Minnesota Trappers Association December 2009 Report

President — Gary Meis, 69555 One Mile Rd., Bruno, MN 55712; phone: 320-838-1570

Vice President — Tim Bauer, 17290 155th Ave. N.E., Foley, MN 56329; phone: 320-355-2748

Secretary — Liz Thom, 173 Prairie Lake Rd., Wright, MN 55798; phone: 218-644-3593; e-mail: wlthom@frontiernet.net

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 The Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Junior (under 16) with subscription — $12
• Senior (over 65) with subscription — $12
• Lifetime membership with subscription — $350

Complete membership application on first page of
association section and send dues to:

MTA, Membership Coordinator
Kathy Peterson
57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661


Greetings Trappers,

This trapping season has been off to a soggy start up here on the North Shore of the Big Lake. It’s rained virtually every day for the past two and a half weeks. Only the mink with the longest legs have been getting pelted around the Johnson home. We’re all hoping that the rain ceases and the water levels drop before the big freeze. At any rate, it doesn’t appear that any personal mink trapping records are going to be in danger of being toppled this season. As Viking football fans are so fond of lamenting season after season, “maybe next year…”

On a positive record-breaking note, I made it TWO ENTIRE DAYS on the trapline this fall without poking a hole in my new waders. Two days of dry feet will be something I’ll always cherish. Now where did I leave that tube of repair “goop?”

General Membership Meeting Location Changed

By the time this report is published (in December), it will be time for you to plan to attend the General Membership Meeting in Isle Jan. 2. Due to scheduling difficulties, the high school wasn’t available for the winter meeting this year.

Thanks to quick thinking and bargaining on the part of the Van Driel’s along with former VP Tim Bauer and current VP Dave D’Aigle, the IREC center in Isle has been secured as a replacement facility. Although the building is smaller than what we’ve grown accustomed to over the last several years, I’ve been assured that this facility will do the job adequately for our needs.

The IREC center is the building right in the center of Town in Isle. Cory and Deb will be providing more information in their columns in the Newsletter regarding parking, vendor issues etc. Anyone that might have an alternate location for the meeting in 2011 kindly pass the word on to your directors. It might be time to start shopping around again.

On the legislative agenda, at this time (10/29) we are still pursuing willing sponsors for these moves. We have several promising leads should our initial pleas be turned down. Stay tuned.

Stream Restoration Projects (Trout Projects)

As approved at the last Board of Directors meeting in response to numerous complaints received regarding many DNR Fisheries sponsored “stream restoration” projects taking place across the State that involve beaver trapping year round, removal of beaver dams and draining of wetlands, I have been authorized to request more detailed information about many of these projects through formal means through the Minnesota Data Practices Act. Information will be arriving in volumes to review so that the MTA will better understand the scope and intent of many of these projects. Two projects of major concern are the Knife River Project in the Duluth/ Two Harbors area and the Cloquet Watershed Restoration Project beginning near Hwy 53, as well as the Dark River Project near Chisholm along with many others. We are attempting to reserve judgment until we have been given adequate information to examine and time review it.

All is quiet on the legal front as well at this time.

Trappers in the North

Please use caution when in the field pursuing fisher/marten/bobcats. Use common sense when setting bodygrippers and snares in particular. If lynx sign appears, find alternate areas to set. Let’s do everything we can as a group to reduce the chances of an unnecessary “take.” Give the lynx a break, avoid unnecessary future trapping restrictions and at the same time, reduce potential ammunition that anti-trapping forces can twist and use against sportsmen under the guise of protecting endangered species. As we are all well aware, the lynx was merely a pawn that anti-trapping forces attempted to use as a cover to mask the zeal of their actual goal to eliminate trapping, period.

Since we are the ones who really do care about animals, we should lead the way in demonstrating our conservation ethic in the field at all times. Those folks really don’t care about the animals they claim to. They are merely driven to their ultimate goal of making TRAPPERS an ENDANGERED SPECIES. They’re not in any position to help any species no matter their rhetoric. We are. Let’s continue to do the right thing in the woods for the benefit of all we hold dear.

