Washington Trappers Association February 2011 Report

President — Bruce Vandervort, 5338 US Hwy 101, Humptulips, WA 98552; phone: 360-288-2466; e-mail: brucevandervort@hotmail.com

Vice President West — John Consolini, 17030 Marmount ST SE, Monroe WA 98272; e-mail: itrap4you@yahoo.com

Vice President East ­— George Brady, P.O. Box 535, Pateros, WA 98846; phone: 509-923-2326;
e-mail: cascadeb@televar.com

Executive Secretary — Ralph Dobson, 711 196th Street NW, Arlington, WA 98223; phone: 360-652-2132; e-mail: rlph.dobson@gmail.com

Treasurer — BJ Thornily; 63 Redmond Rd., Republic, WA 99166; phone: 509-775-2936;
e-mail: bobbiemike@yahoo.com

NTA Director — Bob Maier, 38 Francis Dr., Walla Walla, WA 99362; phone: 509-529-9568;
e-mail: bob_maier@hotmail.com

Membership options:

• Individual membership including subscription to Trapper Predator Caller — $30
• Junior (under 18) with subscription to Trapper Predator Caller — $15.50
• Associate (non-trapper) including subscription to Trapper Predator Caller — $15.50
• Senior Citizen (over 70) including subscription to Trapper Predator Caller — $10.50
• Lifetime membership — $250
• Lifetimer subscription to Trapper Predator Caller — $10.50
Dues entitles members to all newsletters, meeting notices, discount entry to workshops and the annual rendezvous. All monies are used to protect your right to trap.
Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:

(A non-profit organization.)
PO Box 3687
Arlington, WA 98223



Quite a few things to report on this month.

I think I reported on this before in the news letter but if you don’t know licenses are going up. Originally it looked pretty bad. There is going to be a $105 application fee added to commercial licenses. Trapping and fur dealing are commercial licenses and I freaked when I heard that.

Thankfully the WDFW is going to make Trapping Licenses and Fur Dealer licenses available through the license dealer network, same place you get recreational licenses. By doing this the application fee will not apply. There will be a 10% increase in the license plus a $2 dealer fee added. This amounts to $41.60 for a resident trapping license and $200 for a fur dealer license. OK, I know that is an insane price for a fur dealer license and it is hurting trappers in the state.

I sent a letter to WDFW about reducing the fur dealer license. I never received a reply which is typical but Bobbie Thornily cornered Dave Ware at a Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting and made a pitch for reducing the Fur Dealer license. He said he had received my letter and they were considering it. It makes sense to reduce it if they wish to make the turnover of CITES tagging to dealers work. We’ll just have to wait and see.

We are going to lose the credit card style trapping license which is not what we wanted but it can’t be helped. It is either that or pay the $105 application fee.

I still have some questions submitted to the department in regards to non-resident licenses and am waiting for a reply.

I met with Bryan Blake, Chairmen of the House Committee on Natural Resources and Parks about a bill for the forthcoming legislature. Bryan is a good friend to trappers and we spoke candidly. To put it bluntly it is an uphill battle to get a trapping bill through the legislature. The plain fact is we do not have the votes in the House. Now, it is a close thing and we will have a bill and try to sway some votes but I wouldn’t get my hopes too high.

That being said we are in this for the long tern struggle and we need you talk to your State Representatives and Senators. Get to know them and maybe we make a little gain this year and a little next that might put us over the top eventually. It is doable but not if we all remain silent.

As you all know we lost George Sovie in November. George asked that there be no funeral or service but we will be holding a small memorial at the Fur Sale on February 26th at Fort Borst Park in Centralia. Ralph will be sending out flyers. George was a great supporter of the Trappers Association and he is continuing in that even after his passing. George left us his business, Cascade Trappers Supply. We will be going to pick up his inventory in the first part of January and hope to offer some of it at the Fur sale auction and save some to sell at the Rendezvous this summer. Included in his business was his business checking account which when we receive it will boost our savings considerably. I will not go into the amount here. I’m not sure the exact amount yet anyway but it does put us on solid financial footing. You may attend the Spring Business meeting in May if you wish to have a say on the disposition of it.

George was the NAFA receiving agent for Washington and Oregon and his loss has posed a problem for shippers to NAFA in this area. To that end I have spoken to Bryan Macmillan of NAFA and I will act as NAFA receiving agent for this year. I think I live out in the sticks to far to take the job on permanent but for this year I will pick up fur at our sale at Fort Borst Park and also later on in March at, at least two locations in Western Washington this year. Shippers will receive a flyer from NAFA and the WSTA will send out notice to members.
Bryan told me that NAFA would name a new agent before next year.

I would remind you that Fur Harvesters International has two receiving agents in Washington also, George Brady on the east side and The Seattle Fur Exchange on the west side so you will have options to ship your fur.

One last thing that I think is important but that is not specifically related to trapping. Peter Goldmark, The Commissioner of Public Lands has indicated that he will allow vehicle access to gated state lands by tribal members in their usual and accustomed ceded areas. I think this is a horrible precedent to set. They should have access to this land but the same access that everyone else has. If a road is to be closed to vehicle traffic to the public the closure should apply to all and not be opened to a privileged few. This is not a treaty issue but it is a fairness issue. I urge you contact Mr Goldmark and your elected representatives about this.

I hope you are having a good year on the trapline which we all know is difficult with cage traps. I didn’t go down to Oregon this year so I’m finding that out for myself this year. Santa did bring me a nice bobcat for Christmas though so I keep plugging away.
A belated Happy New Year to you as I write this on the last day of the year.

