West Virginia Trappers Association April-May 2010 Report

President — Janet Hodge, P. O. Box 787, Union, WV 24938; phone: 304-772-5586; e-mail: hawkmtn@hawkmtn.com

Vice President/Field Editor — Bill Healy, P. O. Box 187, Smithville, WV 26178; phone: 304-477-3301; e-mail: healybg@hotmail.com

Secretary/Treasurer — Gloria Stutler, HC 70 Box 140, Creston, WV 26141; phone: 304-354-9038; e-mail: buttercup26141@yahoo.com

State Organizer — Scott Whytsell, 448 Hattie Run Rd., Grantsville, WV 26147; phone: 304-354-6965; e-mail: swhtsell@frontiernet.net

NTA Director — John Thomas, HC 70 Box 43K, Sugar Grove, WV 26815; phone: 304-249-5690; e-mail: john52766@hardynet.com

FTA Director
— Brian Casto, 6198 Parkersburg Rd., Sandyville, WV 25275; phone: 304-273-3055; e-mail: wvtrapper71@hotmail.com

Membership Options:

• Adult membership including subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $25
• Adult membership with newsletter only — $15
• Junior (under 16) with subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller — $16.50
• Lifetime membership — $300

Complete membership application on first page of association section and mail dues to:
WVTA Secretary
Gloria Stutler
HC 70 Box 140, Creston, WV 26141


By the time you read this, the WVTA March fur sale will be over. We hope it will be better than the January sale in terms of fur offered and prices received. The January sale was one of our smallest in recent years, and the results are summarized below.

This has been a hard season for both trappers and wildlife. Trappers consigned 445 pelts and the total value of the roots and furs sold was just over $2,500. Trappers have been discouraged by low fur prices and bad weather since mid December. Wildlife populations have been influenced by poor mast production and disease.

The West Virginia DNR has been conducting annual surveys of nut and fruit (mast) production from 18 tree and shrub species since 1970. The 2009 mast index for all species combined reached a 40-year low. Unlike past years, both nut and fruit species decreased considerably leaving wildlife few options for winter forage. The shortage of acorns and other nuts causes wild turkeys, bears and squirrels to move extensively in search of food and to concentrate where food can be found. Those movements often lead to high mortality, as evidenced by the large numbers of squirrels killed on the road last fall. The shortage of mast also effects predators because it leads to declines in the abundance of mice, chipmunks and squirrels that they normally eat. Raccoons have suffered from a widespread outbreak of distemper. Jeff McCrady, DNR District 6 Biologist, reports that many dead raccoons have tested positive for distemper. There has been no sign of rabies in the animals examined. Distemper outbreaks can reduce raccoon populations by 70 percent, but most populations rebound within a year or two.

Finally, this fur auction coincided with a large snowstorm that passed through the state before and during the auction dates. Many of our members from the mountain counties just could not get to Glenville. The snow and freezing temperatures that keep trappers at home also keep animals in their dens. The January thaw has left the ground snow free in the lower elevations, so I hope many of you are getting out on the line and getting ready for the March sale.

Summary of Fur and Root Auction, Jan. 10, 2010, Glenville, WV.

Prices are per hide for furs and per pound for roots.

Listed by Species, Quantity, Average and High

Skunk — 3; $3; $3

Opossum — 48; $1.28;$2.00

Muskrat — 135, $3.75, $5.15

Mink — 5; $9.90; $11.00

Beaver — 10; $7.70; $19.50

Coyote — 11; $5.27; $10

Red Fox — 10; $9.10; $14.50

Gray Fox — 15; $11.07; $14.50

Bobcat — 6; $17.50; $34.50

Raccoon — 202; $3.53; $12.75

Black Cohosh — 25.56 lb; $3; $3

Mixed Ginseng root* — 1.47 lb.; $16.97; $21

E. Wild Ginseng Root — 0.39 lb.; $495; $495

*The mixed ginseng lots contained wild, woodsgrown cultivated, woodsgrown simulated, and cultivated roots.

Fur Grading Workshop – Finally!

A massive snowstorm thwarted our plans to hold the workshop on Dec. 19, 2009, in Summersville. Despite more snow on Friday and Saturday, the workshop was held on Saturday, Jan. 9, at the fur sale in Glenville. Janet Hodge did the planning and coordination, and wrote the new Fur Grading Manual for WVTA. The instructors were Harold Stutler, Danny Stutler, Corbett Patton, Chip Patton, Harry Dale Barker and Link Wood.

The workshop was attended by: Wes Arbaugh, Rodney Greathouse, Tim Tennant, Ory Pethtel, Jene Jennings II, Scott Whytsell, Bill Weikle, Darren Elder, Art Boggs, Dave Cook, James F. Barnett II, Adam Barnett, Josh Bates, Sammy Cottrell, Drake Levo, Nicholas Sperry, Mark Mollohan, Allen Ayers, Dean Ayres, Bruce Starcher, Don Strimmel, Robert Byrd and Dustin Hardbarger. Several of those attending the class voiced their desire to continue with their education, and hope to become apprentice graders for the WVTA fur auction. Some of those students will apprentice during the March fur sale.

