North Dakota Fur Hunters & Trappers Association April-May 2009

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

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

Secretary — Jeremy Duckwitz, 361 78th Ave. NE, Carrington, ND 58421; phone: 701-674-3535;

Treasurer — Linda Penry, 3235 Crested Drive N., Mandan, ND 58554; phone: 701-667-9380;

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

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


Greetings everyone! The biggest hit for February was our Winter Meet. Our hats are off to Brent Ternes, Jason Wirtz, John Paulson and Phil Mastrangelo for making such a great day for everyone. Lots of folks came to share the day; the presentations and demonstrations were extremely well done and informative; and I think everyone had the opportunity to eat well and visit in good company.

Ken and Kelsey Blotter did a presentation on their experiences participating in field research this past fall on trapping skunks for the Best Management Practices for Trapping Program; Dorothy Fecske from NDGFD provided an update on fisher research in North Dakota; Bernie Wirtz offered some great information and explained techniques for preparing pelts for taxidermy work — another avenue for your furs; John Graham provided some great trapline information and techniques during his demonstration (as always); Mountain Man Jeremy showed up and provided dancing music for the kids and did some mighty fine renditions with the Jews harp and fiddle; and Marty Beard was not to be outdone and again provided comedy throughout the day, from his presentation of “Mary, This is Your Life” to his candid opinions on life in general. We are truly blessed to have such talent among us and I am grateful for your willingness to share such talent with everyone else.

District 2 Director Ron Gore is in the process of putting the details together for the summer/fall rendezvous. Looks like we’re shooting for a couple of days for this one, starting on Friday afternoon and ending on Sunday around noon; pig roast, on a lake with good fishing; camping or cabins available; demonstrations throughout; and of course a good time amongst good company. I do not know the dates or exact location yet as they’re not locked in, but will have more information next month. It’ll certainly be in the eastern part of the state, maybe Cooperstown or Northwood, something like that. If you have ideas for Ron or would like to help, please let him know by calling 543-3855.

Fur Harvester Education Program: The fur harvester education program needs your attention. Now is the time to put together a schedule of classes for the remainder of the year. If you have a location in mind, would like to help out, or would like to attend a class, please let your director know or contact me. If you have a hunter safety class in your area, we need to know about it. There is a 1-hour slot in the curriculum of those classes that allow for trapping/furbearer familiarization. We have everything needed to do that presentation and we need to know if you have one in your area. Hunter safety classes are the number one resource for folks to attend a fur harvester education program.

We have another method to take the course starting this year. An individual can purchase the manual for $20 (plus $3 shipping) and work through the manual and chapter reviews by mail, e-mail or over the phone with me. Once completed, you’ll have to attend a day class to complete the field portion of the course. Upon successful completion of the course, you’ll get your $20 back. If you’d like to have your own copy of the education manual, they are $23.

John Paulson has been working on having an otter and fisher mounted for display. They’ll be used at classes, education opportunities and will be nice additions to the education booth at the North Dakota State Fair. We also need three whole muskrats, so if anyone is doing any spring trapping and would like to donate one, two or three for mounting, let John or me know. While mentioning the State Fair, July will be here before we know it. It’s the last week in July and we always need volunteers for the education booth. Again, let me know if you’re interested.

Non-Resident Trapping: During the past couple of months (and more closely tied with the legislative session), two members expressed interest in the association supporting non-resident reciprocity. The issue arose because the members wanted to trap in other states (Wyoming and Montana) and was not the result of someone coming to North Dakota to trap. One issue was non-resident license holders are not allowed to trap/keep bobcats in North Dakota, and that affects a North Dakota resident’s trapping activity in another state. In Wyoming for example, reciprocity means “if we can trap it in your state, you can trap it in our state.” In Montana, it’s a bit different as a Montana resident can trap many more species in North Dakota than a person from North Dakota trapping in Montana. The association will gather the facts surrounding these issues and present them to the membership in the coming year. Once you have the facts, you’ll decide if and how we should proceed. If you’d like to help with compiling the facts or working with this issue, please let me know.

Close Call: I need to apprise you of an incident that occurred this past season to illustrate just how important our individual actions and behavior are while in the field. An individual from Williston was using cable devices in the Missouri River bottoms attempting to catch coyotes. The areas where some of the cable devices were set belonged to the US Corps of Engineers (at or below the 1850 elevation mark) and directly adjacent to State Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). The upland bird season was open and cable devices are prohibited on WMAs until after that season closes, however the Corps land has no restrictions. Individuals hunting pheasants with bird dogs frequently encountered the cable devices on Corps land, and fortunately no dogs were killed in the process. The cable devices were also catching and killing white-tailed deer, which were frequently observed by the hunters.

