Minnesota Trappers Association
NTA Director

Tim Alsleben
6944 Prarie RD NE
Nelson, MN 56355
320-491-3525

Spring 2024 Report

Greetings fellow trappers!  We all know how wild and wacky this season has been with the abnormal temps and lack of winter overall and hope you did well despite it.  I didn’t run as many sets as I normally would but had just enough to scratch that itch.  Coyote numbers were way down compared to other years, but I did manage to put badger, bobcat, and grey fox on the boards as well as a fair number of other critters.  This also gives me a chance to visit with landowners as they always seem to enjoy hearing about what I have seen or caught.  It’s also a prime opportunity to discuss current political issues with them and share what we as stewards of the land must contend with.

By now I am sure that most of you have heard about how well the turnout was for our winter meeting in Baxter.  I can assure you that if you were not able to attend you missed out on a great event.  I was told the turnout was even better than in previous years and that doesn’t surprise me.  As the new NTA Director, attending the winter meeting and manning an NTA Booth was all new to me, but I will say that there were plenty of people to help me.  Lots to do but somehow all seems to get done before the doors open.  It never ceases to amaze me how many volunteers show up and pitch in to get things done.  Although the winter event seems small in quantity compared to conventions with just a few vendors, the quality remains. 

I managed to sell some of my pelts and even with the downturn in the market, I was pleasantly surprised. At the last minute, I even decided to enter some of my furs in the Fur Handling Contest for the first time and I learned a lot. Far from earning that coveted Master Fur Handler plaque, I did manage to take home 1st with my skunk.  Leon was very helpful in giving me a few pointers on what I can do next year to improve my competitive fur-handling abilities. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll be standing up front anticipating receiving that coveted title?  Thank you, Leon, I can assure you I will be back again next year!  All the pelts I entered in the competition were donated to the MTA Tanned Fur Project and I hope that one day they may help educate and perhaps even inspire some young person to get into trapping. 

I also missed out on the heaviest raccoon competition by several pounds but was happy to lose out to my friend Dick Wilken.  Although I have only known him for a few years, I have to say he has been a great inspiration to me. This was my first time attending the Legal Defense Fund Banquet and I doubt it will be my last.  Great times with some great people and the banquet committee hit it out of the ballpark!  If you haven’t had the experience, I highly recommend attending next year.  

By now most have you have heard about the recent listing of wolverines by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which leaves us scratching our heads wondering why.  In the NTA’s most recent edition of the American Trapper magazine, Vice President Matt Lumley writes an excellent article explaining several reasons why.   The bottom line is all about power and money.  By listing animals like the wolverines, special interest groups gain funding and power.  With this power, they can shut down vast tracts of public land from mining, logging, trapping, and even general recreational usage behind our backs.  Trappers who partner with NTA are helping themselves in the long run to fight the legal challenges we face as sportsmen today.               

I know fur prices are in the tank and times can be tough but we all need to support those who are protecting trapping.  If you are not a member of the National Trappers Association, I strongly urge you to become one now!  The NTA helps us on the national level to protect our common heritage, but we need to help them to do so.  Both State and Federal politicians and elected officials are putting trappers under a lot of pressure to fold and rollover. Those who are content to make laws have little concern for those forced to live under them.

But I can assure you that your voice does matter, and joining yours with others makes it impossible to be ignored. Join the National Trappers Association and together we’ll crank up the volume.     

Tim Alsleben

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