Minnesota Trappers Association August 2012 Report


President — Shawn Johnson, 6122 McQuade Road, Duluth, Mn 55804; 218-525-4970; mcquaderoadfur@msn.com

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; MTATrish@paulbunyan.net

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




Greetings All,

What an unusual spring we’ve had across much of the state. Winter didn’t arrive until the first week or two of March and exited just about as quickly. The melt was quick and the usual spring rains were suspiciously absent so low water levels made for interesting beaver trapping to say the least.

In my neck of the woods, many trappers had already pulled for the season by the time we’d normally be starting most years. However, agreeable beaver prices kept many out until the end of the season. Competition on public lands for beaver reminded many of mink trapping in the eighties when you were forced to walk up the creeks until you didn’t see anyone else’s traps before setting!

Here’s hoping all the extra effort expended this year is adequately rewarded at the auction house and fur buyer’s!

The subject on the minds of most is the body gripper issue that has unfortunately been the subject of much critical public scrutiny over the past several months. Although trappers realize that dog/bodygripper incidents are extremely rare occurrences, the headlines created provide anti trapping advocates nearly unlimited access to the media to propagate their misguided message.

Ironically twenty and thirty years ago many of these same people were demonizing the foothold trap and demanding that bodygrippers take their place as a more “humane” alternative.

Now the body gripper is receiving the identical negative treatment in the media that our footholds did back then.

I guess the refrain “we’re not against trapping” really doesn’t ring true in most cases now does it?

The simple fact of the matter is, no one wants to catch a dog and most trappers take great care in choosing appropriate set locations for bodygrippers on land in order to avoid conflicts and potential accidental catches.

Nonetheless, no one “wins” if a dog is caught regardless of who (if anyone) is at fault.

We must be even more cognizant of the fact that what affects one, ultimately affects all trappers.

We, not other sporting groups are in the best position to positively influence fellow trappers to insure the future of our sport and the tools we use.

If you happen upon a trap set in an “iffy” situation, please take the opportunity to gently point that out to your fellow trapper and explain that it’s in everyone’s best interest to self-police our ranks as much as possible to avoid conflict.

Just because a set is technically “legal” doesn’t mean it’s appropriate in all areas.

This year we came dangerously close to losing the use of both 220 and 160 sized body grippers in many applications that would’ve proved devastating for many that depend on seasonal fur income in our state. Thanks in no small part to dedicated individuals within MTA and the assistance of valuable common sense legislators, it appears that reasonable legislation restricting the use of 220 sized body grippers on public land will become law once the governor signs the Game and Fish Bill which is anticipated to occur this coming week. Legal counsel Gary Leistico and MOHA director Greg Flor did the lion’s share of the work and it would be much appreciated if members thank them for the many hours they invested to insure a favorable compromise.

These restrictions will allow meaningful trapping to occur while at the same time providing an additional deterrent to further reduce bodygripper incidents.

As always, commonsense should always be your guide as no system is foolproof and when in doubt, find a more suitable location elsewhere.

The proposed bill language is provided below.


A person may not set, place, or operate, except as a waterset, a body-gripping or conibear-type trap on public lands and waters that has a maximum jaw opening when set greater than 6-1/2 inches and less than 7-1/2 inches measured from the inside edges of the body-gripping portions of the jaws, unless:

(1) the trap is in a baited or unbaited enclosure and the trap trigger is recessed seven inches or more from the top and frontmost portion of the open end of the enclosure;

(2) no bait, lure, or other attractant is placed within 20 feet of the trap; or

(3) the trap is elevated at least three feet above the surface of the ground or snowpack.

Those that oppose trapping will use every opportunity to discredit us so please spread the word to all trappers that eliminating incidents that become headlines such as we saw this winter is of vital importance to everyone. Encourage all to use extreme care when setting bodygrippers on land especially in road right-of-ways and to forge alliances with other outdoor user groups as well.

A handful of MTA members continue to give presentations to hunting groups in order to familiarize non-trappers with the traps we use and how to release a dog should one accidently be caught in a trap of any kind. This is especially important in light of the misinformation that has been spread over the past several months which has given the false impression that trappers simply do not care about the rights of other user groups we share the woods with.

Honest outreaches such as these will help diffuse much of the explosive and divisive rhetoric that has been such popular fodder for the sensational media cannons aimed at trappers over the last several months.

I personally thank those members who have taken the initiative to set the record straight.

