The NTA convention in Lima, Ohio took place with the good fortune of excellent weather. With 16 hours of board meetings over two days, there was not much time for sunshine, but much was accomplished. A new President, Chris McAllister of South Dakota and General Organizer, Dave Shuttleworth of Pennsylvania, were elected to their respective posts. Outgoing President, Kraig Kaatz did a nice send off, stepping down after nearly a decade on the Executive Council, then as NTA President. The culture of the board of directors appears to be healthy and responsible. We expect this to continue with the new leadership on the Executive Council.
A total of 4723 people passed through the admissions gate at the NTA convention. I spoke with some vendors at the recent MTA Convention in Litchfield who also attended the NTA Convention in Lima. Generally, it was felt that the NTA Convention was successful this year, but not anywhere near the NTA Convention in Owatonna, MN last year. The proof will be in the numbers, when they become available. The 2014 Convention is being held in Escanaba, Michigan July 24th-27th.
There is a lot going on around the Country. A law has been proposed to ban trapping entirely in California. Currently, live traps can be used. Oregon has a bill in the works to ban trapping. Idaho, on the other hand, has passed heritage legislation that protects hunting, fishing and trapping rights as a state heritage, passing by 75% of the vote, as explained by the Idaho NTA affiliate director. What this means is, the citizens of Idaho have said that they want to protect hunting, fishing and trapping as they know it today.
Michigan trappers originated a bill for a wolf trapping season. In the last moments before the vote, the trapping provisions were stripped from the language and only hunting in limited areas of the UP will be permitted. This does not mean that trapping cannot be introduced during a future session.
What a difference a few hundred miles can make in terms of how trapping is viewed on a state by state basis. It is very important to write to your elected officials and respectfully express to them the facts about trapping from the perspective of a trapped why those rights must be preserved. We will no doubt have challenges to our Minnesota trapping heritage in the next legislative session.
As for the MTA Convention in Litchfield, we were again blessed with good weather. I had time to attend the Board of Director’s meeting, talk to some vendors and watch Gary Meis do a Bobcat demo, and then we had to depart for the Northland. For those of you who missed me at the NTA booth at the MTA convention, my apologies. If you were unable to renew your membership, please use the form printed in this newsletter or simply sign up on-line at nationaltrappers.com. I would be happy to send you a membership application, just give me a call.
Thanks to all the NTA and MTA leadership and volunteers who put on great conventions. This is a time consuming and challenging endeavor, but crucial for a multitude of reasons.
Get involved. Be a member. Volunteer what time you can spare. Protect your trapping heritage.