President — Shawn Johnson, 6122 McQuade Road, Duluth, Mn 55804; phone: 218.525.4970; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President — Dave D’Aigle, 29765 Holly St NW, Isanti, MN 55040
Secretary — Linda Salo, 5927 McNiven Road, Chisholm, MN 55719; e-mail: email@example.com
Treasurer — Tricia Coons, 403 Wood Ave., Bemidji, MN 56601; phone: 218-444-8244;
Membership Coordinator — Kathy Peterson, 57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661; phone: 218-659-4535; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
• 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
57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661
A lot of uncertainty in the world fur markets has the entire industry overly cautious. By most indications, fur prices will have stabilized by the end of March, so we’ll know where we’re at come spring beaver trapping. Nonetheless, I hope everyone got out in the field this season to catch a few critters just to keep your skills honed. With the prices as they are, many requests for beaver removal jobs have been coming my way. If you might be interested in doing some beaver work, drop me a note. It’s entirely up to the landowner and the individual trapper to make arrangements for payment etc. Requests will be pouring in come spring so if interested, let me know.
On the DNR/ Legislative front, the DNR has requested that members compile a list of questions or clarifications on trapping laws/rules etc. that they would like the DNR to address in future regulations handbooks. This is your chance folks to have those questions addressed. Kindly take the time to go through the current Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook and make notes on clarifications you would like to see.
This is a unique opportunity to have a significant impact — the DNR is listening. It would be unwise to let this opportunity pass now that we have secured their undivided attention. Please send your lists to Con Christianson directly, or your district director to pass on to him if you prefer. Ray Sogard, District One Director, has agreed to serve on this committee as well.
Let’s make the most of it.
Unfortunately, I have been made aware of two instances of dogs being caught in bodygrippers this season. As has been said many times before, it doesn’t matter who was at fault when these accidents happen in the eyes of the public. If we don’t pressure other trappers to avoid setting areas where domestic animals might be caught, the DNR will be forced to implement additional regulations on the use of these effective fur harvesting tools.
Please be cautious where you decide to use these traps, particularly when bait is being utilized. Take a look at restrictive regulations other states have implemented, it’s in everyone’s best interest that we use common sense in the field and to self regulate our sport before the State does it for us.
Stream Restoration Projects
The MTA had the opportunity to meet with Ed Boggess Deputy Director of DNR Fish and Wildlife this winter to bring to the table several concerns the MTA has with trout stream restoration projects. Out of season beaver trapping and large scale dam removals are taking place in some regions.
Briefly, the MTA seeks this information:
1. How and when were these projects proposed and were there public input meetings?
2. Did other DNR Divisions have a say in approving these projects?
3. What is the scope and duration of these experiments?
4. How and when will these projects be evaluated?
The MTA is alarmed that the interests of user groups other than trout advocates seem to have been largely ignored in most cases.
In the past, the MTA has strongly advocated that should beaver trapping be a necessary component of these projects, that trapping should occur during the lengthy fur harvesting season and not during those months that beavers are rearing dependent offspring.
Concern for other wildlife in addition to beavers is also important so the rationale and defense of large scale beaver dam removal is also a critical aspect of our inquiry.
Deputy Director Boggess has assured us that he will address our major concerns in a timely fashion.
In the meantime, I have selected a committee to represent the interests on the MTA on this issue. If you would like to have the opportunity to join this committee, please let me know. Ideally, I would like individuals that have the time to get together as a group to discuss information the DNR has provided, go into the field to see aspects of some of these projects and to assist in going through documentation in this information gathering process.
If we as trappers refuse to stand as advocates for our resources, who will?
Stand up and be counted
While on the subject of being advocates for our resources and our sport, I encourage each one of you to participate in the process by attending your regional district meetings. The process starts here. Bring your concerns to the district, have discussions and send your directors to the Board with your recommendations.
Trapper representation is only as good as the number of people who choose to participate in the process. If you’d like something changed, speak up and be heard.
By the Barnum convention initiatives should be signed, sealed and delivered and ready for action. If you choose not to participate, choose not to complain.
Pleases sell those raffle tickets and host a trapper education class this year. Make a real investment in the assured future of our sport. If we don’t embrace the cause, who will?
Keep your skinning knives sharp.
— Shawn Johnson
DIRECTOR OF TRAPPER EDUCATION REPORT
Greetings fellow trappers,
I hope this finds you all well and safe. For those of you that are still trapping, good luck and stay safe.
There is not too much new to report, so this will mostly be reminders for everyone.
First, the scholarship applications are to be returned to me no later than July 1st. The winners of scholarships will be announced at the summer convention. The amounts for the scholarships will be determined at next board meeting on March 6.