Accurate information and mutual awareness of other user groups is key to coexistence in the woods.

While it is a sad fact that some people will oppose trapping in any fashion, most sportsmen understand that “divide and conquer” is the most successful tactic those that oppose consumptive wildlife use entirely have at their disposal. When sporting groups begin to persecute other sporting groups, the anti’s just sit back and enjoy the show. Let’s not forget that we’re all ultimately in this together.

At this writing, a wolf hunting/trapping season is still a distinct possibility and the appropriate legislation has been included in the Omnibus Game and Fish Bill awaiting Governor Dayton’s signature. The bill’s language gives DNR the power to work out the particulars and at this time about all that is certain is there will likely be separate hunting/shooting and trapping seasons for wolves by permit only. Details will be forthcoming soon. The bill also includes across the board license fee hikes that DNR has sought for quite awhile.

The NTA Convention that we will be hosting in Owatonna is fast approaching and volunteers are encouraged to contact Todd Roggenkamp to lend a hand. The convention will officially open on August 2nd and run through August 5th, but much preparation work needs to be accomplished prior to the opening bell. Please give Todd a shout if you’d like to volunteer. Tim Bauer has agreed to be MTA’s man on the ground and with all Tim’s previous work in convention trenches, rest assured that there’s none better to guarantee a successful convention.

Please let these men know how much you appreciate all the work they do for trappers.

I’m also pleased to report that David Chmielewski from Carlton (District 4) has agreed to take the NTA director’s position and to jump in with both feet during this convention to help wherever asked and to officially take over the duties of the post following the national convention.

Please take the time to introduce yourselves to Dave and to thank Todd for his many years of service to trappers in Minnesota as well as at the national level.

While on the subject of soon to be vacant posts, applicants are being solicited for Souvenir Coordinator and Treasurer positions as those that currently hold these posts have informed the Board that they wish to step down following the Owatonna Convention. Anyone interested in applying for these posts, should contact me ASAP. Both Terry and Josie McElmury and Trish Coons would be happy to provide you with more information on the duties of their respective positions if interested in additional information.

I’d like to personally thank Mark Kley from Winthrop for his donation to the MTA Legal Defense Fund as well as the family of Fran Unger from Sauk Center for their donation to Education in memory of Fran and his commitment to the next generation of trappers.

Fran enjoyed providing field training for young trappers in his area and his family asked that this donation be made in his memory.

I thank you all for investing in the future.

Trapper Education Instructor certification is now available on our website at www.mntrappers.org in order to provide more opportunities for those that would like to become involved but have been unable to attend an Instructor Workshop at our conventions or the winter general membership meeting get together.

Simply click on Education and you will be walked through the process.

If you haven’t been to our website lately, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Our web expert Trish Coons has overhauled the website to make it easier to use as well as giving the entire site a modern, professional and at the same time “outdoorsy” feel.

The finishing touches are also being completed on the online trapper education option for students to complete the written exam portion and should be up and running shortly as well.

Last of all, with a heavy heart I ask for prayers for the family of District 3 co-director Rollie Aho of Fergus Falls. Rollie’s wife Joyce passed away unexpectedly this April. This loss has obviously taken a toll on Rollie and his family so prayer for strength and comfort would be very much appreciated.

Prayers are also requested for the family of MOHA president Don McMillan who also died suddenly this spring. MOHA has been a huge ally for sporting groups at the Capitol and his leadership will be sorely missed.

Keep your skinning knives sharp. — Shawn Johnson



Greetings All,

I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

NTA Convention Likely this issue will arrive after the Owatonna NTA Convention August 2nd-5th if not, make the trip to attend as it is likely that Minnesota won’t be hosting another NTA convention for awhile. Thanks to all who volunteered their help to make the event a success.

Limit Species coupons/tags A reminder to everyone to pick up their limit species coupons at ELS vendors before the opening bell. At this time, it is likely that DNR will be either reducing the limit on fisher/marten or shortening the season length further this harvesting season.

New 220 Regulations Also pay attention to the new regulations in place this season regarding the use of 220 sized body grippers in baited applications on public land. MTA fought for the best possible outcome to assure the continued practical use of these important tools so please continue to exercise caution when making sets in any area that may have the potential to accidently catch a domestic animal.

