Minnesota Trappers Association June-July 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;

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. 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 as 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.

Keep your skinning knives sharp. — Shawn Johnson



Hi everyone,

With the trapping seasons now over, I hope everyone had an enjoyable and successful season. Prices on almost all items advanced nicely through out the season. I mentioned last month on how good the Feb. NAFA sale was. The March FHA sale was equally as good and the average prices I received on some articles were the highest I have ever gotten. I hope this trend continues awhile.

The MTA has been working very hard trying to resolve the problems that have arisen concerning #220’s set on land. The MTA committee has come up with some modifications to baited cubby’s set with #220’s to help make them dog-proof. It is still the dog owners responsibility to control their dog while in the field and it is the trappers responsibility to make his or her sets in locations that would minimize the chance of catching a dog. By working together and understanding each others role in the outdoors and by using common sense plain and simple, we can make this work out for everyone.

We had our spring meeting in Cotton on March 3. One of the items that was brought up was the March 1, 2013 deadline to have trap tags replaced if they have your old drivers lic. # on them. Al Dietz suggested we collect the old copper tags and sell them for scrap as a fund raiser. We will have a collection box at our booth at the NTA convention in Owattona, at our fall district meetings, and probably also at the winter general membership meeting in Askov. Please donate your old tags and make Al’s idea a success.

Frank and myself traveled to International Falls and set-up a booth at the International Sportsmen’s Expo on April 14. It was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed our display of tanned fur and other items. One of the highlights of the show was Jim Rognerud demonstrating his championship winning clean skinning and boarding beaver demo, the crowd really enjoyed this. Normally on April 14 I would have been running hard trapping spring beaver, but due to the early spring I was easily all done. What a strange year !

By the time you read this report fishing season will be open and hopefully gardens will be in. I hope I see a lot of you at the NTA convention. Until next time take care. — Bert



Greetings District 4,

I hope everyone had a good season. The weather was absolutely the best I can remember. The catch was way above average and prices are the best we have seen in over 30 years!

We had our spring meeting March 29th. It was very well attended even though spring beaver trapping was getting into full swing, so thanks to all who came.

We had a discussion on the upcoming wolf season. Everything is on track for this fall and, as of today, it is going to the governor for passage.

The 220 issue was discussed next. We had the MTA put together a committee to plan for a counter proposal of what would be acceptable for trappers. Now a 7” or more receess from the top of the lid opening or at least 3’ off the ground. The DNR version was not acceptable and would have rendered 220s obsolete. The State Legislature accepted our proposal and are waiting for the governor’s signature.

So, please, everyone watch how and where you set your traps. We have to avoid conflict with other user groups and individuals.

Our summer convention is less than three months off. If you can volunteer, call Todd. Don’t miss this one. It will be a blast! Due to other work obligations, Todd will not be able to attend so Tim Bauer has accepted the job to be in charge of the convention.

Tricia Coons has our new MTA website up and running. She did a very fine job! Thanks Tricia.

Deb Offerdahl, our local Field Director, gave a presentation on U.S. Alliance. If you have any questions, get in touch with her at 320-983-6023.

We will be involved with the 4th Annual Brainerd Lakes Area Outdoor Youth Expo, Saturday, June 9th from 10:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Lakeshore Conservation Club. Anyone that can help, please call me at 218-851-5989.

Till next time. — Buzz



Hello everyone,

I’ve been working with Gene Purdy from Iowa and setting up the demo schedule for the NTA convention. The finalized list of people doing demo’s will be in the next issue of Fur Fish & Game, and will probably be in the next issue of Trapper & Predator Caller.

There will be demo’s especially for the kids and junior trappers and there will be four classroom demos.

Please read the presidents report on the 220 used on public lands, he will give all the current updates on this.

Anyone that has volunteered to help build the demo area, I am open to all ideas and input you have, we have Tuesday and Wednesday to build this. I will have plenty of shovels and rakes along. If anyone has access to beaver dam debris or stumps left from the beavers work, please bring them along.

We will have a bobcat available for us to use also.

Please call with any ideas or suggestions you may have for the demo area. (320) 236-2410, please leave a message if no answer. Thanks. — Pete



Members, hope everybody is planning on attending the summer convention. And planning on helping out. Speaking of helping out I’m thinking it’s time for me to stand down as director. So if anybody is interested let me know. It reminds me of an old saying, “ are you a member or do you just belong?” We will have a district meeting at the convention, time and date will be posted at the MTA booth. Hope it’s a great turn out. See ya there. — Jim



Hello fellow trappers.

District 7 had a booth at the Tracey Sportsman show the last weekend in April. We were able to sell some raffle tickets and some tanned fur, but the attendance was down from previous years. Thank you to all who volunteered your time to help out.

I know that a lot of you are concerned about the 220 issue. Be sure to read the Presidents report for information on this topic.

Before you know it the National Convention in Owatonna will soon be here. On June 8, I will be going over to the Steele County Fairgrounds for a walk through for the final planning for the convention. Denise and myself are chair people for the front gate duties.

We still need volunteers. Please notify Todd Roggenkamp if you are interested in helping out. Schedule times will be assigned and you need to sign up to work. So if you know when you are going to be at the convention and would have some time to volunteer, let Todd know so he can get you on the schedule.

I hope that everyone is selling their raffle tickets. If you need more, I do have extras that I can get to you.

Until next time. — Leon Windschitl

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