NTA Report May 15, 2017          (submitted 5/18/2017; posted on 5/22/2017)

By the time you read this the legislative sessions will be over and newly elected members will have survived their first session, and will now go home to their districts for the summer. This is a perfect opportunity to make their acquaintance. Most of these legislators will have time set aside in their district offices to meet with constituents. Take a bit of time and make an appointment to meet them. Many of these legislators are not necessarily anti-trapping – they just don’t have a clue as to what trapping means to both the economy and wildlife management. This is your opportunity to educate them and do some networking. If you don’t want to go alone, take a buddy. Just remember, your goal is to introduce them to trapping issues. Don’t be confrontational. For any legislators, even those that don’t agree with trapper’s issues, it won’t hurt to let them know we are alive and active!


Endangered species lawsuits are still ongoing, notably the Maine Incidental Take Permit Suit. Plaintiffs (Friends of Animals and the Center For Biological Diversity) have appealed the Summary Judgment Decision favorable to the NTA to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments are scheduled for June 1 in Boston Massachusetts. 

One of the most important lawsuits at the moment is the one in Montana District Court where WildEarth Guardians have sued the USFWS claiming the USFWS did not appropriately consider the environmental impacts of the CITES furbearer export program pursuant to NEPA (National Endangered Species Act). The lawsuit specifically references, bobcat, lynx, grey wolves, river otter, and brown bears. The USFWS determined that these CITES export programs were categorically excluded from NEPA review. The USFWS drafted and posted an Environmental Assessment draft, with a public comment period that ended April 10th.

NTA received noticed that their appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has been scheduled for Oral Argument on July 14, 2017 in Portland Oregon. This is an in-person appearance for all attorneys of record. Gary Leistico will be appearing on behalf of the NTA, MTA and other individual interveners. The oral argument is open to the public, but the parties do not need to appear. The Court will issue an Opinion to NTA’s appeal after the oral argument. There’s no time limit on when the Opinion must be issued.


H.R.1438 – “Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act ‘. This is an attempt to prohibit the use of or possession of snares, body-grip and foothold traps on our 150 million acres in the National Wildlife Refuge System. 

H.R. 1629 - The “Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act” would prohibit the import or export of, and the shipment in interstate commerce of, steel-jaw leghold traps and Conibear traps. 

H.R. 1727 – “Limiting Inhumane Federal Trapping Act” H.R. 1727 would: 1) prohibit personnel of the Department of the Interior or the Department of Agriculture from using any body-gripping trap in the performance of their duties, and; 2) prohibit any person from possessing body-gripping traps on property under the administrative jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior or the Department of Agriculture,

With all the resolutions, “Body -gripping trap” is defined as any device that is intended to kill or capture an animal by physically restraining any part of the animal on land or in an aquatic environment. As they also “physically restrain” the animal, foothold traps and snares would also be prohibited.

The NTA is watching all this legislation closely for movement, and will use the NTA “Alert” system should it become necessary for individual trappers to make their voice heard.

Master Trappers DVD Membership Incentive  

Designed specifically to assist in recruiting new members when setting up a booth at conventions, sport shows etc.. Any new regular one year member will receive their choice of the two DVDs - Vol I or Vol 2. Anyone who buys a regular membership for two or more years can receive both volumes (Renewals, Family and Junior memberships do not qualify). These DVDs sell for $40 each, $75 for the set. 

President McAllister and a few others tested this incentive at state conventions last year and found it effective. DVDs must be on hand to give to the new members when they join as NTA will not mail them. 

Respectfully submitted,

Kent Weil

ITA President's Report     (submitted 3/12/2017; posted on 3/15/2017)

Well, here it is mid-March and what a busy last couple months!  

Let’s start with, as I sit here, I have a heavy heart. We lost another trapper, Scott Hertel, out of Centralia, Illinois. Scott, you will be missed down here. Scott’s wife and family listed the ITA as a memorial option for Scott’s services in lieu of flowers. She wanted money to come to ITA for traps to be given out at Kids’ Camp. We received $212.00. Thank you, Hertel Family!. 

Now, let’s go to Springfield, as there are a lot of Bills that are under consideration there. First, HB2685 has passed out of committee. This Bill will let a fur harvester hold their fur all year. SB1468 does the same thing and it is due to be called in committee this week. Also, Sen. Harmon has introduced four Bills that are bad for us. SB1981 bans bobcat trapping and sales of any bobcat taken in Illinois. SB1983 is a wildlife management plan (not a good one). SB1985 bans all lead shot on State ground (shot gun for deer, bird, or rabbit; even 22 lead for dispatching trapped animals), and SB1989, which is an endangered species bill that is not a good one, as it could negatively affect hunters and trappers, as well. These are only a few of the Bills we are watching; there are over 50 Bills we are tracking at this time.  

I went to Springfield and met with a lot of senators and representatives in the last two weeks and also worked in two outdoor shows the ITA attended. Thanks to all that stopped by our booth and helped or just said, Hi! I am still trying to trap a beaver or two for the next two weeks. On March 18th, we will be in Bloomington, Illinois at the Illinois Taxidermy Association show. We are scheduled to give out two awards at that event. And, as this reaches you all, we will be well underway to have all plans finalized for the 2017 NTA convention at the end of July. I very much hope to see a lot of you there!  

Just a reminder: we will not have a fall convention this year, due to hosting the NTA Convention, but on October 7th, we will have a one-day meeting in Decatur. Illinois to have a General Business meeting and draw all of our raffles. We certainly hope a large contingent of our ITA members will plan to attend this meeting, as some very important issues will be discussed. Thanks to Kent Weil for the work he put into all the various sweepstakes to make them happen this year. Great job, Kent! Also, anyone wanting to run for the ITA board must have their nominations (you can nominate yourself) submitted to Kraig Kaatz by July 1st.

I hope to see you all sometime over the summer!

That's all for now and please remember to take a kid trapping.

Neal Graves
President, Illinois Trappers Association 

ITA CONVENTION REPORT     (submitted March 14, 2017; posted March 14, 2017)

Because of the National near Rockford this year in late July, we will not be having a full-blown convention in October. However, the board agreed last fall to hold a general membership meeting at the Macon County Fairgrounds on October 7th, 2017. We will be meeting at the 4-H Building (where we had the meeting last year). 

The meeting will start at 10:00am and we’ll serve lunch after the meeting. All the raffle drawings (itemized below) will be held after the meeting, and there will be door prize drawings for those in attendance. Awards and scholarship presentations will also be made at the meeting, as usual.



