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; e-mail: MTATrish@paulbunyan.net
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
Winter is certainly in uncontested control of the season as I write this column. We’ve had one of those “good old fashioned winters” that folks speak of so often and I’m certain that I’m not alone in my opinion that we can certainly hold off a few more years before we are again reminded what an old fashioned winter is really like. A run of the mill wimpy winter would do just fine.
Reports are coming in that fur prices were generally better this season with the exception of beaver which continue to struggle in the market of late. Most folks are looking to the next auction sales for some good news on this article. Keep your fingers crossed.
While on the subject of beavers, beaver populations across the state are of some concern as well as beaver control issues in general. Although trappers are well aware of the fact that beavers present in the wrong locations can range from a nuisance to a public safety concern, the time has come for trappers to have a say in the way beaver control issues are handled by road authorities, land departments and the DNR. The right of private landowners to protect their property is unquestioned. However the activities of government authorities is another matter entirely. Beavers are routinely trapped at the whim of government agencies at any time of year and with little thought. Dams removed and ponds drained and it seems to make little difference what time of year this work is authorized.
Beavers that were causing a problem in December were certainly causing the same problem back in October when they could’ve been trapped and in some cases dams removed without such a huge impact on other wildlife at that time. Tearing out dams and/or touching off explosives during the course of the trapping season not only results in loss of equipment but potentially could result in the loss of human life as well if unseen trappers or duck hunters just happen to be downstream.
Removing dams in December is also inexcusable- the exception being a legitimate public safety issue.
The MTA has been given Board approval to look into legislatively mandating that beaver dams cannot be removed after a certain date set (October?) unless there is a legitimate public safety issue. Pulling the plug on a beaver dam in October will allow many members of a beaver pond community to adjust prior to freeze up while removing the same dam in December will result in the death or displacement of many species without time to relocate or adapt.
On those same lines, beaver pond communities are regularly destroyed with the blessing of DNR Fisheries in many cases in the name of trout. Many folks myself included enjoy trout fishing and can certainly understand selective beaver and dam removal in certain areas to accomplish trout habitat and reproduction goals.
However when these control activities continue to expand and forge ahead without regard to the concerns of other user groups not to mention the other wildlife in these beaver pond communities, someone has to step forward and say ENOUGH!
The MTA is working on putting real pressure on the DNR to justify extensive beaver control activities in areas such as the Knife River Watershed near Lake Superior and to have a say in limiting the scope of these “restoration projects”.
The MTA through the efforts of Frank Brula are looking into sources of funding to construct marten and fisher nesting boxes in an effort to assist these species with litter rearing similar to what several organizations have done with wood duck boxes these many years. Frank has a great deal of information on research that has been done with these artificial cavities in Canada as well as Europe. This is an exciting opportunity to have a direct impact on reproductive success of these species and to witness the results firsthand. A special thank-you to Frank and Walt Gessler for getting the ball rolling on this one. This project will also provide another opportunity for youth education as well.
The Legal Defense Fund Banquet was a huge success and whispers about a second event could be heard even at this one. The Banquet Committee (Buzz, Cory, Gary, Shannon) did an excellent job preparing for this event and the results of their work proved it.
A special thank you goes out to Rob Heavirland for emceeing the event- you did a fine job with a difficult assignment.
While on the subject of difficult assignments, anyone who had the unfortunate opportunity to witness me attempting to serve as an auctioneer at the General Membership Meeting in Isle is well aware that I have no future in that occupation.
My deepest appreciation goes to Mark (“foxtail) for stepping up and putting me out of your misery.
Thanks for doing an outstanding job and saving the members from listening to me attempting to play auctioneer any longer!
Attendance estimates of more than five hundred for the General Membership Meeting in Isle proved what a successful event it was.
Hats off to Cory, Deb and Tim for another job well done.
Stay tuned to the MTA Newsletter for further information on what’s happening with the Association.
Keep your skinning knives sharp.
— Shawn Johnson
VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT
Our Winter convention is over now and we had a great turnout. Lots of people in attendance and from what I saw the furbuyers were very busy. Hope you all had a chance to pick up some raffle tickets for next summers raffle. Looks like another good one. I’d like to Thank all the vendors that showed up again this year as well as all the volunteers that helped with the set up and clean up.
We had our Legal Defense Banquet that evening and I thought it went real well and we raised a good amount of money. Again I’d like to Thank all the people that donated items to this worthy cause because we couldn’t have succeeded without them. All the committee members and volunteers did an outstanding job organizing this. Hopefully next years will be bigger and better.
Hope to see you at some of the district meetings this spring. I plan on attending as many as possible. Next summers convention is in Redwood Falls and should be a great time. Never to early to start making plans. Jim Blakely will be taking over Lining up Demos for the summer convention so if you’re interested you can contact him.
Minnesota will be hosting the NTA the first week of August 2012 in Owatonna. We will be needing a lot of volunteers to help pull this off. Hopefully you can find some time to volunteer. Good luck if your spring Beaver trapping this year and stay safe.
— Dave D’Aigle
DISTRICT 1 REPORT
Wow! What a winter we’ve been having, lots of snow and cold temps. The winter severity indexes are starting to rise and the deer herd could suffer significant losses if the weather doesn’t moderate. Wolf numbers are real high in my area and if the snow crusts over the wolves will really get the upper hand.