Second, the Youth Photo Contest, be sure to be taking pictures of your youth involved in some faction of trapping. Please limit the photos to three per youth and keep to no larger than 4×6 in size. All photos will need to be at the summer convention by noon on Friday. The winners are announced on Saturday evening at the summer convention.
Third, there will be a USSA Youth Event at Camp Ripley on Saturday, April 24. I will be looking for about 4 to 6 volunteers to assist that day. We are expecting 500 youth that day. Please contact me if you are interested in helping.
And, lastly, if you have any skulls (except raccoon and coyote), please either get them to me or your district director by the end of February so they can bring them to the board meeting. I will be making a trip to my skull contact sometime in mid-March.
For those who will be spring beaver trapping, good luck and be safe.
Until next time.
— Deb Offerdahl
EDUCATION COORDINATOR’S REPORT
Surprisingly, in sharp contrast to those less-than-attractive fur prices being offered out there, demand for trapper education classes has skyrocketed! Obviously fur prices cannot be the major driving force behind this interest. Whatever the rationale behind this growth in interest, young people are coming forward now who want to take part.
As an Association, the MTA has pledged to provide certification classes for those interested and to fund the entire education program. The proceeds generated from our annual gun raffle, combined with the Tanned Fur Project revenue provide the lion’s share to make this all possible.
I encourage you to help in any way you can to support this education program. Donate furs, encourage your local C.O. to donate as well and please, at the very least, purchase the 10 raffle tickets that are sent to each member. Is $10 an unreasonable contribution to ask for? That’s less than the going rate for three muskrat pelts at today’s market. Every little bit counts. Thank you for your continued support.
The MTA Web site is undergoing a makeover and the Trapper Education Manual is now available in downloadable form in response to many who have asked for such and option. The requirement for the In-Field Training still stands in addition to the written exam for all certifications. If you have perspective students who would like to look into this option, please direct them to our Web site at www.mntrappers.org for more information.
Traditional “hard copies” of the manual will always be available for sit-down classes as well as the previous version of the Correspondence Course Option so no one panic out there unnecessarily. This move is merely providing another more economical alternative for getting the material in the hands of students quickly.
A list of students in need of In-Field training in order to complete the certification process from the Correspondence Course are in the hands of your district directors. If you have interest in helping some of these students complete the In-Field Training, please contact your district director for contact information.
If you volunteer to host field training, please let me know so I can make the proper notations in the student log. I will also send a field-training checklist to assist you along with the experimental Task Book format for you to consider trying as well. We are considering implementing a guidebook such as this that allows students of the Correspondence Course to demonstrate their grasp of the material the field instructor has presented. I want to state again that this format is experimental at this time and instructors are under no obligation to bind themselves to its format. We’re merely looking for feedback from instructors who have used the format with their students. Your input is extremely important to properly evaluate the usefulness of this particular tool. Please consider implementing it during your field day.
Trapper Education Classes
Thank you to those who have decided to host classes this winter/spring. A list current class offerings along with instructor contact information is available on the MTA Web site. Those that hesitate to host a class because of difficulty in covering all aspects of the field training due to the weather are encouraged to consider using some of the video titles that have been donated to Education to supplement their training. A list of titles is available in the Newsletter.
Hosting a sit-down class at one point and then conducting a field day some months later can prove to be a coordination nightmare. Many students will want to purchase their trapping licenses anticipating spring beaver trapping and will be unable to do so without the field-training aspect complete. It’s up to individual instructors when they prefer to do the field training, but I strongly encourage completing the entire course now rather than later.
If you’d like to share ideas or alternative suggestions- give me a shout.
If you’ve decided to clean your freezers out and put up all those furs that you’ve been putting off, now might be the time to think about donating intact skulls to the Education Program. Deb Offerdahl regularly trades raw skulls to processors in exchange for finished ones to distribute to teachers at the Minnesota Education Association (MEA) get-together each year. These donations of goodwill pave the way for interested educators to introduce modern fur trapping to their students in a positive light. Beaver skulls have proved to be incredibly popular. All species of furbearers are acceptable for donation with the exception of coyotes and raccoons which she has in plentiful supply.
Please contact Deb directly or your district director for further instructions on donating skulls.
This is one more avenue for trappers to gain positive exposure in the community.
Please consider donating this year.
Tanned Fur Project for Education
If you know of a school or other educational facility that would welcome the opportunity to use one of the MTA’s tanned fur collections from the Tanned Fur Project for Education, please have them contact me for an application. Demand for these collections has really ballooned these last few years and as a result, the MTA has been forced to more thoroughly explore the requests that are made to ensure these resources are being utilized to the fullest and not left to collect dust on some shelf forgotten and abandoned. A great deal of time, money and effort goes into assembling these collections and we want to be certain that they are going to be used to the fullest and that the MTA receives the proper recognition for providing these collections.