Summer Convention

As most have been made aware, next summer’s convention will be held once again in Barnum hosted by your VP Dave D’Aigle, former MTA president Gary Meis and Director Brad Wobbrock and Co-Director Jim Blakley and the rest of the folks from District 8. The convention dates are; July 30- Aug. 1.

The host’s of this years event are in special need of on site volunteers from the area to assist with campers, tailgaters etc.Please contact one of these fine men ahead of time if you’d be willing to help out in Barnum. The town is welcoming our festivities and very grateful for the opportunity to host our event once again. Spacious camp sites with shade are always welcomed at convention time. Make plans now to attend this August.

Please keep former MTA Secretary/Treasurer Rich Raeker and his family in your thoughts and prayers daily as they are battling through some difficult health issues at this time. A letter or phone call from friends in the Association will go a long way to help share their burden. Your prayers are especially encouraged.
That’s all for now as I believe that the rain has paused for the time being.

Keep your skinning knives sharp.

— Shawn Johnson


The trapping season is again underway and the cold weather has been holding off for the time being, but the rain continues with gusto. With the creeks rising, I fear mink season will be all but a memory by Oct. 31, 2009, at least in this part of the state. I encourage all of you to head south to the Bruno area for great mink trapping results.

The District 1 directors brought your concerns about an audit to the State meeting and again were rejected. Your concerns will have to be brought to the Isle meeting on Jan. 2, 2010, if you wish to pursue this issue. As for your directors I feel we have been beat up enough by those who feel an audit is unnecessary even though only fictitious cost figures have been thrown out due to our inability to go out for actual cost bids. Fear seems to rule this issue not logic.

If you are from the Grand Marais area, you probably know that marten were trapped in your area again this year. After speaking with Jason Abrham of the DNR, he confirmed that 33 marten were taken this year although the exact locations have not been confirmed as yet. All of us support the restocking program for Wisconsin and 33 seems to be a very small price to pay to ensure this program is a success, however, the potential problem is “location.” The DNR cooperative program begins in August and ends by the end of October.

Last year, 26 marten were taken in this same area so now you have 59 marten in two years, coupled with the Tribal season that starts in October and ends when they feel like it, followed by the Minnesota trapping season and pretty soon there is a large number in a relatively small area. Does anyone see a potential problem? Doing what is easy or convenient is not always doing what is right!

Dan Croke has been following up on the massive loss of beaver habitat in the district and we feel confident that his tenacious spirit will uncover what is behind this unwarranted attack on the State’s beavers. Go Dan!

It’s time to check traps.

— Ray Sogard


Greetings to all,

Another fall is upon us and the trapping season has started for us. The weather sure has been crazy as we had snow in the middle of October and now it has done nothing but rain. I guess we , as trappers, do adjust to the weather conditions.

I want to start out by personally thanking the following people who helped with the Boy Scout event in October: Pete Jonas, Curt Freudenburg, Kevin Lamp, Steve and Julie Ruchti, Jerry Larsen, Mike Flanagan and Richard Barnes. There were over 3,000 people in attendance, despite the winter-like conditions that day. We had a display of tanned fur, traps, weasel boxes and some literature. We always seem to be one of the most popular booths at these types of events.

Next, I would like to thank Linda Johnson for assisting me at the MEA Convention this year. The attendance for the MEA seemed to be down from last year, but we handed out more trapping literature packets this year. It is important that we continue to get the right trapping information out to the teachers as the anti’s seem to have plenty of anti-trapping information readily available to the teachers.

This fall has been very busy on the education front as many of our instructors have put on classes and others have helped with the field day training. Shawn has the numbers in his report. The next instructor class will be on Jan.1, 2010, in Isle at the IREC Center. I will have the details in our newsletter that comes out in December. If you have any interest in becoming an instructor, please attend this class. I would also appreciate if you would pre-register so that I might ensure that I have enough materials for everyone that attends the class.

With that, I will close for now. Be safe and have a great fall trapping season.

