Minnesota Trappers Association Tanned Fur Project Coordinator

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

Tanned Furs to a Good Cause

Tanned Fur Processing Volunteer Contacts

Linden Anderson
Austin Area
Any species
Terry McElmury
Mark & Pam Marsolek
coon, mink, muskrat, beaver
Justin Johnson
coon, mink, rats
Larry Jacobson
coon, beaver
Bruce Lillienthal
Any species
Matt Carlson
Any species
Dan Collins
Hibbing/Grand Rapids
Any species
Mike Shaleen Sr
Mountain Iron
Any species
Shawn Johnson
Duluth/Two Harbors Area
All species

If you want to be added to this list, please send your request with pertinent information to the webmaster.


Fur Donation to Cedar Ridge Elementary School 2019

Minnesota Trappers Association
Tanned Fur Donation to
Cedar Ridge Elementary School
Tim Caven presented 12 tanned furs to Ms. Heyer for the Kindergarten classes at Cedar Ridge Elementary School in Eden Prairie, MN. The youth were able to touch and feel the pelts and learn of the animals they came from. Ms Heyer’s class each wrote a thank you note to the MTA and the other Kindergarten class at the school also sent thank you notes. The notes from each class ar linked below. The MTA received the following note from Ms. Heyer:
“Dear Minnesota Trappers Association,
Thank you for the 12 pelts and the education board – the kids absolutely love everything.  We’ve started some lessons using both items and have additional lessons we are planning on.  Since receiving your package before Thanksgiving, the pelts and matching board have been used by students EVERY SINGLE DAY!  They are quizzing their friends, matching, using the pelts to create homes for the animals and even trying to match their coat fur to the animals.  Today we had a tracking expert come in and when guessing what animal left a certain track the kids were jumping around shouting, “Ermin!”  It’s been so fun to hear them talking about these different animals!  Thank you for this wonderful gift.  I have emailed thank you notes from my kindergartners as well.
Best Wishes,
Jen Heyer”
Cedar Ridge Elementary School

Benton County 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife

“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

Tanned Furs to a Good Cause by Andy Shoemaker

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
Stillwater Area High School Biology Teacher, Andrew Weaver, with tanned furs.
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.  

Fall 2022 Report

— FALL 2022 Recent donations to the MTA Tanned Fur Project came from the following generous members and conservation officers:
TRAPPERS: Gary Stelzer – 2 Coyote, 1 Red Fox, 1 Beaver
Scott Colton – 26 Monster Opossum
Paul Jindra – 5 Coyote, 2 Muskrat
Alan Golden – 21 Beaver
Cumberland’s Northwest Trappers Supply – 4 Coyote, 2 Badger, 1 Skunk
Terry McElmury – 100 coyote, 13 Raccoon, 1 Mink
Yotes to Coats Tannery – 5 Tanned Raccoon
Jim Blakley – 1 Tanned Otter
Carl Ernst – $50 Towards Our Tanning Bill
Artie Barnes – 8 Muskrat, 1 Coyote
Walt Gessler – 3 Raccoon
Joe Jewett – 6 Beaver, 1 Coyote, 1 Mink
Pete Jonas – 3 Beaver
In Memory of Jill Thompson and Erin Fischer – 2 Cross Fox
CONSERVATION OFFICERS: Officer Mitch Lawler – 1 Otter
Officer Keith Bertram – 4 Otter
Officer Scott Staples – 1 Bobcat
With fur often times going through 2 or 3 hands before I see it and unfortunately the name of the original donor occasionally gets lost. Please if I have missed your name or donation shoot me an email so I get it recorded correctly, I don’t want to miss anyone. There was a nice stretched and dried mink donated at the convention in Wadena that I didn’t get a name for. Also, I received a coyote, red fox, and opossum from I believe someone in Fairmont but didn’t get the name so please email me if this was your donation. Thank you. It is always my great pleasure to be able to acknowledge and give out some awards to our top donors at our summer convention. There are 3 main competitions each year which include Conservation Officer of the Year, District Competition, and Individual Competition. Winners at this years convention in Wadena were:
Conservation Officer of the Year:
5th Place Officer Mitch Lawler
4th Place Officer Kip Duncan
3rd Place Officer Keith Bertram
Runner Up – Officer Demo Regas (Officer Regas was our 2021 Winner also)
1st Place – Officer Tricia Plautz (Officer Plautz is a previous winner and 3-time Runner Up)
Congratulations and thank you for working side by side with the MTA
District Competition
Runner Up – Tie between District 3 and District 4
Winner – District 7
Individual Competition
15 – David Pearson
14 – Alan Golden
13 – Walt Gessler
12 – Leon Windschitl
11 – Bert Highland
10 – Brian Fischer
 9 – Frank Brula – Sure missed seeing you at the convention this year Frank, first time in over 40 years, get well!
 8 – Team Trapline – Flor, Hilburn, and Hilburn
 7 – Tim Alsleben
 6 – Tyler and Wayne Thompson
 5 – Bill Hanson
 4 – Eric Maijala
 3 – Doug Abel and Doug Padgett (103 Raccoon, 40 Coyote, 18 Beaver, 17 Muskrat, 9 Red Fox, 6 mink) – All Stretched and Dried
 Runner Up – Michael Shaleen, Sr. (235 Muskrat, 60 Beaver, 7 Mink, 5 Raccoon, 3 Skunk, 1 Marten – All Stretched and Dried
 1st Place – Terry McElmury – 100 Coyote, 13 Raccoon, 1 Mink – All Stretched and Dried
Congratulations and thanks to all whether you are on the list above or donated 1 muskrat, it all counts and helps achieve our common goal. I was saddened by the passing of Lloyd Bakkonen prior to the convention. Lloyd would always bring fur to the convention to donate plus otter that he had put up for conservation officers for the tanned fur project. Lloyd’s fur processing skills were great, and he always brought the skins to me in boxes that he built out of wood as pelts were to be handled respectfully. Godspeed Lloyd.
Thank you to the many members who represented the MTA at county fairs this summer. We have the last two going on right now and when I get the fur back from them we will swing into full school mode. Thanks to the great donations this year we already have a good number of traveling sets of fur ready for the start of the school year. From all indications it appears that 2022-2023 will see the most educational use of our program in its history going back 30 years.
At the time of this writing Andy and Karen Shoemaker have the first 3 days of the Anoka Game Fair under their belts with 3 more days to go. These two dedicated members and their crew represent the MTA at the very highest level, please say thanks to them when you see them. District 5 headed by Pete Jonas and Matt Akerson will have a booth at Prairie Pothole Days in September and at the Deer and Turkey Expo in Shakopee this winter, thank you guys for donating your time and talents.
Please remember the MTA Tanned Fur Project as you plan your fall and winter traplines. Our greatest needs at this time are skunk, badger, bobcat, and grey fox to complete our school sets. Wishing you all the best in your fall traplines and hunts.
Tim Caven
Tanned Fur Project Coordinator
7444 County Road 27 NW
Pennock, MN 56279
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