Minnesota Trappers Association
8100 Shady Trail
Breezy Point, MN 56472
MTA President’s Report
Members of the MTA:
If you are like me, you have all hoped for the ending of winter to come soon! However, it seems that Mother Nature has anything but that in mind at this point. I am hopeful it does end soon and spring arrives with its, warmth and colors.
I normally don’t do this, but I am starting this report with a heavy heart as we recently lost one our long time members and trapper Arnie Peterson. Arnie was a co-director for the MTA in district 1 and helped the MTA in a variety of capacities over the years. He was also a member of MTA Hall of Fame. Many of you I am sure knew him, his wife Kathy and her daughter Tricia who both served as our Editor for many years. I first met Arnie in 1997 at the NTA Rochester convention. He always had a smile on his face and a trapping story to tell. My condolences go out to Kathy and the family during this time. Rest in peace Arnie you will be missed.
The winter meeting took place in Brainerd this year and by all accounts went very well. The weather was very nice. I saw a lot of people there registering fur and selling it as well. The General Membership meeting was well attended and a variety of topics were covered. I want to thank Vice President Schmitz for all his work with this and thank all the volunteers who helped set up and take down at the school. I also want to thank Leon Windschitl for overseeing our Pelt Handling Contest again this year. We had quite a few entrants and that was good to see. I need to thank Cumberland Trap Supply for their continued sponsorship of this as well. The winter meeting will once again be held in Brainerd next year. Look for dates to be announced at a later time.
The BOD at the winter meeting approved a budget for FY 2019. Treasurer Brenda Jindra and the Budget Committee gave them the details and let them know increasing revenue in general account, would be needed for the MTA to continue operating all of its non-restricted programs and to cover bills incurred throughout the year. The BOD took this issue up at its recent Spring BOD meeting. Treasurer Brenda Jindra and the Budget committee brought an updated budget back to the BOD to review. The Budget committee recommended 30% of paid position costs, Treasurer, Secretary, and Membership Coordinator be paid out of education funds. Legal counsel reviewed this change and stated this could be allowed according to state laws governing use of these funds. The BOD took action by approving this updated budget.
In looking at other ways to increase revenue for the MTA, the BOD also took up the discussion of increasing membership dues for the MTA. The last membership increase was in 2004 or 15 years ago when a one year membership went from $20 to $25. Since this time costs for servicing a member has increased significantly. For a one year membership to the MTA a member receives the Trappers Post and the MTA magazine. This benefit to our members is costing $14 for the Trappers Post and $9 for the MTA magazine. This alone takes $23 of the $25 of membership dues. Factor in the cost of paying our Membership Coordinators, postage for mailing out membership cards, decals, etc... And the cost exceeds the $25 membership due and becomes a net loss to the organization. The BOD realizes that while a membership increase is never something that is welcomed, the cost of defending the rights of trappers in MN and providing the benefits to its members will continue to go up. Therefore, after further discussion the BOD took action by approving the following membership increases and changes to membership options. These changes will become effective August 1, 2019.
- 1 yr. membership $35 1 yr. membership w/o Trappers Post $20
- 3 yr. membership $100 Lifetime membership $1500 1 yr. Jr. membership $15
The board discontinued the 2yr. membership and a Lifetime membership w/o Trappers Post. The BOD determined the significant increase in the Lifetime membership was needed to help self- support future lifetime members moving forward. In making this increase to the membership levels the MTA is insuring they are able to service its members while having a net gain in revenue to help support the organization and its many services it provides for the members. In other business related to the budget and increasing revenue for the organization, The BOD on the recommendation of the Magazine Editor, approved a new rate structure for advertising in the magazine. The MTA will also now be offering advertising to businesses on our website as well. All the rates and details can be obtained by contacting the MTA editor. I encourage all of you if you have questions regarding these changes to please contact your district director or your officers.
If you did not purchase a ticket and stick around to attend the 9th Annual Legal Defense Fund Banquet held at the Brainerd Legion, you missed a good one. There were over 120 people in attendance who were served an outstanding meal and enjoyed an evening of fun, games, and excitement. A great time was had by all and a total of $16,852.84 after expenses was raised to help support protecting trappers’ rights in MN. I want to take this time to thank Dale Jindra and all the members of his committee for an outstanding job. They put in many hours of work to see the banquet was a success. I would also like to thank all the donors who donated prizes to the raffle or any of the games. Without your support we aren’t able to raise the funds we do. I also want to give a thanks to the Brainerd Legion for hosting the event. They and all there staff were great to work with. Last, but definitely not least I want to thank all who attended. Your support of the MTA is greatly appreciated! Look for the announcement of next year’s Legal Defense Fund Banquet.
