President's Message 
November/December 2016
American Trapper Magazine

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First, a huge THANK YOU to every trapper and state affiliate that has sent contributions to help fund the battle to defeat I-177. It’s extremely gratifying to see the long list of state affiliates that have stepped up to help our fellow trappers in Montana. Anyone wishing to help with the funding to get this across the goal line can do so using the “Montana” tab on the NTA homepage at
Hats off to the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association for hosting the national convention in Kalamazoo with a tremendous job done by all the volunteers, excellent facilities, a demo area second to none, and good attendance. It made for a very successful convention. These conventions would not be possible without all the time and effort put in by the association members. Unless you have volunteered for one of these events it’s impossible to understand what it takes to host a national convention.
I’ve attended several state conventions this fall, and as with Kalamazoo, have been pleasantly surprised by the attendance and supply sales reported by dealers. Everyone in the industry recognizes the realities of the current fur market and have adjusted expectations accordingly. Still it’s nice to see good interest from trappers and dealers satisfied with sales.
I want to thank all the directors for their positive attitude and help in making the annual board of directors meeting in Kalamazoo a smooth and productive one.
A special thanks to Jim Curran of Nevada for his years of service to the NTA and trappers all across this country. After 18 years on the executive council Jim has decided it’s time to step down. Jim has always been a highly respected voice on council, with the background, knowledge and dedication that will be impossible to replace.
The critical business of protecting trapping continues regardless of seasons or fur prices. We are continuing to reach out to other sportsman’s groups and organizations. In February, Trent and Tamara Masterson again represented the NTA at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Annual Convention. We continue to work closely with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and Fur Industries of North America (FINA), and we have an excellent relationship with Big Game Forever. In July, I represented the NTA at the FTA convention in Kansas. I participated in both their board meeting and general membership meeting. The NTA has been very successful in the legal/legislative arena protecting traps and trapping. The FTA is very successful in the education arena. Both are important to the effort of protecting our trapping heritage. There is ample room and a need for both organizations. We are all in this fight together. Each organization can benefit and better serve its membership by cooperating and utilizing the strength of the other.
We continue to assist numerous affiliates with state issues whenever requested. Obviously, we can’t offer our assistance if we aren’t aware of the issue. Each of you play a vital role in this effort. We are dependent on all of you to make us aware anytime an issue arises in your state. Please don’t assume we are aware. Contact the office, myself or one of the other officers. Provide us with the details and contact information for whoever is the point man in your state.
Everyone needs to be aware the California trappers are still in the fight to save bobcat trapping. They have an excellent attorney and we have reason for hope. Anyone who would like to help with these costs can send a donation directly to Mercer Lawing, P.O. Box 1966, Barstow, CA 92311.
Currently the NTA is an active party as an intervener in seven federal cases in Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, and Maine. As a brief overview:
MONTANA – Original settlement between the state and plaintiffs required a maximum 53/8” jawspread traps, minimum snare loop size of 8 inches, and 48-hour check. Neither MTA or NTA agreed to these restrictions and are in process of appealing. NTA, MTA, State of Montana and the plaintiffs attended settlement hearing on February 23 in Helena to discuss possible settlement modification. Plaintiffs were unwilling to modify agreement so we are moving forward with appeal.
IDAHO – In March the judge in the Idaho lynx lawsuit stayed the January 8, 2016, ruling giving the state 90 days to submit a plan. The state of Idaho is very supportive of trapping and not willing to concede any restrictions on trappers. We’re still very hopeful this suit will end favorably for trappers.
MAINE – The State of Maine and USFWS modified the Incidental Take Permit to require enclosures that for all practical purposes eliminate the use of bodygrip traps. The plaintiffs are, however, going forward with the original suit to have the ITP vacated. At this time oral arguments are scheduled for early November.
The most recent suit was filed on May 3, 2016, in federal court in Missoula, Montana, by the protectionist group WildEarth Guardians. If successful, this suit would stop all exports of any Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II species out of the U.S. for a considerable period of time. The furbearer species would include bobcat, lynx, wolves, and otter.
Here’s a reminder that to receive the NTA Alerts you must go to the website, click on the Alert tab, and enter your email address.
By the time this magazine appears in your mailbox, trapping seasons will be underway in many states. Regardless of the talk of a lower market, I hope everyone will get into the field this fall. Time spent on the trapline has rewards far beyond a fur check.