Minnesota Trappers Association June-July 2013 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;

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




Elections: The first order of business would be to remind any interested parties that this is an election year and all offices from president to district directorships are potentially available. If you’ve been considering leadership positions for some time, now would be a great time to throw your hat into the ring.

The election for President and Vice President will take place at the General Membership Meeting this summer in Litchfield and all district elections will be held at the first meeting following the convention.

If interested in any of these positions, please get your nominations in as soon as possible.

For additional information don’t hesitate to contact me or another member of the Board.

Please take the initiative to let those in leadership know you appreciate the time and effort they spent on MTA duties.

Retirements/New Recruits: Jon Longfellow of Forest Lake has agreed to step up and lend a hand to district six with the retirement of Jim Dufour and Josh Brown from Richmond has stepped forward to fill the treasurer’s position which will allow Trish Coons to retire from one of her MTA jobs. Mark Palas tied up loose ends with the Help a Beginner Program that was discontinued back in January. Thank you to Jim, Trish and Mark for your many years of service and a warm welcome to Josh and Jon for taking up the challenges that lie ahead.

Had a LONGGGGGGGG Winter? The second order of business would be to carry this plea, “Whomever has been praying for snow, please stop!” Today April 24th was in the forties early afternoon but come 4:00 PM temperatures have dropped fifteen degrees here on the north shore of Lake Superior it is snowing again!

Two nights ago we awoke to another eight inches and a few days before that just shy of two feet arrived overnight.

Danger of fire appears very low for this spring as a result.

Open water trapping opportunities for beaver this spring have been sparse to nonexistent depending on what part of the state you work. Most of those that had some opportunity did poorly as cooler temperatures combined with a lack of rain to flush beavers out of the deeper woods made for depressing production. All time records for snowfall and below average temperatures overall this spring have dashed most of the hopes many had earlier for generous open water spring beaver trapping opportunities.

We’ve been attempting to convince Minnesota counties to pressure DNR into extending the season into May to help ease the inevitable burden of sky high nuisance beaver issues this summer but have had little support to make things happen as the final days of the season continue to tick by.

This spring has been a wash (a whitewash to be specific) for many.

Legislature: As things stand today, the odds of any further restrictions on bodygrippers coming from the legislature this session are slim and it appears that the wolf seasons remain intact as well for the time being. Of course there’s no telling what may happen in the courts as the Fed’s have been sued once again to return the wolf to the List.

Hopefully commonsense will prevail.

The members of the Bodygripper Committee have worked diligently to preserve the tools vital to trappers at the legislative level and to educate lawmakers on their importance. The Association owes a great debt to the tireless work of MTA Legal Counsel Gary Leistico and MOHA Reps Greg Flor and Drake Jackson for the many hours they spent in St. Paul working on our behalf.

But this is only half of the job before us.

Educating fellow trappers and other outdoor enthusiasts on the importance of mutual respect and awareness of other user groups in the field cannot be understated.

On the Brightside: Spring has been a long time coming this year and since spring beaver trapping didn’t occur for many of us, most are looking forward to summer activities and eventually running a longer line next fall. It’s also likely that beaver populations hard hit by two consecutive years of drought across much of the State will have the opportunity to rebound a bit in time for next season’s harvest.

Tanned Fur Project for Education: As expected with fur prices on an upswing, donations to MTA’s Tanned Fur Project have been at an all time low. If you have some pelts that didn’t make it to market this year, please consider donating good quality pelts to this worthwhile project. Through this program fur collections are loaned to education institutions across the state and when inventories are adequate permanent collections are gifted to select institutions free of charge. Surplus pelts donated by trappers are also traded for other pelts in short supply or sold to acquire funds to do same. However, confiscated pelts donated by DNR Enforcement Division Conservation Officers are never sold but must be donated to educational institutions.

Please encourage your local Conservation Officers to consider participating in this worthwhile endeavor. If they have questions, Tim Caven would welcome a telephone call. 320 599 4176

Trapper Education: Higher fur prices have definitely helped to arouse interest in trapper certifications so I encourage any interested to look into becoming a certified instructor or at least volunteering to provide field training for young people seeking certifications.

Since August 2012, 743 students have completed the online exam alone- not to mention graduates of the traditional classes that were offered across the State throughout the year.

