Minnesota Trappers Association October 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;

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


Greetings Trappers,

My name is Shawn Johnson and I was granted the honor of leading this fine association at the our annual convention this past August in Chisholm.

I am deeply indebted and humbled by those folks who have placed their trust in me to guide this group for the next two years.

We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Gary Meis for his 14 years of leadership in the President’s chair. He will be an impossible act to follow. Even though I wear a size 13 shoe, filling Gary’s shoes will never quite be attainable. So rather than trying to compete with a legacy, although comparisons for good or bad will no doubt be made, I will concentrate on making the best decisions I can with the goal of how to best serve the trappers and the resources of the state of Minnesota.

Fortunately, your association is blessed with a fine group of professionals at the leadership level who have the forethought and experience to help assist in this transition of leadership and to continue to steer this organization in the correct direction with the well being of the membership, the resources and the sport of fur trapping being our common destination.

There are challenges on the horizon for this association and for the trappers of this state. Sooner or later a gray wolf management plan that includes a sustainable harvest component for the hunting/trapping public will be a reality. (my mouth to God’s ears) At that point, the trappers of Minnesota will at long last have the opportunity to once more legally harvest wolves. The MTA must be a full participant in the early planning stages of this move and to strive for a commonsense season length and reasonable regulations that will maximize harvesting opportunities for Minnesota residents.

This can only be accomplished by continuing to foster a relationship built on mutual respect between the MTA and the DNR. This relationship was not built overnight and thanks to many resource-minded individuals and their combined efforts over the years, the MTA has gained a positive reputation and earned a position of respect and influence.

We can ill afford to take these hard earned positions for granted.

With respect comes responsibility. If we profess to place our reputations on the line by our public declaration: “ The Minnesota Trappers Association is extending an invitation for you to join us in leading the fight for wise furbearer management as well as the continued use of effective, selective and humane trapping techniques.” We’d be wise to practice what we preach as conservationists and ensure our continued presence as respected leaders in our field.

Self-policing our own becomes all that more crucial. The membership must hold itself to a high standard of ethics in the field and to pressure those who do not to understand their detrimental behavior ultimately affects the reputation of the sport and the association.

This is without a doubt the most effective manner to have influence on others.

Writing mountains of laws for those that don’t hold themselves to such a standard can only have limited influence at best. But, continuing to support regulations that encourage a level playing field for all should be a high priority when coupled with individual integrity.

Adequately protecting a resource ensures equal opportunity and access.

This truth cannot be understated.

No one is naïve enough to believe that the anti-trapping advocates are ever going to disappear permanently. Although all appears quiet for the time being, the silence should be deafening to sportsmen who know better. It’s only a matter of time until the next lawsuit comes down the pike. Winning in the courtroom is one thing, winning in the court of public opinion is quite another. The old proverb, “A reputation takes a lifetime to build and a moment to destroy” is a fact we cannot afford to dismiss.

The sport of trapping must mean more than merely dollars and cents or we’re merely conducting a business.

Conservationist is a mantle that all MTA members should be proud to wear.

We all have the responsibility to protect what we cannot afford to lose — our sport’s future depends on it.

I have the confidence that the trappers of this state will do just that.

Elections must be held for all district representatives and those interested in applying for Education Director, Education Coordinator (mandatory trapper education), FTA, NTA director etc, should make their intentions known as soon as possible. District directors as well as co-directors will be elected by their perspective (respective) districts to the Board.

Those interested in applying for positions such as NTA, FTA, Education etc. should send their names and contact information along with a brief outline of their qualifications to me as soon as possible. In cases where the seat is unopposed, the sitting director will have the option of retaining the position. In cases of multiple applicants for a position, a committee appointed by the president will review candidates and make a recommendation.

At this time, the following positions are open: MTA Secretary. Liz Thom has agreed to fulfill the position for now, but will be resigning the post in October. District 8- Both Director Dale (Gabby) Hayes and Co-director Terry Mc Elmury have announced their intention not to seek re-election.