Wolf Permit Lottery- The DNR will begin accepting applications for the wolf license lottery August 1st and will only accept applications for one month. You may apply at any ELS vendor with a small application fee. Keep in mind that there are only a limited number of wolf trapping licenses available so get your name in the lottery ASAP if interested in having the opportunity to legally take a wolf this season.

Trapping Videos? Any instructors that have loaned trapping videos from Education, are encouraged to return them so that others may have the opportunity to view them. With all the interest in the upcoming wolf season, I’d really like to have the Alaska Fox and Wolf Trapping film returned. While on the subject of wolf trapping, I’d like to thank Tim Majors MTA member from New Salem North Dakota for donating a wolf trapping video for Education use as well.

The spring auctions didn’t quite live up to expectations but fur prices have improved quite a bit over the past few years. Always remember to keep in mind that each trapper is a representative of all trappers to the public and that legal and ethical trapping practices should always be foremost for the good of all.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and get those traps cooked for fall!

Keep your skinning knives sharp. — Shawn johnson



Hi everyone,

I hope by the time you read this report everyone is finally drying out. Historic rainfall and flooding in northern Minnesota is uncommon to say the least. Rivers in my area the last week of June were the highest I have ever seen. Millions of dollars in damages to property and roads and bridges occurred. All this damage will have to be repaired before winter and hopefully will add much needed jobs to the area. All this shows is that no matter how immune we think we are from these events, mother nature still holds the upper hand and we have no control over what she chooses to do. I don’t know if this had any effect on furbearer populations and ultimately trapping success this fall, but I’m quite sure it didn’t help it. On the plus side we have water in area’s that we haven’t for years and hopefully the beaver will disperse and repopulate these area’s.

The DNR has concerns over the increased harvest last season for marten and fisher and has proposed some modifications for this falls season. One being reducing the limit to 3 animals (only 1 can be a fisher) and keeping the 9 day season or have a 6 day season and keep the limit as it is now at 5 animals ( no more than 2 can be fisher ).

I myself feel that we should have no changes and that last seasons increased harvest was due to the extremely mild winter we had that allowed trapper access to area’s that normally never get trapped or could it possibly be that the marten / fisher population is increasing? Just my thoughts !

Myself, Frank, and Mike drove to Owatonna for the final walk through of the Steele Co. fairgrounds for the upcoming NTA convention. It’s a very nice facility and will make an excellent convention site. Hopefully with the up-tick in the fur market we will have record breaking attendance and dealer sales. Make plans to attend.

Me and the wife made our annual Canadian fishing trip the end of May and while it was nice to get away it rained 4 of the 5 days we were there, our garden is probably the worst it has ever been, I’ve still been working way to many hours, and due to all the moisture the mosquito population is at an all time high! Other than that everything is fine in Brimson! Hope to see you all at the convention. Take care. — Bert



Greetings District 4,

Our convention is less than a month away. It is time for all hands on deck! If you an help, please do. If you can’t, attended anyway. You will have a blast. We will have a short meeting Saturday morning at 8. Look for location at MTA booth.

The last fur auctions are over. Even though prices softened a little, they were very good. Looks like a favorable upcoming season. So, if you have a large ’rat marsh you don’t know what to do with, give me a call and I will take care of it for you.

On June 9. we were part of the fourth annual Brainerd Lakes Area Outdoor Youth Expo. It was well attended and we even signed up some new members. I want to thank Wayne Thom, Llyod Baakkonen, Tom Boser and Rob Thom for volunteering their expertise for the kids and adults. They were very impressed.

Hopefully by our next article I can let you know about any new rules from the DNR.

Till next time. — Buzz



Hello fellow trappers. The summer heat has arrived. I hope everyone is staying cool. The days remind me of last year’s MTA convention in Redwood Falls. It is almost that time again, so I hope that everyone has their lists made of trap supplies you need to buy. I believe that Minnesota is ready to host the Nationals in Owatonna. Volunteers are needed, so please be sure to check in at the MTA booth for where you can help out. There are different incentives awarded for the time that you do volunteer. Also, District 7 will have a short district meeting on Saturday morning. Please check at the MTA booth for time and location. Hope to see you there.

District 7 will be holding their fall meeting on Saturday, September 22 at Schmitt Enterprises. It will also be Customer Appreciation Day. Schmitt Enterprises also has Red O’Hearn coming to do some demos. So make sure you plan ahead to be able to attend. More information will be coming out as we get closer.

Until next time. — Leon Windschitl

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