— Deb Offerdahl


Greetings Trappers,

October is crunch time for the Trapper Education Program. Young people who hadn’t given the upcoming trapping season much thought suddenly realize that they’re in need of certification. Thank you to those instructors who have been willing to step forward even to the extent of putting their own traplines on the back burner to accommodate these “Johnny-come-lately” youth. Despite all our efforts, some students continue to wait until the last minute to look into securing their certification. I’ve spoken to Jason Abraham at the DNR and some changes are coming in the way that the wording of the mandatory trapper education program for youth is introduced in the regulations handbook.

Currently the regulations handbook reads as follows (page 45 —2009 edition): The Minnesota Trappers Association (MTA) will conduct trapper education courses statewide, free of charge to the participants, and issue certificates that satisfy this trapping license requirement.

In next years publication, wording similar to this will be added: Contact the MTA at www.mntrappers.org for class information. These courses include a mandatory field-training portion that must be completed before certification. Please plan to take certification courses well in advance of the next fur trapping season to insure a smooth trapping license purchase transactions.

This move should help alleviate much of the last-minute excuses and the need for “emergency classes.”
Your Education Director Deb Offerdahl and I have also discussed the possibility of offering Instructor classes online as well to increase the instructor pool. Traditionally Instructor classes have only been offered at the convention and prior to the general membership meeting. Trappers interested in becoming instructors are limited in opportunity to attend these classes statewide, but offering an online option will no doubt include far more new instructors trappers in the program.

The Board approved setting aside the requirement that only certified instructors could provide In Field Training to correspondence course students in the interest of eliminating the backlog created by students who had completed the written exam but hadn’t had the opportunity to complete the field training.

The move to certify instructors at any point during the year by offering an online option should help us get back on track with only certified instructors providing the field training in the future.

The following are the numbers breakdown for the Trapper Education Program:

Students who have manuals and have yet to complete the written exam — 41

Students who have taken the exam but haven’t completed In Field Training — 26

Successful Graduates from the Program Correspondence — 117

Successful Graduates from Classroom Instruction — 229

Once again, thank you to all our hard-working instructors out there making a difference.

A special thank you goes out the the folks at Fur Harvesters and North American Fur Auctions Sales for items donated to the Education to give to student graduates. I encourage these two businesses to continue to attempt to outdo each other in their generosity to our education program. Everyone benefits.
I’m also happy to report that a link between the DNR’s Web site and the MTA’s has once again been reestablished. This link was severed at some point during the course of the lawsuits and has since been reconnected. This will logically help to lead perspective students to class information on our Web site.

As I reported in my last column, the publication Minnesota Outdoor News will be carrying trapper education class announcements as well from here on out to help spread the word. Instructors, please let me know if you’re hosting a class even if you don’t require additional materials from me for your class. Sadly some offered courses locally that had poor attendance due in part to limited advertising effectiveness. Ironically, students ended up taking the correspondence course in place of the classroom because they weren’t aware of an option.

When hosting a class, please consider utilizing some of the trapping videos that have been donated to MTA Education. A list of available titles will be published in the Newsletter on a regular basis and once here for your information as well: “Beaver by the Numbers- Jeff “Coon” Richter,” “Trapping Methods for Fox, Coyotes, and Wolves- Alaska Department of Fish and Game,” “Marten Trapping-Renfro,” “Basic Coyote Control- High Country Control,” “Raw Fur Handling- Winkler,” “Call of the Coyote- Austin,” “Nuisance Wildlife Trapping-Pest Removal Services,” “The Sport of Trapping- Family Outdoors,” “How Pelt Handling Affects Price- NAFA,” “Open Water Beaver Trapping- Dobbins,” “Bobcat Trapping- Small,” “Fox, Coyote and Bobcat Trapping-Small,” “Strictly Beavers- Wisconsin Trappers Assn.,” “Under Ice Beaver Trapping- MNDNR,” “Snares, a Coyotes Worst Nightmare- Brahn Trapping,” “Clean Skinning Beaver- Sullivan,” “Calling All Coyotes- Knight and Hale,” “Raccoon Trapping- NE MN School of Trapping,” “Mink Trapping- NE MN School of Trapping,” “Beaver Trapping- NE MN School of Trapping,” “Power Bedding- Cundiff,” “Pocket Gopher and Prairie Dog Control- U of Nebraska,” “Fur Garments- USA Foxx and Furs,”

