Minnesota Trappers Association March 2013 Report

www.mntrappers.org

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; 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

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

MARCH

Greetings Trappers,

Well, no one is surprised that the bodygripper is on trial once again.

Our friends from last year are back on their crusade to virtually ban the use of bodygrippers on land by restricting them to the point of practical nonexistence.

They appear to have retained the same sympathetic legislators to carry the torch for them once again.

 

Representative John Ward -DFL 10A-Baxter (651-296-4333 or 800-683-4205) rep.john.ward@house.mn

Rep John Ward

375 State Office Building

100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

District 53 DFL- Maplewood (651 296 6820) sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn

 

Senator Chuck Wiger

75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Capitol Room 205

St Paul MN 55155-1606

 

It is vitally important that trappers that reside in these areas of the state contact these men to calmly explain the great value of these traps to sportsmen. It is also prudent to allow adequate time to critically evaluate the deterrent effect of the bodygripper restrictions signed into law last legislative session before considering further restrictions.

Trap Incident Reports that DNR introduced this season although of value unfortunately do not specify in most cases whether or not the trap was legally set in compliance with the law. MTA has impressed the importance of detail in these reports and a preference for these reports to be filled out only by DNR Enforcement to assure consistency.

These issues aside, the documentation we do have suggests that the restrictions currently in place are having a positive impact in reducing the number of bodygripper/dog incidents and the successful release of accidently caught animals.

To my knowledge ZERO dogs have EVER been caught in bodygrippers set three feet elevated yet our opposition insists that is not high enough.

At this time these legislators have heard only the passionate and emotional filled rhetoric of those that oppose the use of bodygrippers and almost nothing from the trapping community.

Letters are of extreme value in influencing our elected officials to reexamine their positions if presented factually and reasonably and I can’t emphasize the importance of the written word.

Ideally make the phone call first and follow up with a letter thanking him for his time and restating your position.

If we refuse to make our voices heard, ultimately we will only have ourselves to blame if we lose nearly all practical use of our tools.

Rest assured that MTA will continue to support and defend the continued use of one of our most valuable tools.

Isn’t it high time that non-members and former MTA members come back to the Association to lend a hand?

Members- lets put on the pressure to enlist new members and strengthen our position at the legislature.

Recently an anti-trapping ordinance was passed in White Bear Lake. The single fur trapper present was vastly outnumbered at the meeting.

Trapping lost.

As Ben Franklin prophesized at the signing of the Declaration of Independence:

“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”

Keep your skinning knives sharp. — Shawn Johnson

 

FEBRUARY

Greetings All,

First of all I need to apologize for missing deadline. I had a perfect record over the past ten years never missing a single monthly column as director or president, thanks in part due to a merciful editor at TPC, however, things fell apart last month.

That Flu bug that was all most folks in the media talked about over the last few months finally found its way to the McQuade Road.

I’ve always blamed my wife Linda for any communicable illness that affects our family as she being a public school kindergarten teacher, is the perfect candidate for election as our official “disease vector” regardless of guilt.

Two out of our three sons missed several days of school and barely crawled out of their bedrooms under it’s grip and Mrs. Johnson’s “dearly beloved pulled all his sets and surrendered to the sickbed as well. Our youngest Jeremiah was the least effected of the four males in the house.

It aggravates me to report that Linda who no doubt carried this invisible misery to our home was the only one that somehow escaped it’s claws unscathed.

She must’ve made a deal with the devil himself!

I’m happy to report that all are reasonably healthy now but I still don’t completely trust the woman!

Raffle

Our annual gun raffle fundraiser kicked off at the General Membership Meeting in Askov and most of those attending saved MTA some money by picking up their allotted tickets there.

For those that received their tickets by mail, I strongly encourage you to purchase those first ten tickets or sell them as soon as possible. Every year members with good intentions receive their tickets and put them aside only to forget them in the chaos of life. Please drop that check in the mail with the stubs today to avoid letting them slip your mind. In response to member suggestions, ticket sellers now have the option of choosing the brand new Bridger dog proof traps for their incentive prizes. Use of this type of trap has exploded in recent years and now those that haven’t had the opportunity to try them have more reason to sell those raffle tickets and get their hands on some. Gary and Betty Meis are the raffle chairs if you’d like additional tickets or have a question regarding the raffle please contact them before 9:00 PM 320 838 150.

