Looking For Committee Members

A great way to get involved and help our cause is to serve on a committee. The Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association is going to put together some committees to help get more things done faster and we need your help!

Being a committee member isn’t hard. All you have to do is be a current member and have a desire to help make us a better organization.

At the fall meeting (Bassett, NE) this year we are going to assemble some committees to break down tasks to get done instead of trying to cover all of our activities in 2 one hour meetings a year.

Committees will meet whenever and wherever needed. Most committee business can be accomplished over the phone or email, conference calls or group emails.

If you are interested please let us know. We need your help and we need more voices!

The following committees will be assembled at the Fall meeting. The chairpersons will be chosen by the board of directors.

EDUCATION – scheduling trapper ed classes, facilities, personnel, resources, food
CONVENTION – vendors, facility, demos, table layout, etc
BANQUET – Spring banquet, location, food, speaker, activities, donations
MEMBERSHIP – adding new members, putting together membership material, sending out membership cards, ordering membership cards (for example, Donna could chair this committee, and the members could assist her)
BYLAWS – Keeping the bylaws current.  Proposing changes
COMMUNICATIONS – website, facebook, youtube, communications with our members on anything of importance, including writing our column in the Trappers Post.
AWARDS – Nebraska trappers hall of fame, any other awards, ordering plaques, trophies, etc.
SCHOLARSHIP – promoting and reviewing and awarding the NFH scholarships

Looking for members to be district directors

The Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association has always had districts, but as of the last 10 years, they have not been active. We are looking for members to serve as directors in the district that you live in.

To be a district director isn’t a difficult task. What it means, is you are the contact point in your area for the Nebraska Fur Harvesters. If there are any activities in your area, you can represent the NFH. You also promote membership in your district.

You can see the district map by clicking here.

If you are interested, and are a member with current dues, please see a Nebraska Fur Harvesters officer, or anyone at the front table during the upcoming convention, or message us on our facebook page.

NFH Logo Contest!

The Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association is looking for a new logo that will better identify the organization. In order to engage our current members, and attract new members, we announce competition to design a new logo.

The new logo should identify the organization and what we are all about.

If you are interested in submitting a logo, send it as an attachment to Jessica Power at powerhouse.trapping@gmail.com.

Submissions must include the full name(s) of the person(s) who designed the logo, name, email address, postal address, and telephone number. One or more submissions per person is acceptable. Each submission must be sent in a separate e-mail.

The prize for the winning entry is “first release” of the new logo on one hoodie, one t-shirt, one hat, one coffee cup, and one decal. In addition to four years free membership to the Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association, with twenty-four issues of the Trapper’s Post, and $ 100.00 cash. This prize remains the same regardless of the size of the team submitting the winning entry.

Contest ends September 21, 2019. There is no fee to enter the contest.

Please see below for the official contest rules and details.

Looking forward to seeing all the submissions!

NFH LOGO CONTEST OFFICIAL RULES CLICK HERE

Seeking 2020 Convention Host

We are looking for bids for the 2020 convention location. 2020 is scheduled to be held in western Nebraska from highway 83 west.

Some of the requirements are….

Vendor building, preferably one or two within close proximity, minimum 12,000 sq feet.

Motels, preferably 2

A variety of places to eat

Camper hook ups on site and shower

The local host person will need to be responsible for being the local contact for the facility, lining up a food vendor for both days on site, auctioneer for the Saturday night auction and a vendor to supply bbq for the Saturday night dinner.

Vendors, demo schedules, T-shirt’s, raffle firearm and Friday night fish fry will be taken care of by the association.

If you are interested in hosting the 2020 convention or have questions please contact Eric Stane, 402-658-8012 or ericnfh@gmail.com.

If no bids are received the association will look for a location in the eastern third of the state.

Spring Banquet Reschedule Date

The Spring Banquet has been re-scheduled for Saturday, June 1st, 2019 at the Seward VFW.   Social Hour starts at 5pm and Dinner is at 6.  Speaker will be Furtakers of America President Dave Hastings.   There will be a silent auction and lots of furtaking talk.  Tickets can be purchased in advance or let us know you are coming and you can pay at the door.  Tickets are $20.  See you there.