If prices continue to be favorable, it is likely that the demand for certifications will continue to climb as well.

If you’re interested in becoming an instructor, information and forms are available on the website www.mntrappers.org or contact me directly for forms or additional information.

While on the subject of trapper education, I had the privilege of instructing an extraordinary group of students last week. Captain Justin Thornburg a team leader for a special forces team from A company 20th Special Forces Group contacted me last fall as he and his detachment were interested in learning more about trapping.

These men hailed from everywhere between Arkansas and Washington DC!

My youngest son Jeremiah and I spent the day with this group of brave men at a local armory recently and gave a crash course on modern trapping with special emphasis on survival skills and snaring for sustenance.

The group was extremely appreciative of our time and although we were limited in the extent of our field training opportunities, the captain pledged to contact me when his group returned to this area for additional instruction.

It was both an honor and a privilege to provide potentially life saving information to this outstanding group of men.

I look forward to seeing them again in the near future. Godspeed Gentlemen.

Scholarships: The updated college scholarship applications are now available in the Newsletter or may be requested from Secretary or Education Coordinator. All applications must be sent to MTA Secretary and the deadline for all applications remains July 1st annually.

MTA Convention Litchfield: Pete Jonas and Jerry Larsen from District 5 are hosting this year’s event and volunteers from any and all districts are encouraged to lend a hand. If you can specify times you’d be available – that would be great but if you can’t be that precise, give Pete or Jerry a call and I’m certain your assistance will be appreciated whenever and wherever you’re available.

Youth Photo Contest: At the Litchfield convention, we will once again resume the Youth Photo Contest which was set aside last summer while we were hosting the NTA Convention in Owatonna. The Board of Directors has approved changes in the former rules for participating in this year’s competition.

Member participation in this once extremely popular contest has continued to dwindle over the years and last minute entries of poor quality photos produced on the spot from cell phone cameras at the convention have unfortunately become commonplace.

In order to participate in this year’s contest, hard copy entries only (no electronic submissions please) should be sent to Gary Meis at 69555 One Mile Road Bruno MN 55712 and delivered prior to August 2nd in order to be considered for competition. Please label the outside of the envelope plainly Youth Photo Contest to avoid your entry becoming accidently mixed in with raffle ticket envelopes. Please do not send originals if you have any other choice and remember to include a return address on any photos you’d eventually like returned after the convention. There will again be two divisions one for younger trappers and one for teens. Up to three photos per entrant are allowed. Photos should be tasteful and show young people participating in trapping/fur handling etc. not just photos of animals alone.

We look forward to this contest taking on new life in years to come with the substantial upswing in new members taking up the sport in response to higher fur prices. Start sorting through those photos now and don’t wait until the last minute.

Trapper Awards: Members are encouraged to begin thinking about individuals within MTA that deserve some special recognition for their contribution to our Association and our sport. Awards for Trapper of the Year, Lady Trapper of the Year, Junior Trapper of the Year as well as nominations for Educator of the Year should be sent to the President before the convention. Specifically outlining the accomplishments and attributes of the candidate you are placing in nomination are essential.

Unfortunately, many deserving individuals are never recognized because they aren’t nominated ahead of time and last minute nominations at the convention just so someone can take home an award really cheapens what should be a special honor.

If these awards are to really mean something to the Association and the recipient please take the time to nominate deserving individuals and get those nominations to the president before the convention.

Of course you are free to read your nominations at the convention if you so choose but please put some forethought into those nominations now by planning ahead.

Convention Lodging: As always, offsite lodging is limited in Litchfield like everywhere else our conventions are held. Every year mere days before the convention I receive phone calls from trappers looking to make last minute motel reservations.

Book early or plan on bringing a tent. That’s all I have to say.

Have a great summer and we’ll see you in Litchfield.

