Category Archives: Nebraska Fur Harvesters News

News pertaining primarily to the Nebraska Fur Harvesters and its members.

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.

NTA Alert — New Mexico Ant-Trapping Bill to be heard this week.

**NTA Alert – Opposed to HB366 **

URGENT CALL TO ACTION

Thursday, February 7, 2019 – 8:00 A.M. – Room 317

The Anti-Trapping bill will be heard!!

We need to pack the room!! Please arrive in ROOM 317 by 7:00 a.m. to secure a seat. This will be the only bill heard that day and is expected to have a lengthy discussion.

If you attend:

Park in the free parking garage on the west side of the capitol.

Arrive at 7:00 a.m.

Be prepared to be present for 2-3 hours

Call and take 5 friends

Call and email all legislators everyday leading to Thursday!!!!

If you are unable to attend the meeting in person please send emails and make phone calls to all the legislators in House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee.

HB366 Wildlife Protection & Public Safety Act (Anti-Trapping Bill) “view bill here”

https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/19%20Regular/bills/house/HB0366.pdf

If passed, this bill will directly impact the welfare of hardworking men and women of the middle class who rely on the sale of furs. Trappers also contribute to the growth of game species by helping regulate the numbers of predator species.

Contact the following legislators and STRONGLY OPPOSE HB366! When emailing, type “Opposed to HB366” in the Subject line. Please be respectful when contacting legislators.

House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee

Representatives Emails:

matthew.mcqueen@nmlegis.gov
angelica.rubio@nmlegis.gov
abbas.akhil@nmlegis.gov
phelps.anderson@nmlegis.gov
joanne.ferrary@nmlegis.gov
roddmontoya@gmail.com
andrea@andrearomero.com
debbie.sarinana@nmlegis.gov
larry.scott@nmlegis.gov
nathan.small@nmlegis.gov
melanie.stansbury@nmlegis.gov
jamesstrickler@msn.com
townsend@pvtn.net

Representatives Phone Numbers:

McQueen (505) 986-4423
Rubio (505) 986-4227
Akhil (505) 986-4464
Anderson (505) 986-4450
Ferrary (505) 986-4338
Montoya (505) 986-4758
Romero (505) 986-4254
Sarinana (505) 986-4227
Scott (505) 986-4450
Small (505) 986-4438
Stansbury (505) 986-4336
Strickler (505) 986-4220
Townsend (505) 986-4758

NFH will be at GunStock 2018

Look for the Nebraska Fur Harvesters booth at Gunstock 2018 this year.  Public Relations Director Jessica Power will be hosting the booth.  Gunstock is a show featuring new products and accessories from gun and ammo manufacturers and dealers.

The show is on October 27th and 28th and runs from 9am to 9pm.  It is sponsored by the Omaha Gun Club.

Jessica is seekeing fellow NFH members to help work the booth.  If you are interested, contact her at (308) 539-2703 or powerhouse.trapping@gmail.com

Fall Meeting Summary

The Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association met Saturday at noon during the fall convention.   The following are some high points of the meeting:

  • G&P Furbearer Biologist Sam Wilson gave an update on the process to have an otter season in Nebraska.  The process is more complicated than one might think, with lots of meetings and due diligence.  Hats off to Sam, as he is pushing as much as he can to get us the season.
  • Two vacant officer positions were filled.  Ted Howard will be our new Legislative Representative.  Jessica Power will be our new Public Relations Director.  We wish both of these people well in their new endeavors and we know they will do a good job for us in the Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association.
  • The guys from Bassett came and gave a good presentation and put in a good bid to get the 2019 Convention.  The members voted unanimously to have it there.  2019 Convention will be in Bassett next September.
  • Dave Hastings and Mark Hajny gave their national association reports from the FTA and NTA respectively.  Dave’s knowledge of trapping happenings on a national level is invaluable to our association.
  • We sold the trailer.  For those who do not know, the association owned a trailer which held all the tables and chairs, cooking equipment, coolers, totes, etc.  The trailer got some hail damage, we ended up buying 2 new trailers, a large one and small one.  At the convention we sold the old trailer.
  • We kicked off a vendor advertising program this year.  You will now see vendor advertisements on the website and you will see vendor reviews on the facebook page.

If you have any questions about what was discussed please contact any of the NFH officers.

Obituary: Ray Trompke

If you have been going to the conventions for a while you know Donna and Ray Trompke.  Donna handles all the membership info, whether it comes from online, mail, or at the conventions.  Her husband was Ray.  He worked the registration booth with Donna.  Ray passed away this week.  Read his obituary here:

https://www.kearneyhub.com/obituaries/raymond-trompke/article_90ea8ebb-ba15-539a-8177-e6b628ca1afe.html

 

Spring Meeting and Banquet Date Announced!

The Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association will have it’s Spring Meeting on April 21st, 2018 in Seward, Nebraska at the Seward VFW.

We are excited to announce that in addition to the meeting, new this year will be the NFH Spring Banquet, held in the evening after the meeting.  Proceeds from the banquet will be used to help build a defense fund, to be used in legally defending our rights as trappers and fur harvesters if the need shall ever arise.

Details for the banquet will be released as they come available. But there will be a guest speaker, awesome food (steak and sides), and a silent auction/raffle full of great stuff that you as a sportsman will find good use for.

Tickets will be $20, and there will only be 100 sold.  Purchase in advance from Eric Stane ericnfh@gmail.com, (402) 658-0812 or Mark Hajny  mhajny@gmail.com (402) 762-5762.

 

Opening Day

It’s opening day for trapping most furbearers in Nebraska.  We at the Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association wish you a season filled with success, pride, enjoyment and education.  We also hope you end up making a little money on top of it, although with prices the way they are, do not set your expectations out of reach.

We would like to to keep the following things in mind this season as you set out to trap:

  • You are setting an example for all trappers, everywhere.  Be the trapper you would want kids to learn from.
  • Take someone with you who has never trapped before.  Show them a few sets, harvest a few animals and show them how it’s done.
  • Be humane.
  • Be respectful of landowner’s property and do not trespass.  Ask permission on private ground.
  • If trapping on public ground, please be aware of the fact that other people (and their dogs) will be using the property as well, and place your sets accordingly.
  • Work hard.
  • Don’t be afraid to release animals that look too small or do not look primed up.  There is no shame in releasing a sub-par animal.
  • Help another trapper/outdoorsman if he needs it.
  • Share advice with a beginner.  We were all there at one time.
  • Take time to learn something new.
  • Stop and take in all that the outdoors has to offer.
  • Obey all your state laws.

Thank you and have a good season!
-The Nebraska Fur Harvesters