Minnesota Trappers Association November 2008 Report

President — Gary Meis, 69555 One Mile Rd.,
Bruno, MN 55712
Vice President — Tim Bauer, 17290 155th Ave. N.E.,
Foley, MN 56329
Secretary — Liz Thom, 173 Prairie Lake Rd.,
Wright, MN 55798
Treasurer — Tricia Coons, 403 Wood Ave.,
Bemidji, MN 56601
e-mail: MTATrish@paulbunyan.net
Membership Coordinator — Kathy Peterson,
57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661; e-mail:
Director of Trapper Education — Deb Offerdahl, 14788 Lynx Rd., Milaca, MN 56353;
Mandatory Trappers Education Director — Kenneth Olson, 353 Stearns Ave., Paynesville, MN 56362-1211; e-mail: mta-ed@clearwire.net

Membership Options:
• Individual membership including subscription to The Trapper & Predator Caller — $20
• Junior (under 16) with subscription — $12
• Senior (over 65) with subscription — $12
• Lifetime membership with subscription — $350

Complete membership application on first page of
association section and send dues to:
MTA, Membership Coordinator
Kathy Peterson
57124 Cty Rd., Northhome, MN 56661


As you read this report, I would suspect some of you trappers have already started trapping coyotes, the northern trappers have begun or are about to begin putting out your water line and fox sets. In another week the seasons for all but fisher, marten and bobcat will be open and in full swing. As I always say, get out there and have a good time and if able to do so bring a youngster or beginner along. I understand the cost of gas and equipment is high but working hard should enable a trapper to show a profit of some type. The fur forecast originally was for very good prices on most articles but now I have heard some grumbling about foreign matters that could have a negative impact on prices. Let’s just wait and see.  Every year it seems that the forecast is all hyped up for big prices and as soon as the convention and supply buying season is over the “doom and gloom” comes out.  I say just go out there and have a good time and enjoy doing what we all love to do which is trap.
It seems that every year about this time I get up on my soap box and preach about common sense trap placement, especially regarding the 220 body gripper.  This season will be no different. 

Please, stop and think before setting any trap.  Every year the threats become more and more scarier about losing our traps, especially the 220 body gripper.  Stop and think if the area you are going to set that trap has a good chance of accidentally catching a dog or non target animal.  Yes, we have every right in the world to be out in the fields and woods setting our traps legally but let’s use common sense when doing this.  Trust me folks, I make no jokes or fabricate stories of pets caught in traps at boat landings, school bus stops, walking trails, etc.  If you have permission on private property it is a good idea to ask the land owner to inform any hunters with dogs that you do have traps set.  We can and should work together with the hound hunters to insure both parties have a safe and enjoyable trip a field.  As for the non hunting dogs I want to assure you just as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west no dogs are ever off a leash or out of site of the owner. You will never get a pet owner to admit their dog was out running. You want to see an emotional mess, go in front of a city council or any government body and try to convince the people that trappers are in the right when pictures are presented amongst emotional and teary eyed pet owners with Fido or Spot caught in a trap.  Things are getting serious too.  Read district 6 director Mark Palas’s report on the new trap restrictions in Rosemount.  Mark and I both worked to get out of the new regulations.  Funny thing is they seemed to have the restrictions in ink before they made their courtesy call to us.  We will be seeing a lot of new trappers in the field this year, if these trappers, new or old are making sets that all of us can suffer negative consequences with stop and talk to them about any negative sets.  Minnesota is one of the few states left that enjoys the 220, let’s keep it that way.

I was able to go to Camp Ripley on September 20th and assist the MTA booth during the Unites States Sportsman’s Alliance Trail Blazers Program.  Wow, what a great time.  These kids had a genuine thirst for learning about trapping and wild fur.  I believe there were six of us up there including young Blake.  I’m not sure how many kids attended but we went from eight in the morning until three in the afternoon.  Showing these kids the tools we use and the finished product of tanned fur captivated these kids’ minds.  As I always say, we are not doing these shows to turn the kids into trappers; we are trying to win their hearts and minds with the truth about our sport so in the future they will have a positive attitude towards trapping when they are adults.  See MTA education director Deb Offerdahls report on this event. 
I have to make mention of and send out congratulations to MTA junior member (also junior trapper of the year) and Bruno resident Toby Armstrong who won a writing essay on trapping on Paul Dobbins forum.  Toby won a lot of nice prizes donated by a lot of kind and generous people.  Nice to see a Minnesota youngster win this essay.  Young Toby is a first class young man who promises to be a future leader of our sport.  I compliment his parents Loren and Heidi for raising him the proper way.

