Member Profile: Tim Huntington

Name
Tim Huntington

Occupation
University Professor

Hometown
Seward, Nebraska.  Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana.

How did you get started in trapping?
My grandpa was a trapper, but he died before I was old enough to get to learn from him. I’d hear stories from my relatives about him, and sometimes I’d get Fur, Fish, and Game magazines with my lawn mowing money and read about trapping. Being a city kid never gave me the chance to try it, but that all changed when we moved outside of the city limits when I was in middle school. I found a rack of Duke traps at a sporting goods store and picked up a #110 body grip trap to give it a go.

I had no clue about what I was doing, and never caught much. I got a #1 coil spring trap sometime later and eventually got my first real catch: a skunk. I also made “monkey paw” traps that I read about in FF&G for raccoons and found some success with those. Looking back, I’m pretty embarrassed about how poor my techniques were back then, but without a mentor, the internet, or much in the way of books to help me out I was learning through trial and error. Emphasis on the error.

I got back into trapping a couple of years ago when I realized that I could take my kids with me. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What is your favorite animal to target?
I consider myself a dry-ground trapper (coons and canines), but I think my favorite target is beavers. To me they represent the classic trapline animal, representing the primary target of early trappers and explorers, and they’re fun to catch. They’re also good eating.

What do you enjoy most about the sport of trapping?
I love spending time outdoors, especially with my children, and trapping is a great way to get the kids out there. Trapping is also like Christmas morning every day, because you never know what might be at the next stop.

I also think that trapping is one of the great unappreciated outdoor skills. When you think about what it takes to be able to put a small piece of metal in the exact spot where an animal is going to step, that’s a pretty amazing skill to have. It makes me proud to be a trapper when I think about that.

What is one of your most memorable trapping moments?
Probably when I caught that very first skunk when I was a kid. After who knows how many weeks or months of checking empty traps, there was finally something there. It’s a pretty exhilarating feeling that I still get every time I make a catch.

I would also add just about every catch that I make when I take my kids with me. They make the experience that much more fun and memorable.

What would you like to see changed as far as trapping regulations in Nebraska?
Based on what I’ve read about most other states, Nebraska’s trapping regulations are pretty hard to beat. Sure I wish we could have exposed bait (bones and feathers), but it’s hard to complain when you read about some of the restrictions that other states have to put up with.

What other hobbies do you have?
Hunting, shooting, fishing, and a few non-outdoor hobbies.

Anything else you want the Nebraska Fur Harvesters to know about you?
My handle on the Trapperman.com forum is “Maggot”

Convention Raffle Tickets

The Convention Raffle Tickets have been mailed out.  The tickets are $1 each or 10 for $8.  Two great prizes are being raffled off this year.  They are a Savage B-Mag .17 WSM rifle with Simmons scope and a $500 Cabela’s gift card.

Make sure you fill out the top part of the card, and if you have a preference between these two great prizes, please write your choice on the part you turn in.

Bring your tickets to the convention or send them with someone who is going.  Drawing will be September 24th, and you need not be present to win.

If you have any questions or need additional tickets, please use the Contact Us link.

2016 Convention Raffle Tickets
2016 Convention Raffle Tickets

Nebraska Fur Harvesters Helps Montana

The Nebraska Fur Harvesters has made a donation to the Montana Trappers Association to help combat Initiative 177.  The $1,000 donation will be used by the MTA to help spread the word and promote the facts about trapping, and how initiative 177 is a special interest maneuver more so than a wildlife protection measure.

This affects us in Nebraska and every other state  because if it passes, the anti trappers can (and assuredly will) use the Montana initiative as a precedent to expand their agenda into other states.

It is times like these, where your membership in one or more trapping associations provides the much needed funds to help sustain our way of life and proper wildlife management.

If you would like to make a personal donation to the Montana Trappers Association, you can do so by clicking this link.  Any amount is helpful.

Take charge of your future and support the National Trappers Association (NTA), the Fur Takers of America (FTA), and the Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association.  With membership in any of the three mentioned associations, you receive a free subscription to a top notch trapping magazine!