Keep your skinning knives sharp. — Shawn Johnson



Greetings Trappers,

In my last TPC report, I wished everyone good luck spring beaver trapping. Well as we all know now, none or very little trapping occurred in our neck of the woods, due to the winter that just doesn’t seem to want to end. As of the end of April we still have 2’ of snow in the woods and about the same amount of ice on the lakes. All the trappers I’ve talked to feel this late ice-out is just what the beaver population really needed. I miss spring trapping as much as the next guy, but with the drought we’ve been experiencing along with hitting them pretty hard the last few years, I’m glad the beaver population is getting a much needed break. Maybe now they’ll get back in to areas they haven’t been in quite awhile and create good habitat for all the other wild critters. Also due to the prolonged cold, we weren’t able to get everyone together to build the marten nesting boxes. Mike Z., Frank, and myself put together years boxes, 88 total. I put out 24 in early April and I gave out another 24 more. If any one would like to put out boxes, please let me or Frank know and we’ll get them to you.

On April 13 me and the wife made the trip up to International Falls and had an MTA booth at the International Sportsman’s Expo. This was our third year at this event and we received a lot positive feedback on our organization. It was nice to see and talk to old friends and to meet new folks young and old that were interested in trapping. This event keeps getting better each year, I wish the people that put it on continued success.

I got my results from the March FHA sale and I was more than satisfied to say the least, it was their best sale in the company’s history. I hope the robust demand for wild fur continues for many years to come.

Well I’ve got the boat all ready to go but I’m still not sure if I should put the ice auger away! That’s all for now, take care and be safe out there. — Bert


Greetings District 4,

We had our spring meeting on March 16. It was attended by 35 brave souls who braved the snow and ice storm of the night before. It took me one hour and 45 minutes to drive the 65 miles, so thank you to all who came.

We talked about the #220 issue. As of this writing, no new restrictions are put on us yet. But that does not mean you shouldn’t be careful. With that said, the government is still in session. Keep your fingers crossed. We have a good team keeping track of this.

Thank you’s go out to Deb Offerdahl for all the treats you provided and to Dennis Sowada, Tim Bauer and Dave Daigle for prize donations.

It is only 31/2 months until our summer convention in Litchfield on Aug. 16-18. Make sure you attend. It is also an election year. I don’t know what our gate and booth times are yet, but I should by the time our newsletter goes out. We will also have a short meeting on Saturday the 17th. Time and place will be posted at the MTA booth. Also, Legal Defense Banquet tickets will go on sale at the MTA booth on Friday the 16th.

On June 8, we are doing the youth outdoors day at the Lake Shore Gun Club in Brainerd.

You probably noticed our spring beaver season was a little bleak this year as most of our lakes around here and north still have 24-48 inches of ice. Oh well, more seed for next year.

Remember, if you have any questions or concerns, please call me. My cell number is (218) 851-5989.

Till next time. — Buzz



Hello everyone,

Its been a long time since we have had a late spring like this one. A lot of trappers weren’t able to spring beaver trap. I got a week of trapping in, the ice was still on the lakes yet when we pulled traps.

The summer convention planning is going well. A lot of dealers have signed up already and I’ve received a lot of calls from tailgaters.

Jim Blakley is setting up the demo schedule, I talked to Jim and he said he is still looking for people to do water demos. If you are interested call him at (507) 259-6332. Jim said he would like to schedule a wolf trapping demo if we are going to have a season in 2013.

We are still in need of volunteers to help setup on Wednesday and Through out the convention, any volunteers that have signed up already, I will call about the 1st of August and see when you will be able to help.

Take care. — Pete



Hello fellow trappers! I am not sure if spring is going to come this year or if we are just going to go straight into summer. Convention season is fast approaching.

District 7 had a booth at the Worthington Gun show on April 20 – 21. The show had its slow times, but overall had a steady stream of people. We were able to sell some raffle tickets and actually sold quite a bit of tanned fur. Always good when you have people stop to look at fur and talk trapping. Thank you to Shannon, Scott, Kassen, Shawn, and Connie for helping out at the show. Your help is always appreciated.

The MTA Summer Convention will be here before you know it. Start your planning now to attend. This year it will be held in Litchfield on August 16, 17, & 18. District 7 will have gate duty on Friday night from 6:45 – 10 pm. We have Souvenir Duty on Saturday at 10:45 – 2:00. Volunteers are needed for both of these times. Keep that in mind as you plan your attendance.

If you want to attend a convention earlier, the Fur Takers of America has its convention in Marshfield, WI on June 28 – 30.

Until next time. — Leon Windschitl, Director District 7

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