Illinois Trappers Association Sweepstakes Raffle


• Henry Golden Boy .22LR Rifle - $575 Value 
See website for transfer and shipping details. Donated by Kaatz Bros. Lures

• Little Wolf Skinning Machine - $575 Value See website for shipping cost details.

• $400 of Assorted Tanned Fur Donated by Great Northern Fur

• $300 Gift Certificate Donated by F&T Fur Harvester’s Trading Post

• Silver Fox Mountain Man Hat - $325 Value Donated by USA Foxx & Fur

• Stihl MS 180 C-BE Gas Chainsaw w/Case - $350 Value
Donated by Groenewold Fur & Wool

• Duke #15 Bear Trap - $200 Value Donated by Duke Traps

•12 K-9 Exteme Traps - $225 Value Donated by NO-BS Lures

• 12 Minnesota Brand MB550 - $225 Value 
Donated by Doren Miller, Miller Fur Company

• 10 4oz Bottles of Lenon Lures & Classic Video Herb Lenon DVD - $225 Value 
Donated by Lenon Lures

• Dozen Feather Light Dogproof Traps & Raccoon Trapping Package - $215 Value 
Donated by PCS Outdoors

• Snow & Neally 23” Hudson Bay Axe, Noonan Coyote 101, Bottom Edge, & Trap Adjustment DVDs - $210 Value Donated by Bob Noonan, Trapper’s Post

• Snow & Neally 23” Hudson Bay Axe, Noonan Marten Trapping & Fisher Trapping DVDs - $180 Value Donated by Bob Noonan, Trappe’r Post

• 6010F 10”x10”x36” Live Trap & Bite Guard Kevlar/Leather Gloves - $180 Value 
Donated by Tomahawk Live Trap

• Tanned Whitetail Hair-On Deer Hide - $125 Value 
Donated by Moyle Mink & Tannery

• $100 Gift Certificate or 50% Off Any Trap - $125 Value 
Donated by Comstock Custom Cage

• $100 Gift Certificate Donated by Volkers Trapping Supplies

• $100 Gift Certificate Donated by DakotaLine Snares

• Post Curved Double-Edged Fleshing Knife - $100 Value 
Donated by Bethell’s Wildlife Control

Five Gun Raffle 

As we have done for several years, we will be offering a five gun raffle. We will be selling tickets at $5 each or 6 for $25. These tickets will be sent in our annual membership mailer in May to all members.  


Savage Axis 223
Remington 870 12 gauge
Heritage 22/22mag Revolver
Marlin 22 Bolt Action Rifle
50 cal. Inline Muzzleloader

Cash Raffle

As we have done for several years, we will be offering a cash raffle. We will be selling tickets at $2 each or 6 for $10. These tickets will be sent in our annual membership mailer in May to all members.  


1st - $200 
2nd - $150
3rd - $100

Furbearers Unlimited 2017 Gun of the Year Raffle

As we did last year, we will be selling chance on the FBU Gun of the Year. Only 250 tickets will be sold at a cost of $10 each. This is a one of a kind gun, engraved Furbearers Gun of the Year, Illinois Trappers Association.  

This year’s gun is a Ruger 5808 Mini 14 Target Rifle in .223 Remington. This is a fine and popular rifle, with a retail value (engraved) at about $1000.

Should you desire any tickets, either for yourself or to sell, please contact Neal Graves for more information (bzbeaver@hotmail.com or 309-989-7616).

Submitted by Kent Weil

NTA Report      (submitted March 15, 2017, posted March 15, 2017)

Montana Ballot Initiative 177 
If you are not aware of what happened in Montana on Election Day, you should be. Trapper’s organizations such as the NTA, the FTA, and literally dozens and dozens of NTA affiliates and FTA chapters contributed well over $250 million of the $525 million raised. The anti-trapping ballot initiative in Montana was overwhelmingly defeated by a two to one margin. The coalition put together (outside of NTA and tons of other trapper organizations) included Sportsman’s Alliance, Big Game Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Delta Waterfowl, Montana Wool Growers Association, Safari Club International and a host of other sporting, farming, and ranching organizations. It was the most complex coalition for a trapping issue I have ever seen in 50 years of being involved in the political process.

The NTA was seriously invested in this fight, as were the FTA and trappers and state trapping organizations around the county. This fight should serve as a model for how trappers can mesh with other sporting groups, banding together to fend off an attack by the antis. A coalition of these organizations formed the Montanan's for Wildlife and Public Land Access (MWPLA) as a way to fight this ballot issue. Rather than breaking apart after winning, the MWLPA is retaining its cohesion and will be bringing the fight to the antis in Montana in the form of a constitutional amendment to protect trapping rights. This is in the beginning stages, so stay tuned for more information in the near future. If successful, this action may serve as a template for trappers in other states to protect their rights as well.

Maine Incidental Take Permit
“On February 15, the federal judge in Maine issued the Order on the lawsuit claiming the USFWS inappropriately issued the State of Maine an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for its trapping program. As an intervenor, NTA legal counsel worked with FTA and Maine Trappers Association on the brief writing and appeared at the oral argument on November 3, 2016 in Bangor. This is an important case for all states with a lynx population, or, with any ESA listed species, and will greatly assist us in protecting trapping going forward. Simply put, this is one of the best outcomes for trapping of any case to date. The Order upheld the ITP and dismissed all claims made by the Plaintiffs (Friends Of Animals, et al). A very good outcome. The case may be appealed, but the Order is well written and seems supported by the facts and law in the case.” The quote by President McAllister says it all.   "This was a real win for trappers and the issuance of Incidental Take Permits in ESA lawsuits".

Other Ongoing ESA Lawsuits
Nothing new to report on the ongoing ESA lawsuits (except the Maine lynx ITP lawsuit, of course) – all are moving their way through the court system. As President McAllister reports, while the ESA has proven invaluable in protecting and recovering threatened and endangered species, the antis simply view it as a means by which they can use the courts to eliminate and restrict those activities they oppose. 

McAllister views the current political makeup in Washington as a potential opportunity to take a proactive stance and modify the Endangered Species Act and is mounting a campaign to collect contributions to affect this end.

New Legislators
A lot of new state and federal legislators were elected this last November. It is important that they know who trappers are, what trappers stand for, and how aggressively trappers will act to fight for legislation that supports trappers rights. It is up to all trappers, individually and collectively, to make our voices heard. Make sure you know the new representatives who were elected. Make plans to introduce them to yourself and the ITA. The new folks will remember the groups who are first to welcome them to their new position. Offer to be a factual resource and keep in contact during their term. Please contact me if you need help finding your legislative representatives.