A Call To Help Nebraska Trapping Youth

Hello everyone,

In case you are not familiar with me, my name is Mike Lance and I have been a NFH member since before 1984. When the Midwest Trapper (Precursor to the Trapper and Predator Caller) was first published by Mr. Chuck Spearman in the mid 70’s I had an article in the 3rd issue (pre dates me a little doesn’t it!).  I’m the fellow who runs the Kids Trap Toss on Saturdays during the general meeting of the NFH annual Fall Convention. I try to keep the “natives” from getting too restless while you tend to the “business”. Which is why I am writing. If we continue to do this we need donated traps from members like you to award as prizes to the kids. I can’t begin to thank the folks who have donated all types of traps through  years, but Dave Hastings, Jim Cronin, Joe Jack, Kris McAllister, Don Miller and several others went way above what I asked. Many times reaching into their own pockets and time slots to provide me with enough prizes and time to make the Trap Toss a success. I’m now asking you newer members to take their place by donating a trap or two so the NFH Fall Convention Trap Toss can continue….. #0’s, 1’s, 1.5’s, 2’s, LS or Coils, small body grip traps, gopher& mole traps,  etc. are prizes given in the Toss and are currently needed. Typically we need from 50-60 individual traps/yr. in order that every boy and girl gets 1. Bring anything you have to the convention  – new or “pre-owned” in useable condition and I’ll keep this portion of the Convention active as long as the members want. If you need to visit on this or about any other topic let me know with a call @ cell # 402-841-0380 or Pilger NE @396-3718. Thanks.

As always,

Searching for the $9.63 (Top Lot)  Opossum,

The mike

 

Trapper’s Education Class being held

There will be a Trapper’s Education class sponsored by the Nebraska Fur Harvesters.

When:  September 11th, 2016, 9am to 2pm
Where:  Louisville Rod and Gun Club, just south of Springfield, Nebraska (Click this link to see location on google maps)

Classroom, demo sessions, and hands on time.  Lots of raffle prizes!  A free trap will be given to students 18 and under.

We will be having coon, coyote and bobcat demos by local trappers with decades of experience.

Come learn the basics and meet some great people.  Lunch will be provided.

For more information contact Eric Stane at ericnfh@gmail.com or (402) 658-8012.

Montana ballot initiative

Our friends in Montana could use our help.

Ballot Initiative I-177 has made it onto the general election ballot for 2016.  This initiative was created by animal rights activists and will prohibit trapping on all public lands in Montana.

Among other things, it bans Montana citizens from trapping on public ground.  This can ultimately lead to additional trapping and hunting bans in the state.  Read the text of I-177 here.

Before you stop and say, “but how does this affect us in Nebraska?”, consider this:  If the anti-trapping/animal rights movement gets a foothold in Montana, it will set a precedent to move in to other states.  Similar anti-trapping laws have already been passed in California and Colorado.

This link takes you to a page on the Montana Trapper’s Association site where you can read more about I-177.  There is a Donate link at the bottom of the page.

Tips On Obtaining Permission

If you are not a landowner or have a close relative that is a landowner, you probably rely on other people’s ground or public ground to do your trapping.  One of the hardest things for a lot of trappers is contacting a landowner and asking for permission to trap.  This is especially hard if you are a younger person or have moved into a new area where you do not know many people.  I would like to share some tips that I have found useful in getting permission throughout the years.

Before I go into the tips, I would like to explain a little bit about private property.  This varies by state, but some people are under the impression that if a property is not “posted” then it is OK to be on it.  In Nebraska, this could not be further from the truth.  In Nebraska, being on private property without consent is trespassing.  If the property is posted, then it moves from a first degree offense to a second degree offense.   Make no mistake about it, when it comes to hunting/trapping/fishing ground in Nebraska, landowners are pretty serious about it!

What I really meant to convey in the previous paragraph is that we have an obligation as outdoorsmen and women to act responsibly and lead by example.

So you want to trap and you don’t have any place to do it?  How do you start?  The first thing to do is to mentally run through a list of all your relatives.  Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, work acquaintances, family friends, anyone you know.  Do they own land?  Are they outdoorsmen?  Where do they hunt?  Who do they know that might let you on to some property?  Those are all questions you need to ask.

