Minnesota Trappers Association November 2009 Report

President — Gary Meis, 69555 One Mile Rd., Bruno, MN 55712; phone: 320-838-1570

Vice President — Tim Bauer, 17290 155th Ave. N.E., Foley, MN 56329; phone: 320-355-2748

Secretary — Liz Thom, 173 Prairie Lake Rd., Wright, MN 55798; phone: 218-644-3593; e-mail: wlthom@frontiernet.net

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: kpeterso@paulbunyan.net

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: mcquaderoadfur@msn.com

Membership Options:

• Individual membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Junior (under 16) with subscription — $12
• Senior (over 65) with subscription — $12
• Lifetime membership with subscription — $350

Complete membership application on first page of
association section and send dues to:

MTA, Membership Coordinator
Kathy Peterson
57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661


October 1, 2009

Greetings Folks,

This month was a double whammy with deadlines for both the Newsletter and T&PC neck in neck. In the interest of avoiding duplication, I’ve written two separate reports for each publication. Consequently some materials are not included in both reports by design. Please read them both for the fullest amount of information.

The business end of the Association is underway. Initiatives passed by the General Membership are being pursued by your vice-president Dave D’Aigle, Legislative Liaison Con Christianson, MOHA Director Greg Flor and I as directed by the membership. We are actively seeking sponsorship of the following legislative initiatives in brief.

1.) Yearly publication of a separate regulations synopsis for Trapping.

2.) Beaver and Otter seasons that run concurrently along with a provision for keeping a certain number of muskrats taken incidentally in sets made for beaver/otter.

3.) Fox and Raccoon season shall open closest to Oct. 15 but not before Oct. 15 in the Northern zone.

4.) Conservation officer contact information shall be included in trapping synopsis.
These are the initiatives currently underway. Be certain to write your state senator and representatives letting them know that you support these proposals.

I have received several phone calls over the past month from members that feel slighted that their trapping areas are not included in one of these proposals. I have patiently explained that all initiatives that are being brought to the state legislature and/or DNR originated at the district level. The members in the first District that started the ball rolling on these proposals have been given some unfavorable “press” in recent days for doing exactly what the majority of the membership in that district instructed them to do.

The time to modify these moves has passed as the General Membership has already voted to support these initiatives as presented. It’s too late to start the process all over again to include other parts of the state. In short, if you support certain rule changes, seasons, limits etc, this must start at the District level.

Become an active member of this organization, attend your district meetings and vote for the changes you’d like to see. Give your directors guidance on how you’d like to see changes and vote accordingly. Your district directors are your representatives to the Board. If you feel they’re not representing the majority of your members, let them know by bringing forth issues that you’d like to see changed and/or improved upon.

The vast majority of the complaints I’ve received have come from members that didn’t attend district meetings to express their opinions in the first place, yet complain that their voice hasn’t been heard! Participate in the process. The normal way that the Association forces change in the DNR or the legislative arena is for proposals to move through the proper channels starting at the district level.

 Proposals are discussed and motions made at the district level first before anything else can proceed. The district directors then bring the wishes of their district to the Board of Directors where these proposals are introduced. The next step involves the remaining districts bringing these proposals back to their respective districts for their consideration and/or modification and votes are taken for or against.

The outcome of the district votes are then brought back to the Board. If a majority of the districts vote to support the move, it’s then brought before the General Membership for final approval or disapproval. If it is approved by the membership, it’s off to the DNR or the legislature with the MTA’s full support.

In short, if you don’t participate in the process, don’t complain.

Enough soap box.

This winter’s General Membership Meeting will be held on Jan. 2, 2010, at the new high school in Isle as in years past. If you plan on spending the night, make reservations early due to the holiday weekend. Keep your New Year’s celebration in check and I’ll see you in Isle.
I’ve also been approached by a young man with an interesting proposal; I’ll let him speak for himself.


I got your e-mail off of the MTA Web site.

I did a very small amount of trapping last fall — some beaver and snowshoe hare — and I’d really like to get into it seriously this fall and winter. (Dan Bergeson, the musher from Grand Rapids, helped me a bit). I thought it would be best if I could apprentice myself to a trapper who is out there doing a lot of trapping for a wide variety of animals, help him out and learn from him. Is there anyone you can think of here in northern MN who would fit that bill, who wouldn’t mind someone coming along and helping out, who is doing a lot of trapping? I’m from Park Rapids, my grandparents live in Bemidji, and I’d be willing to travel really anywhere in the northern part of the state to apprentice, rent a house for a month or two, or whatever.

I’m 32 years old and trustworthy, hardworking, plenty of experience with being outside in winter. I also know how to skin and tan hides and furs (traditional brain tanning).
Just thought I’d drop you a note and see if you had any ideas!

Thanks for your time.

Nate Johnson
218-255-1345 tel

So, what do you say folks? Might someone like to have an “apprentice” to help out on the trapline? Perhaps share the skinning duties? I haven’t met this young man in person, but I spoke to him on the telephone and he seems genuinely interested in this endeavor.

