Minnesota Trappers Association
Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance (MOHA)
Spring 2021 Report
The election's over and trappers again lost some friends in the Minnesota legislature. We lost five that had trapping experience, either to retirement or were voted out. Our true friends are dwindling. Because of the Covid restrictions, I haven't had a chance to visit with any freshmen to see if any are or were trappers. Hopefully, at least a couple of them have at least some trapping experience.
There hasn't been much happening, as of yet, at the Capitol regarding bills of concern to trappers. The only one is a wolf season bill introduced in the Senate, SF600. The companion bill is HF829. For those unfamiliar with the term "companion bill", both the House and the Senate are required to have individual bills pertaining to basically the same subject matter. In this case, a wolf season bill. Some Senators introduced a bill, then some House members also introduced a bill. It's called the companion bill because it relates to the same subject matter but in the opposite legislative body. If the bill passes both the House and the Senate, it then goes to the Governor for signature, if he chooses to sign it, it becomes law.
Now is a good time to contact your state Representatives about the wolf bill. Contact them every week until it passes or gets rejected in committee. We face an uphill battle though. The Minnesota House last year introduced a bill outlawing a wolf season. It wasn't passed, but there are many metro House members that are passionate about protecting wolves completely.
The Governor has publicly stated that he opposes any "recreational take" of wolves in Minnesota. Another potential hurdle lies with the Governor's office as well, more specifically, our Lieutenant Governor. Lieutenant Governor Flannigan is a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. Many members of the Band view wolves through a religious lens as kin, Consequently, convincing the Governor to sign off on a wolf harvesting season is likely to be difficult when this matter is brought before him. There is another avenue to a season, but I won't get into it now. Be assured the MTA is doing whatever we can to get a wolf season again.
I can't stress enough for all you trappers to watch the MTA website for updates on bills. I'm expecting another anti-trapping bill to pop up before the session is over in May. Most likely a bill will come up between now and the end of March. If a bill comes up, PLEASE call and email your representatives at least once a week. You have one Senator and one House of Representatives member. Contact both. You can go to the Minnesota state office's website (www.leg.mn.gov) to find out who represents you if you don't know. Just type in your address in the appropriate box (under House of Representatives works for all reps) and all your representatives, both state and federal, will pop up. You only need to contact the state representatives for bills in Minnesota. I get told frequently by legislators that they watch their emails constantly, paying special attention to emails from their constituents. When you contact them, tell them you are in their district. They work for you! It only takes a few minutes to email. PLEASE do it! All you have to say is please vote for or against a bill, depending on our stance on the specific bill. You must include the bill number in your email. The House bills will have a number beginning with HF and the Senate with SF. The HF stands for House file and the SF stands for Senate file. As an example. The wolf bill is SF600 in the Senate, the companion House bill HF829. If you feel especially ambitious, you can email the Natural Resource Committee Members in both the House and the Senate too. There are two Natural Resource committees in the Senate and one in the House. The bills must pass the committees to get a vote by the whole legislative body. Any questions you can call me.
There will not be a Trappers Day at the Capitol this year because of Covid, the Capitol, and State office buildings are closed to the public.
Hopefully, we can resume Trappers Day at the Capitol again next year. Watch the MTA website, and respond when bills pop up!
Stay safe out there!