This winter has been a busy one down at the State Capital. With the November elections we saw a huge shift in leadership. This has equated to a very active session with several bills coming forth that have potential to harm trapping in MN. One in particular is a trespass law that would require written permission by trappers. This is highly discriminatory against trappers and is aimed only at our user group and no others. Several meetings have been held to educate particular legislators about the harm this can cause trappers in our state. We continue to monitor this bill and others that have been introduced or potentially be forthcoming which could cause trappers to lose tools or access. I wanted to point this bill out to help you realize it isn’t always the other side trying to take away what we use to trap, but also how we are allowed to trap. I encourage you to take the time to contact your representative or senator and let them know where you stand regarding trapping. Be polite when you do, but let them know how important trapping is to you, our state, and to sound wildlife management. Our lobbyist, legal counsel, myself and others will continue to monitor the session and meet with legislators and testify on behalf of trapping for you.
This leads me to non-resident trapping and the MTA’s efforts to get this done in our state. In the meetings we have had this year with legislators, non-resident trapping has been discussed and what opportunities exist for getting a bill authored and introduced. Replies from all have been soundly to continue educating legislators on the importance of trapping with the potential for future opportunities to possibly introduce legislation. In the meantime, they would work with us where they could to help us with trapping related bills harmful to meaningful trapping in MN. What does this mean? It means we will continue working to see how we can get something going with non-resident trapping, but keeping meaningful trapping for trappers in MN is important as well.
Education continues to be a key to us being successful in defending your rights. This is where our Trappers Day at the Capital comes into play. Our second successful one was held at the Capital this year on February 5th. We had around 30 or so trappers who came and spent the day meeting with legislators about trapping. We had many legislators stop by our room just so say “hi” and see what we were about. That folks, is powerful in itself. A table with fur was there and we had information available to hand out to those who requested. The MTA was well received and I heard many comments from legislators they were happy to see us there. I want to thank Randy Goldenman MOHA liaison, for his work setting this up again. These are the things that make and continue to make a difference to help keep meaningful trapping for you the trapper in MN.
You may have recalled that in a past report, I informed you the DNR is looking at a proposal to change the season dates for Bobcat and Marten/ Fisher trapping. They came to the MTA and MFZTA and asked both to come back to them with guidelines we felt our trappers would be ok with. Working with the MFZTA, a letter was drafted with these guidelines and sent to the DNR: Move the bobcat season back to weeks from its current start date, move marten/fisher season to coincide with the Christmas break, 9 day season for marten/fisher, and an increase in our bobcat limit to 8. At the time of this report, nothing has come back from the DNR regarding a proposal. Once a proposal comes from them the MTA will give input to them. Please keep in mind this would be a rule change. This means the DNR could make this change as early as this coming season. I will keep you informed as to the progress on this proposal. Our goal with the guidelines we gave them was to move the seasons back to start later with opportunities for youth and others to still participate in a Marten/Fisher season around the holidays. I also want to remind everyone while it has not been finalized, the DNR is going to be seeking a rule change to require BAD’s that break at #350 pounds or less on any snares used in MN that are not fully submerged in the water. If the rule change happens there would be a sunset year with the following year being when these would be required. I encourage all of you who snare to begin considering using existing inventory or retrofitting snares with BAD’s.
I want to encourage all of you to attend this summer’s MTA convention being held in Redwood Falls August 1-3, 2019. District 7 Director Brian Fischer and crew are pulling out all the stops and planning a good one for all who attend. Look for more information in the magazine and our website.
You should have by now received your MTA raffle tickets in the mail. Due to an issue with the printer, we were unable to have these available for the winter meeting this year. Our MTA raffle chair Tom Boser, sent tickets out to all members. If you want more to sell I encourage you to contact Tom and he will get them to you. Every dollar we raise from the raffle goes to support our education programs including the state trapper education program. Please show your support and send in your tickets with your $10 donation.
Speaking of the convention, this year is an election year. I have served the past two years as your president and believe the BOD and I have moved the organization in the right direction. If I am nominated again, I will be willing to serve another 2 years representing the MTA as its president.
Our current membership is now at 2,213 members. I want to say thank you to all who have renewed or signed up recently as members of the MTA. Without you, the MTA does not exist. This is your organization and the BOD and I work for you. If you have questions or concerns about what is going on in the MTA or just need more information, please contact your district director or your officers. We are all here to serve you the member and we will do our best to answer your questions or get the answers if we don’t have them when you ask. The organization is only as strong as it members and I encourage all of you to engage by attending district meetings, summer convention and other events put on by the organization.
If you have questions or concerns contact me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 218-52-4050. I will do my best to answer them for you.
Thank you for your support and remember; Together we stand.