Kent Weil, NTA Director

ITA President's Report      (submitted 1/10/2017; posted on 1/15/2017)

Well, here we are, one more time!  I hope all had a good season, as by the time you read this, all seasons will be over except beaver and otter.  I also hope that I will have seen many of you at either one or both of the two fur auctions we have this month (I will try to get the results of the auctions in the next issue).

We (the ITA Board) have been very busy this last month or so.  We have been putting together the two fur auctions, lining out some upcoming public outreach events, working on obtaining items for our ITA Sweepstakes, as well as getting things rolling on the NTA Convention in July that we will be hosting.  We are looking for help and, if you want to lend a hand, please contact me or Kraig Kaatz.  

Also, we have been working on details of obtaining a new lobbyist in Springfield.  Tim Sickmeyer has resigned as our lobbyist to pursue a new opportunity.  Now, we will be working with a fellow named Eric Madiar.  Eric was recommended to us by Mr. Sickmeyer and came out with me on the trapline one day during the season.  Eric seems like he will be a very nice person to work with and we thank Tim for recommending him to us.  We also thank Tim for all of the efforts he put in to representing our organization over the last several years (paid AND unpaid).

On the legislative front, it looks like the bobcat bill will be rearing its head again this year.  We are working with IDNR to conduct a trapper training class to teach the Conservation Police Officers.  We are also working with IDNR to update the Trapper's Education book and test.  The ITA has started opening doors with some groups in Illinois, as well as mending some fences with other groups that we need to start working with on a consistent basis.

Any of you that would like to run for a spot on the ITA Board of Directors, please be advised that you need to have your letter of intent (it can be very short...just needs to say you are interested in getting your name on the ballot.  I will be stepping down as ITA President when my term is up in October, though I will be running to remain on the Board.  I want to thank you all for the support and understanding you have given me and the ITA Board during my time as President.  I hope you will continue that support for whomever takes my place and I look forward to working with all of you on upcoming ITA projects.  The ITA is working with IDNR to create some youth-only areas trapping areas in the state.  These areas may take awhile to become established, but they will be worth the wait.  

If any of you have any questions about what the organization is doing, please don't hesitate to contact us; we are here to serve you.  Also, if there is an event you would like to see us at, please contact us and let us know and we will see if we can work it into our schedule.  Again, if you want to help at ANY event, contact us and we can help make it happen.  Of note, we will NOT be going to the Deer and Turkey Classic this year, as the dates of that event conflict with the NTA Convention.

I guess that's all for now but please remember to take a kid trapping!

Neal Graves, ITA President

ITA Fur Sales           (submitted 9/12/2016; posted on 9/21/2016)

By the time you see this; trapping season will be almost upon us. Local fur buyers are expected to be especially cautious this fall, and many have suggested that they simply won’t buy raccoon until they have some indication of whether it will sell in the big late winter auctions.

Regardless of the market uncertainty, the ITA has scheduled two fur sales this year, one in Odell (where we’ve had them before) and one in a new southern location, West Salem. Considering how many local buyers are not real excited about this year’s season, the ITA sales may be one of your best chances to sell your fur.

The northern sale will be held Saturday January 14th and the southern sale will be held Saturday January 28th.

We’ll have all the detailed information in the next issue (which you should get toward the end of December), however if you need more information now you can contact Neal Graves at bzbeaver@hotmail.com or call (309-989-7616).

NTA Report September 2016          (submitted 9/12/2016; posted on 9/21/2016)

For those who missed the Convention in Kalamazoo, you missed a great time.  
The venue was very nice and the crowd appeared to be better than most vendors I talked to expected.   We had a very well sited ITA presence (2 tables and 7 folks to man it) and had lots of traffic.  With so much help, everyone had time to check out the convention.  
We also had a whole bunch of folks from Illinois stop at the booth.  Many volunteered to help in Pecatonica next year.   We had tons of requests for information regarding the 2017 Convention in Pecatonica.

We have some new merchandise this year, and the especially hot item is our new fur sizing yardstick.   You’ll have to come to the ITA convention and take a look – it took us 8 months to find a vendor who’d do it right and it turned out pretty nice. We sold 55 of them at the convention.

On the legislative front, I’m sure most of you by now have heard of the ballot initiative in Montana to ban all trapping on public land in Montana (about 30% of the state).  A coalition has been put together to fight this initiative, and trappers have contributed in a big way.  Last I heard almost $350,000 has been collected for the media campaign against the initiative, and trappers had contributed about $225,000 so far.   This isn’t enough, mind you, and we all in this together.   We dropped the ball when Colorado and New Jersey lost their trapping rights. Let’s not let it happen in Montana.  You can donate by credit card by going to the Montanan’s for Wildlife and Public Land Access website (the ballot initiative committee set up to fight this initiative) www.mwpla.com and click on “Donations”.  Checks may be sent to: Jim Buell, MTA Executive Secretary, P O Box 133, Gildford, MT 59525.

By the time you see this there will only be a couple of weeks left before the election. The more media trappers can buy to fight this initiative, the better chance we have to win. Donate now.

Kent Weil, NTA Director

Treasurer's Report        (submitted 9/7/2016; posted on 9/21/2016)

A fun time was had by all ITA attendees at the National Trappers Association National (NTA) Convention at Kalamazoo, MI.  The Illinois Trappers Association (ITA) had a booth at the convention and kept busy passing out the information for the 2017 NTA National Convention and answering questions.  The 2017 NTA National Convention will be held in Pecatonica, Illinois, hosted by (us'uns), the Illinois Trappers Association.

One of the things we worked on at our booth was recruiting for volunteers for next year's national!  We did make a start with collecting names but we're still looking for volunteers. Lots!  We would sure like to have you join us.  If you'd like to volunteer, please contact Kraig Kaatz at kraig1952@hotmail.com.

We were also selling merchandise for the ITA.  We have added several new items to our list of things to sell.  The most exciting item we had this year was our "brandie new" fur-sizing yard stick, along with some fur pelts, tails, hats, t-shirts, tote bags, can koozies, key chains...and, of course, raffle tickets.

Now that the national convention is behind us, with the state convention soon to follow, it's on to TRAPPING!  Hope to see you at one of our fur auctions next year:  Saturday, January 14th in Odell and Saturday, January 28th in West Salem.

