Minnesota Trappers Association August 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.

July 1st? Where has the summer gone? The Barnum convention is weeks away, and we’ll be bird hunting before you know it. I’m pleased to report that I’ve recently received the latest draft of the proposed law clarifications for the MN Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis that the membership requested over the last year.

The DNR has been very receptive to our comments and I look forward to continuing this exchange with future publications. At last count there were somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty five or more clarifications that will be incorporated into future handbooks. In addition, conservation officer information is now available on the DNR website that merely requires the user to click on a location on a Minnesota map and the CO’s name and contact information pops up. Very useful to consult prior to trapping season to have any information on local CO jurisdictions should you need to contact one.

Also a toll free number is being added to the Handbook for the reporting of out of season catches that allows transportation authorization. The following portion is being proposed. It has not yet been finalized as of 07-01-10 A person may possess or transport mink, muskrat, beaver, badger, opossum, raccoon, fisher, otter, pine marten, fox or bobcat accidentally killed or lawfully killed while causing or threatening injury or damage, only after the incidentally taken species is reported by calling (800) 652-9093. This number is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. If a live operator is not available, trappers should follow the prompts to leave a message reporting their take.

Many additional matters have also been addressed including: bait stations, trap tending, dispatching furbearers that are not subject to hunting with a firearm, use of power snares and utilizing road killed animals for trapping bait to name a few. The MTA and the DNR are making some real progress in addressing areas of traditional confusion in the Handbook and making them easier to understand for everyone involved. I thank those that took the time to contribute to this productive endeavor.

The Dark River Project (near Chisholm)- I am also pleased to report that the funding for this controversial “stream restoration” project will be returned and at this point in time the project is dead. To quote the DNR Commissioner’s Office:

The decision to drop the Dark River project was made by the directors of the Northeast Region and the Fish and Wildlife and Ecological Resources divisions because it would not be possible to fully assess the environmental impacts of the project by the December 31, 2010 deadline.  Regardless of the official public position, I suspect that this decision was made in no small part due to the pressures brought to bear on the Department from the MTA and the Dark River Basin Association which has stood in opposition to this project from the very beginning. I especially want to thank MTA’s Con Christianson, David Holmbeck and Steve Loch for leading the charge and to thank those MTA members that choose to be a part of the ground team by taking a tour of the watershed to examine for themselves whether the claims made appeared justified.

The MTA isn’t finished here yet as we continue to insist that beaver and dam removal cease and that these trapping options are only allowed on a case by case basis where the trapping and dam removal can be adequately and scientifically justified.

We’ll be keeping our eye on this one for quite awhile.

While on the subject of stream restoration projects, Deserae Hendrickson Duluth Area Fisheries Supervisor held a public information presentation on Beaver Trapping on the Knife this spring no doubt in response to concerns brought by the MTA to the DNR in St. Paul.

 This presentation was well attended with at least 11 MTA members present including District One Director Bert Highland, former MTA President Dan Croke and myself. To summarize:

1.) Beaver are universally bad for trout.

2.) Beavers weren’t here in numbers when trout populations were thriving.

3.)Removing the dams and the beavers will result in more trout. (We think?)

Without going into our point by point challenges of many of the assertions made to justify this project let me concentrate on the “We think” unspoken assumption.

When Hendrickson was asked how the success of these beaver and dam removal projects were to be evaluated regarding increased trout numbers, those gathered were stunned to hear. “We don’t currently have any funding available for evaluation”

No funding to evaluate? Did we hear that correctly? So, we’re just supposed to take for granted that all of this habitat alteration and year round beaver removal will result in thriving trout populations in marginal watersheds without having them evaluated?

Somehow money was found for aircraft to survey these substantial areas in order to pinpoint the locations of beaver colonies and dams for their removal when the DNR hasn’t been able to secure the same funds for a statewide population survey of beavers for management objectives? On top of that somewhere they were also successful in finding funds to hire trapping contractors from USDA Wildlife Services to further their objectives but couldn’t secure a dime to determine if any of this was worthwhile from a even an obviously biased trout interest perspective?

We’re watching this project closely as well and are hopeful that we may have forced some accountability for what has been done thus far and to have a place at the table in future decision making processes.

To allow rich habitats to be altered and beavers to be killed needlessly is something the MTA must take a firm stance in opposition to.

When opportunities arise for trappers to attend these presentations/public input meetings on behalf of our resources, please make every effort to have your voice heard. If we fail to stand and be counted- we will have only ourselves to blame.

Please keep your Directors aware of any projects occurring in your locale- if it’s happening in one area of the State, you can be certain its occurring in others.