That is about all that is new for this month.  I want to close by thanking the following people for their generous donations to the MTA legal defense fund.  Who knows, with generous folks continuing to come forward we may some day be able to pay off our legal fees altogether.  At the district 8 meeting Gabby had a donation box, Rusty Cumberland threw in a check for $200.00 and the members put in another $132.00 for a grand total of $332.00.  Jack Otteson from Michigan sent in $100.00 and Lloyd Baakkonen of MN sent in $25.00.  We also received a nice check which I have been asked not to expose the amount from Bob Newcomb of MN.   Myself, the officers and members of the MTA and all trappers in this great country owe these generous people a debt of thanks for helping us defray the cost of our legal bills.  I cannot emphasize enough that this lawsuit was fought not only for MN trappers but trappers in all states.  Until next month, please remember to Be Safe. — Gary Meis


Here we are again, the time of the year we all look forward to, trapping season. It sure seemed to come up quick this year. With that being said, it has been a very busy month for some and this house. What I mean is there has been the usual rush of students needing their Trappers Education, before the season opens. To say the least, it has been going real well. Hats off to the instructors that have done a big part in either holding a class or helping out with the in-field training, you folks help make it happen.

On that note, if there is anyone out there that would like to become a part of the team of instructors, your chance is coming up again, Jan. 2,2009. This is going to be held in Isle, starting at noon. Yes this is the day before the winter meeting. Please RSVP with Deb Offerdahl or myself by Dec. 20, 2008. If you are thinking about it and maybe have a question or two, please feel free to contact Deb or myself. We would be happy to help you with any questions you mite have.

Instructors, if you’re going to be putting a class on, please let me know, even if you happen to have enough supplies on hand. You may need a supplement added to your copy of the manuals. We also are trying to work about getting them on to the Web site. Please also contact me if you’re sitting on a large supply of manuals. That way they get used up so there isn’t all those odd supplements added to getting them with the most up dated printing of the manual.

Well on that note, I’ll close this off. Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions dealing with the Mandatory Trappers Education program at mta-ed@clearwire.net or (320) 243-4230 or Kenneth Olson, MTA Mandatory Trappers Ed. Dir. , 353 Stearns Ave., Paynesville, MN 56362-1211. Break from putor. — Ken Olson


Greetings Fellow Trappers,

The fall season has quickly arrived and I trust everyone is ready for the upcoming trapping season.

There were two youth days held on Sept. 20 and I would like to thank the following members for their help and dedication for making them successful events: Mark Palas and Tim Bauer for covering the Elk River event and Dennis and Jeanie McNally, Curt Freodenberg, Jeff Opelia and Gary Meis for covering the Camp Ripley event. I believe that between the two events, we exposed 350-400 youth and adults to trapping. I cannot say enough about how important it is to have a station at these Youth Days. If you are aware of any in your area, please contact me and I will see if the host groups would let us have a station at the event.

We will be having another instructor class on Jan. 2, 2009 . The class will be from 12-2. If you are interested in becoming an instructor, please pre-register by Dec. 22. The winter meeting will be held on Jan. 3 so come for the class and stay for the winter meeting. If you have never attended a winter meeting, you are missing out on a day filled with kids activities, a chance to sell fur, a chance to purchase supplies, pick up your raffle tickets and a wonderful opportunity to socialize with fellow trappers.

If any instructor is planning a class, please contact Ken and myself as we get frequent requests for classes around the state. Please allow a week for us to get materials out to you.

I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable fall trapping season. Remember to take a youth on the trapline as they are the future of our trapping heritage. — Deb Offerdahl


A highlight of the NTA convention was meeting new people and meeting people that I’ve read about for years.

On Sept. 13, 2008, I attended the Minnesota District 8 meeting at Northwest Trappers Supply in Owatonna. Cumberland’s again put on their Appreciation Day with many sales and lots of good deals. Gabby & Terry did another great job on their program. On Sept. 30, I attended the District 7 meeting at Gerald Schmitt Enterprises. Leon Windschitl, Shannon Cohrs & Marv Yahnke put on a good meeting. I met a lot of trappers, saw some interesting demo’s and sold some NTA memberships.