In addition, we have two tapes of trapping demonstrations that were held at MTA conventions during 1988 and 1990. As to be expected, these aren’t professional quality tapes, but the content is great and Minnesota specific. To obtain any of these productions for your use in trapper education classes, simply let me know which you’re interested in and I’ll include them along with your regular classroom materials shipments.
If you’re in need of any classroom materials just drop me a line.

See you at the IREC center in Isle.

Keep your skinning knives sharp,

— Shawn Johnson


District 4 will hold its fall meeting on Monday evening Dec. 7 at the Wealthwood Rod and Gun Club. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the meeting will start at 7 p.m. The Wealthwood Rod and Gun Club is located on the north side of Mille Lacs lake just off of Highway 18 one mile east of Highway 169. A DNR official has been invited to tag fur. We will also have an election for District 4 director and co-director.

At the September board of directors meeting, the subject of the MTA having an independent audit was once again brought up. Several members of both Districts 1 and 4 have asked for an audit as one has not been done in several years. The board once again voted not to have an audit. I believe that the MTA should be financially responsible and has a duty to its members to have an independent audit done. If you feel the same way, tell your director and bring it up at the winter meeting in Isle.

— Rod Scott


Hello everyone,

We had our fall meeting on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Melby Fur. Thanks to Mark and Heidi Melby for allowing us to have our district meeting along with their customer appreciation day. Thanks to everyone who donated prizes for our drawing also, Mark Melby, Richard Woodard, MN Trapline Products, Dave D’Aigle and Scott Bragelmann.

We had elections for Director and Co-Directors. Mark Melby is once again a Co-Director along with Jerry Larsen of Grove City. I am the new Director. I would like to thank everyone who made the time to come to our meeting. Also, Richard Woodard deserves a big thank you for his nine years of service to District 5 as a Director and Co-Director. Thanks also goes to Alan Golden for doing a beaver trapping demo and Toby Armstrong for doing a weasel demo. MTA President Shawn Johnson, Vice President Dave D’Aigle and Convention Coordinators Deb and Cory Van Driel were also present. On Oct. 10, the MTA had a booth at the Boy Scout Trailblazers event in Fairhaven. We had many volunteers step forward, volunteering their time to help with this, Mike Flanigan, Jerry Larsen, Richard Barnes, Curt Freudenburg, Wayne Thompson, Kevin Lamp and Steve and Julie Ruchti. Thanks to Deb Offerdahl for organizing everything.

Our District 5 Winter Meeting will be on Saturday, Feb. 6 at Johnson Fur Company in Willmar. They will be having a customer appreciation day with the doors opening at 8 a.m. Our meeting will begin about 10 a.m. District 5 members will be receiving a card in the mail for this, be sure to bring it with you to the meeting for a special drawing for traps.

Take care.

— Pete Jonas


District 6 will hold its annual winter meeting on Saturday Dec. 5 at 9 a.m. Please e-mail or call me for location information, as my location has not been confirmed at this time. Most likely Carlos Avery, but nothing is confirmed at this time. This is an election Year, anyone interested in running for Sistrict 6 director, or co-director please step forward.


— Mark Palas


Hello Fellow Trappers. Hopefully everyone is have a good trapping season. Just a reminder to everyone, when out in the field, be sure to be using good judgment on where you are using your #220 bodygrip traps. Keep in mind that bird hunters with their dogs are also using some of the same land that you might be trapping on.

Don’t forget that on Jan. 2, the winter meeting will be is Isle. In the past, it has been at the high school, but this year it will be at the IREC. Please be sure to put this on your calendar. It will be a good time.

— Leon Windschitl

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