Deb Weil,
ITA Treasurer

ITA President's Report             (submitted 9/6/2016; posted on 9/21/2016)

Hi, All!  Here we are again.  As I set here pondering the things we have been doing and the things we will be doing from now to Oct. 1st, let’s start with the biggest thing in Illinois for a while now.   I am happy to say it is another win for the outdoors people in Illinois, as we will have a bobcat season this year for the 1st time in almost 50 years!!!!!!   I want you all to know we could not have done this without all of you making your calls and without IFOR getting involved.  Thank you Scotty and IFOR!  Tim Sickmeyer, what a job you did for trappers - Thank you!   We did not get the Bill 100% the way we wanted it, but it is much better than the way it could have been.   Make sure we all check the IDNR Hunting and Trapping Regulations books, as there are a lot of new laws this year. 

We also went to the Deer and Turkey Expo in Bloomington, Illinois.   Turnout was down, but we did pick up 14 new members and make some great contacts.   We also just spent the weekend at Presley's Outdoor Store in Bartonville, Illinois and signed up 2 new members.   The ITA has also spent a lot of time at Hooked On Fishing in East Peoria and accomplished a lot of outreach there.   For these activities, we have garnered some very good press with local media outlets.   Also, the ITA (my wife and I) has been going to Morton and putting on our ITA shirts and handing out food at the food bank on every Saturday.  I would like to put out the challenge for any trapper in Tazewell county to call me and see if we can start helping there on the 4th Saturday of the month…until season starts, anyway.

Also, to let you all know, we have been busy trying to recruit new members into the ITA.   We have grown 40 percent in the last year.  Thanks to all that helped make that possible! 
I would like to remind everyone that we will not have an election this year because of the Bylaws you all approved last year.   We had 5 people running for Directors, Mr. Kraig Kaatz running for Secretary, and me running for a new term as President.  So, at this time, I would like to welcome Andy Day, Tony Geinow, and Pat Knothouse to the ITA Board of Directors. 

I would like to remind everyone that we will be having 2 fur sales this year.   We will be in Odell, Illinois the 2nd Saturday in January and at Harvey Fenton’s place in West Salem, Illinois the 4th Saturday in January.   Please remember to save a coon (2X or bigger) to get in on the Coon Raffle at the fur sales, as this will help offset the cost of putting on the sales…and make one person a little more money on the fur checks.  Check our website, as we will have more on there about the fur sales, or contact any ITA Board member with any questions you may have. 

The ITA will also have hosted a Kids Camp at Lotus Group Camp area in Carlyle on September 16-18.   I want to thank all that have donated to the cause…the kids will walk away with a smile just because you took the time to help with time or donations. 

On Saturday, September 10, I was a guest speaker at the Illinois Wildlife Federation.  I was humbled to be ask to attend and talk trapping with them at their convention in Springfield.  

I hope we will see a lot of you Sept 30th and October 1st at the ITA convention in Decatur (Macon Co. Fairgrounds).   On Friday night at the dinner, we will giving out the Trapper of the Year and Hall-of-Fame awards.   New this year, in remembrance of our long-standing President and member, we will be giving out the Paul E. Kelley Memorial Award.  October 1st at the General Business Meeting is your time to tell us what you want us to do for you as an organization.   We can catch up on all that has taken place in the last year; we have a lot to discuss, as we will be talking about the NTA Convention we will be hosting in Pecatonica in July, 2017, as well as looking at going into a yearly contract with Tim Sickmeyer to be our lobbyist in Springfield next year. I hope to see you all there!

Well, I guess that's all for now. Please be careful and have a lot of fun this year in the field. I hope your fur stretcher's are full and we are all careful and have fun this trapping season. And, as always, please remember to take a kid trapping!

ITA President, Neal Graves

NTA REPORT July 2016          (submitted 7/13/2016; posted on 7/18/2016)

FBU Gun of the Year
We have and are still selling tickets.  We are selling 250 tickets at $10 each.  The gun, with engraving, retails for $1600.   Contact President Neal Graves for tickets: (bzbeaver@hotmail.com or 3090989-7616).   Drawing will be on October 1st  at the Convention.

NTA Booth in Kalamazoo
We have two tables this year at the Convention.  We are selling a number of promotional items this year.  We’ll have t-shirts, shopping bags, hats, can cozies, and (hopefully) yardsticks.   Of course, we will also be selling raffle tickets and memberships.   If you need more tickets (and we hope you do!), contact President Neal Graves for tickets.

2017 Convention
As far as I know, things are progressing as is normal at this point in the process.  We are actively pursuing volunteers for the 2017 Convention and will have a sign-up sheet in Kalamazoo.  Please, if you think you might be able to help, give us your contact information by contacting Kraig Kaatz (kraig1952@hotmail.com or 708-466-9491).  

NEPA Lawsuit
This may be the most important lawsuit I have ever seen affecting trapping across the United States..
A lawsuit filed in May in Montana District Court by WildEarth Guardians against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) seeks to require the USFWS to complete a The National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) environmental review before allowing the export of bobcat, wolf, otter and brown bear, or any other Appendix II species as regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.  The National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requires all federal agencies to publicly evaluate the 
environmental impacts of activities such at the CITES furbearer export program.  The USFWS determined that NEPA reviews where not required when procedures were being implemented when the US became signatory to the international CITES treaty.
The U.S. is a party to the CITES, the international treaty that regulates the export of pelts and other animal parts. This regulation by the USFWS is achieved through a permit and tagging system in conjunction with states and individual trappers.  None of the species that require a CITES tag are endangered. Bobcats, as an example, are only listed in Appendix II of CITES because they are a spotted cat that may “look like” a cat from other countries that IS 
endangered. As a mark of how widespread bobcats are in the U.S., we exported 59,000 in 2014, all under CITES and ESA supervision.  Since one aspect of compliance with the EAS and CITES is that the harvest not provide any decrease detrimental to that species sustainability, these bobcat populations are obviously healthy.  This is an insidious and very dangerous lawsuit to trappers. It will affect trappers in every state except maybe Hawaii.  Most states have a bobcat or an otter season, as these are very plentiful species.  As they require a 
CITIES tag for export, they will be affected.  The intent of this lawsuit is not to attack directly the harvest of the species concerned, but to stop the issuance of CITES tags, thus preventing the export of the pelts concerned.  As mentioned above, the USFWS determined that it was unnecessary for a NEPA environmental review to be completed for the species concerned. They chose to categorically exclude the CITES export program for Appendix II species from NEPA review.  If this lawsuit prevails, the USFWS will be forced to halt the issuance of CITES tags until each species in each state has gone through the NEPA environmental review process.
This process will take years to complete, and even if the results are in the trappers favor, the Anti’s will have an opportunity to contest the results, possibly requiring another review. 
If this suit is not defeated, it will immediately change the face of trapping in the entire United States.  The NTA has filed to intervene and is working with legal counsel of a number of state DNRs.  While other groups may also intervene, the NTA feels that we must be present to protect trapper’s rights.  Each group that intervenes will have their own agenda and trappers must not be left in the dust.  Please read the NTA President’s Report in this issue – this is a vitally important issue to all trappers in the US.  I would encourage all of us, as both individuals and as an NTA affiliate, to consider financial support for this fight.  If you are reading this and you are not an NTA member, please consider joining today. The NTA is the only entity involved in this lawsuit that will have only trapper’s rights as their agenda.   They will need every penny they can get to win this lawsuit.

