North Dakota Fur Hunters and Trappers Association June 2011 Report

President — Rick Tischaefer, P.O. Box 334, Butte, ND 58723-0334; phone: 701-626-7150; e-mail: tischrc@ndak.net

Vice President — Marty Beard, 9101 119th St. SE, Bismarck, ND 58504; phone: 701-224-0878

Secretary — Jeremy Duckwitz, P.O. Box 465, Hazelton, ND 58544; phone: 701-674-3535;
e-mail: yodelyote@hotmail.com

Treasurer — Linda Penry, 3235 Crested Drive N., Mandan, ND 58554; phone: 701-667-9380;
e-mail: lpenry@wildblue.net

Fur Harvester Education Program Coordinator — Rick Tischaefer, P.O. Box 334,Butte, ND 58723-0334; phone: 701-626-7150; e-mail: tischrc@ndak.net

Membership Options:

• Junior (14 and under) membership with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $12
• Adult membership with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Family membership with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Lifetime with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $250
• Lifetime (62 and over) with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $150

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

NDFHTA, Treasurer
Linda Penry
3235 Crested Dr. N., Mandan, ND 58554

http://www.ndfhta.com

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

Here it is the 1st of May and I’m looking at a whole lot of new snow on the ground. If you’re in the western part of the state, its 14” with 10’ drifts. There’s been snow on the ground for darn near 8 months now and I’m ready for a little change. The last few months have been a bit busy, so let’s get to it.

1. We have a few volunteer changes in the association. First, Bill Boozenny of Butte has stepped up to be District 1 Director; Kyle Krebs of Gladstone has stepped up to be District 4 Director; and Sharon Jacobson of Butte is our new website manager. As things happen, personal responsibilities take us in many directions. Both Pat Brenden and Chris Krein needed to step aside, and we’re fortunate for two very important things – one is to have had both of them helping the association when they could; and two, to have three very able members to step up and take the reigns. Make sure you say “hi” and help them when and where you can.

2. First off, thank you to those who took the time to return the survey from February. We had a return rate of 61%, which statistically means the information carries some weight. I am disappointed with that return rate and here’s why – the surveys were mailed to each member; the survey could easily have been completed in a few minutes; there was a postage paid return envelope to return the survey; and I needed your thoughts at that time on some very important subjects.

Somewhere along the line, 39% of the members belonging to the association felt differently and opted not to return a survey – which is a free and personal choice that I respect. I do have to say though that there is a great deal of volunteer time and association money involved in projects like this, so don’t waste it by not helping out with returning a simple survey. In the larger picture (and as a member of this association), you need to participate in things that have a direct impact on the future of fur hunting and trapping in North Dakota. There are plenty of examples across this country where the lack of individual participation has contributed to the loss of fur hunting and trapping privileges. We need your help to make sure that doesn’t happen in North Dakota.

3. Here is some information and a re-cap of the legislative session. I won’t apologize for being candid and critical of what occurred in the legislative session – the legislature is no place to be discussing fur hunting and trapping activities for two important reasons; 1) these are subjects legislators know nothing about, and 2) these are subjects legislators care to know nothing about. So here goes – Wildlife Services was short on funding to continue operations this spring.

Word got around and a couple of legislators thought that by instituting a coyote bounty and allowing beaver to be hunted like raccoon, this may solve the couple of thousand human/wild animal conflicts usually handled by Wildlife Services. Now that was a shining example of legislator ignorance – don’t address the funding issue – just introduce two meaningless, troublesome, short-sighted, and fiscally irresponsible legislative bills. You know you’re really in trouble when you have legislators, who introduced the bill, stand before a Natural Resources legislative committee and begin by saying “I don’t know anything about beaver hunting but I felt I had to do something” or “I heard Game and Fish, or Fish and Wildlife, or somebody like that was letting wolves go in southeastern North Dakota to get the coyote population under control, so we must have a coyote problem”.

I know it’s asking a lot, but what about getting educated about the subject before you opened your mouth? Know the truth, speak the truth, and hear the truth. Long story short, the coyote bounty legislation was defeated and beaver was added to the portion of the Century Code that allows raccoon hunting at night. Unfortunately, things didn’t change much through my attempts to educate legislators at the committee hearings.

Thanks to North Dakota legislators, and if you want, you’ll be able to hunt beaver at night; only with a red or amber filtered flashlight; only while on foot; and only with a firearm that shoots a .22 long rifle bullet or .410 shot shell. What a joke. And the republican leadership of the legislature wants to amend the constitution to allow our legislative sessions (currently convening every other year for no more than 90 days) to go even longer – so they can better consider legislation in a more relaxed and unhurried manner. After my personal experience with this legislative session, my message is “when hell freezes over”. North Dakota legislators will serve the people of North Dakota better by being educated; responsible; efficient; knocking off the crap; and quit wasting the people’s time and money with frivolous activity. Doing so will certainly help get their work done in less than 90 days.

4. Here are the short results of the survey. If you’d like a copy with all of the comments, send me an e-mail or let me know you’d like a copy. Percentage totals may not equal 100 because some questions were not answered.

