Minnesota Trappers Association October 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;

Education Coordinator — Shawn Johnson, 6122 McQuade Road, Duluth, MN 55804; 218-525-4970; mcquaderoadfur@msn.com


Membership Options:

• Individual membership including subscription — $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



Greetings Trappers!

I’d like to thank the membership for providing me the opportunity to serve another term as MTA President. I’d also like to thank Jerry Larsen for being a man of integrity during the course of this election cycle and I look forward to continuing our working relationship at the MTA Board level. Congratulations to Dave D’Aigle was also reelected and ran unopposed and will continue to serve as MTA Vice President for another term.

Convention — The Litchfield convention was a resounding success and we experienced some of the most pleasant weather any Minnesota convention goers have experienced in many, many years. I have no idea how leadership from District 5 managed to pull that miracle off but the weather was absolutely beautiful! The newest addition to this year’s event was MTA’s own version of the Ball Toss Game for youth. In a nutshell, contestants were asked to throw a ball at set coilsprings attached to a tarp. Young people were eager to take up the challenge and although I don’t know the exact number of traps we gave away during the Litchfield convention I am confident it was many dozens! In addition, I’d like to thank Jamie Zitzloff of Montrose for the $250. donation he earmarked to help supplement the trap inventory for young trappers! While on the subject of donations, I’d also like to thank Jon Salmonson for the $500. donation given to MTA youth programs on behalf of the company he works for Gemini Incorporated from Cannon Falls. Annually non-profit organizations are chosen by employees for grant consideration. This is the second time MTA has been chosen to receive a grant from Gemini.

While on the thank you list, I’d like to also thank Harold Knopfler from Chisago City and Clifford Edblad from Cambridge for their generous donations to the Legal Defense Fund as well.

Our members are the absolute best!

Sadie Hawkins Race-For the first time, (coerced by District 2’s Danny Swedberg and other co-conspirators at the convention) I made the move from merely a spectator to a participant in the famous Sadie Hawkins Race this year. For those unfamiliar with this spectacle, the “Race” is a trapper flavored obstacle course with water hazards and simulated trapping conditions. Removing and resetting traps, placing the “catch” in a packbasket while donning waders, wading through water far too deep for hip boots all for the entertainment of our members with the ultimate benefit of dollars being generated for our Legal Defense Fund.

This year’s event had a new twist as instead of it being primarily an individual event, this year was a co-ed team event. Linda and I were recruited to be the first participants in the new Race and although we didn’t come close to placing in the winner’s circle, it will be an experience we’re not likely to forget. (Nor will others allow us to do so.) With Carl Ernst as the emcee, his color commentary makes the entire Race something you don’t want to miss!

I strongly encourage all members to take the opportunity to experience the Sadie Hawkin’s Race at our next convention but I’m reasonably certain, Linda and I will be sitting this one out!

MTA Convention 2014-While on the subject of conventions, our 2014 convention will be held once again in Barnum hosted by the District 1 team led by Bert Highland, Frank Brula and Mike Peterson. This site has been a favored location for many members from across the State.

The planning stage has already begun and the district leadership will be relying on the always hard working group of dedicated MTA members to assist in putting everything together to insure another successful convention there.

Awards-One of the greatest honors of being president is having the opportunity to present awards to members chosen by in membership. In addition, I have the unique privilege of choosing the recipients of the President’s Awards.

This year’s recipients were Dallas Erickson for the President’s Education Award and Merlin and Patty Ladd for the Family Award in appreciation of all the years they hosted the MTA Trap Setting Contest during our convention. Letters outlining the achievements of both award recipients are available in the latest issue of the Newsletter as well.

Although there were two nominations for Junior Trapper of the Year this convention, unfortunately, not a single nomination came in for Trapper of the Year or Lady Trapper of the Year either before or during this year’s convention. Because I am absolutely certain there are many deserving members within our Association, I am extending the opportunity for the membership to nominate candidates for these awards until December 15th. Please take the time to recognize two deserving individuals by getting those nominations to me before that date. I anticipate presenting these awards at the General Membership Meeting this January at East Central High School in Finlayson/Askov.