Fort Kearny Outdoor Expo Volunteers Needed

The Fort Kearny Outdoor Expo will be May 9, 10 & 11 at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area. We will have a trappers tent that will focus on types of traps, pelt identification and why we trap. Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association Members are invited to join Nebraska Game and Parks efforts in education youth and adults about trapping. I am currently looking for members of our association who would be interested in volunteering. Contact Jessica at powerhouse.trapping@gmail.com for volunteer information.

Nebraska Trapper Featured In Local Newspaper

Nebraska’s own Joe Jack was featured in an article that appeared in the Grand Island Independent by author Jeff Bahr.  Here is a link to the story.  I have also reprinted the story below (with permission).  Jeff Bahr can be reached at Jeff.Bahr@theindependent.com.  Joe is a lifetime member of The Nebraska Fur Harvesters.

Wood River man has enjoyed trapping for 70 years

WOOD RIVER — When Joe Jack was 12, his brother-in-law got him started trapping muskrat and mink. Seventy years later, Jack is still trapping.

Jack, who lives in Wood River, worked in education for 40 years. Twenty-seven of those years were at Wood River Rural Schools, where he was a guidance counselor.

Although he spent his education years inside, Jack loves to be outdoors. While he’s out trapping, he enjoys seeing small birds, rabbits, squirrels and wild turkeys.

Through the years of rising and falling fur prices, Jack has never missed a year of trapping.

He has learned a lot about the tendencies of animals. But the education continues. He learns something new about wildlife every year.

A native of Loup City, he graduated from Kearney State College in 1958. While there, he participated in football and track.

When he was in college, he ran mink lines on the Loup and Platte rivers. With the money he earned, he paid almost all of his college expenses.

After he entered the working world, Jack checked his traps before going to school in the morning.

“All my trapping for all those years till I retired was by flashlight in the morning before school,” he said.

On the weekends, he could tend to his traps during daylight hours.

“But otherwise it was getting up at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning and running traps before school.”

Jack, 82, traps beaver, muskrat, badgers, fox, coyotes and raccoons.

He sells the pelts through North American Fur Auctions, which is based in Toronto.

“It’s a sport and it’s a challenge,” he said. “A lot of people say that it’s brutal and the animals don’t have a chance. And boy, that’s not true. Coyotes are really smart, and so are fox. You have to be able to fool them to be able to trap them or snare them.”

The toughest animal to trap is the coyote.

“You have to do a number of things right in order to be able to catch foxes.” But to trap a coyote, “you’ve got to do everything right.”

“Coyotes will kill a fox because they’re in competition for food,” he said.

A coyote “usually can’t flat outrun a fox.” But coyotes can often bring down a fox when two of them team up. One coyote will start out chasing a fox, and a second coyote — fresh and ready to run — will take over when the fox tires.

To catch a coyote, you’ve got to dye and wax the trap first, so that the animal won’t detect any human odor.

In addition to trapping, Jack likes to hunt for pheasants, grouse, quail, deer and turtle dove.

Until 1996, he also bought fur from other people.

“I do a lot of snaring nowadays, because it’s very hard for me to get up and down at 82. I don’t just get down on my knees and just pop back up. I’ve got to have something to get ahold of to lean against and get up.”

Before coming to Wood River in the fall of 1971, he taught in Spencer, Farragut, Iowa, and Elm Creek.

Along the way, he got a master’ degree in guidance and counseling.

For 13 years, he was a head football coach. He also coached track and taught driver’s training. In his last five years at Wood River, he coached cross country. He retired in 1998.

Nancy, his wife of 59 years, died in September of 2017.

They had four kids, three of whom are still alive. A son in Omaha, Greg, often comes to hunt and trap with him.

Jack also receives plenty of assistance from his yellow lab, Lady Hunter.

Jack obviously loves trapping.

“A lot of it’s for fun,” he said. “But some years when we had four little kids and one teaching income, trapping money bought all of our Christmas presents and stuff like that.”

Right now, coyotes fetch the best prices.