The powerhouse team of Cory and Deb Van Driel has also announced their intention to step down from their positions as Convention Coordinators as well as Cory’s position as Legislative Director. Rumor has it that V.P. Dave D’Aigle is doing his best to convince them otherwise.

For the meantime, I’d like to retain the Education Coordinator position until we iron a few more wrinkles out and then that position will also be available should others apply for the position.
On the legislative front, four items were approved of at the General Membership Meeting in Chisholm that will be taken to the 2010 Minnesota legislative session.

1.) Separate synopsis with Trapping laws/rules only.

2.) Otter and Beaver seasons to run concurrently.

3.) Northern zone fox and raccoon season opener closest to Oct. 15, but not before Oct. 15.

4.) Conservation Officer contact information included in trapping synopsis.

I’d like to take the opportunity to to thank Mike Gangestad from Luverne for his twenty dollar donation to the Legal Defense Fund. As most are aware our opponents haven’t stopped raising funds for their insanity. We’d best not forget that. Thank you Mike for your foresight.

In our home all three boys Ian (11), Hunter (10) and Jeremiah (7) all have saving accounts with their fur proceeds deposited in them. Needless to say those numbers haven’t been increasing dramatically after last trapping season. My wife Linda surprised me at this year’s convention by secretly purchasing a 50th Anniversary MTA commemorative trap in honor of our anniversary date.

My eldest son Ian wasn’t impressed with the idea of a trap that would never be used, but my seven year old Jeremiah could see some potential. When I explained to the boys that likely the value of the trap would increase over time. Jeremiah, who obviously watches WAY too much television had this epiphany. “Dad, since we don’t have much trapping money this year, we can just cut the chain off your trap and send it to “CASH FOR GOLD” on TV!”

I explained to him that that wasn’t such a good idea and I think he understood, but I’m still hiding the hacksaw and bolt cutters just in case.

You don’t know my boys…

Depressing fur prices have no doubt taken much of the steam out of many trappers in the past few years. I know in our household those handy extra dollars were sorely missed but at the same time interest in trapping and demand for Trapper Education Classes has remained steady. Perhaps now would be an ideal time to lend a hand with the MTA Trapper Education Program?
The pay off is in far more than dollars.

Keep your skinning knives sharp.

— Shawn Johnson


Greetings everyone,

I would like to start my first report with thanking everyone for their support in the election. I really appreciate it and will do my best to be a vice president for the entire organization.
I also want to especially offer my public thanks to both Gary and Tim for their years of service.

Tim will be a tough act to follow.

The convention in Chisholm is now over and I think it went very well other than the weather. Lots of campers/tenters and tailgaters. Not sure of the total of people that came through the gate, but attendance seemed to be up. I would like to thank Ray Sogard and his District 1 volunteers for hosting the convention. I think everyone got a little wet during clean-up. I would also like to thank Cory and Deb Van Driel and Tim Bauer for the countless hours they put in before, during and after the convention.

This was my second year putting together the Demo list and thank you to all the guys who step forward and volunteer. You guys do a first class job.

Next year’s convention will be back in Barnum July 30 to Aug. 1. Seems to be a popular site for the convention and for the people that always ask, “Are there trees for shade?” the answer is YES! Next year’s convention will not be hosted by a district so we will be looking for volunteers to help out. If you’re interested, you can contact me.

I hope to see a bunch of you this fall at various district meetings around the state.

Take care and good luck trapping.

— Dave D’Aigle


Hello everyone,

The Boy Scout Trailblazers event will be on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Fair Haven Scout Camp. If you are interested in helping out with this event give me or Deb Offerdahl a call. We will have tanned fur, the fur banner and will show some land sets. We will be setting up at 8 a.m. that morning.

Our next board meeting is on Saturday, Sept. 26. If you want anything brought up or have any concerns, please call.

Mark and Heidi Melby are having their customer appreciation day on Saturday, Oct. 3 at their place. District 5 will also be having a meeting, starting at 10 a.m. We will be having elections for Director and Co-director. I will be running again this year.