Trapper Education

Keep in mind that every dollar the MTA earns through our raffle must be spent on Education related expenditures as required in accordance with our Charitable Gaming licensure for non-profits. Everything from information booths at county fairs to trapper education manuals is paid for thanks to the salesmanship of our membership. At least partially responsible for the growing interest in trapper certifications are the higher fur prices seen over the last few years.

Just to give you some indication of what is happening on the education front, the online exam option was first made available the first week of August and in that short period of time nearly six hundred individuals have completed the exam online and have only the field training remaining in order to complete their certification.

I strongly encourage any member interested in becoming an instructor to either contact me or consider the certification option available on the website www.mntrappers.org Field training instructors will be in most demand in the years to come and this is especially attractive to those members who wouldn’t feel comfortable hosting a traditional sit down class. Without a doubt those students who chose to attend a traditional class have a far richer experience than those that go the online route but the fast paced lifestyle that most young people are currently living leaves little room for “free time.” This fact has been made crystal clear now that I have two sons in middle school.

They catch the bus at 6:30 AM and I don’t see them until they return from basketball practice around six PM. They finish up homework and then head to bed only to repeat the cycle the rest of the week.

That’s a full time job for 13 and 14 year olds without overtime pay!

The point I’m attempting to make here is the online option has become essential in order to provide trapper certification opportunity for many.

I cannot express my gratitude enough for instructors that give so generously of their time and expertise to help these young people out.

Wolf Trapping Licenses-Youth Certification

In that vein, I have expressed my concern with the requirements currently laid out for young people applying for a wolf trapping permit through the DNR lottery.

Although purchasing a junior trapping license isn’t legally required until age 13, ALL those born after December 31 1989 that have not been issued a license in a previous year must complete the trapper education course before they are allowed to purchase their wolf trapping license if drawn.

In the case of those 12 and up this is less of a problem but with those younger- there have been difficulties.

The manual and other written materials are geared to a 12 year old’s reading level and I seriously doubt that most under the age of 10 will be able to comprehend the material presented. I’ve informed the DNR that it’s senseless to certify 8 year olds that can’t even read, let alone understand, most of the material.

I’ve further expressed the position that those applying for a wolf trapping license should ideally have their certification in hand prior to applying for a tag.

It is far too difficult in most cases to provide field training opportunities for even older young people during the height of the trapping season when the deadline for purchasing their wolf tag is late November.

We’re working with DNR in order to come to a resolution on this problem.

Trap Incident Reports

During this trapping season, DNR implemented a reporting procedure for documenting trap incidents with domestic animals. (dogs)

Although I was dubious about the reliability of the information collected on these proposed “incident reports” I was hopeful that facts and not hearsay would be collected to assist in determining the true extent of legitimate trap/dog incidents.

The form covers a large range of information gathering everything from the type of set, trap size to the activity engaged in hunting, walking, physical control (leash), verbal control, no control to the final outcome of the incident (no injury, vet care, died of injuries)

If there are mechanisms in place to assure that these reports are factual and filled out by competent people they may prove to be of great use in any discussions regarding bodygripper incidents and any further proposed restrictions.

Elections

2013 is an MTA election year and I strongly encourage any member in good standing that is interested in becoming involved in leadership to do so. Everything from President to District Director is open to those that wish to step forward. If interested in running for higher offices of President and Vice President, please provide nomination letters to Linda (secretary) or Trish (editor) to insure the membership gets to know you a bit prior to the vote which will take place during the Litchfield convention.

Dave and I have agreed to serve another two year term if the membership is agreeable but the field remains open to any and all that wish to run for these positions.

That’s all for now- Have a great one!

Keep your skinning knives sharp. — Shawn Johnson

 

JANUARY

Greetings All,

Just returning from the General Membership Meeting in Askov. We had a great turnout and once again the facility was well received by guests and vendors alike. My cat allergies were acting up with all the bobcat pelts being carried around but somehow I was able to beat it back with generous doses of Benadryl.

From the looks of things, the bobcat harvest may have broken all previous records but we’ll have to wait for the final tally in days to come.

Trapping Regulations

The only issue currently under consideration of DNR from trappers would be the use of dog proof type tube traps close to water sources prior to the general “water opener.”

