Hello, my name is Drake Jackson and I am a trapper. They say admitting it is the first step to recovery but 40 years of trapping highs and lows have pretty much proven I never will and really don't want to. Fortunately my vice is controllable and in moderation quite good for me, so my doctor advises. My spouse allows it over potential others so I have offered, in my own self interest and I hope therefore other trappers, to carry on in Greg Flor's footsteps in representing the MTA at MOHA and within them at the legislature to preserve and forward MN trappers interests. I have no interest in being legislated into going cold turkey, no trapping, if preventable. So with that I will do my best to pick up Greg's mantle and carry it on. Greg is not gone just wanting to be sure there will be MTA / MOHA continuity into the future. I will greatly welcome his mentorship to grow into the position and the workings of the MN legislator where MOHA accomplishes much of its work to perverse its members outdoor activities. MOHA is its member organizations and those groups representative do the work for their groups, and MOHA as a whole, at the legislature.
Since the 1970's,when I began trapping, until now Minnesota population has increased over 35%,3.8 million to 5.3. Trapper numbers went from 28,000 to 10,000(with lows of 5,000). That is significant reality trappers in MN must work with. An ever increasing number of people with which to share finite resources and multi use public spaces. Opposite falling number of individuals to support their interest with just votes. We are long past the days when trappers where just out there trapping, more accepted in what we do, with much less potential conflict with others doing it. The "I should be able to trap like I always have because I always have before" stand has not prevailed in any state where I have seen it tried against restricting legislation. WE need a different one. For us, and other states to come into the "END" trapping fight after us.
MOHA, instrumental in helping all outdoor sportsmen guarantee their future with the "Right to Hunt and Fish" Legacy Act ,championed its passage into law by MN voters, trapping included. This act preserves the right to pursue these activities afield but does not the ways or means with which it is allowed. So the legislative work to regulate how and with what we can trap is very much still in play.
MOHA is an accomplished representative of its member groups at the legislator and is why I want to represent MTA within it. Trapping is very much a topic of interest at the capital now more than ever, pro or con. As decisions on how to share public resources are ever more being legislated it is my belief, with others, that a trapper presence at the capital now is imperative to protecting and advancing trappers interests. The anti-trapping groups know that it is the place to be, and they are there in numbers, working to eliminate trapping any way they can.
I'm hoping like Greg to continue looking for ways with which to increase proactive, as well as defensive, trapping activity at the capital. The MTA does not have the financial "pockets" of many of the groups that oppose us. That has made where we direct our finances to protect trapping a challenge of priorities. I hope to help MTA advance the proactive approach within the legislature with education of representatives that trapping does serve the majority of their constituents, without them all having to be trappers, and value us.
The MTA board has just supported the assembly of proactive educational material with which to represent trappers at the capitol. I believe these will help advance our cause. I also believe MOHA will best help us get them where they will serve MTA most and be given the best consideration for what they contain. Those are my hopes, so on with my first written MOHA report:
Opposition groups of continued ground body grip use have organized and are pursuing their right to legislate restrictions to that end. Those, pursued, restrictions are severe, effectively ending ANY size body grip use on dry land if passed. They are supported in voting numbers that should not be ignored. Our DNRs proposed restrictions to answer the issue are almost as severe in their solution. At the request of the lead legislators of the Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, MOHA agreed to explore and mediate discussion of possible common ground between user groups (trappers, dog lovers, dog hunters) over more restrictive regulations on body grips than in place now, before being debated directly by the legislature on the floor. The legislators of the Sportsmen's Caucus carry pro sportsmen issues through the legislative process for passage or work to defeat negative, they are as much on "our" side as any can be, so consideration of their request was greatly given. MTA, a member of MOHA, accepted our invitation to participate in meaningful discussion of the issue and has attended all such meetings.
Last year on this same issue our MOHA/MTA representative helped other MTA representatives retain 220's on the ground with only a slight restriction change. That process, I have been told, solidified the want for MTA to build an experienced, multi individual presence at the capital knowledgeable in the political world of the legislature. Ink on that change wasn't even dry before those same severe restriction were again pursued vigorously. What effect the new change in 220 use effected wasn't given time to be seen.
This year following MOHA's experienced advice (given equally to all groups) trappers ended out of the legislative session with no new restrictions on trapping. Along with it probably the best standing of wanting to, not give in, but achieve an equitable solution for all on the issue.
Next year, passing on the words of the most influential pro trapping legislators, MOHA is telling MTA that this issue is not in the least resolved and to be prepared for it to return again this coming session. The special MTA committee, appointed to be able to address this in the timely manner required at session, is already at work on MTA's position.
The MTA has thanked MOHA for its willingness to mediate for all on this issue and extend advice to its members in to regards.
MOHA was also very much at work this session overseeing the legislature with the DNR to see that a wolf hunting/trapping season continues on as well..
Any questions or input on MTA/MOHA activities feel free to contact me, or Greg as well, he is still leading the fight, just getting a little well earned break from the spot light. Drake