Minnesota Trappers Association
Spring 2024 Report
The legislative session has begun, February 12th was the first day of the 2024 session. The bills that were so concerning to trappers in last year’s session (HF1299 and SF1316) are still alive this session. We don’t know what to expect, but we’re certainly hoping the bill’s authors don’t push their bills forward. Only time will tell. Please watch the MTA website and Facebook page for any updates or alerts. As soon as we hear anything we need to contact legislators about, we will post it. Last year many of you responded to our call to action, thank you! It definitely made a difference. We will likely need everybody to respond again. When contacting legislators, always include the bill number. You contact state Senators with bill numbers that begin with SF (in this case SF1316), and the House of Representatives you contact about bills that begin with HF (HF1299). You don’t need to write a long letter if you don’t want to. Just tell them you are a constituent (if they are your representative) and to oppose the bill. If you want to expand your letter you certainly can, we will again post talking points for you on the website and Facebook page to give you ideas. Just don’t copy the whole page word for word, we don’t want to send form letters.
Trapper’s Day at the Capital will likely be sometime in March. As of this writing, we haven’t been able to make a reservation yet. Again, watch the website and Facebook page, please make it if you can. Also, if you’re coming, make appointments with both your state Senator and House of Representatives member. A 15-minute meeting is all you need to schedule. If you need help doing that, I can certainly help you and can even go to the meeting with you. There’s no reason to be nervous, they want to meet their constituents.
As far as the non-resident trapping issue is concerned, unfortunately, it won’t happen again this year. I’ll explain why. With the metro Democrats in complete control of both the House and Senate, as well as the Governor, there is absolutely no chance we could get a bill passed. The Democrats from the metro area have been our nemesis for years. We were extremely fortunate to come out of last year without new restrictions on trapping. We could likely find authors of a non-resident bill in both the House and Senate, but that’s as far as we would get. After a bill is introduced, it goes to the appropriate committee, in this case, the environmental committee. Especially in the House, the deck is severely stacked against us. There are 16 members in the House Environmental Committee, 10 are Democrats. Of those 10 democrats, two are the bill’s authors. The Chairman hasn’t exactly been friendly to us either. The only two democrats I know in the whole House that I would consider friendly to trappers are on that committee, but one is 100% against non-resident trapping and the other voted for a permanent ban on a wolf season so we can’t count on them helping us. It isn’t much better on the Senate Environmental Committee either. So, when there’s zero chance of getting a bill passed, we would be foolish to introduce a bill where nothing but bad could happen in the end. One of the top priorities of the MTA is to protect what we have. We can’t jeopardize that. The last thing we want to do is motivate the authors of the anti-trapping bills to push their bills forward by introducing a bill to increase trapping. If HF1299/SF1316 were to pass it would be devastating to us. Say goodbye to dryland body grips and snaring as we know it. When a non-resident bill has no chance of passing, it’s wise to not take any chances with a bill currently. We have no safety net, those against trapping could do whatever they want, and those friendly to trapping don’t have any power to stop them.
Having said that, I’m very optimistic about our future. More Republican legislators are pro-trapping than I’ve ever seen. Last year’s freshman class was extremely good for us. We just need a change in power in the House 2024 election.