Photos of dead deer in cable devices have been e-mailed to all four corners of the state and who else knows where from there. These circumstances were evident to the personnel who worked at the Williston Game and Fish Office, but maybe due to a vacancy in the warden position there, nothing from the law enforcement end of things could be done. There was some question as to whether the cable devices were assembled properly and contained the necessary components. I suspect that out of frustration that nothing was being done about this individual, the subject of restricting the use of cable devices on Corps land until after the close of the upland bird season was brought up to resolve this issue. Corps land is adjacent to every drainage to the Missouri River or Little Missouri River in North Dakota, and in areas adjacent the Red and Sheyenne Rivers in the eastern part of the state. Roughly speaking, that’s approximately 150,000 acres of land in North Dakota — off limits to the use of cable devices — for what might be seven or eight weeks of the cable device season because of one person.

Fortunately, we were alerted to this possibility and were able to work with the folks from the US Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota Game and Fish Department. The results were positive. The Corps is not considering the restriction and several things are going to be a work in progress with the Game and Fish Department. This week, Conservation Warden Kurt Aufforth will be doing a trapping tools and techniques (including cable devices) presentation at the annual Conservation Warden in-service training; and a similar presentation will be done at the annual Wildlife Division training during the third week of March. We’ve always stood ready to assist where we can in any way with the Game and Fish Department and we’ll ratchet up the frequency of communication to make sure a problem like this does not occur in the future. I understand there will be an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the cable devices and how they were being used.

This activity we so enjoy is extremely important to many folks in North Dakota, and those who care are legal and do things right. This is a perfect example of how it only takes one person to screw things up for everyone. I won’t tolerate illegal activity or anyone being obnoxiously stupid out there — the consequences are just too great. I hope you agree and will not tolerate that sort of behavior either.

Legislative Action: January and February were very busy months for new legislation in Washington D.C. In this day and age, the computer and the internet are the only ways to track or respond to what Congress is doing. Things happen so fast that it can be over before you know it, so e-mail seems to be the preferred method. I’ll always follow-up with a letter and actually mail it, even though the legislator Web sites say it takes up to three weeks to get it (because of chemical screening). Anyhow, I do both, if nothing else, just to remind them I’m still out here and breathing clean air.

You need to do some writing too and I’m asking that you follow up and take some action because our future does depend on it. Phone call, e-mail or US Mail, it doesn’t make any difference — just do something. Here is a list of things you can respond to, and if you are internet and computer savvy, you can check and read on your own. Regardless if the legislation is in the House or the Senate, I write to all three legislators so they know where we or I stand. If you would like copies of the legislation or the letters I’ve written, drop me an e-mail and I will attach them back to you. If you are not internet or computer savvy, call me and I will send you copies by mail. You can use any or all of the text in my letters, and add anything else you feel important.

Here’s the information:

Web site for tracking legislation —

Letters written to all three legislators on behalf of the association:

1. Opposition to the appointment of Mr. Cass Sunstein (an avid animal rights extremist) as the Director of the Office of Information and Regulation Agency (OIRA);

2. Opposition to the Blair Holt Firearms Licensing Act of 2009 (HR45).

Letters written to all three legislators on my own behalf:

1. Opposition to the appointment of Mr. Cass Sunstein (an avid animal rights extremist) as Director of the Office of Information and Regulation Agency (OIRA);

2. Support for HR 1054 and HR 1055 allowing import of polar bear pelts; correcting the conflict of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act to allow hunting of polar bears; and countering the listing polar bears as an endangered species because of global warming;

3. Support for the Citizen’s Self Defense Act of 2009 (HR17);

4. Opposition to the Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act of 2009 (HR 257);

5. Opposition to the Blair Holt Firearms Licensing Act of 2009;

6. Support for the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009 (HR197/SB371).

Another Record: Bob and Alice Gangl report another skunk record from the North American Fur Auction sale. Alice’s previous record for a top lot skunk (February 2007 sale for $23) was broken at this past sale with a skunk for $29. She knows what she’s doing and the numbers prove it. Congratulations Alice!

That’s enough for now. Write your legislator. Check our Web site ( frequently and keep your membership current. Until next time, take care. Catch ‘ya.

— Rick Tischaefer

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