Illinois Trappers Association December 2008 Report

President — Paul Kelley, P.O. Box 75, Hudson, IL 61748; phone: 309-726-1443; e-mail:

Vice President — Mike Gragert, Box 20, New Douglas, IL 62074; phone: 314-713-7976

Secretary — Dean Corgiat, 620 Clarksville Rd., Pittsfield, IL. 62363; phone: 217-285-4984; e-mail:

Treasurer — Timothy M. Kelley, 17458 Tice Rd., Petersburg, IL 62675; phone: 217-632-3521; e-mail:

Membership Options:
• Individual membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $20

Complete membership application on first page of association section and send dues to:
ITA, Treasurer
Tim Kelley, 17458 Tice Rd.
Petersburg, IL 62675


Our 2008 convention is over and done. Weather was great, attendance wasn’t what I figured, but still respectable. Our thanks go to all the people that did demos for our benefit. The fish fry on Friday evening was acclaimed to be the best yet. Thanks to Leon “Honey Man” Bilbrew for his expertise and to his helpers, Mr. and Mrs. Cody Champ. The meal was by far more than we expected. Carroll Williams donated some of the fish, and Tim Kelley purchased the balance. I thank everyone that helped to make this event turn out as well as it did.

Prior to the Banquet, during the annual business meeting John Wilson presented the ITA with a check from North American Fur Auctions in the amount I don’t recall at the moment, but needless to say it was one of the largest in recent years. The is a re- bait from NAFA to the state association that have furs shipped to them from Illinois. This money is used to promote trapping, in trapper education and public education on the need for trapping. Thanks John, Greg and everyone at NAFA. Saturday evening’s Hall of Fame Banquet was again successful. Gary Armstrong was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and Neal Graves was awarded “Trapper of the Year”  The auction was held after our meal and Mike Gragert did a great job auctioneering. Thanks to all who donated items for the auction, and to those that bid on the items making this event again successful.

During the day on Saturday, Bill Paulsen, Leon Bilbrew and Wes Johnson conducted the Trapper Education class for 17 students. Thanks folks for your dedication to promoting trapping, and getting these students started on the right foot. Every one passing the class will get a one year free membership in the Illinois Trappers Association.

I wish to give Neal Graves credit for getting the demo line up put together, and getting the dealers located into their proper locations prior to the convention. There is always much behind the scenes activities that is required, but little thanks for those that do the heavy work. Thank you one and all !!
The following is the list of cash winners:  Randy Kiefner, Metamora, IL.  $200 ; Joe Downs  Canton, IL. $150; Tom Sumner, Flippen, Arkansas  $100; Toby Steele, Godfrey won the chain saw;  Ron Decker, Cuba, IL, 597 Remington, Joe Stear, Elmwood, IL, 835 Mossburg. Thanks again to all that sold tickets and those that purchased them.

With the financial world in a tailspin, where will the fur market be this season? Shakey at best! Test the waters, and decide which way to go after a week or so into the season. Some will go at it like killing snakes, only because the predicted higher prices on ’coons, but many will say to heck with it if prices don’t pan out to the predicted high prices.

Hopefully, the prices will rebound to a decent price by the time we have our planned fur auctions on Jan. 10 and 24. The first will be in Odell, IL, which is eight miles north of Pontiac at the Odell Community Hall. The southern sale will again be in Fairfield at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. More info will follow in future columns. Contact Carroll Williams at 618-516-2275 for information pertaining to both sales.

I’m sure there are many things that will happen before we have the opportunity to meet again at the next convention. I wish I had the location nailed down, but at present we don’t, so stay tuned for the location. Just remember the swing will be south this coming year.

We were combining the last field of corn today, and while waiting to unload the combine I witnessed three, mind you cock pheasants and one rabbit come out the end nearest me. Fifty yards further east, a ’coon came rambling along the edge of the corn field, seemingly confused as to what all the action was on his turf.

This ’coon was out in the middle of 110 acres of corn, better than 3/4 mile from a creek or tree. I lost track of him as he ambled off towards a grassy fence row. Maybe your safe until next week , but then watch out.

Folks, if the money doesn’t come about in prices this year, trap, have fun, learn something and stay safe!

Till next time, Take time to look up!!

— Paul Kelley


I hope many of you reading this was able to attend our State Convention held in October. We were blessed with beautiful weather that weekend, and its always great seeing old friends, and making new ones.

I was pleased to see the Trappers Education class was full of young eager faces, these youngsters are the future of trapping so it’s always great to see so much interest. There was good viddles to eat on site. Leon Bilbrew and Cody Champ did a outstanding job on the friday fish fry. I simply cant wait till next year when I can be around many of my friends I get to rarely see.

As I write this little note, all the traps should be tuned and in top working order, dyed and waxed, dry dirt gathered and stored, permissions all secured, and just everything is set and waiting for the green light, but by the time you are reading this trapping season will be underway and the wait is finally over, our time of year is here folks!

I want to wish all of you a safe and prosperous season. May you be blessed with many catch circles this season and your stretchers be full of fur. God Bless.

— Derek Dutton

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