Montana Trappers Association June-July 2009

Montana Trappers AssociationPresident — Paul Schmidt; phone: 406-429-7391; e-mail:

Vice President East — John Hughes; phone: 406-429-7591; e-mail:

Vice President West — Robert Sheppard; phone: 406-793-5885; e-mail:

Recording Secretary — Tom Barnes; phone: 406-683-2791; e-mail:

Membership Secretary — Valerie Esche, 17 Allison Dr., Absarokee, MT 59001; phone: 406-328-7264; e-mail:

Treasurer— Jim Buell; phone: 406-376-3178; e-mail:

NTA Director — Chad Esche; phone: 406-328-7264; e-mail:

Membership Options:
• Individual membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $25
• Youth membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $15
• Family membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $35
• Lifetime membership with subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $350
• Senior Lifetime membership with subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $200

Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:
MTA Membership Secreatary
Valerie Esche
17 Allison Dr., Absarokee, MT 59001


The past two and a half months have been interesting to say the least. Your MTA board has been busy keeping track of legislative matters, the anti-movement and everything else that goes along on a daily basis.

This legislative session brought forward three bills that were of concern to the trapping industry.
1) HB 62 — Mandatory Trapping Education. This bill was the same as it had been during the last legislature. The MTA supported this bill. It passed out of the House on 1-21-09. The vote was 51 yes, 48 no. The bill was tabled in the senate committee hearing. So, it looks as though there will not be any mandatory trapper education again this go round.

2) HB 63 — Authority to revoke commercial fur dealer license. This bill died on second reading in the house 46 yes, 54 no.

3) HB 218 — Generally revise Fish and Game Laws. This bill had some of the same terminology in it that HB63 had. The FWP and the bills sponsor made several amendments to the bill. After much discussion by the board and some members, a vote was conducted. The board vote was split, but the majority felt the bill had been amended sufficiently and would not effect trapping so the MTA supported the bill. As of this writing (March 20, 2009), the bill passed out of the house on 3rd reading 57 yes, 40 no. The senate hearing on this bill is scheduled for March 24, 2009. We’ll see what happens there.

The anti-movement is still alive and well. The last information I received was that “Footloose” is in the final stages of writing their ballot initiative wording. The next step will be to get the necessary signatures required to put an initiative on the general ballot. The process is pretty well spelled out by law and not an easy task, but don’t think for one minute they will not do what is necessary to accomplish their goal. That’s where we come in. Your board is not sitting back hoping they will just go away. We are working on some things to counteract their actions. This all takes time and money (Serious Money!). This will be an effort by all organizations effected by any such initiative, and believe me there are many that will be effected. We are working toward getting everyone on board to fight this war. I will not go into detail on what we are working on, because who knows who might read this. If you would like to find out more, feel free to give any director or myself a call. Better yet, attend the next board meeting May 3 in Lewistown.

The Western States Fur Auctions were held in Columbus Jan. 10 and March 15. The January auction didn’t fair too well. People were still out trapping and there hadn’t been any kind of market established at that point. Not much fur showed up and the buyers were pretty reluctant to buy. The March sale was lots better in terms of fur offered. But the market and buyers were pretty selective on what species they were willing to take home. (See related story with results).

By the time the newsletter comes out, all district meeting will have been held. I hope you attended. This is the one meeting yearly that we get together with the FWP and discuss issues that deal with our industry. It is a good time to talk to your fellow trapper and an opportunity for you to make your suggestions to the FWP for future regulations and quota’s, etc.

The MTA will host the Western Region Convention this year along with our regular convention in September. There will be lots of things to do and we will need lots of help. We can make this a great time for all that attend. It will be held Sept. 18,19 and 20, 2009, in Lewistown. Mark your calendar, plan to attend and give a hand. We will be contacting you in the very near future to ask for people to fill positions needed to make this event great.

I hope that your 2008/2009 trapping season has been a good one. Even though the market isn’t that great, keep on keeping on. Next year will be better, (I hope!).


— Tom Barnes

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