Many trappers have asked why couldn’t an exception me made to the prohibition of setting traps closer to the water? The rationale behind a setback from water prior to the “water opener” is presumably to keep the honest honest and to discourage the take of mink, muskrats, beaver etc. in “raccoon sets” before their respective seasons are opened.

Many trappers maintain that raccoon hunters have no restrictions regarding hunting near water sources and that it is highly unlikely that mink etc. will be taken in dog proof traps due to their extreme selectivity.

We have been told that the DNR Furbearer Committee will take our position under consideration at their upcoming meeting.

If you have suggestions on trapping law changes/modifications please bring them to your district meetings for discussion.

Things will only improve if you choose to take an active role in your Association.

Legal Defense Fund Banquet

The third annual LDF Banquet was held at the Askov Community Center again this year on Saturday evening and once again trappers opened their wallets and proceeded to empty them before the night was over.

Special thanks go out to the hard working LDF Committee for another successful event.

It is inevitable that trappers will have to bankroll the continued defense of our sport in days to come and these annual events assure that the funds will be available when “it” hits the fan. If you’ve never attended one of these events, I strongly encourage you to attend in 2013.

Although no firearms went home with the Johnsons, Linda did have quite a bit of luck bringing home a few boxes of hardware that she has graciously promised to “loan” to her husband over the course of next year’s trapping season.

I’m especially eager to try those dog proof traps she won to see if I can keep some of those greasy ringtails out of my mink sets this season!

Bodygrippers

As predicted, the folks in favor of severely restricting the continued use of bodygrippers are hard at work as they promised and once again the media has accommodated them with much enthusiasm.

Even though dog/bodygripper incidents are rare occurrences, these unfortunate accidents are prime fodder for media that thrives on sensationalism.

We must do everything within our power to educate fellow trappers to pay special attention to how they choose to use bodygrippers to insure our continued use of these vital tools.

MTA Bodygripper Committee was reassembled once again to address any additional threats at the legislature on behalf of the Association.

Wolf Season- The first wolf season in Minnesota has been a resounding success! The quota was attained and most are pleased that DNR was successful in getting this first season off the ground in spite of excessive pressure brought to bear by protectionists.

The efforts against trapping wolves was particularly targeted.

In spite of attempted lawsuits, and a media blitz including billboards across the state which stated “Trapping is Torture” the combined harvest was successful far beyond the expectations of many, myself included.

What was especially surprising were the hunter success rates as it was logically anticipated that wolf trappers would easily attain their quota allotment.

DNR anticipates a similar season and limit for the 2013 season as well.

Wolf Pelt Export

For those successful wolf trappers that had planned to market their wolf pelts through Canadian fur auctions, there were some unanticipated complications. Although the DNR stated at the onset that CITES type export authorization was not yet in the hands of the State, a few trappers were frustrated that they couldn’t market their pelts up north. As it turns out, most trappers chose to keep their first wolves as trophies. Most went to the tannery and some went to taxidermists.

DNR is currently waiting on the Fed to provide authorization and CITES tags for wolf export in the near future.

We’re hopeful that these tags will be in the hands of DNR for 2013 so those that want to market their pelts in Canada may do so.

The wheels of government (particularly the federal government) can turn VERY slowly as we all know.

Fisher/Marten

The harvest data for the ever shrinking fisher/marten season is not yet available but it can be logically anticipated that the numbers will be down significantly. Many trappers have passed on actively pursuing fishers and martens over the past several seasons due to the previous nine day season length and still more have thrown in the towel when it was trimmed from nine to six days this season. What will happen next season is still up in the air at this point. MTA has strongly advocated that DNR consider separating fisher and marten for management purposes and delineating fisher trapping zones with higher limits in areas with heavy fisher populations and few marten.

Nest Box Project

On a related note, our Marten/Fisher Habitat Enhancement Project (nest boxes) is unfortunately at a standstill as we continue to attempt to wade through a mountain of paperwork in an attempt to secure a grant award from the Lessard. We’re currently researching the feasibility of hiring a professional grant writer to help us through the process.

Although we await the outcome of these efforts, boxes have been constructed, distributed and presumably placed by trappers but placement and use data is not coming in.

District 1 Co Director Frank Brula is discouraged that he’s received no documentation so far. If you’ve received nest boxes please fill out the paperwork provided and return it to Frank.

