Category Archives: Nebraska Fur Harvesters News

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

Spring Meeting Details Announced

The Spring Meeting of the Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association will be held Sunday, April 10, 2016 in Sumner, Nebraska at the Sumner Community Hall.  Meeting time is 10:30am.  Monte is arranging for lunch and it is being provided for a good will offering.

Topics being discussed include:

Expanding the Trappers Education Program
Building a list of volunteers for events
Introducing our new Secretary
The 2016 Convention
Proposed regulation changes
The new website
Any other new business or concerns

Click this link to see the location on google maps.

Door prizes will be given away.  Shane Claeys from Papio Creek Trapping Supply has a box of giveaways, as well as a few things from Hornady and M & M Baits and Lures.  There will probably be more by meeting time.

If you have questions please contact Eric Stane at this email address, or use the Contact Us page.

All Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association members are welcome to attend.  If you are not currently a member, Visit our membership page and join today or join at the meeting.

There is currently a thread on about the spring meeting.  Make a post of you need to carpool or have any ideas:

Member Profile: Steve Zagozda Jr.

Steve Zagozda Jr

Field Manager

Ralston, Nebraska

How did you get started in trapping?
My son (Eli) heard my dad and uncle talking about snaring rabbits with copper wire when they were young. I remember being a young boy and overhearing them tell the same stories. Similar to when a fisherman tells the story of the huge fish he had caught. I understand this well, because I tell these stories. These are not considered lies, but just slight stretches of the truth. Oh, and don’t get me started on how they caught “millions of them”.

I thought the idea of putting a wire loop in some random spot to get an animal to put it’s neck through it was the biggest game of chance and my time would be better spent fishing in a swimming pool. Eli was not going to forget the concept of this fishing story. So reluctantly I went and bought some copper wire and did some research on rabbit snaring.

We made some rabbit snares and set about a dozen of them. We didn’t get any that first night but we did see some snares pushed aside. The next day we snared two and I was more shocked than Eli was! That got my curiosity going. We went out and bought our first dozen snares.

The next morning I went to check the snares in the dark and as I was walking up on one of the snares I saw some glowing eyes looking back at me. I think I was kind of scared because I couldn’t see what it was and didn’t expect it to be in our snare. It finally hit me that we had trapped an animal. I got close enough to see that fat boar coon and sat and stared at it for a few minutes with this feeling of amazement.

At that moment I became a trapper.

What is your favorite animal to target?
My favorite animal to target is mink. This solitary little predator amazes me with its tenacity, range, and ability to take on prey bigger than itself.

What do you enjoy most about the sport of trapping?
The biggest reason that I enjoy trapping is because I love to be outside in nature. Also, you must consistently be tracking the animals to determine where they are, what they are doing and where they are going. Its like playing a chess match with the animals. And because I get to learn, teach and experience this American heritage with my four boys.

What is one of your most memorable trapping moments?
I will only mention one other than my first animal. Me and 3 of the boys went to check dog proofs along the river. We came through the brush and boom we had a triple right there. We were all so excited giving each other high fives, asking “did you see that one, what about that one”. It was a trapping moment with my kids that I will never forget. They will be telling their kids that “fish” story some day.

What would you like to see changed as far as trapping regulations in Nebraska?
Some people might not feel the same way about this, but I would like to see a 48 hour trap check for dry land.

What other hobbies do you have?
I enjoy catching big catfish. Hunting is another great “love” of mine –  turkey, pheasant, duck and deer hunting. Bee keeping, vegetable and flower gardening are things I enjoy as well. You can say I really enjoy being in the outdoors as much as possible.

Hastings, Nebraska Trapper makes local headline

For those of you who do not see the Hastings Tribune, this article appeared on the front page of the Saturday, January 30th, 2016 edition.  Mr. Raney provides a good reminder to all of us to act responsibly, make sure you are working “by the book” and your traps are tagged and you have obtained proper permission.

This article was written by John Huthmacher, and has  been re-printed with permission from the Hastings Tribune, and publisher Darran Fowler.

Trapper explains activity



Matthew Raney of Hastings was alarmed when he learned Monday that someone’s dog had wandered outside of Brickyard Park and tripped one of a handful of traps he had set with permission on private property just outside park grounds.

The spring-loaded trap reportedly did not cause injury to the dog, but the incident was nonetheless reported by the walker to local authorities and posted on social media sites.