Kent Weil, NTA Director

TREASURER'S REPORT          (submitted 7/13/2016; posted on 7/18/2016)

July Treasurer’s Report

We are getting a really good response to our annual newsletter mailing.  Since the June 
25th mailing, things have been busy on my end.  I have received lots of correspondence 
from our members - anywhere from sending in raffle tickets, to members renewing their 
memberships, to former members submitting new membership applications and brand 
new memberships! 

This is exciting!  In the past 15 days, we have had 14 of our “expired” members re-up; 
we’ve had 3 “new” youth memberships, and 13 “new” adult memberships!  Keep up the 
good work; we need all the help we can get!  We’re fighting for a good cause (remember 
the otter season in 2012 and the new bobcat season this year!).  We can’t do it without our 

The raffle ticket sales are going as expected and I am hoping they don’t slow down.  If 
you haven’t sent in your tickets why don’t you sit right down, fill them out and send them
to me.  Ask for more, we’re more than happy to send you more.  Sell, sell, sell. 

Well that’s all for now.  Just wanted to spread the word…we’re doing good.  I am having 
the time of my life watching things happen in the ITA. 

Until next time,

Deb Weil, ITA Treasurer

PRESIDENT’S REPORT        (submitted 5/15/2016; posted on 6/2/2016)

Well, All, here we are again.  It is May 15th and I am trying to provide the best report I can regarding the goings-on with the ITA.  It has been a busy couple of months for us…

Let’s start in Springfield.  We have had some real fighting going on in the capitol with the bobcat bill, SB2143.  At this point, I am happy to say it looks like we have staved off SB2143 and the attack on trappers…but it is not over ‘til it’s over.  DNR has met with the sponsor and are now in the process of setting boundaries.  All boundaries are PROPOSED until the final rule is set.

Also, the youth trapping bill is on track.  It is moving and looks like it will pass.  The feral cat bill looks to be dead, but with that being said, there is now a resolution (SJR 53 ) to create a feral cat task force, which is fine and dandy.  They are putting so many groups on it that it may never come to fruition.  It is loaded with anti's but that is something to occupy their time. So far, nothing they are proposing will interrupt how we manage feral cats.

Also, there is HB1016, which creates the gun dealer licensing act.  If this bill passes, it will likely put the small gun dealer out of business.

I want to thank Kent Weil for all the hard work he has put into this up to now.  Kent, Thanks! You made a big difference when we needed it!

Now for some brighter news!  We (ITA) have now entered into a short term agreement with Mr. Tim Sickmeyer to be our lobbyist in Springfield.  We will be bringing this up to you all at the meeting in October (at the General Business Meeting to be held during the Convention) to hire Tim long-term. 

 We also now have a signed contract with NTA to host the NTA’s 58th Annual Convention. This convention will be held on July 23-30, 2017 on the Winnebago County Fairgrounds.  If any of you want to help in any way (and we sincerely hope you do, since we will need lots of volunteer assistance to make this a great convention) please e-mail me or give me a call and I bet we can make it happen.

A delegation of ITA members attended the IFOR banquet and I hear those that went had a ball; some even won a few prizes on the various raffles and games!  We also have been doing a lot of public outreach in many different places in the state and we have a lot more upcoming. As of now, we are doing a lot of outreach events in East Peoria at a place call Hooked on Fishing.  Hooked on Fishing does great work and they do an especially good job of introducing inner city kids to fishing, so these events have been a blast. 

 On July 16th, we will be holding our quarterly meeting there and have the park booked out for an ITA “fun with the family” day.  Please call or e-mail me if you plan on attending. ITA will provide the drink and a meal of some type.  There will be lots of fishing going on there all day, so please plan on coming and bring the family (and/or a friend), as we look forward to meeting some of you who we have not yet met.  

Also, do not forget the ITA convention this Fall.   It is scheduled for September 30 – October 1 in Decatur at the Macon County Fairgrounds (where we were last year).

I know I am missing something but I am going to close for now by saying please remember to take a kid trapping! ....... Neal Graves, President

MAY/JUNE PRESIDENT’S REPORT    (submitted 3/14/2016; posted on 3/14/2016) 

    Well, here it is March 12th, and as I write this column it has been a whirlwind. Seems like all I have done is run in circles.  
    We spent last weekend in Elmwood at the Elmwood All Outdoors Show. We raffled a dozen #110 Dukes and congratulations go out to new trapper Austin Bennett for winning his first traps. Thanks to all that came and helped man the booth or stopped by and said howdy. We did sign up 3 new members, and sold some fur and raffle tickets. 
    We also have been fighting a bad, bad bill that Senator Don Harmon of Oak Forest has introduced. The Bill will make it against the law to trap or sell any bobcat that is legally taken in Illinois. Thanks to all who have signed witness slips against that bill or called your Senators and Representatives. 
    I have also been in on several meetings since the fur sale trying to set up some trapper education classes and some public outreach. Looks like next year we will be holding two fur sales. We have already booked space for one in Odell, Illinois and one in West Salem, Illinois. The fur market is not looking good, but there are signs of life in some of it, especially coyotes. Hopefully, we will have a better season next year. 
    The ITA also went to Illinois Taxidermy Association show in Bloomington, Illinois on March 12th. We always attend and give awards for best furbearer. This year we are giving awards in both the youth and adult divisions. We had a great time and some good food – and got to look at some awesome mounts!
    We have been working on our fall convention. It will be held at the Macon County Fairgrounds in Decatur, Illinois. Dates this year will be September 30th and October 1st. Vendor spaces are filling fast. Contact Kent Weil (weil@springnet1.com) if interested in space. Details will be posted as available in this space or on our website. For you new guys, we’ll be sending flyers to all our members about the convention later this summer.
Anyone wanting to run for the ITA Board or ITA Secretary must have filed their nomination with Secretary Derek Hahn by July 1st. Contact me if you are interested or have questions.  
If you would like to nominate someone for Trapper of the Year or Hall of Fame you must also do so by the end of July. Write why you think someone should be Trapper of the Year or in the Hall of Fame and send it to me snail mail or email.  
    We also have printed our annual raffle tickets, and we have four raffles this year. If you would like any or want some to start selling give me a call or email and we can make it happen. We will be raffling a Stihl chain saw and three cash prizes. Tickets, mix or match, are $2.00 ea or 6 for $10.00.  
    We also are doing a 5 gun raffle again this year. Those tickets are $5.00 each or 5 for $20.00. This is a great raffle and was a big success last year. We are also getting in on the Furbearer Unlimited Gun of the Year. Each affiliated organization has an option to raffle one of these guns, and it will be engraved with the affiliates name along with Furbearers Unlimited.  
This particular gun will be engraved as the 2016 Furbearer Unlimited – Illinois Trappers Association Gun of the Year, 1 of 1. The gun this year is a Ruger "Precision Rifle " 18005, 6.5 Creedmoor. This gun is capable of minute-of angle shooting at 1000 yards. With the engraving, this is a $1600 rifle folks. Tickets are $10 each and we are only going to sell 250. The drawing will be at the end of our convention on October 1st. Contact me for tickets for either gun raffle.
As most of you have heard, we will be hosting the 2017 NTA Convention in Pecatonica, Illinois next year. Watch this space and our website for more details. 
    Also new this year, we are now accepting payments via credit cards or Paypal. Call or email our Treasurer Deb Weil if you wish to pay by credit card, or you can send it to our Paypal account via debweil4ita@comcast.net.
    I guess I am running out of things to say. I will close by saying keep checking the website for upcoming ITA news and events. 
    Remember to take a kid to the woods. May your stringers be full of crappies and plates full of morels and God bless ……… Neal Graves, President

