September - 2015
We returned from the Fur Takers Convention in mid-July. It was a rather easy drive to a very nice community.
My wife Deb and 2 of my 3 grandkids were along on the trip. The Kansas hosts did a wonderful job organizing the event, as well as keeping the kids entertained. For the youth there was a bow shoot , a laser hunting game- that always had a crowd, and our very own Rally Hess provided a youth demo teaching them to load cable and build a snare. Sleepy Creek had a youth raffle 3 times a day where the kids had to be present to win. They were rewarded with some very nice prizes!
Gabby and I set up a booth to represent the MTA. We sold $385 in souvenirs with the youth size animal track T-shirts being very popular. We also had good raffle support with quite a few tickets being sold. I also answered a lot of questions on the N.R. issues, mostly when will this happen? !
The Executive Council Banquet was Friday evening. At the gathering, I accepted several nice awards for Minnesota. The MTA received a very nice award for their financial support of the Fur Takers last year. I also accepted an award for M.T.P. for their past support of the FTA Raffle. I later presented both awards to them at the general meeting at the MTA Convention.
At the FTA Banquet, we listened to two separate proposals to host the 50th Anniversary Convention of the Fur Takers. Both Wisconsin and Virginia gave nice presentations to those present. As a result only 4 votes separated the two. Wisconsin won the bid and we will be there in Marshfield in 2018. Virginia had made an excellent presentation and I have no doubt we will gather there in the future.
Next year’s FTA Convention will be held in Manchester, Iowa, I believe the dates are June 21-24. Looks like a very nice location and it is close to home!
The FTA Raffle was a great success. I was proud to see MTP, Cumberland’s, Schmitt Enterprises, Rally Hess, Wild River Traps, and Jim Wallner all step up with prize support. It was also great to see six winners from Minnesota win in the drawing. That suggests we had good member participation. Participation in the overall raffle was up, as was the Bear Trap Raffle.
Sterling Fur has stepped up to assist with another FTA membership drive. New members who sign up can get a free DVD, you choice from 12. Current members that renew can get a DVD free if they buy 2. That deal applies to any DVD in stock.
HSUS has filed a letter of intent to sue Maine. Sportsman Alliance has filed to intervene. The FTA will also be there to support both Maine and Sportsman Alliance. This is basically an attempt by HSUS to strip Maine of their I.T.P. (Incidental take permit). Make no mistake if they are successful there Minnesota will soon be in their sights.
At the National Council Banquet, FTA President Chick Andres presented Sportsman Alliance with 3 separate checks. The first $5000 was earmarked for the Maine lawsuit, another $5000 to the General Fund and an additional $5000 to be utilized for the Trail Blazers Youth Educational Program.
Montana also faces a unique challenge as the anti's attempt to take public land away from Sportsman. The anti's hope to gather enough signatures ( 25,000) to have an anti- trapping initiative placed on the ballot. Basically it would eliminate trapping on public land within Montana.
The Fur Takers have sent $5000 to Montana to help defeat the initiative. I have been told another $5000 from the Fur Takers will soon follow!
Again this year, the Fur Takers have a unique fundraiser. Jeff Dunnier has again donated fur for a blanket. This year’s Christmas Blanket will be made from Otter. Drawing will take place about Thanksgiving weekend to insure a Christmas delivery. Donations are $5 and 1/2 the proceeds from tickets sold in Minnesota will go to the MTA. Of course the other 1/2 will go to the FTA.
Traps for Schools continue to be a great success. I have a nice educational DVD available for those teaching a Trappers Education Class. Or any educator for that matter!
The Fur Takers will again be present at the National FFA Convention in Indiana this year. There will be three separate tables to promote our sport to both students and advisors.
The Fur Takers College is September 11-17 in Indiana. I look forward to assisting there again this fall.
I had a rather pleasant surprise at this year’s MTA Convention. Gary Jepson Vice President of the FTA came in from North Dakota and assisted with the FTA Booth. He tends to draw a crowd! That caused a lot of activity at the Fur Taker Booth as many members renewed or joined. My granddaughter Leah could also often be found helping behind the booth. She is pretty fond of Cowboy Gary as well!
I also need to thank Mike & Christie Halonen for taking a turn behind the FTA Booth, allowing Deb and me some time to shop for supplies.
FTA members should soon receive ballots to vote for the open positions within the Fur Takers. Please take the time to vote!
If you have any questions call or email. Hope to see many of you at the fall district meetings.
Cory Van Driel