Fearing that someone reading about the found trap may attempt to uncover additional traps he had set in the area, Raney — a certified line clearance arborist by trade — pulled them for the time being, though he says they are technically protected by law.

“That guy who reported it should come forward and let the media know he was in the wrong from the beginning,” Raney said. “It would have been illegal in the park, yeah. But it was on private property outside city limits about 200 yards from park property.”

So far, Raney has yet to make contact with the man who turned his trap over to authorities, he said.

Raney said he set the traps — with permission from the property owner — to target a skulk of foxes that had been killing chickens and ducks after dark at Adams County Fairgrounds. With his own children involved in 4-H activities, he felt compelled to intervene “so that the kids have something to show for 4-H,” he said.

Since the incident was reported, he has cooperated with Hastings Police and animal control and had his trap returned without penalty. He later showed an animal control officer where it had been placed.

The trap’s tag, which contained Raney’s driver’s license number, was left beside where the trap had been placed before it was turned over to police, he said.

“The tags are attached by a small wire and are smaller than the pencil lead that goes into a mechanical pencil,” he said. “Sometimes, if you don’t notice, you can rip a tag off and not know it. This tag was still laying by the hole where it was set up.”

The trap was one of two spring-loaded leg traps he set on the property, along with a live cage and snare traps. To date, he has trapped two foxes and a raccoon there. He is unsure when or if he’ll resume trapping on the site, but has yet to uncover any ordinance prohibiting it.

“I went down to the city attorney’s office Tuesday to look through ordinance books and never found anything prohibiting trapping within city limits,” he said. “You’re not supposed to trap within 200 yards of a dwelling unless you have the owner’s permission, which I did.”

While he concedes that being snared by a spring-loaded trap can sting a bit, he notes it is designed to provide optimum tension without causing harm to the animal. Its purpose is to catch and hold the animal while allowing the trapper to release unwanted catches unharmed.

“They’re not big enough to break bones,” he said. “If a person steps in that trap, it more than likely wouldn’t hurt you, especially if you had shoes on.”


The link to the online story is here.  There are also a couple stories about this leading up to this story.

Proposed Regulation Changes for Fur Harvesting

Below is a link to the Secretary of State’s website with the final wording for the proposed regulation changes:

You can click on the link titled “View Proposed Regulation” and then scroll down to page 15 of the document to view changes (highlighted in yellow).

Comments can be officially entered on the website by clicking on the “Post Comment” link. The regulations will be voted on at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission meeting that will be held at the Lincoln headquarters beginning at 8:30am this Thursday (1/14/16). Anyone who wishes to testify in person may attend the public meeting.

Member Profile: Dave Hastings

Dave Hastings

Secondary Teacher (retired!)/Trapping magazines editor

Ord, NE

How did you get started in trapping?
Found some #1 longsprings in our old garage…just knew I could be like Jim Bridger. Caught a muskrat and a mink in 1963. Saw the mink go into a hole. Put a 110 over it, and went back daily, amazed that I didn’t catch him; until finally I did. Was pretty much ruined from then on.

What is your favorite animal to target?
I admire coyotes the most, but my favorite to trap is bobcats. They are always like an exotic trophy to me, and I get pretty pumped each catch.

What do you enjoy most about the sport of trapping?
Kinda like “who is your favorite child?” I like it all! The income has helped put the kids through college, bought my daughter’s first car, paid a lot of bills.
I totally enjoy matching wits with a wised up coyote or a spooked beaver.
I can’t explain how productive I feel at the end of season when I am putting my fur together to ship.
I just get overwhelmed sometimes by how amazing Mother Nature’s scenery and hijinks are…sort of stop and stare, mouth open, silent. I spend a lot of time being spiritual in my “church”…the outside one.
And one more surprise to me: I always feel a little bit out of place, especially in locations like big airports; but at a trapper get-together, I am at home. And I find trappers the same in Alaska or New Mexico; New York or Mississippi.

What is one of your most memorable trapping moments?
Again, there have been hundreds. Tried trapping coyotes for several years. Watched a demo by Tom Dearmont at a Doniphan NFH convention—5 weeks later on the first check of the season, I had a triple. I thought I was the coyote king. Then I discovered how much I still had to learn. I am a long ways from finishing my coyote education.
I have trapping photos of times when friends and family came trapping and those are all very special to me. My son ran a coon line when in Junior high and that was cool. Both kids have been on the trapline many times, and have called coyotes with me.
I have a young fella that I kinda taught to trap, and watching him become very proficient coyote and cat trapper is rewarding!

