Montana Trappers Association March 2009 Report

President — 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


Hello from Southwest Montana,

It has been an up and down winter here, some cold, some warm. Unlike the north and east parts of our state that have been getting pounded. Talking to some members in those areas it has been really tough getting around let alone keeping traps working. I hope that whereever you live things are going as well as can be expected.

The first Western States Fur Auction was held Jan. 11, 2009, in Columbus, Mt. We didn’t end up with a lot of fur and the market is certainly tougher than think most of us expected. Seems as though everyone is a holding pattern until a market is established somewhere. We will hold the second auction March 15, 2009, in Columbus.I am confident that we will have a lot of fur show up then. I know of several more buyers that have indicated they will be there as well. I expect to have somewhere around 10 buyers, that should make for a good auction.

The 61st Montana Legislative Session is in full swing, and several of us have been to Helena once so far to address a particular bill, HB63. It deals with fur buyers, but had some wording in it that concerned all trappers. We testified at the committee hearing, and to date (Jan. 30) the bill is still in limbo. It was passed out of committee debated on the house floor and sent back to committee and has been sent back to the floor, but as of this writing no more action has been taken. The wording and items that we of concern have been pretty much taken out, but it has been the decision of your board that we take a neutral position. Meaning that the bill will live or die on its own. There are a couple of other bills that are of concern to us and we are monitoring them and will act when the time comes.

The next Board meeting will be held in Lewistown, May 3 and all are welcome to attend. Come join us for the day and help with your organization!

I met with Dan Skurski, the NTA convention coordinator in Lewistown Jan. 16, to discuss the Western Region Convention that we will host along with our annual convention in September. There will be lots of help needed to put this on, so don’t be surprised when someone calls to ask for your participation. There have already been folks calling about the Western so I believe it will be well attended.

I guess I’ll close for now, got to get ready to head to the hills for the weekend. Spring isn’t too far off, the ice will start going off before we know it so we can get in the water. Remember the MTA is your organization, get involved!

— Tom Barnes


Well, by now it’s coming to a close and I must say I am satisfied with my catch again this year. I hope all of you are as well. I’ve been to several sales in Columbia and prices on finished fur seem decent. Remember the time and effort it takes to finish your hides is worth it when you’re standing in line to collect your check.

There are several things going on right now in District 3. Everyone’s involvement is appreciated. We are having a Spring meeting on March the 7th at the St. Clair Super 8 Motel, located on Hwy 44 at the St. Clair exit #240. We will be having a pot luck dinner and the meeting will follow. Everyone is asked to please bring a covered dish or dessert. Lunch will be at noon and the meeting will follow. Please do not arrive before eleven they will not permit us in before then.

We are also planning a raffle and hope to have all loose ends tied up on this by the meeting. There should be plenty of raffle tickets to take with you and sell.

There are several committees that need to start forming in our district. If you’re interested in joining one of these please contact me for more information.

By now most have heard that one of our very outstanding members has passed away. Freddie Cox Sr. left us on Jan. 3, 2009. I know as a personal friend of mine as well as a friend to many in the association he will be dearly missed.

Well as winter turns to spring, I am on to getting my boat ready for the big muddy Missouri river. I am still after that big ’cat. There is currently a record to beat of 106 lbs. I hope to see you all at the spring meeting in march. Until then, teach a youngster something about your trapline.

 Keep your stretcher full.

— Jim

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