Education- We are fast approaching 3,000 trapper education students certified as of today’s date and daily more and more take the online option to complete the written exam and are eagerly waiting for an opportunity to complete the fieldwork portion to receive their certification. If you’d be interested in assisting these young people, please contact me about setting up a field day opportunity.

A reminder that you don’t have to be an MTA/DNR certified Trapping Instructor to provide fieldwork. But if you’d like to become a certified instructor, it can be accomplished in mere minutes on our website www.mntrappers.org For those without computer access, simply give me a call with your name and address and I’d be happy to send you instructor materials by regular mail.

When I held mine back on August 3rd dedicated students traveled from all over the state to attend.

Don’t think for a minute that the price on muskrat pelts isn’t having an effect on recruitment.

Raffle-None of the great things we do through the Trapper Education Program and public awareness booths at state fairs would be possible without the funds generated from our annual Gun Raffle. Gary Meis reports that the membership once again did a great job of funding our programs and we’re set to continue to get new trappers started on the right track.

Thanks to all who went above and beyond in salesmanship to fund our Education Program!

DNR-I’ll wrap up this report with the old news to many that the fisher/marten limit has been reduced again although the “ample” six day season will remain. DNR spokesperson Jason Abraham explained that further season restructuring is likely in the future and that trapper input will be sought to come up with a different approach.

Challenges-The wolf protectionists will be spreading lies and working hard to assure that wolf trapping and hunting doesn’t become an annual tradition. We have to work just as hard to insure they don’t succeed to protect what we have waited so long to finally see.

Pressure to further restrict the use of bodygrippers will continue to be a challenge to our solidarity.

We will continue to strive to strengthen our alliances and form new ones as well.

Now more than ever, those that appreciate wildlife and the outdoors will need to stand together.

Have a great season folks and God Bless.

Keep your skinning knives sharp. — Shawn Johnson



Greetings All,

The summer is fast slipping away and like many of my fellow trappers, I too am excited about the prospects of hitting the line hard this fall. The convention in Litchfield will be in the history books by this time this report is published and as my family and I pack for the journey this week’s end, I reflect on my years on the MTA Board. Our youngest son was a mere three weeks old when he attended his first convention and he recently celebrated his 11th birthday! Time flies.

But not all is wine and roses friends and I firmly believe that the sport of fur trapping here in Minnesota is being threatened on a level only in comparison to the Anti Fur Frenzy of the seventies and eighties.

I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a conspiracy theorist by any stretch of the imagination but I have serious concerns about how unfairly trappers and trapping have been represented in the general media, not to mention the harsh generalizations and innuendos propagated by publications and media outlets that traditionally have been very supportive of trappers and trapping as we have been of other sporting groups. Here in Minnesota of all places!

We must be vigilant in holding ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and insisting that fellow trappers do the same. We have every reason to be proud of what we do and to fight to retain the rights that we exercise freely today.

I am encouraged that the MTA has certified 2,967 new trappers in a relatively short period of time and that interest in the sport may well be at a level unseen since the “boom years.” Investing in the next generation although a cliché often repeated is in simple fact the key to our continued existence in any meaningful expression.

We hosted a trapper education field day near Duluth back on the 3rd of August and I had the opportunity to glimpse some of the future up close. Unlike trapper education events I have hosted in the past, the vast majority of those participating in this year’s event were much closer to twenty years of age than fifteen.

Some traveled well over 100 miles to attend this years training some coming from as far away as St Cloud and Sauk Rapids! Making that kind of effort certainly tells me that this group of young people are serious about entering the sport.