(Century Code 20.1-05-04) Using certain animals and artificial lights in taking big game unlawful. a. Do you favor adding fox and coyote to sub-paragraph 3?
67% Yes    29% No    <1% Did not know    <1% Only coyote

(Century Code 20.1-01-08) Hunting with artificial light prohibited – Exception. a. Do you favor adding fox and coyote to this paragraph?
71% Yes    26% No    <1% Did not know    <1% Only coyote

(Century Code 20.1-01-09) Types of guns lawfully usable in taking raccoon or beaver with flashlight – Penalty. a. Do you favor a change to allow the individual to use any legal weapon?
67% Yes    29% No    <1% Did not know

(Century Code 20.1-01-11) Hunting and harassing game from aircraft, motor vehicle, or snowmobile prohibited. a. Do you favor an exception to the Century Code that allows a person, while operating a snowmobile in this state, to hunt coyote with limitation (a resident, in possession of a Director’s permit, on private lands, and with written permission of the landowner or renter)?
35% Yes    63% No    <1% Did not know

b. Do you favor changing the last sentence of this paragraph to “No person, while operating any tracked vehicle used to travel over snow in this state, may intentionally kill, chase, flush, or harass any wild animal or wild bird, protected or unprotected.”
73% Yes    25% No    <1% Did not know

Spring muskrat a. Do you favor removing (the muskrat float) this restriction for the spring muskrat season?
82% Yes    6% No        3% Did not know

Please evaluate your association and its activities:
Excellent 33%        Very Good 40%    Good 19%    Fair <1%    Poor 0%

5. State Fair – consider volunteering to work at the Pathways to Trapping booth at the State Fair. Fair Week is July 23 – 31, and the booth working hours are noon until 7 PM daily. It takes many volunteers and it’s a great deal of fun working with the public. If you’ve worked the booth before, you’ll get an orange volunteer postcard in the mail around June 1st. If you haven’t and would like to help out this year, please let me know.

6. Furbearer Workgroup Meeting – We participated in a workgroup meeting on April 13th in Bismarck. Other groups or agencies represented included NDGFD, USFWS, Wildlife Services, Chapter 3 FTA, and Delta Waterfowl. There were a variety of presentations and discussion on many fur related topics.

Old Business: a. provided feedback that the new look of the regulations pamphlet was well received; b. a conversion to an automated license system is still about three years out; c. fisher season is a go (see below); d. a new look to the fur harvester questionnaire – if you get one, fill it out and send it back!

New Business: a. general information – the fisher and otter in North Dakota and Minnesota have the same DNA; a pendulum design foot-pound break-a-way testing device is still being studied by NDSU; swift fox do find their way into southwestern North Dakota from Montana or South Dakota, but seem to spend time near the road edge and suffer from vehicle mortality; non-resident license sales were about the same as last year – minimal increase because of muskrat trapping; bobcat harvest (35) was less than last year – tough conditions for trappers and hunters to get around in the Badlands again this year; there will be no otter season in North Dakota until the CITES tagging requirement is removed – and that is a World Convention issue (I explain in more detail in the next issue of the Dakota Skinner); law enforcement issues included poachers taking coyotes by any illegal means possible (maybe due to a perception that they may be killing all of the deer and there is too many of them) and trapping muskrats through the huts.

Poachers would open huts in hopes muskrats would collect at several huts located nearby – and just trap those huts; 262 individuals completed one version or another of our fur harvester education program, which was the result of 15 instructors providing 275 volunteer hours worth of work. If you were one of the 262 or one of the instructors that made this happen, thank you! Each year does keep getting better! b. Fisher season for 2011 – a quota of 10 (trapped or by cable device) and when reached, season closes; east of Hwy 281 and south of Hwy 4; late November; one per trapper per season; catch needs to be reported and carcass turned in. Obviously, all of the details will be in the regulations pamphlet for this fall. c. muskrat floats for spring muskrat season – being considered, but have to work out the language to protect loafing waterfowl from foothold traps on floats. These furbearer workgroup meetings are productive and a great opportunity to share ideas, information, and discuss what’s important to our future. I am glad that we have this good working relationship with those who participate, because it does make a difference and we’re able to get things accomplished.

7. Congratulations to Ron Gore for having the winning ticket to the deer hide drawing! The wild fur drawing will be mid-June.

8. The association was able to sponsor the ND Game and Fish District Advisory Board meeting in Linton last month. These are great opportunities to put the association in the spotlight with the public – when they show up. Phil Mastrangelo reports that 4 members showed up to help set things up, and only 2 other people showed up for the Board meeting. Thank you guys for your effort!

9. Winter Meet – As March in North Dakota would have it, Mother Nature changed our plans for Friday and Saturday of the Winter Meet. I heard some pretty harrowing stories of folks who slept in their vehicles stranded somewhere between their home and Bismarck, and some who made it there and couldn’t get out until Sunday. We tried to re-schedule things after the storm, but the only Saturday available was Easter weekend – probably not the best choice considering the holiday.

Planning has started on the summer rendezvous, which will be hosted by District 4 this year. Contact Kyle Krebs or Phil Mastrangelo if you can help – I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

10. Three fur harvester education classes have been scheduled so far this year – Bismarck in August (16-20) at the NDGFD (John Paulson); Jamestown in September (13-17) at the NDGFD (Rodd Compson); and September (15-24) at Audubon NWR (Rick Tischaefer). You can sign up on the NDGFD website on the hunter education enrollment page.

That’s more than enough for now. Keep your membership current so you stay informed. Until next time, take care. Catch ‘ya.

— Rick Tischaefer

 

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