What would you like to see changed as far as trapping regulations in Nebraska?
I have several on my wish list. I hope to one day catch and keep a Nebraska lion. There are quite a few small “tweaks” I would change, if I had a genie in a bottle. For example, lots of states (including highly populated ones like Illinois) allow 330s to be part way out of the water.
I would like to be able to use real feathers for cat flags.
The NGPC has made some good improvements in the last few years, like being able to keep fur after season without those troublesome forms, and increased trapping opportunity on public properties that were once off limits. I have been involved with states where the DNR and the trappers were really at war with one another; glad that is not the case here.

What other hobbies do you have?
I take some heat because I don’t do all the stuff I used to. I was into bow hunting, bird hunting, fishing, backpacking, bullfroging, big game, small game…you name it; if it was outdoors, I was into it for a while. As the years pass, I spend less and less time on them all, and more and more on my trapping.
I really like writing, and even though I do some professionally, it still seems like a hobby to me. I guess that is the sign of a job you can stick with.

Anything else you want the Nebraska Fur Harvesters members to know about you?
Yes, there is. The first half or so of my trapping career I didn’t get involved with the social issues of trapping, either within the associations, or with government/society as a whole. Gradually I am farther and farther down that path. I have traveled the country over to meetings on things like the BMPs (I have seen a lot of exotic Holiday Inn meeting rooms…) Today, a day does not go by where I am not somehow, in some way, engaged in both association business, or in working to defeat the anti-trap movement’s efforts to end our way of life.
What strikes me most about this is how bad I was not to get involved earlier. I had my head in the sand. And that is not unusual. Nationally, fewer than 10% of the people who buy a trapping license so much as join their state association; even less a national one. Those who do are spending huge amounts of time and money to see that we will be trapping next year, and the next. The other 95% won’t chip in to pay dues. They go to convention, watch the demos, get their supplies, but don’t support the group that makes the convention possible. I am always amazed by guys who say that it costs too much to join all the groups and make contributions of time and money. I am always stopped short: what exactly is it worth to you to keep trapping? To have your grandson trap?
A few guys (the notoriously grumpy) find some kind of beef with associations—wrong location for convention, didn’t have my favorite guy do demos, “I just don’t like the president…” whatever. So when Obama was elected, these guys didn’t move to Mexico, did they?
The battle is expensive and exhausting. If more people would pitch in, both of those costs would be reduced dramatically. I’ll say one thing for animal rights activists: they put their money where their mouth is.

October Trapper Education Seminar a Success!

On October 15th I gave an introduction to trapping class at the Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln. We had 28 attendees that included adults, male and female, and several kids.

Most everyone had done a little trapping but when asked why they were attending most answered that they wanted to learn more about the basics. Some had trapped last year for the first time and some hadn’t trapped for a few years. We had a good mix of ages and experience.

We covered why we trap and the consequences of not trapping even when the market is in a downturn. Regulations were discussed to make everyone aware of the importance of knowing your regulations before heading afield to set traps.

The second part we covered was ethics and making the right decisions when determining when and where to set traps. After that we got into the basic equipment and sets along with what to do after you harvested a fur bearer. We talked about different ways to market your catch and options to achieve that.

It was a great group with lots of questions and answers afterwards. The Game and Parks wants to provide this class a couple of times a year. If you are interested in this type of class please contact the game and parks to let them know and they can schedule more classes in the future.

Eric Stane — Nebraska Fur Harvesters President and Education Coordinator

NFH Elects New President

At the 2015 Fall meeting, NFH elected Eric Stane as new President to replace Adam Duryea who’s term was up.  Eric answered a few questions about himself and his upcoming role in the Nebraska Fur harvesters:

How did you get started in trapping?

I picked up a copy of Fur Fish and Game in the high school library and borrowed a few traps from a friend. I just thought it looked interesting and never thought I would still be doing it 30 years later.

Why did you join The Nebraska Fur Harvesters?

To help further educate the younger generation and to see that our sport is available to them in the future.

As President of the NFH, what would you like to see accomplished?

A Trapper Education program established.