Minnesota Trappers Association November 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; 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

NTA Director

Education Coordinator — Shawn Johnson, 6122 McQuade Road, Duluth, MN 55804; 218-525-4970


Membership Options:

• Individual membership — $25

• Junior (under 16) — $15

• Lifetime membership — $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


Greetings All,

First of all, I’d like to thank the membership for reelecting me to a third term as MTA president. The continued support of the membership means a great deal to me. I have forty trapping seasons behind me today and a deep commitment to see to it that the sport of fur trapping remains available for future generations of outdoorsmen and women here in Minnesota as well as nationwide. The MTA is vital to assure this future.

Thank you for the privilege of allowing me serve some part in safeguarding our sport for generations to come.

Our hopes and prayers continue to be with the Spinler family as they grieve Loren’s death on September 2nd of this year. As most are aware, Loren was MTA’s Auctioneer for the past twenty four years as well as former MTA President and Lifetime Member. His enthusiastic style and sense of humor will leave a void at MTA conventions and he will be sorely missed. Upward and Onward my friend!


Proposed Trapping Legislation

Trapping organizations will once again be keeping their eyes on the State Capitol as legislation will be introduced once again to severely restrict the use of body gripping traps on land. This coupled with the Anti- Wolf Harvest Bunch’s rhetoric will continue to put pressure on elected officials to cave to their demands. Now more than perhaps ever before, it is absolutely essential that trappers have a continual presence at the Capitol to protect our interests. Thanks to MTA Legal Counsel Gary Leistico and MTA’s Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance (MOHA) representatives Greg Flor and Drake Jackson primarily, trapper interests are being defended and alliances with common sense legislators are being strengthened. The MTA’s Body Gripper Committee will continue to act in trappers best interest in this matter.


Bodygripper Release Kits

MTA has invested in producing a pocket-sized bodygripper release kit to distribute to dog hunting groups and individuals. The initial response has been tremendously positive and we will be looking into having these available at the Winter General Membership Meeting along with updates on our progress. Please contact your District Director for more information.


LDF Banquet

The 4th Annual Legal Defense Fund Banquet to be held this January 4th once again at the Askov Community Center is likely sold out by the time this column is published but if you’re interested in possibly attending, please give Gary Meis a call at 320 838 1570 to check on ticket availability.


MTA Convention “Game” Feed

Many convention goers have enjoyed the community meal served at our get-togethers that started out as a Wild Game Sampler years back primarily featuring – you guessed it Wild Game! This has changed over the years to more common fare such as cooked pork, corn on the cob, garden vegetables etc. with less and less “wild” and fewer and fewer people contributing items to share.

Although generous individuals have at times donated as much as an entire pig make this Feed happen, food contributions from only a handful of individuals generally round out the menu year in and year out.

Yet the serving lines continue to grow… If the membership is interested in continuing a Feed of one fashion or another at future conventions, the need for a self-motivated, enthusiastic idea person to step forward to take the lead is essential. Someone who would be willing to:

1.) Coordinate and promote the event.

2.) Motivate volunteers to provide unique dishes.

3.) Solicit volunteers to help set up and/or serve.

Perhaps prizes could be awarded for Tastiest Game Dish or Most Exotic Dish, Best Game Sausage etc.? Beaver Chili, Muskrat Stew, Snapping Turtle Tacos, Smoked Caribou Tongue, Goose/Duck Sausage or Jerky, Raccoon Pot Pie…the possibilities are endless. I think this could provide a unique opportunity for members and guests to sample foods that may very well have been served at spring trapper rendezvous of yesteryear and return some “game” to the Game Feed.

Otherwise, unless someone is willing to take the lead, it’s likely that this meal will become a memory. If you, or someone you know might be interested in taking the lead in this area, please let your MTA district director know.

The summer convention in Barnum will be here before we know it.


Con Christianson Retires

MTA’s own Furbearer Specialist and Liaison to DNR and the Legislature has announced his retirement from MTA leadership. Thanks to the tireless work of Con, trappers now have a much more effective and active voice in Fisheries Projects that impact beaver pond communities and other trapper interests. Con also compiled the Trapper List to provide to DNR and units of government to address beaver and other problem animal complaints more effectively.

Con has served members at the Board level for more than twelve years and on a personal level has acted as my own personal chauffer several times when Shawn needed to attend meetings in the Twin Cities on behalf of trapper interests. Con came to understand in short order that I would NEVER be able to find my way to any meetings down there without his assistance!