I’d like to personally thank my co instructors Jim Tonkin, Bruce and Anthony Lotti and Phil Mannon for assisting with set making demonstrations, pelt handling and the inevitable Q&A from the group. Varied perspectives and insights help to give new trappers a much deeper and more meaningful experience to reflect on. The product ultimately provided is of far more value than any one individual no matter the skill level could ever hope to provide to these students alone. I thank them for their deep commitment to the next generation of sportsmen and women and their willingness to share their time and knowledge with them. You simply can’t put a price tag on the value of that. I would also like to thank my #2 son Hunter and Phil’s son Caleb Mannon for serving as the event photographers. And last but not least, to my dear wife Linda for her positive attitude and her skills in both the kitchen and hospitality for the benefit of all our guests that day. She is indeed the love of my life and my greatest supporter. (As a result of her big heart and poor eyesight I’ve always contended.)

Life is good. Keep your skinning knives sharp. — Shawn Johnson



Hi trappers,

By the time you read this the small game and waterfowl seasons should be underway and our fall district meeting will be over. Trapping season is only a month away, are you ready?

If you missed the convention in Litchfield you missed another good one. District 5 and all the rest of the MTA volunteers did an excellent job organizing this event. I saw quite a few district 1 members down there and I especially want to thank the members that helped out at the gates and souvenir booth, your help is always greatly appreciated. Next year it’s our turn as district 1 will be hosting the MTA convention in Barnum Aug. 1, 2, 3. We will be responsible for set-up and take down of the convention plus other duties. I’ll be needing a good number of volunteers to help me out with this. We’ll be talking more about this at our district meetings.

Don’t wait to long to get your Legal Defense Banquet tickets, I know a lot were sold at the Litchfield convention. Give Gary Meis a call at 320 -838-1570 for ticket availability. Please no calls after 9:00 pm.

As far as the furmarket forecast goes, everything sounds very positive. NAFA is giving its faithful shippers a whooping 5% rebate on their last seasons selling commissions.Word has it that FHA is going to be making a major announcement in the next few weeks concerning the up coming selling season and rebates. It’s a good time to be a trapper!

When we take to the field this fall there will be many first time trappers out trying their luck. Take the time to show them to use good trapper ethics, the proper sets, and good safe set locations. As I’ve said before if you think there is any chance of catching someones pet, DON’T SET and find a better location. Let’s teach these people the right way as they’ll be the future leaders of our sport. That’s all for now, take care.— Bert



Hello everyone,

I will be having a trapper education in field training class at the Kimball Rod & Gun Club in Kimball, in late September or early October, probably Sunday, early in the afternoon. Watch the MTA web site for the date and time./ Please do the classroom part of the class online.

Our District 5 meeting will be at Mark Melby’s place on Saturday, September 28th. The doors open at 8 a.m. and our meeting will start at 10:30. This is an election year for Director and 2 Co-Directors.

I want to thank everyone again for all the hard work put in to making our 2013 Summer Convention a success.

Shawn Johnson has been re-elected as our President, please continue to support him. I am disappointed in the number of people that voted at the convention and sent in their ballot. I heard that it wasn’t even 20% of our membership. We are your voice, the president, vice president and the entire board of directors work very hard for all trappers in Minnesota, members and non members.

Take care. — Pete



Hello fellow trappers! What a convention! District 5 under the leadership of Pete Jonas & Jerry Larson did a fantastic job. The entire event ran very smoothly and the weather was great. You couldn’t have asked for anything better. Thank you to all District 7 members for volunteering when we were needed.

At the general membership meeting on Saturday, District 7 member, Curt Carter was inducted into the MTA Hall of Fame. This is quite an honor for any trapper. I can’t think of any member more deserving. Curt’s family was able to attend and see him receive his award. Congratulations Curt on all your hard work and support.

Congratulations to Jada Hill & Kassen Hill for both taking first in their age division for the trap setting contest. Great Job!

Also, at the meeting, District 7 was runner up to District 3 for the most donations to the tanned fur project. Let’s keep your donations up. Just a reminder that Tim Caven reported we are at an all time low on tanned fur.

Next year’s convention will be hosted by District 1 in Barnum. The dates will be August 1-3, 2014.

Until next time. — Leon Windschitl

Related Posts

Leave a Reply