Our collective hopes and prayers go out to the residents of the Wadena area that have suffered as a result of a tornado blasting through their town on June 17th.

Former MTA President Dan Croke from Duluth has assembled a team of trapper volunteers to assist in the clean up but thus far, our offer has been declined due to the huge numbers of local volunteers.

Many times more that four hundred showed up daily to share in the burden. Initially the call was limited to “professionals” tree services etc. and many volunteers were told to return home.
As to be expected, insurance agents are out in full force and they must complete their damage assessments before much of the clean up can occur. At this time, they are only soliciting those with loaders, dump trailers and dump trucks to assist in the clean-up. No doubt additional assistance will be welcomed in the days ahead.

If interested in giving financially to the clean up effort, 100 percent of tax-deductible donations will go to the City of Wadena to meet the needs of impacted families and help with volunteers and clean-up efforts. GiveMN.org, a Minnesota-based nonprofit giving portal, also allows donors to share the giving opportunity through Facebook and other social media sites.
Donation checks may also be mailed to:

Wadena Tornado Relief Fund
c/o Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank
PO Box 152
Wadena, MN 56482

www.midcentralbank.org

For more information, contact the foundation at (877) 632-9255 or info@ifound.org.

On a final note, I regret to inform the membership that Linda Salo of Chisholm has decided to step down from the MTA Secretary’s position she has held for the past six months due to on going health concerns. I’d personally like to thank Linda for her time on the Board and to wish her all the best. In the meantime, direct all requests to me directly that would’ve ordinarily gone to the Secretary until her position is filled.

Keep your skinning knives sharp.

— Shawn Johnson

EDUCATION COORDINATOR’S REPORT

Greetings Trappers,

Trapper Education classes are now being scheduled in many areas of the State. Please direct all perspective students to our website www.mntrappers.org for a list of classes. More class offerings are needed. Please consider hosting a class this fall to help keep up with the increasing demand. Several correspondence course students are still awaiting the opportunity to participate in a field day so please let me know as far in advance as possible if you are scheduling an upcoming class opportunity.

One week advanced notice to me is preferred if you’d like to be assured of having your class materials in hand prior to your start date.

Simply call or email me for additional information.

Believe it or not, I’m keeping this column short and sweet as you will likely receive this copy after the Barnum convention and I’ll fill in the gaps in the post convention issue with awards presented etc. in the next issue.

Thank you all so much for investing in the future of our sport.

Keep your skinning knives sharp.

— Shawn Johnson

DISTRICT 1 REPORT

Hello trappers, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Finally after an extremely dry spring we are getting our much needed rain. Creeks and rivers now all have good flows but our lakes are still a little on the low side. Hopefully the rain will continue.

I’d like to thank the District 1 members that attended the meeting put on by Deserae Hendrickson DNR fisheries suprv. on May 11 concerning the removal of beaver and beaver dams on the Knife River watershed to supposedly improve steelhead habitat. She presented alot of information andit was an interesting presentation. The MTA agrees with fisheries on keeping a portion of the main stream free of beaver dams as to not impede the annual steelhead spawning run, but totally opposes trapping out the headwaters and tributaries. It makes absolutely no sense to alter the habitat for the benefit of one species which is non-native to this area while degrading the habitat for many other native species. Also Con Christianson drafted a very good letter to Dirk Peterson of DNR fisheries concerning MTA’s disapproval of the way the Dark River near Chisholm is being managed for trout. After field trips and reading coflicting data on surveys done on this watershed, MTA’s stance is for the DNR to re-evaluate this project in its entirety.

Also independent of their decision on the project MTA is requesting notice of any plans on beaver removal or their damsn from the Dark River watershed. Stay tuned! Congratulations to District 1’s Frank House for being selected to guide Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau on the annual Governors Opener on Lake Kabetogama. The Lt. Gov. stated at the banquet prior to the opener that Gov. Pawlenty had won the fishing contest between them 7 yrs. in arow and that Frank shouldn’t feel any pressure. Boy did he feel the pressure! But Frank delivered- the Lt. Gov. reeled in a 12” sauger, adecent perch, a 15”, 18”, and a 19” walleye to beat the Gov. 5 to 4. Way to go Frank!-job well done!

As far as fishing goes my wife and myself have been out quite a bit and have done o.k. Highlights have been my wife landing a 36” northern on a fly rod at Lac Des Mille Lacs on our annual Canadian trip, my oldest son Mike with a 30” walleye from our week-end on the Gunflint Trail and for myself-just eaters, but I love to eat!