For more information, please feel free to contact him directly through the information provided above.
Yet another opportunity for bobcat trappers in Pine county specifically is also included:

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I would also like to thank you and your organization for the support you have already provided me. I purchased two snowmobiles last winter using money from your grant. Without them, I would not have been able to conduct my project to the extent that I have.

I am unsure how much you know about my project as it currently stands. I have a project Web site that is updated semi-regularly if you are interested (www.lynxrufus.com). I have discussed the project at length with Merlin Ladd and employed several other trappers to assist me in capturing bobcats. Unfortunately, we have not had much luck. I hope that this will change once I get permission to throw away my cage traps and use foothold traps.

Last season, I offered trappers $200 per trapped bobcat that they allow me to immobilize and place a collar on. I would like to extend this offer once more, however this year they will be able to use foothold traps. Would it be possible for me get the contact information for some trappers in Pine County that you think might be interested in helping out? Unfortunately, I can only afford to pay them per ’cat captured. If I did have the funding, I would like to hire a full-time trapper, but you make do with what you have. If they are interested, I can provide the traps and lure/bait and they can begin as soon as I get a copy of my permit to them.

Another important aspect of my project is determining where female bobcats that bred the season preceding their capture were captured. Last year, I and some volunteers attended some registration stations and asked trappers to mark in an atlas where they trapped a given ’cat.

We then placed a tag on the ’cat and sent it to Grand Rapids, where we examined them for placental scars. Unfortunately, owing to the facts that many trappers captured numerous ’cats and don’t recall where each carcass came from, my inability to procure enough volunteers to attend every registration station and a host of other reasons, of the >400 females harvested last year, I only had the necessary location data for 16 female bobcats. I have thought of requesting that the DNR staff manning the registration stations could have trappers mark in the location of the harvest in an atlas and tag the corresponding carcass, however, assuming I can convince them do it, this does not solve the problem of trappers not remembering where they harvested each ’cat.

My hope is that you will provide me with access to the contact information for the members of your organization so that I can ask them to tag each carcass with a uniquely numbered tag as they harvest it, saving the DNR staff the effort, and label on a map where they harvested it and the number of the tag. If possible, I would also like to ask them to keep track of their trapping effort as the number of bobcats harvested doesn’t tell us much without knowing how much time it takes to harvest each bobcat.

I want to assure you and all the members in your association that this information is entirely for my own use for my degree and none of this information will be made available to the DNR or anyone else without explicit written permission from the association. I am sure Merlin will vouch for me.

Please let me know if you require any more information.

Thank you for your time.


Paul Kapfer
University of Minnesota
Conservation Biology Program

Please contact Paul if you’d like more information on this project. The MTA NEVER gives out membership information without permission. I did however; offer him THIS opportunity to contact trappers that might be interested in this program. I would caution anyone interested to refrain from any trapping activity associated with this program without first becoming familiar with all aspects of the study as well as permitting, enforcement issues, etc.
Better safe than sorry.

Thanks so much folks, see you in Isle on Jan. 2!

Keep your skinning knives sharp.

— Shawn Johnson


Hello everyone,

We had our Board of Directors meeting on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Minnesota Trapline Products. Thanks to Caven’s for allowing us to have our meeting there.

District 5 donated the most fur to the Tanned Fur Project so we will be sponsoring the top dollar gun for the 2010 raffle. Richard, Mark and I agreed to sponsor another gun for the 2010 raffle also. Thanks to everyone’s generosity at our fall and winter meetings. We will be sponsoring the Browning Silver Hunter 3 1/2” 12 gauge and the Stevens .22/250.

The winter MTA meeting will be at the Isle High School in Isle again, on Saturday Jan. 2. The doors will open at 8 a.m. The 2010 summer convention will be in Barnum on July 29-31 at the Carlton County Fairgrounds.

Take care.

— Pete Jonas


Hello fellow trappers. This issue finds us just before the start of trapping season. I hope everyone has their traps ready to go and trapping supplies bought.

On Sept. 19, I had a trapper’s education class in Luverne. Kevin Wenzel was also on board to help out with the students. All the young future trappers were eager to learn more on trapping and had plenty of questions.

The fall board meeting was held at Minnesota Trapline Products. District 7 was represented by myself and co-directors Shannon Cohrs and Jordan Budenski. With this being an election year, there were a few new board members at the meeting. I would like to say welcome and I am looking forward to working with all of you in the future.

News from this year’s convention in Chisholm: attendance was around 2,700 people. Raffle ticket sales were over $73,000. For the economy the way it is, that was pretty good sales. Good job to all those members to selling their tickets.

Also for the upcoming 2010 MTA raffle, District 7 will be donating a Benelli Nova .12 Gauge Max 4. Proceeds from our fall meeting raffle will cover the cost of the gun.

The date for the MTA winter meeting has been set. It will be Jan. 2 in Isle at the high school. This is the same location as last year. A listing of activities and demos will be coming at a later date. Please watch upcoming newsletters and reports for information.

Hope everyone has a safe and successful trapping season!

— Leon Windschitl

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