How time flies when the fires burn hot. The dialogue in our state has been heating up regarding trappers’ rights, with the efforts to limit or ban the conibear traps led principally by local dog groups. Our leadership and membership has been actively engaged, and the NTA is prepared to provide assistance. Trappers - this is a battle of public opinion. You are the guardians of your trade. Get out and talk about your trade with people. Recruit. Let folks know how you use the tools of your trade and how important they are to you. We would be like a carpenter without a hammer - help the public to understand our trade. Our NTA president Kraig Kaatz reminds us to be careful with social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). In spite of all the privacy settings, when you put something on the cloud, assume that the world will see it. They may not see things the way you do. Less is more sometimes.
Karola Owen is back at Vice President of NTA after a very brief retirement. This woman is extremely dedicated to the NTA and trappers. Convention news: The 2013 NTA South East Regional Convention will be held on May 3-5, 2013 in Live Oak, Florida. The NTA Western Regional Convention will be held in Blackfoot, Idaho, with tentative dates June 7-9, 2013. The 54th NTA National Convention will be held on August 1-4, 2013 in Lima, Ohio. Check the nationaltrappers.com website for updated information.
In a recent conversation with my friend and "Extreme Trapper" Gerard Stellmach (a.k.a Stell), I tried to put my finger on what made trappers different than all other sportsman. I always knew there was something different about the trapper, but I could never really articulate what it was. I am not talking about the tools used or the game that is sought, I am talking about a qualitative difference. Then it came to me. It is creativity and ingenuity that makes trappers special. It is a rewiring of the brain that occurs when you are constantly trying to figure out a solution to new challenges. Whether the challenge is trying to get a wary coyote to push into a snare, or to get a trap to fire perfectly when ice is forming. How do you plan your trap line out to save money on fuel? How do you prepare your furs and present them for sale to maximize the fruits of your labor? How do you convince others to let you keep your tools so you can enjoy a tradition that is thousands of years old? Stell paused for a brief minute, and replied, "That's right, David. After all these years, you finally figured it out." This is something that old Stelly has known all along, from decades on the trap line. Pickup load after pickup load of fur taken. A trapping shed lined with hanging steel and smelling of custom concocted lure and dried fur. It is something that one might not think about every day, but it is important to recognize. When you know what you are, you can determine where you are headed. And like the song says, "You've got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything".
Trappers: You are the Real Deal!
David M. Chmielewski