Another alternative for schools that don’t have as great a need for an entire collection might be the Fur Banners. For those that aren’t familiar with these banners, let me give a brief history. Around 10 years ago, the idea was born to create a visually attractive and tactile tool that could be used in an educational setting or public arena such as a sportshow to introduce some of the species of furbearing animals that inhabit our great state to the public.
A sample of each of the commonly harvested furbearers was attached to a hard backed sign material by means of Velcro. Beneath each sample was a photo of the animal species the sample was taken from. These Fur Board signs proved to be extremely popular attractions, but difficulties arose in the transportation and storage of the signs.
The next step in the evolution of this concept took these problems into consideration and the Fur Banner form was introduced. Now the samples are attached to a heavy duty plastic tarp material about 3 feet X 3 feet that easily rolls up and is stored in a pvc tube with threaded ends for easy shipping, storage and transportation. Each district director should have at least one in his possession to loan to members that man educational booths at fairs, sportshows, host trapper education classes etc. Please feel free to ask about them for your use.
Furs donated by the membership as well as those donated by the DNR that are not included in Tanned Fur Collections or sold to the public to generate funds for Education are used to create these banners. A much smaller version of the original banner has now been available as well to make the most out of each donation and to continue our goal of educating the public about Minnesota’s rich and renewable fur resources.
All of these promote our resources, our sport and the MTA in the best possible light.
A special thank you goes out to Tim Caven and Pete Jonas for all the work they’ve put into these projects.
Thank you to all MTA members who volunteer to “make things happen” and not just wish they would.
Keep your skinning knives sharp.
— Shawn Johnson
DISTRICT 1 REPORT
Greetings everyone! I trust everyone’s trapping was successful as it could be even though the price of fur isn’t what we would like it to be. We are now entering the time when some of us are relaxing and reflecting on the past season and wonder how long we will be able to maintain our trapping heritage. As a direct result of recent reflection, I seemed to have developed some opinions I would like to share with and also some facts to back them up. I’ll let you decipher which is opinion and which is fact.
About two years ago, the MTA, along with others, successfully defended the lynx lawsuit and as a result are still trapping today. But how many of you really know what has been happening in our state since then? First, one fourth or the entire arrowhead region of our state has been designated “lynx critical habitat” by the USFWS and added numerous restrictions to the way we must continue to trap.
Second, the Dark River watershed is under attack by the DNR, who want all evidence of beavers destroyed for the sake of trout fishing, even though the Dark is not capable of supporting trout populations.
Third, 200 acres of the Knife River watershed has been cleared of those evil beavers, by blowing up their dams and lodges all in the name of trout restoration and the project is growing all the way up the north shore of Lake Superior.
Fourth, in the southern regions of the state there are those wondering why the muskrat populations are not recovering like they used to. There is growing evidence that suggests that pesticides might be the problem for this and yet has gone unchallenged to this point. The point I’m trying to establish is that our sport of trapping or freedom, as we know it is “fleeting.” The only thing we can do, as trappers is “not screw it up,” while we are here on earth.
With all this going on, one would think that trappers speak as one voice. You need only to attend one of our board meetings to know this is not the case. The districts of the state are more fractured now than ever before. The focus is not on trapping and how to preserve it, rather it’s how does one protect his kingdom and how can he promote his own personal agenda. In 2009, the MTA began the year with roughly 2,500 members and, due to promoting by a few, an additional 350 new members were signed. At the end of the year, the MTA still had 2,500 members. Minnesota sells about 6,500 trapping licenses per year, yet the MTA membership stays around 2,500 and, of that, about 130 are out-of-state members. I think it’s time for the MTA to address this issue.
I have been told that Minnesota is the last hold out for non-resident trapping and that we should open our doors to non-residents. This whole argument is not about non-residents, its about residents that want to travel out of state to trap. Some suggest that we should allow non-resident trapping because they contributed financially to the lynx case, buy our raffle tickets and even join our association.
Non-residents were smart enough to know the implications of a major lawsuit loss in Minnesota and what the consequences would mean to them. What reward do those from Minnesota, who contributed money, receive? Buying raffle tickets is not a justification to trap in Minnesota because the holder of the ticket has an opportunity or chance to win a prize. Those non-residents, who join our association, do so because they believe in our cause and not because they want to influence policy.
Minnesota has great abundance in many areas and fur-bearers are just one example. We have most every animal in the state that every trapper desires including the exotic species. Why would one go out of state to trap when everything is right here in this state? It was Minnesota that aided in the re-population of the bald eagle, the wolf, fisher and currently the pine marten. That is why we in Minnesota are the last hold out against non-resident trapping and as long as I’m representing District One of the MTA, that is how it shall be since our district voted almost unanimously against non-resident trapping.