The winter general membership meeting and our 1st annual legal defense banquet are behind us and were both a great success. I’m not sure what the legal defense banquet took in but I believe it either met or exceeded what was projected. If at all possible try to attend next winter– good food, great prizes, reuniting with old friends and meeting new ones it was a really fun night!
District 1 will be having its spring meeting Feb. 26 at the Cotton Community Center, doors open at 9:00 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 10:00. Some of the items on the agenda will be Ass’t Wildlife Manager Walt Gessler’s presentation on beaver control in lakes managed for wild rice, this summers convention in Redwood Falls, the NTA convention in 2012, co-director Frank Brula will fill us in on how his marten nesting box project is coming along, also we will discuss discontinuing the trapper auction at the summer convention and only having it at the winter meeting, plus what ever else you have on your mind ,remember this is your association.
It’s going to get busy real soon for the MTA. We’ll have a booth set up in Duluth on Feb. 5&6 for the gun show, the Duluth Boat Sport & Travel and Deer Classic will be on Feb. 16-20 we’ll also be there, Feb. 17 we’ll be meeting with the DNR on the 3 day snare check in the forest zone along with other snaring items, also district 1 has been invited to have a booth at the International Falls Sportsman’s Expo.
I’ve been putting in long days with very little time off at work due to the weather and haven’t been able to trap any beaver. Hopefully that will change soon, I miss not having any fur in the garage. That’s all I have for now. Have a good one!
— Bert Highland
DISTRICT 4 REPORT
Greetings District 4
Fur season is winding down remember spring beaver trapping is just around the corner and season closes April 30th. It is the first time in years that I have my fur ready for the first auctions. I have always sold in May auction we will see how they compare.
It is also the time of the year for DNR public hearings check their website to see if anything pertains to your interest and speak your mind. We will be having our spring meeting early April place to be determined check the MTA website for details and MTA newsletter.
If you need to contact me I can be reached at 218-546-8213 or 218-851-5989 or at neprud @crosbyironton.net.
Till next time.
DISTRICT 5 REPORT
District 5 is sponsoring a Marlin 1895 GBL Lever Action Rifle 45-70 for the MTA Raffle this year. Thank you to everyone who bought door prize tickets at our spring and fall meetings, this allows us to sponsor a prize for the raffle. Thanks also go to everyone who donates prizes for these drawings.
Our next board of Director’s meeting is Saturday, March 12th, if anyone wants anything brought up to the board, please let me know.
The MTA will be meeting with the DNR on the 3 snaring issues, later in February. First, opening snaring along with the water opener in the Farmland Zone. Secondly, Raising the snare height from 16 to 20 inches statewide, and third, allow a 3 day check on snares in the forest zone.
The winter meeting in Isle was well attended again this year. The Legal Defense Banquet was a big success also. If you missed it, you don’t want to miss the next one. It looked like everyone had a good time, there were a lot of nice prizes for the games, raffles and silent auctions. Thank you to everyone who helped make the our first Legal Defense Banquet such a success.
We should all thank Cory and Deb Van Driel for all they do for the MTA, between the Convention, Winter Meeting and the work they put into the Banquet.
I would also like to thank Jason and Lisa Smith for helping me build 19 weasel boxes for our District 5 Spring Meeting at Johnson Fur, on Feb. 5th, these are for the kids to help them get started trapping. This is the third meeting that we have done this. If anyone would like to help or has any other ideas we can do to help the kids, please let us know.
— Pete Jonas
DISTRICT 7 REPORT
Hello fellow trappers. You are probably receiving this report about the time of the District 7 Spring meeting. The meeting is February 19 at the Log Cabin Restaurant in Dovray. Judging from the calls I’ve received, as long as the weather holds out, it’s looking like we will have a good turnout.
District 7 will be having a booth at the Tracey Sportsman’s Show on April 16 & 17. Please keep this date in mind, so if you have a couple of hours to help at the booth. I would appreciate any help that I can get.
At the board level, there has been discussion to discontinue the consignment Auction at the summer convention. The MTA would still have the one at the winter meeting. If you have a specific viewpoint, please notify me, as it is on the agenda for the Spring Board meeting in March.
Currently the inventory is down for the tanned fur project. Please think about donating some of your furs. This project has been very beneficial for the MTA with pelts being donated to schools and other organizations. It helps to keep trapping in a positive light out in our communities.
We have been getting information together for the summer convention. The board approved a shower wagon to go along with the two showers that are on site. This should hopefully give us plenty of showers for the campers at the convention.
You should have received your raffle tickets for the 2011 MTA Raffle. Please make an effort to get out and sell those tickets. If you need more, please contact Gary Meis or I have some extras available as well.
With the MTA hosting the National Trappers Convention in Owatonna in 2012, there will be a volunteer program that a committee is putting together. It is going to be based on how many hours that you volunteer. The more hours you work, the bigger the incentive you can receive. Be sure to check upcoming newsletters to find out where you can sign up to volunteer for a time that could work for you.
The MTA is meeting with the DNR on February 17 to consider three changes on Snaring. 1) Extended check on snares set on land in Forest Zone (3 days ideal). 2) Raise maximum snare height to land to 20’ to top of loop statewide. 3) Open land snaring with the “water opener” in the Farmland Zone. Please look at future reports for the outcome on these 3 issues.
Until next time.
— Leon Windschitl