Paperwork isn’t something most of us take much pleasure in but in this case, it’s vitally important that we have some way to guage the success of the Program.

Please take the time to document.

Treasurer

On a final note, I’d like to remind everyone that our treasurer Trish Coons is looking to retire from the position but has graciously agreed to continue as treasurer in the meantime until a replacement comes forward. Ideally someone with an accounting background would be preferred. If you think you may be able to help out, or would like additional information, please give Trish a shout.

That’s all for now.

Keep your skinning knives sharp! — Shawn Johnson

 

DISTRICT 1 REPORT

Hi Trappers,

Brrrr, low temps for the last week or better have been between -15 and -35 in my neck of the woods. I’ve been working 7 days a week due to the cold weather, so needless to say I haven’t been getting any beaver traps out. I got all my fur shipped out and the only skins I have left are the ones I’m donating to the tanned fur project. I know the weather should break soon, then hopefully I can get out. An empty fur shed makes me want to get going all the more.

Me and Frank will be heading up to Britt soon and pickup the lumber for the marten nesting box project. As I said in last months report we’ll build 100 boxes and try to get them out before spring. I’d like to thank Tony Schram of North Shore Forest Products for donating the spruce logs that were sawed into lumber for this years boxes, it was very much appreciated.

Our spring district meeting will be March 9 in Cotton, doors open at 9 and the meeting will start at 10:00. Tentatively I have John Erb scheduled to speak to us on the registered species harvest. I’ll also have extra raffle tickets available for anyone who needs them. It should be a good meeting, make plans to attend.

That’s all for now, I’ll have a more detailed report in our MTA newsletter. Take care. — Bert

 

DISTRICT 4 REPORT

Greetings District 4,

First off, I hope everyone had a great season. Fur prices in the country have been great. I hope you all have luck at auction too.

We are having our spring meeting on March 16 at the Page Township Hall, 21804 140th Ave., Milica. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the meeting starts at 10 a.m. and goes until we are finished.

I will be attending many meetings until then. I will give you all of the news then.

Till next time. — Buzz

 

DISTRICT 5 REPORT

Hello all,

Hope everyone is having a good trapping season. fur prices look good, as the economy seems to be getting better.

Trap theft is also up around here. I look forward to checking my traps everyday, and to come and find you’ve been ripped off, is the worst feeling.

Jim Blakley will be in charge of setting up the demo schedule for our summer convention. If you are interested on doing a demo on Friday or Saturday, his phone number is (507) 259-6332.

The winter meeting went very well again this year. Attendance was good, lots of fur sold and registered also.

The 3rd Annual Legal Defense Banquet raised over $15,000.00 and was a big success.

Next years Banquet will be at the same place in Askov, Saturday evening, January 4th, 2014. Get your tickets early, they sell out quick.

I’m still looking for volunteers for the Summer Convention in Litchfield, Aug 16 thru 18th, 2013.

Take care. — Pete

 

DISTRICT 7 REPORT

Hello fellow trappers.

This will come out about the time of the District 7 Spring Meeting at the Log Cabin Restaurant in Dovray. The date is February 23, doors open at 9 am. Meeting and raffle starts at 10. Lunch will be served. Skinning Bee will follow lunch. Jason Wiebke will also be there to buy fur.

The winter meeting in Askov had another good turnout. There was a lot of trapping talk going on. Also, the fur buyers were pretty busy buying fur. Both auction houses had trucks there picking up fur as well. Both auction houses were actually getting more fur this year than in previous years. The Pelt Handling Contest went very well. Congratulations to Tim Bauer, this year’s Master Fur Handler of the Year. Please look at the next Minnesota Newsletter for details on the results.

The Legal Defense Banquet was held that Saturday night. It seemed as if everyone there was having a good time. I have not heard the total amount that was raised. I am sure that it is a good amount. If you have not attended one yet, you should plan on attending the next year’s banquet. You will not be disappointed. Thank you to all of the committee that put on the Legal Defense Banquet for the hard work that you put in.

Please start planning for the summer convention in Litchfield. It should be a good time. I know that hotels are filling up fast, so get your reservations in if you are planning on attending. The dates of the convention are August 16-18. We will also need volunteers for District 7’s work schedule so if you can plan a little extra time to volunteer that would be great.

Until next time. — Leon Windschitl

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