I'd like to thank the membership for providing me the opportunity to serve another term as MTA President. I'd also like to thank Jerry Larsen for being a man of integrity during the course of this election cycle and I look forward to continuing our working relationship at the MTA Board level. Congratulations to Dave D'Aigle was also reelected and ran unopposed and will continue to serve as MTA Vice President for another term.
Convention-The Litchfield convention was a resounding success and we experienced some of the most pleasant weather any Minnesota convention goers have experienced in many, many years. I have no idea how leadership from District 5 managed to pull that miracle off but the weather was absolutely beautiful! The newest addition to this year's event was MTA's own version of the Ball Toss Game for youth. In a nutshell, contestants were asked to throw a ball at set coilsprings attached to a tarp. Young people were eager to take up the challenge and although I don't know the exact number of traps we gave away during the Litchfield convention I am confident it was many dozens! In addition, I'd like to thank Jamie Zitzloff of Montrose for the $250 donation he earmarked to help supplement the trap inventory for young trappers! While on the subject of donations, I'd also like to thank Jon Salmonson for the $500 donation given to MTA youth programs on behalf of the company he works for Gemini Incorporated from Cannon Falls. Annually non-profit organizations are chosen by employees for grant consideration. This is the second time MTA has been chosen to receive a grant from Gemini.
While on the thank you list, I'd like to also thank Harold Knopfler from Chisago City and Clifford Edblad from Cambridge for their generous donations to the Legal Defense Fund as well.
Our members are the absolute best!
Sadie Hawkins Race-For the first time, (coerced by District 2's Danny Swedberg and other co-conspirators at the convention) I made the move from merely a spectator to a participant in the famous Sadie Hawkins Race this year. For those unfamiliar with this spectacle, the "Race" is a trapper flavored obstacle course with water hazards and simulated trapping conditions. Removing and resetting traps, placing the "catch" in a packbasket while donning waders, wading through water far too deep for hip boots all for the entertainment of our members with the ultimate benefit of dollars being generated for our Legal Defense Fund.
This year's event had a new twist as instead of it being primarily an individual event, this year was a co-ed team event. Linda and I were recruited to be the first participants in the new Race and although we didn't come close to placing in the winner's circle, it will be an experience we're not likely to forget. (Nor will others allow us to do so.)With Carl Ernst as the emcee, his color commentary makes the entire race something you don't want to miss!
I strongly encourage all members to take the opportunity to experience the Sadie Hawkin's Race at our next convention but I'm reasonably certain, Linda and I will be sitting the next one out!
MTA Convention 2014-While on the subject of conventions, our 2014 convention will be held in Barnum and will be hosted by the District 1 team led by Bert Highland, Frank Brula and Mike Peterson. This site has been a favored location for many members from across the State.
The planning stage has already begun and the district leadership will be relying on the always hard working group of dedicated MTA members to assist in putting everything together to insure another successful convention there.
Awards-One of the greatest honors of being president is having the opportunity to present awards to members chosen by in membership. In addition, I have the unique privilege of choosing the recipients of the President's Awards.
This year's recipients were Dallas Erickson for the President's Education Award and Merlin and Patty Ladd for the Family Award in appreciation of all the years they hosted the MTA Trap Setting Contest during our convention. Letters outlining the achievements of both award recipients are available in this issue of the Newsletter as well.
Although there were two nominations for Junior Trapper of the Year this convention, unfortunately, not a single nomination came in for Trapper of the Year or Lady Trapper of the Year either before or during this year's convention. Because I am absolutely certain there are many deserving members within our Association, I am extending the opportunity for the membership to nominate candidates for these awards until December 15th. Please take the time to recognize two deserving individuals by getting those nominations to me before that date. I anticipate presenting these awards at the General Membership Meeting this January at East Central High School in Finlayson/Askov.
Education-We are fast approaching 3000 trapper education students certified as of today's date and daily more and more take the online option to complete the written exam and are eagerly waiting for an opportunity to complete the fieldwork portion to receive their certification. If you'd be interested in assisting these young people, please contact me about setting up a field day opportunity.
A reminder that you don't have to be an MTA/DNR certified Trapping Instructor to provide fieldwork. But if you'd like to become a certified instructor, it can be accomplished in mere minutes on our website www.mntrappers.org For those without computer access, simply give me a call with your name and address and I'd be happy to send you instructor materials by regular mail.
When I held mine back on August 3rd dedicated students traveled from all over the state to attend.
Don't think for a minute that the price on muskrat pelts isn't having an effect on recruitment.
Raffle-None of the great things we do through the Trapper Education Program and public awareness booths at state fairs would be possible without the funds generated from our annual Gun Raffle. Gary Meis reports that the membership once again did a great job of funding our programs and we're set to continue to get new trappers started on the right track.
Thanks to all who went above and beyond in salesmanship to fund our Education Program!
DNR-I'll wrap up this report with the old news to many that the fisher/marten limit has been reduced again although the "ample" six day season will remain. DNR spokesperson Jason Abraham explained that further season restructuring is likely in the future and that trapper input will be sought to come up with a different approach.
Challenges-The wolf protectionists will be spreading lies and working hard to assure that wolf trapping and hunting doesn't become an annual tradition.
We have to work just as hard to insure they don't succeed to protect what we have waited so long to finally see.
Pressure to further restrict the use of bodygrippers will continue to be a challenge to our solidarity.
We will continue to strive to strengthen our alliances and form new ones as well.
Now more than ever, those that appreciate wildlife and the outdoors will need to stand together.
Have a great season folks and God Bless.
Keep your skinning knives sharp,