— Bruce Vandervort


I hate having to tell my trapping friends that we have lost another good trapper. This time we lost an icon. We have lost one of our founding and most active members in our association. It pains me to say that “We” lost George Sovie. George was born on April 8th, 1928 and passed away on November 29th, 2011 at the age of 82 years old. George lost his battle with bladder cancer. I had the pleasure of seeing George a week before he went into the hospital for his surgery. George was a great trapper, trap supplier, country fur buyer and trap collector. As a Fur Buyer he treated everybody fair and he paid everybody a fair price if not more than what it was worth for their furs. George was well recognized throughout the United States and we all have lost a great friend.

I would like to say that I have so many memories over the years of being around George. He use to raise game birds and I have to say some of the best too. He would get blue ribbons on his birds at the county fairs. George once said to me that he thinks that every trapper he knows has either a cat or dog because trappers love and respect animals. I believe this to be true also.

I have known George for almost thirty years. My greatest memory of George, (and I have many) was the one when Carl Jensen and myself where over at George’s place one year when another trapper came in with his seven or eight year old son. The young lad was holding a muskrat pelt and his Dad said to him that you have got to do your haggling with him it’s your pelt. So George asks the kid, what do you have there? The kid said I have a muskrat pelt and I would like to sell it to you. George looked at us smiled and said to the kid; let’s take a look at it. So George being George said to the kid; what do you think you have to get for this? The kid stood there and said; I think it’s worth $2.00.

So George took it from the kid and looked it over and hemmed and hawed, smiled and looked back at the kid, smiled at us, looked back at the kid and said; I don’t know, are you sure you have got to get $2.00 for this? The kid stood his ground and said; “yes sir I do”! So George looked it over one more time, smiled and said “well………………. Okay”, I’ll give you the $2.00 for it.

That kid, for that moment, was the happiest kid in the world. He caught his first muskrat, prepared it for market with the help from his dad I’m sure and made a deal with the fur buyer to sell it. We all smiled and we all knew that George got the better part out of that deal and it wasn’t the muskrat pelt. It was the pleasure to see the smile and happiness of that young lads face. This was George.

In our world these days it’s hard to find people like this. George has done an enormous amount of work to keep trapping alive in Washington State and beyond. Fur sales, Puyallup fair, organizing events such as the trap collectors and our annual rendezvous just to mention a few plus others. He fought our battles in Olympia and kept our association and trapping alive in this state.

If it wasn’t for guys like George’s friendship to keep me interested in trapping and my involvement with this association, I would have giving up on trapping years ago. My greatest pleasure and moment was awarding George with the “Hall of Fame” award. This was a well deserved award for such a guy of his status.

The Trapping Industry has lost one of their best. We most likely will have a memorial for George at either our Fur Sale or at our Rendezvous. George will be missed by this Old Trapper for sure. Until we meet again my good friend, Rest in Peace and Thanks for the Memories.

Next, let’s go on to new subjects. I would like to say; Happy New Year to all. I hope your fur season is doing well and the fur is piling up in your fur shed. Like everybody else, I’m hearing that the fur prices are paying fairly well. We are planning our annual Fur Sale Auction for February 26th 2011 again down in Centralia at Fort Borst Part. So load up your trucks with your fur and bring them down. We start receiving your furs there around 8:00 am. There will as always be a couple of Game Agents there for you to get your cats and otters tagged if you don’t already have them tagged. Also as usual we will have refreshments there along with lunch too. A special mailing will go out explaining driving directions and how the auction works. The association is contacting and encouraging other fur buyers to attend.

Let me take a minute and let’s talk awards. The purpose of any award is to identify and recognize those active members of WSTA for their skills, involvements, work and dedication they contribute to this growing prosperous organization and the industry. If you think you have a good friend that should be recognize for whom they are and what they do than you need to nominate them for an award. We have several awards that are given out every year at out annual WSTA Rendezvous.

The awards are:

1) Trapper of the Year
2) Public Relations
3) Professional Land trapper
4) Professional Water Trapper
5) Outstanding County Representative
6) Outstanding Wildlife Agent
7) Hall of Fame

To nominate the person, send a 100 word or less Bio on the person and why you think they should have this award, plus what award you would like them to receive. Give this information to your County Representative, Regional Director, Association Secretary, or send it to one of the Award Committee members. Committee Members are; Bobbie Thorniley, Chuck Van Dyke and myself.

I would also like to say that we are looking for a few more people that would like to be on the Award Committee. I would like to have a few of you older members that have been around awhile especially for the Hall of Fame Award. So consider joining our award committee.

As for you younger guys and gals, get involved with one of the oldest and greatest organization in this state. WSTA has been working with the wildlife department closely for years in managing wildlife. We have done this ever since the association was formed. As I mentioned before, I got involved because of the people and the old fellows that I have meet over the years. Now I’m one of those old fellows and I would like to encourage you to keep our Heritage alive here in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re not a member than it is time to join.

There will be a Pioneer Craft Show on March 12&13, 2011 at the Evergreen State Fair Grounds in Monroe, Washington. This show is commemorating the Fur Trade, Colonial America and the Civil War era. It is presented by the Cascade Mountain Men and WSTA was invited to attend, so hopefully we will have a table or two there to commend our heritage of the fur trade. As with all of the fairs we have booths at, we will have fur, traps and information hand outs for the public to pick up. If you’re interested in working at the booth let our Secretary or myself know.

This year 2011 will be the 200th year anniversary of fur trapping in the Pacific Northwest. As for our Rendezvous plans they are set for August 26th, 27th and 28th at Omak Washington. If you a chance check out our/your new web-site at www.watrappers.com

Well that’s all I have for now, so I’ll see you at our Fur Sale in February and God willing at our Rendezvous this summer. From this Old Trapper, keep your traps working and the fur piling up.

— John Consolini

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