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Tanned Fur Project
Organization > Program Chairs
Minnesota Trappers Association
Tanned Fur Project

Tanned Fur Project Coordinator
Tim Caven
7444 County Rd 27
Pennock, MN  56279
(320) 599-4176

Winter 2021-22 Report
Above is a photo of MN Conservation Officer Demo Regas tagging an accidental otter I caught this spring while nuisance beaver trapping. Officer Regas said he donated the otter fur to the MTA Tanned Fur Project. Recently a conservation officer in the Grand Rapids area died in the line of duty. I think it is time to start appreciating the work these officers do for us., so hopefully, you get this in time. I hope you have a good memorial day.
Fur now,  Jim Ojanen
Good Day Trappers.
Donations to the MTA Tanned Fur Project from June through October came from the following generous members and conservation officers:
  • John Hart  – 5 Muskrat, 1 Marten, 1 Beaver
  • Barry DeGroot – 2 Coyote
  • Gene Hanson – 5 Beaver, 2 Raccoon, 1 Muskrat
  • Dan Collins – 2 Beaver, 2 Raccoon, 2 Muskrat
  • Joe Jewitt – 6 Beaver, 3 Mink, 1 Otter, 1 Raccoon, 1 Muskrat
  • Merrill Holm – 1 Bobcat
  • Bert Highland – 15 Red Squirrel, 8 Muskrat, 4 Mink, 2 Grey Fox
  • Shannon Cohrs – 9 Beaver
  • Brian Fisher – 2 Beaver
  • Dale Jindra – 29 Beaver, 2 Raccoon, 1 Muskrat
  • Rob Marshall – 6 Muskrat
  • Brian Donnelly – 2 Raccoon
  • Mike Smejia – 15 Squirrels, 4 Beaver
  • Tyler and Wayne Thompson – 11 Beaver, 5 Raccoon, 2 Muskrat, 1 Red Fox (All tanned at Moyles and paid for by Tyler and Wayne)
  • Nick Tabor – 1 Mink
  • Dennis Bechard – 5 Beaver, 1 Raccoon, 1 Red Fox
  • Dan Croke – 1 Mink
  • Gene Jones – 1 Beaver, 1 Muskrat
  • David Pearson – 16 Beaver, 2 Muskrat
  • Richard (Artie) Barnes – 12 Muskrat, 3 Raccoon, 1 Beaver
  • Cal Gunnink – 6 Beaver
  • Cumberlands Northwest Trappers Supply – 10 Tanned Ermine
  • In Memory of Chris Holm – God’s Speed Chris – 6 Beaver, 1 Raccoon
  • In Memory of Jill Thompson and Erin Fischer – 2 Red Fox
  • Greg Flor - $1,000.00 cash donation to have fur hats made to sell and trade at future events – An incredible donation Greg, thank you.

I am looking for the person that left 10 nicely handled opossum at my booth at the MTA convention. I didn’t find any name attached and would like to get you the credit that you deserve. Beautifully handled skins I am also looking for a person that donated a black bear hide and a red fox with the last name of Hern or perhaps Herns. Please shoot me an email so I can get your donation acknowledged correctly, thank you.
  • Officer Matt Frericks – 4 Fisher, 2 Muskrat, 1 Bobcat, 1 Marten
  • Officer Anthony Bermel – 3 Marten, 3 Otter
  • Officer Marc Hopkins – 1 Otter
  • Officer Jim Guida – 1 Fisher
  • Officer Dan Starr – 4 Fisher, 1 Muskrat
  • Officer Clint Fitzgerald – 2 Otter
  • Officer Best – 7 Otter – Nicely put up by Lloyd Bakkonen – Thank you Lloyd
The new Tanned Fur Project competition started August 1st for 2021-2022. Each specie has a point value for starters and then quality and whether it is carcass, green, or dried determines its final point value. A good quality stretched, and dried pelt is the ultimate donation, but we have folks in place now to assist in the processing of carcass and green skins, so we are appreciative of any donation. I often receive pelts second or third hand so please if your donation is not acknowledged by me in the newsletter get a hold of me. I don’t want to miss a single pelt donation. Even though it was held back in August I wanted to let the membership know how well you were represented at the Anoka Game Fair headed by Andy and Karen Shoemaker and crew. A great many youths got to dig in the dirt and also get verbal instructions and tips from the likes of Andy Shoemaker, Greg Flor, Craig Hilburn, and others. This positive exposure to trapping is so valuable and I know that Andy and Karen have plans to expand it next year. Speaking of Greg Flor, after he worked the Anoka Game Fair he slipped a $1,000.00 into the till to have hats made for next year’s event. Greg has donated more total fur to the project than anyone else since I was nominated to run it 25 years ago and now gives us $1,000.00 to have hats made, just amazing. He is going to be upset with me for writing this as he wanted no credit whatsoever. Hold on to some green or carcass pelts and plan to attend Pelt Day 2022 in Princeton. It is generally held in late February and is a perfect time to donate a few skins and learn proper pelt processing techniques from some of the best in the state. Watch the newsletter for the date and time to be published and plan to attend, you will be glad you did. Thank you to Mac Hilburn for hosting this awesome annual event. What a difference a year makes. Teachers are making up for lost classroom time by using our traveling fur sets in their classes at a record pace. Fur items that the Tanned Fur Project is lowest on are coyote, skunk, badger, bobcat, and grey fox. As always any specie is appreciated but those 5 are our current greatest needs so that we are able to loan out complete sets of fur and not miss a critter. Hoping to see all of you at the winter meeting and Legal Defense Banquet. Have fun this fall and winter and be safe.