Treasurer’s Report for March 4, 2016

We are instituting a new policy for renewal notices to ITA members. Starting this year, you will receive two renewal notices: one Trappers Post (typically 2-3 months before your membership expires) and one from the ITA about a month or so before your membership expires. The notice from the ITA will be the last chance to renew without missing a magazine. We will also be getting a list of expired memberships every two months from Trapper’s Post, and the ITA will send a final “your membership has expired” notice as well. The Board feels we need to do more to make sure our members stay active and keep receiving their Trappers Post. 

Something else that is new this year. We will be sending out "Announcements" via email. This will be a way to keep our membership informed on issues of interest to trappers. One topic might be letting members know about the upcoming bobcat trapping season once DNR finalizes the permitting process. Another topic would be to give our members information regarding the 2017 NTA Convention, which will be held in Pecatonica, Illinois.

We currently have about 500 or so email addresses, but have hundreds of members for which we have no email information. Please, when we renew your membership, make sure we have an email address for you. It doesn’t have to necessarily have to be your email address, just someone who will quickly pass along information to you.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for our membership.

Thank you, Deb Weil, ITA Treasurer

2017 NTA Convention Update

 Tamara Masterson (NTA Convention Coordinator) and I met with the President of the Winnebago County Fairgrounds in October for the site visit, which was the final hurdle to having the 2017 NTA Convention in Pecatonica, IL. 
     The grounds look great and the fairgrounds seem very willing to work with us. Looks like we’ve got a great area for the demos, and there will be tons of parking and camping space. Now all the work starts…
    After the site visit, we also met with Greta, at the Rockford Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. She showed us a number of hotels and there are suitable choices for the Host hotel. She was also very helpful. Details are being finalized.
    With those hurdles out of the way, the ITA is starting to work on our part. We will need lots of volunteers to pull this off. We will need folks starting Sunday July 26, 2017 through Sunday August 2, 2017. The convention itself will run from Thursday, July 30th through Sunday morning, August 2nd.
    We are beginning to collect names and contact information for volunteers. If you know you are going to go, and can spare a bit of time to help out, please call or email me or President Graves. Right now we are just collecting names. Once we are a bit farther along in the process, we’ll get back to you with an idea of where we will need help.  
    There will be plenty of camping spots available free of charge to volunteers (tent camping will be free, there will be a charge for any camping involving any hookups)

Please give us your name if you think you can help.

Thanks for your consideration.

Kent Weil NTA Director

March ITA Convention Update

    We sent out Vendor Applications the last week of February, and as of today (March 14) we have about half of the space accounted for. It’s nice to be back in the same location this year, as it really makes it so much simpler. Knowing how booth spaces block out in the buildings makes my job a lot easier.
    The fairgrounds and staff are a known quantity this year, and they have proven very willing to work with us. Every venue has problems, but it is really hard to do anything about it if you pull up stakes and move to a different location each year.  
    We must have done something right last year, as every vendor so far but one (and she just did not care one way or the other) has asked for the same building and booth locations as last year, and several are expanding to more tables.
    We’ve started working on the demo list. We will have our demo area indoors like last year. New this year will be a kid’s demo and several workshops (such as building mink boxes).  
We’ll probably do the herb garden tour again at Mari Mann Herb Garden, maybe on Saturday, and do a longer visit there. Folks liked it last year and the Garden is probably willing to do an expanded tour, if we can get enough people interested - more on that as time progresses.
    We can always use volunteers! If you know you are coming and are willing to help, send me your contact information (217-522-2338 or weil@springnet1.com) and I‘ll get you on the list.     We had a good convention last year and will have a better one this year!


Kent Weil, Convention Coordinator

LEGISLATIVE NEWS March 14, 2016 by Kent Weil

    For those of you who don’t know me, I am a Director in Region 4. I have been involved with the legislature and politics all my life. I know from personal experience that often it only takes a little bit of effort to make a large impact on how a legislator votes.
    As far as most non-controversial bills (and let’s face it, few trapping bills are controversial as compared to, say, abortion legislation), most legislators receive little input from their constituents on how to vote on a bill. In the two year legislative session, roughly 10,000 bills cross a legislator’s desk. 
     No one on earth can be an expert on all these topics, so legislators are dependent on input from their districts or lobbying efforts by special interest groups (such as the ITA, HSUS, NRA etc.). They have to make a decision and will often vote with whoever shows the most interest. 
In the past, this has typically been the anti-trappers groups. They are very well organized and well funded, and they DO show interest in even non-controversial legislation. Trappers and other sportsmen typical do not. Guess which squeaky wheel gets the grease?
It’s time to stop this. We may not have the money, but by God we are capable of being politically active! It’s effective, it’s cheap, and it works.  But to be effective, we need your help.      Here’s an example that is playing out in the legislature this spring:  Last year, after a three year battle, Illinois Trappers won the right to harvest bobcats in Illinois. Even as the season and permitting regulations are being set, a bill (SB2143) that will eliminate our right to sell bobcat pelts in Illinois, and will prohibit trapping as a means of harvest, is working it’s was through the Illinois legislature.  It is currently (as of March 14th) in the Commerce and Economic Development committee of the Illinois Senate. It was scheduled to be heard March 3. There was quite a bit of opposition and it was postponed. It was scheduled again for March 12. Again, there was substantial opposition and the sponsor pulled it again. We expect that we will see it again this week (March 16-18). The Senate committee deadline for Senate Bills is April 8th. If we can mount enough opposition to this bill, it may never get out of committee.
The ITA is vehemently opposed to this bill and we are attempting to crush it in committee before it even sees the light of day.  
    By the time you read this, the committee deadline will have passed, and we may have stopped the bill or we may need to mount an even stronger defense in order to keep the bill from passing the Senate.

