Are you ready for trapping season? Do you have enough lure? How about traps? Maybe you need a new trowel or sifter?
There must be some new gizmo or smell you can’t live without.
Maybe you have enough gear — although I doubt it — but that’s no excuse to miss out on the season’s premier trapping conventions.
The Fur Takers of America and National Trappers Association each offer conventions that provide more than just a one-stop shopping bonanza. Each convention offers trappers countless demonstrations from the country’s top trappers, day-long activities and a chance to share time with some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet.
Add that you can talk trapping non-stop for several days straight, and there’s no way you can miss this year’s activities.
FTA National Rendezvous
June 15 to 18
FTA Chapter 7C will host this year’s national rendezvous at the Vanderburgh County 4-H Center in Evansville, Ind.
According to Jerry Schilling, FTA convention coordinator, dealers will fill three buildings for the event, packing more than 170 tables.
Dealer set-up day is June 14. The show opens at 8 a.m. June 15. On Friday, June 16, and Saturday, June 17, hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Demonstrations begin at 8 a.m on June 15. Dave Plueger, Richard Turcott, Paul Dobbins, Pete Askins, Robert Waddell, Johnny Thorpe, Tom Olson and Ron Leggett are a few of the many demonstrators.
“This is one of the best demonstrator lineups we have ever had,” Schilling said. “In addition, Richard English will be bringing a display with live wolves, Canadian lynx and bobcats.”
The 4-H Center also has a large banquet hall to host the FTA banquet on Friday and auction on Saturday. Camping is available on the grounds, and RVs can take advantage of 50 electric-ready sites. Showers are available.
Located in southwestern Indiana along the banks of the Ohio River, Evansville is Indiana’s third largest city.
The Evansville area offers plenty of attractions outside the fairgrounds, which are just five miles south of I-64 on U.S. 41.
The FTA will organize a tour to New Harmony, a historic town that was home to the United State’s first attempts at communal living.
Other attractions include the Evansville Museum of Arts, Science and History, a large zoo and botanical gardens, an aquatic center and Holiday World, a family theme park.
The Ohio and Wabash rivers offer excellent catfish and bass fishing. And the nearby Abraham Lincoln State Park features the boyhood cabin of our 16th president.
Casino Aztar, a historic gambling boat on the river, is only 8 miles from the 4-H Center. Most of the local hotels can be found six to eight miles from the rendezvous. The host hotel is the Holiday Inn Conference Center. It offers a $62 special-event rate with reservations made before May 23.
For information about camping facilities, hotel reservations or setting up dealer displays, visit www.furtakersofamerica.com. For information about the area, contact the Evansville Visitors Center at (800) 433-3025, or visit www.evansvillecvb.org. The Holiday Inn Conference Center can be reached at (812) 424-6400. You must mention the Fur Takers Rendezvous to receive the convention rate.
NTA National Convention
Aug. 3 to 6
The NTA will hold three regional conventions in 2006, but the NTA national convention is still the premier rendezvous for most trappers — and well worth the drive.
The 47th Annual NTA Convention and Sports Show is Aug. 3 to 6 at the Kansas State Fair Grounds in Hutchinson, Kan. Chris Bezio, NTA convention coordinator, expects a strong turnout.
Demonstrations begin Thursday, Aug. 3, at 8 a.m. Slim Pederson, Red O’Hearn, Jim Spencer, Gerald Schmitt, John Graham, Hal Sullivan and Mark June highlight a lineup of demonstration speakers who will offer trapping tips and tactics in a large, air-conditioned demonstration area.
The two vendor buildings are also air-conditioned, which is good news for attendees not used to Kansas heat in August.
Bezio said the fairgrounds offer plenty of space for camping, and a large RV park is available with electric hook-ups and water. Primitive campers will have access to shower houses and can relax at a nearby pond.
A Furbearers Unlimited banquet is planned for Thursday, Aug. 3. The banquet will feature an NTA Awards ceremony. The NTA benefit auction is Friday, Aug. 4, with the open membership meeting on Saturday, Aug. 5.
“The meeting offers all members a chance to voice their opinions and offer suggestions,” Bezio said. “It will be followed by a dance.”
The Hutchinson area offers plenty of additional activities. The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center features one of the most comprehensive space museums ever built. It includes the actual Apollo 13 command module, a full-scale model of the space shuttle and the largest collection of Soviet space artifacts in the United States.
Golfing is big business in Hutchinson, home of the 2006 U.S. Senior Open, and the area offers several golf courses.
The Hutchinson Zoo is open for families, and the Amish community of Yoder offers shopping.
For more information about hotels, camping, tailgating or dealer setup, visit www.nationaltrappers.com. For information about the area and attractions, contact the Hutchinson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at (620) 662-3391, or visit www.visithutch.com.
The NTA will again offer three regional conventions to allow trappers a taste of the national rendezvous without traveling as far. Tennessee, Idaho and Maryland are host states for NTA regionals in 2006.
Regional conventions offer demonstrations and feature many of the same dealers that can be found at the larger conventions.
For information about the Southeast Regional Convention, May 12 to 14 in Newport, Tenn., contact the Cocke County Chamber of Commerce at (423) 623-7201 or visit www.cockecounty.org.
For information on the Western Regional Convention, June 23 to 25 in Blackfoot, Idaho, contact Mark Buttars, 1123 South 45 East, Idaho Falls, ID 83401.
For information on the Northeast Regional Convention, July 7 to 9 in La Plata, Md., contact La Plata tourism at (301) 934-8421, or visit http://www.townoflaplata.org/.
Additional information on all three regional conventions can be found on the NTA Web site: www.nationaltrappers.com.