North Carolina Trappers Association February 2010 Report

President — Rodney Stancil, 8706 Flower Hill Road, Middlesex, NC 27557; phone: 919-284-3924; e-mail: stancilwildlifeservices@yahoo.com

Vice President — Prune Windspear, 156 Hannah Lori Drive, Cameron, NC 28326; e-mail: beaverdude44@yahoo.com

Secretary — Sharon Underwood, Rt. 1 Box 416, Peachland, NC 28133; phone: 704-272-7876

Membership Secretary — Karen Rose, 1220 Cross Rd., Roper, NC 27970; phone: 252-793-5191

Assistant Membership Secretary — Krista Rose, 1220 Cross Rd., Roper, NC 27970; phone: 252-793-5191

Treasurer/NTA Director — Wayne Rose, 1220 Cross Rd., Roper, NC 27970; phone: 252-793-5191

General Organizer — John Gerber, 192 Forest Walk Way, Mooresville, NC 28115; phone: 336-885-1012; e-mail: g3marketing@northstate.net

Education Coordinator — Todd Menke, 2663 Tar River Rd., Creedmoor, NC 27522; phone: 919-528-9063; e-mail: minkster@netzero.net

Newsletter Editor — Vacant

Membership Options:

• Individual membership including subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Youth membership (under age 16) with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $10
• Lifetime membership with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $250
• Senior citizens 70 years or older with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $12

Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:

NCTA, Membership Secretary
Karen Rose
1220 Cross Rd., Roper, NC 27970

EDUCATION COORDINATOR’S REPORT

What does the North Carolina Trappers Association (NCTA) motto – “Promoting Responsible Trapping” mean to you? Are you “Promoting Responsible Trapping”?

Of the 1,572 trapping licenses sold in North Carolina during the 2008/2009 trapping season, only a few of you visit the Talk Forum on the NCTA’s Web site: www.nctrappers.com because like me you would probably rather be outside. However, I have had some members contact me regarding the content of some of the posts on the Talk Forum. Those of you who do post information on the Talk Forum might find this information helpful in being more professional to help change the general public’s image of trappers. Those of you who have no interest in a computer might still be able to use this information to be more professional when discussing trapping at a public county commissioners meeting, giving a presentation to a group, when talking to the media or even when debating with non-trappers.

It is important to think about the message you want to send while typing before you actually hit the send button. Have you ever wished you had phrased your words differently after a meeting or presentation? No one is perfect so how can we improve? Is there a word or phrase that would be better to use? Ask yourself, is the information I want to send providing a positive image for trappers? Is this something I would be OK having appear on the front page of the newspaper? If you are quoted on the 6 o’clock news, would you want your name, the NCTA or trappers to be associated with those comments? Anytime you are setting traps, talking about trapping or sending a message on the Talk Forum, imagine there is a camera videotaping your every move and recording every word you say or type. Are you providing the best image for trappers?

Perceptions are an important part of communicating effectively with the public. When you are sending messages on the Talk Forum, you are communicating to the general public. Not just those who are opposed to trapping, but especially those who know little about trapping because they make up 90 percent of the voting population. When you include hunters, fishermen and women with trappers we still are all a minority. We make up less than 5 percent of the population in the United States. Animal rights use emotions to accomplish their mission to do away with consumptive use of wildlife. Trappers must maintain our professionalism by being tactful at all times because all we have is science and our professionalism to support our activities if we want to continue to be able to do what we all love. Those who know nothing about trapping still have negative images of trappers. I challenge each and every one of you to educate the public by sending out positive messages that will show our true professionalism to change the public’s perception of trappers. NCTA needs your help in “Promoting Responsible Trapping”!

Let us use a simple word like kill as an example. Is there a better word to use that will provide a more positive image for trappers? But isn’t that what we do? Yes, but it is a negative word that is associated with death and does not give us a positive image. We are not trying to hide the facts or what we do, but we do want to be professional with our comments and questions. Think of it as doing all we can to change the general public’s perception of trappers. Our wildlife management division with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission does not report that there were 176,297 white-tailed deer killed in North Carolina during the 2008/2009 hunting season. They use a better word like harvest, which is perceived by the general public as a positive management tool rather than an emotional negative barbaric sport of killing.

We all have differing opinions that can be good and the debate it generates can be healthy as long as it is professional and “Promotes Responsible Trapping”. There are some people who are better at communicating than others, but when we recognize the fact that we all have weaknesses, it’s easier to find a way to respect others. Skilled communicators are confident and willing to express their opinions, but also realize that others have valuable input encouraging them to do the same. Their opinions provide a starting point but not the final word. They might currently believe something, but realize that with new information they might change their minds. The best at communicating speak their minds completely, but do it in a way that makes it safe for others to hear and understand what they have to say to enable others to be able to respond. They are both totally honest and completely respectful.

When we disagree, our critics are happy, but when our exchange of ideas provide a positive outcome, trappers are better off. Do we need to educate the public on the truth about trapping? Yes we do, but it has to be done professionally. Posts on the Talk Forum have been deleted not because of members disagreeing or a certain topic being debated. Posts were deleted because of the content within the posts. Remember, we do have paying members of the NCTA who belong to several of the animal rights groups. They read everything posted and are looking for statements and trappers to quote for their cause. Statements and photos that might be fine to you and I might be perceived differently by the general public, especially after our critics put their spin on it.

What we don’t want to see is a statement quoted from the NCTA’s Web site or a picture posted used against us at a public hearing or a county commissioners meeting. Those who have tried to get a fox law passed know they already have enough hurdles to deal with. Some issues need to be discussed face to face. That is why the NCTA has two directors in each district to help out with these issues. Contact your district director anytime you have issues you would like the Board of Directors to discuss. That is the appropriate place to debate, not on a public talk forum.

The next time you provide a comment, take/post a picture, make a statement, ask or answer a question, think about these five questions:

1. How will this be perceived by others?

2. Will this provide a positive image for trappers?

3. Is this a professional response?

4. Is this an ethical message?

5. Does this “Promote Responsible Trapping”?`

The more trappers snip and snap at each other, the less others will want to be around us. The more we push each other, the more we create the very behaviors we all despise. If we all learn to listen without becoming defensive or angry, all trappers will win.

Remember that the talk forums and chat rooms on the Internet are open conversations with everyone in the world. Help the NCTA focus on and find solutions to benefit all North Carolina trappers. The willingness to do without now in order to achieve more later turns out to be an all-purpose tool for success. Ask yourself, what have you done for your association or North Carolina trappers and how have you “Promoted Responsible Trapping”. See you in the woods!

— Todd Menke

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