    This is how you can help...For the first time, the ITA is using its members email addresses for a call to action. We did this last week (March 12th) with great success. If we can stall the bill in committee until April 8th, we won’t have to worry about it again this year. This is our goal.
    Because the anti’s are appealing to out of state groups, so are we. We are working with the NTA to get an Alert out fast (we will probably only have a 24 hour window once the bill is posted for a committee hearing – we will have a greater latitude for action if the bill hits the Senate floor).  
    A number of affiliates have contacted me asking me to let them know what’s happening, and they will alert their contact group. As of today, thanks to: Bob Steinmetz of Michigan, Keith Daniels of Ohio, and Toby Hutchinson of Alabama, as well as Chris McAllister of NTA for their proffered support. If anyone else wants on our contact list, please email me at weil@springnet1.com.
    Many of you will have been contacted by this combined alert system, and will have, hopefully, followed the procedure for filing witness slips. Almost 1/3 of the anti’s slips last week were filed by an organization, Big Cat Rescue, out of Tampa, Florida. If anyone knows more about this group, please contact me.
    Like I said, by the time you all read this, we will either not need any help (i.e. the bill died in committee), or we may need A LOT of help as the bill may be debated on the Senate Floor in May. At this point, we would like to flood particular Senate offices with letters, email, or phone calls.  
    We will detail how to do this in future alerts, so if you are an ITA member and have not heard form us in March, it’s because you have not provided us with an email address. To be effective, this is absolutely critical. Please contact me with your email address, or at least the email address of someone close to you who will quickly pass information along.
    If you are out-of-state, but would like to help, please let me know and we will add you to our contact list.
    Make no mistake, the anti’s are very good at this. We can beat them at this game.


    Our July 16th Quarterly Board Meeting will be at Hooked on Fishing (1807 N Main St, East Peoria). We have had a couple of board meetings there and it's a pretty nice place. Hooked on Fishing is a private, not-for-profit organization that provides fishing opportunities for the community. All fishing is “catch and release”. They provide the equipment and bait. If you want to take a look at the facility, their website is: http://hookedonfishingpark.com/
They have offered to let us do a free "family day" type event for ITA members in conjunction with the board meeting. We would like to invite any members and their families to join us for the day here at Hooked on Fishing. We'll be there starting at 9:00am and can stay until 5:00pm. The fishing is fun and, depending on your response, we'll probably add some other activities such as some impromptu demos or seminars. If you'd like to help with this, let us know. We are always looking for member input.
    The Board members will need to work for a lot of the day (while you guys are having fun) but if you'd like to sit in and see how the ITA does business, you'd be welcome.
    Most importantly, we'll provide the food (picnic type food: hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, baked beans, etc.). We certainly wouldn't mind if you would like to bring a dessert or side dish!
    This is the first time we've tried this, so we have no idea how well it will be received by you guys. You can help us out by contacting us and letting us know if you will be attending. This will help us manage the food and activities. Hope to see you in July!
    You can call me at 309-989-7616 or email me at bzbeaver@hotmail.com if you'd like to RSVP.

God bless and don't forget to take a kid trapping (or fishing, as the case may be!)

Neal Graves, ITA President

February 2016 President's Report   (submitted 1/24/2016; posted on 1/31/2016)

Trapping season is over for most of us in Illinois – there are a few holding on to trap beaver and otter till March 31st - good luck to all. 

I want to say I am sorry to all the folks down south for not having a southern fur sale but we ran in to a lot of factors out of our control. We are sorry for any of the confusion or inconveniences we may have caused you. 

We are working for 2017 fur sale locations both north and south, and will have these locked in early this year. We did have a fur sale in Odell, Illinois on January 9th, and the results are on our website. 

We are also looking to do a lot of public outreach this year, so if any of you want to do something in your area let me know and we will see if we can make it happen. I am sorry I missed the last issue of Association News but I was trapping and I just lost track of the dates and missed the deadline.  

I am happy to let you all know we are going to be holding the 2017 NTA Convention in Pecatonica (near Rockford Illinois) so look for more on website and in here as we will be posting a lot more to come in the coming months. 

If you want to know more about ITA events, meeting dates, etc., please contact any of the Board members. Any of us will be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

President Neal Graves

July 2015 President's Report    (submitted 7/5/15; posted on 8/3/15)

Hi, All.  I am sorry to say I have to start out with some sad news.  This month, Illinois trappers lost two big names in the trapping world.  Henry Clark passed on to the big trapping world upstairs on July 1st.  His shoes will be hard to fill, as he was an ITA Hall-of-Fame member.  Henry published two trapping books and was a long-time ITA member and Director.  He always had time to show someone a thing or two about trapping and will be greatly missed.  Also, Deb Noonan passed on this month, as well. She also was big in the trapping field and will be sorely missed by many. 