If you are just starting with trapping, it helps to find a mentor.  Find someone that is willing to show you the ropes.  There was a time when the old trappers guarded their secrets tighter than the CIA and wouldn’t tell you anything;  even worse, send you down the wrong path.  There are still a few of those around but by and large they are being replaced by people who enjoy sharing their knowledge.  If you find such person, see if you can ride around with them, learn from them and eventually make a few sets of your own on some land they trap.  They also may know some landowners that you could contact.

Attend a Pheasants Forever or Ducks Unlimited banquet in your area.  There are usually lots of land owners at these events.  Find some guys that “look like farmers”, introduce yourself and tell them you are interested in doing some trapping and if they have any land you could get on.

But what do you say when you ask?  One thing that helps some people is to write out something like a script before making contact with someone.  It does not need to be exact, but just some phrases to use and points to talk about before you actually talk to someone.  This can help with those of us who are a little bit timid or lack conversational confidence.

Let them know exactly what it is you are after.  From what I have seen in Nebraska, obtaining permission to trap is easier than obtaining permission to hunt deer.  Let them know you are only looking for permission to trap.

Once I have gotten the OK for trapping I will always ask two additional questions.  I will ask if it is acceptable to drive onto the property.  Do not assume it is OK to drive on the property just because you have permission to trap on it.  A lot of guys do not want tracks and ruts in their fields.  Another reason is because once people see there are tracks driving into a field, they think that anyone can drive in there, and you have a brand new, well traveled road!

The second question I will ask is if anyone is hunting deer or anything else on the property.  I do this for two reasons.  For one, I do not want to get in someones way when they are hunting.  Secondly, if there are upland bird hunters or waterfowl hunters I will not use conibears or certain kinds of snares because of the hunting dogs.  If there are going to be deer hunters, tell the landowner you will wait until after rifle deer season to trap.  Make sure to ask if the hunters are hunting other seasons as well (muzzle loader, late rifle or archery).  The other reason I ask this question about hunters, is it may open up another property for you for hunting, if no one is currently on it!

I will point out a couple other things to be aware of when it comes to farmers and landowners.  Always leave gates as you found them.  If the gate was open, it may have been left open for a reason.  Also, the guy who is farming it may not be the landowner.  Typically, landowners and their tenants communicate about these things.  But this can get complicated if the landowner has given permission to someone and and the tenant gives permission to you, unbeknownst of each other.  Sorting this out beforehand can eliminate an uncomfortable situation later on.

Some other miscellaneous tips that may not seem like much but it all helps:
– Do not act like a know-it-all.
– Try to listen more than you talk.
– Smile and use a friendly voice and gestures.
– Be appreciative of their time.
– Make it known that you will respect their natural resources.
– If you are wearing sunglasses, take them off so you can make proper eye contact.
– Be prepared to accept rejection and handle it gracefully.
– Keep a notebook of when you contacted landowners, dates, times and notes from the conversations.  This is a good tool to refer back to and to remember what you talked about.

Your first season on a new property is a critical one.  Make sure you keep your promises you made, if any, about driving into the fields, etc.  If someone has driven in there and made ruts in the field, you are the one that will get blamed, so make sure you notify the landowner that the damage caused was not from you.

A permission is a season to season thing.  Do not assume that once you have been given permission you have it for the rest of your life.  Things change that you are not aware of.  Maybe the farmer has a new son-in-law who traps.  Land gets bought and sold, tenants change, etc.  Follow up every season with the landowner to make sure it is still OK to trap.

At the end of the season make sure the landowner knows you have appreciated using his land.  You can do this through a phone call, Thank You card, or if you see them at the store.  Some people go as far as to give out small gifts.  Gift giving certainly isn’t necessary, but do as you feel appropriate.

In conclusion, the best way to obtain permission is with honesty and integrity.  The best way to keep it successfully from year to year is respecting the landowners wishes and property.