Tim Caven
Tanned Fur Project Coordinator
7444 County Road 27 NW
Pennock, MN 56279
Fall 2021 Report
It is always a great pleasure to hand out awards and acknowledge those that have gone above and beyond for the Tanned Fur Project. This year’s winners announced at the summer convention in Barnum were:

Conservation Officer of the Year:
5th Place – Officer Andy Schmidt
4th Place – Officer Dan Starr
3rd Place – Officer Troy Richards
Runner Up – Officer Tricia Plautz – Officer Plautz wins or is near the top year after year
Winner – Officer Demo Regas of Blackduck
Thank you to all Conservation Officers who continue to work so well with the Minnesota Trappers Association. As always thank you to Officer Scott Staples who is often the glue the holds it all together.

District Competition:
3rd Place – District 1
Runner Up – District 4
Winner – District 3 – Congratulations to District 3, great job as always

Volunteer Fur Processor of the Year:
This is the first year this award has been given out and it goes to a very worthy individual. Don McGaffey of Brandon professionally processed a ton of green skins for the MTA. Thank you Don, you are appreciated.

Individual Competition:
13th Place – Joe Jewett
12th Place – Keith Friedsam
11th Place – Rick Olson
10th Place – Bert Highland – Bert not only donates a lot of fur but also a lot of squirrel skins that we can always use for youth education
9th Place – Tie Andy Shoemaker and Dewey Schmitz
8th Place – Doug Abel and Doug Padgett of Fairmont
7th Place – Walt Gessler
6th Place – Tie Paul Zieroth and Art Klipping
5th Place – Flor, Hilburn, and Hilburn Team Trapline
4th Place – Tie Allan Golden and Tom Boser
3rd Place – Dale Jindra
Runner Up – Eric Maijala
Winner For the Second Year in a Row – Michael Shaleen, Sr. with an incredible donation consisting of 177 Muskrats, 81 Beaver, 17 Mink, 8 Otter, 7 Ermine, 5 Raccoon, 1 Red Fox, 1 Pine Marten. All this fur was nicely put up as well. You are incredibly generous to the MTA in fur donations and benefit auction purchases. Thank you Michael.

Thank you to all of the above and to each of you who donated even one skin, it all helps and adds up. We are currently positioned nicely to assist good teachers (who are pro fur) to put pelts in front of their students to handle and learn. Over the years I’ve gotten letters from many young people who got the trapping bug from handling tanned pelts in school that were donated by the Minnesota Trappers Association Tanned Fur Project. Be proud, you’re doing a good thing.  

Have fun this fall and enjoy all that outdoor Minnesota has to offer

Tim Caven
Tanned Fur Project Coordinator

7444 County Road 27 NW
Pennock, MN 56279

Photo of youth checking out furs at 4-H show

Photo Right:  
"Thank you to the Minnesota Trappers Association for the use of your furs. Our youth enjoyed learning about the animals and being able to touch the pelts. This has helped them to prepare for upcoming competitions."
                                   --Benton County 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife

For years I had heard of a Stillwater Area High School teacher who does an incredible job in teaching High School Biology Courses.  He has been employed there for over 30 years.  

My three children had all been students of this teacher and all said the same thing, he makes learning really fun, is interesting, and teaches in a way that makes students interested in the subject, even when they thought they wouldn’t be.

A licensed Master Falconer, this teacher has been involved in Peregrine Falcon restoration since 2002, and regularly hunts with a variety of hawks and falcons.  Live hawks or falcons are kept in the classrooms at the High School, giving students up close and personal experience with Birds of Prey they normally would never see or learn about.

This teacher has involved students in live trapping raccoons on the school Environmental Learning Center (ELC) fitting them with radio collars, and studying movement patters and denning locations.  Deer have also been live trapped and radio collared there, so movements can be monitored.
Every year, a trail camera collects hundreds of animal photos from the ELC which get posted on a Facebook site, and in the classrooms, showing students just how many animals are present in the suburban setting.  

A member of MOHA (Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance) this teacher has represented the Minnesota Falconers Association on issues relating to the sport of Falconry.  

Almost every year, I will bump into young hunters in the Stillwater area.  Always interested in youth hunting/trapping, I ask them where they got started or how did they find this hunting spot? In many cases, they say the same thing, we got interested in hunting from a Stillwater Biology Teacher, and he gave us directions on where to go!
On December 3rd 2019, I was able to meet with Stillwater Area High School Teacher Andrew Weaver, at the High School Biology Area, and presented him with a set of tanned furs, collected by Trappers from Minnesota, donated by Trappers from Minnesota, and tanned through the MTA’s Tanned Fur Project.  He will now have beautiful tanned furs on display in their classrooms for students to see and touch and be used for animal identification.  All will know that the furs were donated by Trappers and the MTA.  He was very appreciative and couldn’t wait to display them in the classrooms.

Special thanks to Trappers who donate to the MTA’s Tanned Fur Project, and to Tim Caven of Minnesota Trapline Products, for heading up the Tanned Fur Project!  Consider donating some furs this year!  

Andy Shoemaker

Photo #1: Biology Teacher Andrew Weaver, with tanned furs.
Andrew Weaver, biology teacher, with a Goshawk

Photo #2:
Stillwater Area High School Biology Teacher, Andrew Weaver’s class rooms have lots of interesting things in them.  This is a female Goshawk, captured by Weaver and used for teaching students, and for hunting.  

Photo #3:
Another photo of teacher, Andrew Weaver, with the Goshawk.

©️ Copyright 2022. MN Trappers Assn. All rights reserved.
©️ Copyright 2022. MN Trappers Assn. All rights reserved.
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