— Pete Jonas


Hello fellow trappers. This year’s convention has past. The 50th Anniversary convention was a well attended event. The crowd seamed to be pretty even on Friday and Saturday. Even with the convention being in Chisholm so far away from district 7, we had our core group of volunteers in attendance. I would like to thank everyone who helped out with a lot of appreciation going out to those who worked both shifts on Friday and Saturday.

The 2010 convention will be in Barnum, MN on July 29 to 31. This convention will be one week before the National Convention.

On Saturday morning, the MTA held its general meeting. There were several issues that were voted on by the membership if they should be brought to the Minnesota Legislation. Be sure to check out the minutes from that meeting for all the details of what issues passed and will be taken to the legislation. The results from the tanned fur competition were announced.

District 7 came in second behind District 5. Congratulations to District 5, we will try again next year. This year’s overall donator was from District 7, Shannon Cohrs. Great Job Shannon! Shannon was very generous with his donations this year. I personally know that he donated all the coyotes that he snared this past winter as well as all his beaver he caught this spring. Thank you also needs to go out to everyone in District 7 who donated this year. Some of the fur will be used to make 100 fur banners to be donated to schools in Minnesota.

On Saturday night of the convention, the benefit auction was held. The 50th Anniversary Gun and Case that District 7 donated was auctioned off. Bidding on this item was competitive. After strong competition, it sold for $1,550.00. Dan Swedberg from District 2 had the winning bid.

Schmitt Enterprises had their Open House on Aug. 29. The weather was perfect for a day full of activities. The Open house was well attended with people coming and going throughout the day.

The demos were well attended. John Gram was present and able to teach everyone something from his demos. District 7 was invited to have our fall meeting at the open house. Several Board members were present. I would like to thank them all for coming down. We discussed the information from the convention. Elections were held and I was re-elected as District Director and Shannon Cohrs as Co-Director.

I am happy to announce that Jordan Budenski was also elected in as a Co-Director. Jordan is from New Ulm. Congratulations to all and I look forward to working with Shannon and Jordan. Also at the meeting, a motion was made that District 7 will put together a proposal for hosting the state convention in our district in 2011.

At the end of the meeting, we had a raffle with very nice prizes. Thank you to all who donated especially District 7 members Brain Fisher for the three tanned pelts, Shawn Clausen for the MP3 Player and Gerald Schmitt for all the traps.

On Sept. 19, District 7 will be having a Trappers Education Class in Luverne at the Rock County Law Enforcement Center. The class will be starting at 9 a.m. and running all day and we will also be covering in the field training that day as well. If you know any young trappers that are looking to take this class, please contact me.

— Leon Windschitl


Depending on when this issue arrives, I would guess that the 9th Annual Trappers Appreciation Day will be over. If it is, I would like to thank all the Cumberlands and their crew for everything from the close-outs deals, lunch, drinks and all the support that they have given District 8. I certainly hope if you did not make it to Chisholm, that you made it to Owatonna to get those needed supplies.

On Aug. 29, I attended the District 7 meeting that was held at Gerald Schmitt’s place. That day turned out to be a great, a little on the cool side but the pork sandwiches were very good as were the other goodies. Congratulations to Leon and Shannon for being re-elected as well as the other new co-director (whose name slips my mind).

District 8 is now done with all the fairs for the year and it ended with a bang. I was going to drop the Steele County Fair in Owatonna this year, but Bill Ruhland stepped forward. Since it was raining at Chisholm when the convention got over, Barb and I decided not to stay and look for blueberries. I went over and set up the booth and worked the first night and then Bill took over for a couple of days.

I went back on Friday morning for about four hours and when I was heading for home, I received a call that our aunt had passed away. I was scheduled to work on Sunday and pack up the booth, but Bill took over, so I headed to Ottumwa, Iowa, for the funeral. Thanks to Bill, Jeremy and any others who worked the booth and packed up so I could attend the funeral.

The fair was an excellent show in that there was over $800 in fur sales, over $200 in merchandise sales and a couple of new memberships to the MTA.

As we start going into the fall and the trapping seasons get underway, remember to trap hard but trap safe.

— Dale Hayes

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