here if someone has a legitimate least that they would be willing to sell.

-Least Chipmunk

-Eastern Chipmunk

-Richardson’s Ground Squirrel

-Franklin’s Ground Squirrel

-13-lined Ground Squirrel

-Least Weasel

-Deer Mouse

-Bog Lemming

-Prairie Vole

-Meadow Vole

-Red-backed Vole

-Jumping Mouse

-House Mouse

-Norway Rat

-Masked Shrew

-Arctic Shrew

-Pygmy Shrew

-Water Shrew

-Star-nosed Mole

That’s all for now.

Keep your skinning knives sharp. — Shawn



Hi Trappers,

I hope everyone who had fur at the NAFA auction is pleased with the results. Most articles had healthy increases over last Febuary’s sale and at least one item saw prices not seen in over 30 yrs. I hope my fur at FHA’s March auction does equally as well. Frank, Mike Z., and I picked up the lumber for the Marten Nesting Box Project last weekend.. With me working non-stop for a month and Frank coming down with the flu bug, no boxes were built in Feb. I’ll try to get everyone together in March and get the project moving forward.

The anti’s are at it again trying to take away our use of bodygrippers on land and also trying to get a 5 yr. stoppage on the wolf trapping and hunting season. I urge everyone to please take the time to call or write your State Rep. and Senator and tell them how important trapping is as a wildlife management tool and an important source of income to many people including our youth. Please be polite in your conversation or written correspondence. While on this topic I just read that 10,000 trapping licenses were sold in Minnesota this season. We all know trappers that don’t belong to the MTA, let’s make an effort to get these trappers to join us. There’s strength in numbers and this will help us defeat the anti- everything crowd.

By the time you read this report spring should at least be starting to show signs of arriving. So here’s wishing you good luck spring beaver trapping. Take care and above all be safe. — Bert



Greetings District 4,

The first thing I want everyone to do after reading this report is to write to their legislators and explain to them that we do not need any new restrictions on conibears re 220’s. Then I want everyone to talk to every trapper they know that does not belong to our organization about the self control that is need to stop the incidentals. Also, take the time to show any dog owners how to release with rope, setters, cable ties or whatever. I have shown many folks around here, hunters and non-hunters alike, because even though it is in the hunting manual, it is easier for them to understand by being shown how.

If anyone is interested in doing any field training, please contact Shawn.

We have also had a request from John Erb for gray fox samples. Just a marble-size piece. If you can get them to me, I will get them to him.

I still need help for the youth day in Brainerd on June 8. If you can, call me at 218-851-5989. Don’t forget our summer convention in Litchfield. I will post our gate and booth duties later.

Well, I am done rambling. Till next time.

P.S. We lost a long time member, Harold Savaloja, after a battle with cancer. Harold was an avid trapper and fur buyer. Our condolences to his family. — Buzz



Hello fellow trappers. I am sure that most of you have been paying attention to the fur auctions; with the prices like that everyone should be smiling.

On February 23, District 7 held our Spring Meeting in Dovray. There was a nice crowd, but not as many as usual. The skinning bee followed in the afternoon. We did not receive a lot of fur to put up for the tanned fur project, but what was donated was put up and will be sent to the tanned fur project. Thank you to those of you who did donate. Also, thanks to all of you who helped out by teaching, learning, or just putting up fur. I would also like to thank Jason Wiebke for coming to buy fur at our meeting.

The summer convention will be here before you know it. It will be held in Litchfield. It should be a good time. I know that hotels are filling up fast, so get your reservations in if you are planning on attending. There is also quite a bit of camping on site. The dates of the convention are August 16-18. The time that District 7 will need volunteers for the front gate and the souvenirs has not been posted yet. Please watch for upcoming reports for when we need your help. If you would like to put in extra time, there are other things that you can volunteer for as well.

If you are going to be doing any spring trapping, good luck and remember to set your traps responsibly.

Until next time. — Leon Windschitl

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