Some years, when prices are high, Jack makes money at it. But last year and this year won’t be profitable.

Critics thinks trappers “just go out and slaughter” animals, Jack said.

But they don’t know the whole story. Traps have evolved, he said. So much research has been done that traps are more humane than ever.

In addition, regulation is strict. Most traps have to be checked every 24 hours. Trappers have to put their nametags on each device.

Snares, Jack said, have two kinds of locks. There are kill locks and there are relaxing locks.

Jack usually uses relaxing locks because he inadvertently catches a dog once in a while. A relaxing lock makes sure those dogs get out OK. Dogs are accustomed to wearing collars and leashes, so they won’t fight the snare. When the dog stops applying pressure, the snare relaxes, and the dog survives.

Jack does use a kill lock when he’s trapping in remote parts of the Sandhills, where dogs are less likely to turn up.

There are more raccoons, coyotes and fox around now than ever, said Jack, who’s a lifetime member of Nebraska Fur Harvesters, the National Trappers Association and Fur Takers of America.

Most trappers, he said, are upstanding people. They are great conservationists and they love animals, he said.

Money from taxes and licenses goes toward the conservation of wildlife, he said.

Jack loves watching baby foxes and raccoons at play. “I’ve even raised a few baby raccoons.” Eventually, he turned them loose where there was no chance he would trap them.

If certain types of animals become too abundant, their numbers will be curbed by the forces of nature.

When there are too many coyotes around, mange appears. Raccoons might get distemper. The effect on those animals can be brutal. In other words, the overpopulation problem is left up to Mother Nature.

“And what Mother Nature does to them is not pretty — ever,” Jack said.

Why We Need To Be Responsible, Now More Than Ever

I just read a sad article.  This story in the Sudbury (Ontario) Star reports on a coyote who had to be euthanized because it was “missing both back legs” from being caught in a trap that was “set improperly and not checked”.

Before you go accusing me of caving in and being a softie, the part I am sad about is not what happened to the wild canine, but rather the way this incident was reported upon and the reaction it garnered.  You have more than likely encountered anti’s in your dealings, across facebook, in real life, wherever.  One thing consistent about them is the absence of facts and the tendency to judge on emotion rather than fact.  This is clearly the case in the article.

You can read it if you want by clicking the link above, but here is the synopsis.  A coyote was allegedly caught in a snare or foothold trap just above both back feet and somehow escaped the confinement by chewing out, evidenced in the fact that it had a foot bone wedged in its mouth.  It was not, as reported, “missing both back legs”, rather it had been missing its feet.  They combed the area looking for this canine and found it huddled under a trailer, gave it a shot to sedate it, took it to the vet where they determined the best course of action was to euthanize it.

There are other things that could have caused this animal to become entrapped other than a snare or trap.  Likely it was a snare or trap but no one knows this for fact.  And if it were a snare or trap this animal had been caught in, who is to say that it was “set improperly and not checked” as reported?  I do not know what the laws in Ontario govern as far as the use of traps or check times.  But it is possible that if it were a snare or trap, it was properly set and properly checked, but the animal had freed itself from it before the time to re-check.

Yet the reaction in the comments section set the anti fire ablaze.  It sounds like they are about ready to form a mob and string up the person that supposedly set this trap.  Comments such as

  • “So disgusting ! Ban trap and snare for good ! Ban this cruelty !”

  • “why is snaring not banned.”

  • “Post the name and address of the p***y cowards who use these traps. Let Karma run it’s course. They would be begging for the chance to chew off their leg”

  • “trapping and snaring have no place in todays world. What a disgusting horror that poor animal had to live through, No excuse. This should not be legal”

This is why, fellow trappers, that now more than ever is a time to teach responsibility and act responsible in the field.  It has been harped on a lot, but in order to minimize these occurrences such as the one in Ontario we have to act responsibly.  Follow your check laws, set responsibly, remove your equipment when finished.  The people that write these articles and read these articles are voters like us, and incidents like these fuel the fires of ignorance.

Educate, educate, educate…

-Mark Hajny, Nebraska Fur Harvesters member and NTA Representative