— Ray Sogard
DISTRICT 4 REPORT
Here it is February already most seasons are winding down and I hope you had as enjoyable time on the line as my son Jake and I had. The speculation of poor market for our fur was unfounded prices have been more than acceptable. At our last meeting, we had a couple of issues that were brought to the Board of Directors for consideration by the other Districts.
1. Consider changing the law to a three-day check on snares to be consistent with the bodygripper check law in the north zone.
2. Consider changing the existing law to present fishers, martens, bobcats and otter to five days instead of two for tagging after close of season.
We are going to have a spring meeting on March 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Gander Mountain in Baxter/Brainerd. At this time, we should know how some of our proposals are accepted by the other Districts. It is also a good time to bring up any other issues you would like for the Board to consider.
Till’ Next Time.
— Buzz Neprud
DISTRICT 5 REPORT
Hope everyone had a good trapping season so far. With the days getting longer, it’s a little easier checking traps.
Please continue to keep Richard Raeker and his family in your thoughts and prayers. I went to Richard’s auction on Sunday, Jan. 17 and there was a very good turnout. The weather was nice, he probably could have had the whole auction outside. I’m sure Richard would appreciate calls or cards, also. If anyone would like to help defray some of the medical expenses, a fund has been set up at the Freeport State Bank, P.O. Box 232, Melrose, MN 56352. Please write Richard Raeker fund on the envelope.
Our next board meeting is Saturday, March 6 at Johnson Fur in Willmar. If you would like something brought up, please call or e-mail and let me know.
DISTRICT 6 REPORT
The long winter is thinking about coming to an end. It’s once again time for District 6 to put on its annual trapper education course. As in the past, Bill Elliott, myself, and likely one or two additional trappers will teach the class.
Class starts on the 6th of April and continues on the 13th and 20th at the Bunker Hills Community Center in Andover. That’s followed by a field day on the 24th at Carlos Avery WildLife Management Area in Forest Lake. All new trappers born after 1989 need to earn a trapping certificate in order to obtain a license to trap in the state of Minnesota. We put on the second best trapper education course in the state, please make plans to attend. The time is now, please don’t wait until October to call me. Call or e-mail me now!
— Mark Palas
DISTRICT 7 REPORT
Hello fellow trappers. WOW what a winter we are having. All the snow, cold and blowing snow has made this a long, tough winter season. The good news is that it is affecting the fur prices. Its looking like the harvest level is down considerably from last year. This short take is increasing the prices on some furbearers, especially muskrats and surprisingly raccoons.
On Feb. 20, District 7 will be having its Spring Meeting in Dovary at the Dovary Café. If you have any pelts you would like to donate to the Tan Fur Project, please bring them to the meeting. The doors open at 9 a.m. with the meeting and raffle starting at 10 a.m. Lunch will be served after the meeting with some demos to follow. At 12:30 p.m., Shannon Cohrs will have his demo of Trap Modification and Staking Systems. At 1:15 p.m., Mole Control done by Jordan Budenski followed by Putting up Mink by Leon Windschitl at 2 p.m. Also, if you are planning to attend and need some trap supplies, Gerald Schmitt will be there. Just call Schmitt Enterprises with your order and Gerald will bring it to the meeting. New this year, Jason Wiebke will be there to buy fur. After the meeting and while the demos are going on, Jason will be set up to buy fur, beaver caster and deer hides. It should be a fun day with plenty to do so bring a friend or two and enjoy the day.
Once again, District 7 will be having a booth at the Tracey Area Sportsman Show. The dates are Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18. They have added more activities to the show this year. Also, on April 24 and 25 is the Worthington Gun Show. District 7 will have a booth there as well. If you would like to help out with either one of these shows, please let me know. If you haven’t helped out in the past, think about it. It is a good time talking not only to the people coming to the booth, but also talking and sharing ideas with the guys working at the booth.
At the last board meeting, it was asked that each director to get the opinion from each district on two issues. 1) Currently the law states that snares statewide not capable of drowning the animal must be tended once each calendar day and considered changing the law to a three-day check for snares set on land in the North Zone. 2) The current law states that pelts from animals that require registration (fishers, martens, otters and bobcats) must be presented for registration no later than 48 hours (two days) after close of the season. Change it to… must be presented within 120 hours (five days) after close of the season. If anyone has an opinion for or against any of these issues, contact me so for the upcoming board meeting so I can take the opinions of District 7 to the meeting.
Hope to see you all at the district meeting.
— Leon Windschitl