Fur grading manuals were provided free to those who preregistered for the December class. Grading manuals can be purchased for $10 while the supply lasts. Lunch was provided by the WVTA education Program, and donations were made by several of those attending class to help offset costs of the class. WVTA thanks those who planned and taught this course, and all those who attended. We hope the class participants will become the next generation of WVTA fur graders.

Highlights from Board of Directors Meeting — Jan. 8

President Janet Hodge called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. Bill Bell led the opening prayer. Corrections were made to the previous minutes and they were approved as corrected. Minutes of the executive committee meeting for September through December were approved.
Membership Secretary’s Report: Briana Hodge. I was bonded and began my duties on Oct. 10, 2009. A complete audit of the membership records was made to get the records in order. We are still having some problems with the Trapper & Predator Caller, but these are found within 30 days and corrected. The board was informed last year of a price increase for T&PC, but voted not to increase the WVTA membership dues at that time. T&PC recently notified me that starting in February 2010 the price will increase again to $12 for a yearly subscription through the WVTA membership. This will cost WVTA about $568 per year if the Board chooses not to increase membership dues to offset the rate increase. T&PC also informed us the size of the magazine will change. They anticipate that it will take less time for the magazine to reach members.

Unfinished Business

Constitution and By-Laws Committee. The committee made several minor recommendations to the board. These included: allowing only one proxy per year per director, adding the membership secretary duties, and changing the timing of the winter board meeting from December to January. The board approved these changes and will present them to the general membership for approval at the September general membership meeting.

Trappers Post Magazine

The board approved offering the Trappers Post as part of the WVTA membership package. Members will now have the option of subscribing to T&PC and/or Trappers Post, or getting no magazine.

Committee Reports

Awards Committee. Josh Bates volunteered, and was appointed chairman of this committee. Josh will try to prepare written criteria for all awards.

Fur Committee: Danny Stutler and Link Wood. The fur committee made several recommendations to improve the sales and the services for our members. The board approved and the changes will start at the March sale..

Media committee: Glenda Schimmel. WVTA restarted its on-line membership service on Oct. 15, 2009, and since six members have paid online. There have been several e-mail requests from members wishing to purchase items online since September. The online store remains closed until a qualified person can be found to manage it. During 2009, the WVTA Web site had 315,120 hits. The month with the highest number of pages viewed was November followed by March and December.

Our auction and convention pages continue to be some of the most read, with the DNR bulletin also being heavily read by our viewers. In December 2009, 72 percent of our Web site viewers came to the site by bookmark or link from WVTA e-news, 18 percent came from search engines, and 9 percent came from links from another Web site. Janet will be putting the remaining copies of Ed Buck’s book for sale on the Internet. Those proceeds will go to the Education Fund. Information about the January Fur Auction was sent to the Fur Taker, Fur-Fish-Game, T&PC, Trappers World, WV Wildlife Notes, WV Sportsman, Ohio valley Outdoors Magazine, and 21 newspapers. On Nov. 18, 2009, 479 copies of the Mountain State Trapper were mailed from the Smithville Post Office. The WVTA bulk rate mailing permit was renewed for 2010 at a cost of $185. The next issue of the Mountain State Trapper will be mailed in late January.

Election Committee: Josh Bates. Josh made several recommendations for improving participation in WVTA elections. Josh would like to move the voting area into the main building and open the polling booth on both Friday and Saturday so everyone can have a chance to vote. He would also like to see more information about those running for office in the WVTA newsletter.

Hall of Fame Committee: Harold Stutler, Dale Barker, David Cook, Corbett Patton and Scott Schimmel. The committee is working to develop guidelines for this award.

Finance and Budget Committee: Janet Hodge, Dave Cook and Gloria Stutler. The committee will conduct a two-year in-house audit of WVTA financial records.

New Business

The NTA requested a donation for their 2010 sweepstakes. The board declined contributing at this time because WVTA contributed $1,000 to NTA in September 2009.

The board approved increasing membership dues for Primary and Junior memberships by $3. The dues increase is necessary to cover the cost of T&PC and Trappers Post subscriptions. The board will ask the general membership to approve this proposed dues increase in September.
Computer needs for the general and membership secretaries. At present, the membership secretary is using a borrowed lap top and the general secretaries lap top is not working properly. The board directed the secretaries to explore options and costs and present their need to the Executive committee for resolution. The general secretary will need to have her machine repaired or replaced before the March fur sale.


Jerry A. Hill, Wildlife Disease Biologist, USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services asked for the cooperation of WVTA members in monitoring the presence of tularemia in wildlife populations. Tularemia is a bacterial disease found in a variety of mammals. The wildlife disease program is currently sampling aquatic rodents and other susceptible species across the U.S. to detect the presence of this disease. Jerry provided blood sampling kits and instructions for trappers interested in collecting samples.

Meeting adjourned at 10:45 pm.

Calendar of Events

Sept. 17-18, 2010. 42nd Annual WVTA Convention at the Gilmer County Recreation Center, Glenville.

— Bill Healy


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