On Sept. 14, 21 and 28, we held Trappers Education classes at our home. Nineteen young people passed the course and joined the Minnesota Trappers Association. We also had two adults join MN Trappers Association. This year’s assistant instructors were LeRoy Bergstrom, Dave Peterson, Jim Sloan, Richard Turcott and Liz Thom. With the help of Mark Palas and the Help A Beginner Program, 114 traps were given to these 19 Junior Trappers. Dave Peterson brought orange hats for all. He also provided an axe and wire and Jim Sloan brought trapper’s gloves and trap wax, which were awarded to the kids with the highest test scores. Dave D’Aigle gave one bottle of lure to each of the Junior Trappers. We all had lots of fun and the kids signed thank you cards for the assistant teachers, Dave D’Aigle and to Scott  Staples and Jeff Humphrey, Conservation Officers who also helped with the classes.

We had a total of 26 students, including both adults and kids. Nick Koenig was our #1 student with a perfect score on his test. You may already have heard that on Sept. 29, 2008, a Federal judge returned the grey wolf to Federal protection even though another Federal judge in 2007 had delisted the grey wolf. The grey wolf has all the protection that it had before 2007. Read Tom Meesman’s report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sept. 30, 2008.

Trap season is almost upon us. Hope all of you stay safe and fill your stretchers.

Teach someone trapping and take someone trapping! — Wayne Thom


District 4 will hold its fall meeting on Dec. 8 at Verns fur shed, just south of Garrison. The doors will open at 5 p.m. and the meeting will start at 7 p.m. Johnson Furs will be on hand to buy fur and we will have a DNR official there to tag fur. More info in the next Trapper. — Rod


We Had our fall meeting at Mark Melby’s on Saturday Sept. 27. Thanks to Mark and Heidi for allowing us to have our meeting there, and for the meal they served.

It looks to be a good year for some furs at this time, but a lot could change. Try to wait for the fur to prime up.
John Russell, Scott Braegelmann and I put on a Trapper’s Education Class on Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Kimball Rod and Gun Club. We had five adults and 12 students take the class. Thank you Scot and John for helping put on this class. We are starting to plan for another class in the Spring, most likely around the end of April.

If anyone needs infield training to finish out their course, let me know. I may be able to help. Take care. — Pete Jonas


Hello fellow trappers. District 7 held their fall meeting at Gerald Schmitt’s place on Sept. 20. The meeting was well attended and everyone took in the demos and meal. During the meeting, Co-Director Shannon Cohrs made a presentation for District 7 to purchase a Henry Golden Boy .22 caliber LR rifle and have it engraved for the MTA 50th Anniversary with it auctioned at the benefit auction in Chisholm. Shannon Cohrs said that he would also donate $100 toward the gun if it was approved. The members made a motion and approved it with a unanimous vote. We also had a raffle at the meeting with the funds raised to be used on the anniversary gun. To help out the ticket sales, I challenged the members that if we could raise over $350 for the gun, I would make an oak display case. So after the raffle, all the money was counted and the guys really came through. We raised a total of $410. So District 7 will donate the gun with a display case.

I would like to thank Gerald and Doreen Schmitt for hosting the fall meeting. Thank you to Shannon Cohrs and Gerald Schmitt for putting on demos after the meeting. I would also like to thank Gerald for the donation of traps for the raffle as well as everyone who donated prizes for the raffle for District 7.

Til next time. — Leon Windschitl


The leaves are starting to turn and the evenings are getting cooler, so trapping season can not be far away. I would imagine that everyone is ready to hit the line opening day. On the 16th of September, three of the deer hunting group went up to the deer cabin and went four wheeling for four days. What a great time. We saw a few deer and grouse, wanted to go by the fairgrounds in Chisholm the site of the 2009 summer convention, but never got the chance.

I hope everyone was able to attend the customer appreciation day at Northwest Trappers and above all, you had a good time.
Thanks to everyone who made a donation to the legal defense fund. The district also had a door prize/raffle drawing to raise funds. The two top items, a Braun trap and a ts-85 trap (they were donated by the Cumberlands) was won by Carl Ernst and Dave Stutz. This is the second time in three years that Carl has won the top prize, so next year he will be required to pay double for his tickets. I do want to thank the Cumberlands for a great day. Rusty, Jade, Jeremy along with their families and employees did a terrific job and were busy filling orders for most of the day. One person I do want to recognize is Terri (Rusty wife) for the job she does every year on the lunch. It has to be difficult to come up with a menu and then place a order, not knowing what the attendance will be. And, she always has a smile on her face. We also had the opportunity to watch demos by Kyle Kaatz and Gary Meis.

There was not a lot to report on at the meeting. I did remind everyone that this will be my last term as director, as I indicated last fall I would go one more time. Once again, thanks to everyone for donating to the tanned fur project. Be sure to mark the calendars for the winter meeting on Jan. 3, 2009, at the high school in Isle.

As the trapping season get underway, remember trap hard, but trap safe. — Dale Hayes

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