Mark Hajny – Nebraska Fur Harvesters Association

NFH Sponsors Nebraska State Taxidermy Association Award

The Nebraska Fur Harvesters sponsored the Best Small Mammal award this year at the Nebraska State Taxidermy Association in Columbus, Nebraska.  On hand to represent the NFH and present the award was NFH President Eric Stane.  The winner was Steve Rollen of Colorado with a Lynx.

The NSTA holds an annual convention and competition where taxidermists can enter their works and compete with others.  At conventions you have the opportunity to attend seminars given by experts as a way to help you learn more, as well as admire the work of your peers.  This year’s convention was held June 3rd-5th at the Ramada Inn, Columbus,  Nebraska.

Eric Stane presents award to Steve Rollen.
Eric Stane presents award to Steve Rollen.  Click for full size image.

Member Profile: Mark Hajny

Name
Mark Hajny

Occupation
Computer Programmer

Hometown
Clay Center, Nebraska

How did you get started in trapping?
As a kid I remembered hearing my dad talk about he and his brothers catching muskrats in the marshes around where we lived.  My grandpa Tyler was also a big outdoorsman and I loved listening to his stories.  My older brother got some traps and I started following him around, picking up a few rats of my own here and there.  I made a lot of pop and candy bar money with the old Victor #1 long springs.  We started getting Fur, Fish and Game magazine and my parents grew tired of having to pay the UPS man for all the C.O.D. orders that showed up at the door.  As I grew older, sports and other things took over and trapping went by the wayside.  Real life kicked in and it seemed like there wasn’t enough time for anything extracurricular.  Now, within the last few years with the kids grown and out of the house, I find myself with the time and resources to get back in to all the things I used to do.  I guess you can say I am a born-again outdoorsman.

What is your favorite animal to target?
It is hard to pick a favorite since each species is unique and poses its own set of challenges.  I seem to be finding myself always going back to ‘coon trapping.  It just seems there are so many different methods and locations in which to target them.  But if I had to pick a favorite it would be the coyote.  There is something about going nose to nose with the apex predator of our region.  Each one of us trying to outsmart the other.  At the end of the day, you hope they have educated you more than you have educated them.

What do you enjoy most about the sport of trapping?
Trapping is a constant learning experience.  I have become a student of the sport, and of several of the great teachers (June, Dobbins, Barringer, Carman to name a few).  As long as you continue to learn, the challenges of trapping are never ending.  You can construct the textbook perfect dirt hole set and walk away with confidence. When you check the next morning and find a freshly laid scat on your unfired trap pan, you know you still have much to learn.  I enjoy the solitude it provides, the heritage, the nostalgia, and I also like the fact that I have something productive to do outside in the winter time.

What is one of your most memorable trapping moments?
I was following my older brother around checking muskrat traps we had set in a farm pond.  He pulled out his can of Skoal, put in a dip then offered me the can (I was probably 10 at the time).  Thinking I was a trapper and could handle it if he could, I put in a dip.  Not knowing what nicotine was or how it affected you, I suddenly got very dizzy and fell in the pond.  Swallowing most of that chaw in the process.  He never stopped cussing me out as we took off on the three-wheeler heading back home to get dry clothes.

I remember when I caught my first coyote.  Like most people when they catch a first something-or-other, you do a double take and look again to see if it really is what you are seeing.  To this day, when approaching a location in the dark where I have sets, I will stop and listen to see if I can hear that ghostly “jangling chains” sound in the wind.

What would you like to see changed as far as trapping regulations in Nebraska?
We are pretty fortunate here as far as regulations.  Nothing really hinders me in the way I trap.  If anything, it would be nice to use real feathers for bobcat attractors, but I work around it.

What other hobbies do you have?
I have more hobbies than I have time for.  I hunt (deer, turkey, upland game), predator call, shooting (target, trap), fish and make fishing lures.  I have recently gotten into tanning furs and making my own trapping lures and baits.

Anything else you want the Nebraska Fur Harvesters members to know about you?
I am always willing to help and answer questions about trapping or anything I am passionate about.  I remember some of the older generation trappers who would clam up when you asked them anything.  I don’t want to be “that guy”.