Go enjoy a well deserved retirement my friend. It has been an honor to serve with you.


Trapper Education

Congratulations Trapping Instructors! 3,093 have graduated from the Trapper Education Program since it became a legal requirement effective January 1st 2009. Since August 2012 1051 students have completed the online coursework alone.

A reminder to Trapping Instructors: Graduates of the MN Trapper Education Program that join MTA will be provided with an NTA Trappers Handbook as a membership incentive for joining. Contact Membership Coordinator Mitzi Heavirland for additional membership applications for your students and encourage them to join MTA and receive this valuable guide to effective trapping basics.


Personal Contentment

As the weather continues to cool and autumn-colored foliage drifts to the ground, its becoming increasingly difficult to properly focus on my paying job.

Prime time is right around the corner as I write this and as usual, construction season is in high gear. I’m hopeful that five weeks or so will make it a season, but I’ve learned to take things one day at a time at this point and continue to cash those checks as long as I can earn them.

But I have to admit, six days a week is getting really old. I have to walk a fine line between working construction in the fall but really wishing I was trapping instead. Personal contentment can be elusive during this transitional time of year. I need to avoid angering either the Almighty who provided this job or my wife that promised “till death do us part” as either one may decide to “take me out permanently” at some point if whining about my regular job interfering with my trapping escalates to an unacceptable level!

In order to save myself from an untimely death, I guess I’ll keep showing up at work until the foreman finally says “Go trapping Shawn!” Ah, content at last!

Keep your skinning knives sharp! — Shawn Johnson



Hi Trappers,

As you read this report our trapping seasons will be open or very near to it. I wish everyone the best of luck! If at all possible take a new trapper out with you and show them the proper and ethical way of going about our business.

We had our fall district meeting back on Sept. 21 and myself, Frank, & Mike were re-elected to our positions to represent you folks for another 2 yrs. It’s a pleasure and an honor, we thank you all. Attendance was down some from previous fall meetings with about 50 people attending, the weather was nice and maybe that was the reason. I’m planning on having a bigger trap raffle at our spring meeting and maybe that will boost attendance. Normally I have various fur handling and fur promotion posters on display, but for this meeting I had Laura J. show off her prize winning 4-H project depicting beaver trapping from scouting, to trapping, and to actual fur handling. Laura won Grand Champion and Blue Ribbon awards at the South St. County Fair and the Minnesota State Fair with her display. Her work was viewed by hundreds of people and it is so nice to see our youth out promoting our sport. We’re all very proud of you Laura — GREAT JOB !! Some of the other topics discussed were incidental otter taken by ADC trappers, marten / fisher season, marten nesting box project, and next years convention in Barnum, for which I will be needing many volunteers to help out.

Don’t forget the winter meeting in Askov on Jan. 4 and the Legal Defense Banquet that follows in the evening. Before I forget the Highland’s were 0 / 2 again on the wolf trapping lottery, oh well maybe next year. Till next time take care and above all be safe. — Bert



We had our fall meeting at Melby Fur in New London on Saturday, September 28th. We had a pretty good turn out despite the rain. Thank you to Mark & Heidi Melby family for the lunch they put on. Thank you also to Mark for his years as Co-Director.

Thank you also to the following people for donating to our drawing: MN Trapline Products, Schmitt Enterprises, Inc., Melby Fur, Cory Van Driel, and Walt Gessler.

We had our elections for Director and Co-Directors. Jerry Larsen is the new Director. Dave Curtis and I are the Co-Directors. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in the past. I decided to not run for the Director position. It is good to get new people with new ideas in. Jerry has been a big help and done a good job as Co-Director and I expect nothing less as Director.

Take care. — Pete



Hello fellow trappers! Trapping Season is just around the corner. I hope you are ready for it. Good luck, be careful and make sure that you set your traps respectfully.

District 7 held their fall meeting on September 21st at Schmitt Enterprises. Schmitt Enterprises had their annual Open House that day. There were demos going on though out the day. A great meal was served. The crowd was down a little bit this year but still had a decent turnout. Elections were held and I will be the Director for District 7 for another term. Shannon Cohrs and Brian Fischer were both re-elected at Co-Directors.

Remember the winter meeting is January 4. The legal defense banquet will be that evening. It should be a great time. Plan to attend, but make sure that you get your tickets for the banquet. Space is limited. Until next time. — Leon Windschitl

Related Posts

Leave a Reply