Walt Gessler will be holding his a nnual Trapper Ed. class in Ely on Sept.18. Anyone interested should contact Walt at 218- 365-2657 or check the MTA website for information. Walt conducts an excellent class.

My wife Tweety did a tanned fur show at the Sun Rise nursing home in Two Harbors. The residents and staff thoroughly enjoyed it. Some of the residents said it brought back many happy memorys from their youth. She even sold a fur to one of the staff who couldn’t resist it! This is a great way to bring happiness to the elderly and promote our great sport to the public.

Coming up fast is our 51st. annual convention in Barnum July 30 thru Aug.1 Plan on attending to pick-up supplies,see old friends, meet new friends, maybe help out. A good time will be had by all! Also a week later Aug.5-8 will be the NTA convention in Marshfield, Wisc.. This is as close as it gets folks without being in our state. I plan on being there and hopefully will see some of you. Enjoy the rest of the summer.

— Bert

DISTRICT 4 REPORT

There is not much to report on in the trapping front. The last major auctions of the year were held and prices had mixed reviews. Most of our animals except gray fox and beaver did fairly well. People that sold their beaver locally faired better that at auction.

If you haven’t heard, there is a trapping show on TV called “F & T’s North American Trapper.” It will air starting June 30th on ICTV. You can get it on Dish Channel 230 or Direct TV channel 344. It will air Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m. and Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. our time.

By the Time this article gets published our State Convention will probably be over. If not, the convention is July 30, 31 and Aug. 1 in Barnum. Our duty for District 4 will be posted and we will have a short meeting Saturday morning at 8:00. The site of the meeting will be posted at the MTA booth.

If you are going to be holding any youth classes, please let me know so that we can get them posted on the web site and I can give you a little recognition for your work. The only one I know of right now that is scheduled is being run by Wayne and Liz Thom, who are starting it September 12th.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you can contact me at 218-851-5989 or e-mail me at neprud@crosbyirontn.net.
Till next time. — Buzz

DISTRICT 5 REPORT

Hello everyone,

Our MN trapping convention is coming up quick. District 5 has gate duty on Saturday from 11:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.. We also work behind the souvenir booth on Friday from 10:45 a.m. to 200 p.m.. If anyone can help out a either of these areas, it would be very much appreciated, even if it is only for an hour or two.

District 8 is hosting the convention this year. Please help out if you can, the more volunteers the easier it is on everyone. Help is always needed on Thursday setting up and on Sunday for clean up.

I will be doing a kids water demo again this year on Friday at 4:p.m.. I do a hands on demo so the kids are shown how I make the muskrat sets then I help them set the traps and let them make the sets themselves. Each kid attending will receive a trap at the end of the demo.

I am also planning on having a trapper education class again in September. If anyone is interested in attending the class or helping teach the class, please call. A tentative date on the class is Friday evening, September 10th for the classroom part, and Saturday, September 11th for the infield training and skinning. The class will be held at the Kimball Rod and Gun Club in Kimball.
Be sure and sell your raffle tickets, and don’t forget, you must pick up your incentive traps at the convention or have someone else pick them up for you, they will not be mailed.

Take care and see you at the convention.

— Pete Jonas

DISTRICT 7 REPORT

Hello fellow trappers. The summer trapping convention is almost here. This year’s convention will be in Barnum on July 30, 31, and August 1. The work schedule or District 7 will be Friday, July 30 from 7 am – 12 pm at the front gate and Saturday, July 31 from 8 am – 11 am at the souvenir booth. Please note that District 7 has the early gate duty on Friday morning. If you are planning on coming to the convention please try to find some time to help volunteer with these duties. Also, District 7 will have a short meeting Saturday morning at 7:45 am outside the dealer building that has the MTA souvenir booth in it. This will be before we have to work the booth.

Hopefully, everyone has been selling their raffle tickets. If you have been selling your tickets and have earned some incentive prizes be sure to pick them up at the convention or make arrangements for someone to pick your prizes up, as the MTA will not ship incentive prizes anymore.

District 7 will be having a fall meeting at Schmitt Enterprises again this year on Saturday, August 28. This will be the same day as his open House. Gerald is going to have Mark Steck there to do some demos. Mark is a professional trapper from South Dakota. He should have some interesting trapping information to pass along. Also, District 7 member Brian Fischer is going to be putting on a demo as well. Brian did a demo last year and was well received by all who watched. Demos will be going on throughout the day. Schmitt Enterprises will be providing lunch for the Open House. Please be sure to check upcoming reports and the post cards for more information as the day is still being planned. I am happy to announce that Schmitt Enterprises Open House will be at a new location this year. There 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 all at the convention or the District 7 Fall meeting.

— Leon Windschitl

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