Illinois Trappers Association – President’s Report          submitted September 9, 2018; posted September 12, 2018

Well, here it is September and I am writing my Nov./Dec. column. I hope we all had some fun at our Fall Convention in Decatur.  I also have a few things to mention: The Governor just signed the trap tag bill, which means we now have to tag all traps with our name and address OR the IDNR Customer number that can be found on our trapping license (or any hunting/trapping/fishing license).  We also got a bill that puts setting the otter limit in the hands of the IDNR, where it belongs. 

Please do not forget our fur sale to be held on Saturday, February 9th at Krile Auction House on Route 32 in Strasburg, Illinois. I am leaving for a week to go teach the CPOs some trapping tricks and tips at Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area and then help instruct at our Kids Camp in Sullivan Illinois; should be a fun week!   I want to thank Joe McCall, Robert Dill, and Larry Sylvester for helping me at the CPO camp.   I also hope to see you all at our annual Membership Meeting in October at the Fall Convention.  The Membership Meeting is when you all get to tell us what you want us to do, so please plan to attend and bring your ideas and suggestions with you.

Also, I want to thank all that made it possible to get the award of IDNR Outstanding Volunteer of the Year. It was very humbling for me to receive this honor.  I also have three more Trapper Ed. classes to do before the season opens November 10th. Please, do not forget that there is now a Youth hunting/trapping license, so it is even cheaper to take a kid trapping now!

I hope all have a great season and tight chins to all!...and remember to take a kid trapping. 

Neal Graves, President
Illinois Trappers Association

​Illinois Trapper's Association - President's Report          submitted March 11, 2019; posted May 10, 2019

So here it is…trapping season will be all over by the time this gets to you. We have been very busy in March, as we went to Elmwood, Illinois to do an all-sports show that went over well.   We also picked up a skunk that the ITA had mounted for IDNR.   I hope to get it to them by the end of March.  We also had a big Kids Camp in Pike county at Garner Camp in Hull, Illinois.  The camp was very well attended; we had 37 kids and 25 adults get certified in the Trappers Ed class.  The highlight of the class was we caught a bobcat about 30 feet from the front doors of the lodge and we were able to show the correct way to release a bobcat unharmed and watch it run away - very cool!   Thank you to all who helped and to Garner Camp for all the help.   We really appreciate them letting us use their place to conduct trapper education. I also want to thank IDNR for letting one CPO hang out there all weekend.  

We will be going to the Illinois Taxidermists Association show in Decatur on March 23rd to hand out two awards.  Additionally, we will set up there selling fur and other items.   Also, we will be at the YMCA in Macomb, Illinois doing a sports show on March 23rd and 24th.  Thank you, Kory and Kurt, for heading that up. We just got an award in the mail today from the US Army Corps of Engineers at Carlyle Lake.   We also just held our fur sale in February in Strasburg, Illinois.   We had twenty-four lots of fur to be sold and eight buyers wanting fur and paying good prices, considering what the market was doing.  Most sellers were happy but some were not, which happens in every auction.

We are trying to set up a meeting with the new IDNR Director.  Several of the main topics we hope to discuss include their plans for bobcat and otter seasons.  We will also be getting a new CPO Chief, as Rafael Gutierrez will be retiring at the end of March.  Thank you, Rafael, for your service and all you have done.   Good luck in your retirement!  
Thank you all that donated to the ITA to keep the lobbyist.  The funds raised will provide enough money to pay for six months of the lobbyist’s pay.   We have got some nasty bills coming at us; most of them will be gun bills.  With the fur market being down, our membership is holding about 600.  That being the case, I would like to give all of you a challenge: we all need to try our very best to sign up one new member in 2019.  It would be nice to see our membership over 1000, again.   Also, watch for news about our convention on Oct.5th and 6th, 2019.   It will be at the Macon County Fairgrounds in Decatur, Illinois. I hope to see you all there!

I guess that is it for now, so please remember to take a kid to the outdoors………. 

Neal Graves, ITA President