On a brighter note, we are in mid-July now and trapping season is just around the corner.  Our 2015 trappers convention is coming together well.  If any want to help with it, please call Kent Weil at (217) 522- 2328 or myself at (309) 989-7616.  We have some of the biggest names in the trapping world coming in to do demos for you.  We also have a lot going on for kids and wives this year and I look forward to seeing you all there!  And, please, if you are an ITA member, vote at the convention; we are here to work for you.  We also are starting a new thing this year regarding sweepstakes ticket sales.  All tickets and moneys need to come back to me this year, as we are going to give away five, one-year member ships and one dozen Duke DPs.  All you have to do is sell or buy the raffle tickets we will be sending you.  For every $50 dollars you sell and send back to me, your name will go into a drawing for a free one-year membership.  For every $100 you sell, you will be entered into a drawing for a free dozen Duke DPs and your name will be in the drawing for a membership two times.  So if you sell $100, you could end up with a dozen free DPs and two, one-year memberships.  We have a lot we are going to be giving away this year.  We are going to give away a new Polaris 400 4x4 –   tickets are $10.00 ea. or 6 for $50.00.  We also have a 5 gun raffle – tickets are $5.00 ea. or 5 for $20.00 (these guns are an AR-15 M4 16" PSA, a Remington 870, a Marlin .22 bolt action rifle, a Heritage .22/.22mag pistol and a 50. caliber in-line muzzleloader.  We also are giving away three cash prizes:  $200.00, $150.00, and $100.00.  These tickets are for $2.00 ea. or 6 for $10.00.  We will be giving out a Savage Axis XP bolt-action .22-250; these tickets are $2.00 ea. or 6 for $10.00.  We also have a Stihl model MS271 chain saw; these tickets also are $2.00 ea. or 6 for $10.00.  Last but not least, we have a Puma .22/.22mag revolver we are going to give away.  Tickets on it are also $2.00 ea. or 6 for $10.00.  These sweepstakes drawings and other prize give-aways are how we try to make money to support the ITA so that we do not have to raise dues, so please try to sell or buy your tickets.  If you need more contact me at bzbeaver@hotmail.com or at (309) 989-7616.  I hope to see you all there!

We also have a young trappers camp coming up Sept. 18-20 at Carlyle Lake.  We have a limit of 30 kids and this is free to you and is a good weekend camping trip.  This fills up fast, so if you are interested please call me at (309) 989-7616 or email me at bzbeaver@hotmail.com.   

I guess that's all for now I know I am forgetting something. but remember to take a kid trapping ......Neal Graves, ITA President 

Convention Coordinator's Report  (submitted 7/4/2015; posted on 7/6/2015)


The membership flyer for the 2015 Convention went to the press today, and you all will be receiving it about the end of the month.  The Convention is at the Macon County Fairgrounds this year (Decatur, IL) and will be held from 8:00am October 2nd through 6:00pm October 3rd with the General Membership Meeting, Fish/Chicken Fry/ and Auction to be held Friday, October 2nd, starting at 6:30pm. 

We have a very good demo line-up this year with special emphasis on bobcats (since it looks like we’ll have a Bobcat Bill signed by the Governor) and fur grading/marketing this year.  We have a great vendor selection this year with vendors from at least 10 states.  We are almost sold out as of July 1st for inside spaces, but will have ample 10’x20’ tailgating spaces - $20 gets you the space for both days.  We have lots of free camping ($25 a day if you need an electric hookup).

I think our President, Neal Graves is going to write extensively about the raffle tickets and prizes, so I won’t take up space here.  Needless to say, you will be receiving tickets as always with your flyer so be sure to purchase them and send the money to Neil.

We are stepping things up a bit this year.  This is a very nice facility, with lots of inside space along with some great tailgating locations.  We have a small building reserved for kids activities, with 8 hours of activities planned over two days.  We will have an inside demo space this year, if weather is inclement. We would still like to do a number of demos outside if the weather is nice as the fairground has some nice locations we can set up.  We are doing more advertising this year, with some of it directed toward a younger demographic than is typical with trappers (look around – most of us are on the downward side of 50).

We are trying some other new things this year.  

We will be offering a free tour of the Mari-Mann Herb Garden in Decatur.  In addition to the garden, they have a shop with all sorts of herbal concoctions and gifts along with a great deal of information regarding herbs and their uses.  We will be hosting our First Annual Illinois Trappers Association Rendezvous, going back to our roots with an authentic pre-1840s mountain man/buckskinner encampment.  We will also be hosting the Illinois State Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Educational Trailer this year. This is a walk-through trailer with lots of mounts are informative wildlife displays.  We’ll also have some non-trapping vendors (mostly for the ladies) selling thing like flameless candles, Pampered Chef, purse and bucket organizers, etc.

If you know you will be there, and would like to volunteer to help, contact me or Neil and we’ll get you on the volunteer list.  With the expansion of things we’d like to do this year, we’re going to need more help.

Please note that the bottom of page four of the flyer has the renewal application for your next year’s membership to the ITA.  As noted on the application, please send the completed application with a $25 dues check to Bill Paulsen, our Treasurer.  Please, please, please include an email address so that we may rapidly inform you of issues of particular interest, such as our battle to pass the Bobcat Bill this last legislative session.  As long as the email is a way to reach you (your spouse’s, your kid’s etc), that’s all we care about – you don’t necessarily have to have one yourself.

Last, but not least, I’d like to thank Bob Steinkamp for laying the groundwork for us to stage a great convention!

See you in October.

Kent Weil, Convention Coordinator
217-522-2338   weil@springnet1.com

May - June 2015 President's Report    (submitted 5/14/15; posted on 5/23/15)

Well, it’s that time again!  Here it is, May 14th, and I hope we all got to go out and hunt some ‘shrooms.  I know I did not and now I am working on our 2015 Fall Convention with Kent and Deb Weil and trying to keep up on the bobcat Bill in Springfield.

I took today off and went to Hooked on Fishing in East Peoria.  They are a park that caters to kids from ages 5 to16 and people with special needs.  It was truly humbling to go and help all those that were there today.  I saw a lot of kids smile today and a lot of happy inner-city kids that have never been fishing catch a fish today.  If you all get a chance, go to their web site and check them out.  They are like us and do all this on donations.

And now down to some trapping stuff.  The bobcat Bill (HB352) was called in committee today and passed 8 to1, so now it is on the Illinois Senate floor.  We all need to call or email our Senator and ask them to please support this Bill.  The HSUS is throwing a lot of money into this to defeat us.  If we do nothing, then we are helping them beat us!

The convention is coming along well.  We will be in Decatur, Illinois at the Macon County Fairgrounds on October 2nd and 3rd.  I look forward to seeing you all there!  Also, I would like to remind everyone that this is the time we vote for officers and directors for the association.  It would be nice to see a lot more votes cast than we have been getting the last few years.  We are here to work for you as your voice in Springfield, but we cannot do it all.  We need your help, so anyone wanting to help with setup or cleanup or in any way they can, please call or email me, as I will never turn down help. In addition, anyone wanting to run for the board of directors must have your letter of intent in to me, postmarked before July 1st.  We will be sending the convention mailing out soon and there will be some sweepstakes tickets included.  Please try to sell or buy them and do not be afraid to ask for more, as I will have plenty and you never know.  By sending them in early, you may be in for a surprise at the convention this year!  This is one way we fund this association to help keep costs down for our members, so please put some effort into selling these sweepstakes tickets.  Also, I just found out the Deer and Turkey classic will be moving back to Bloomington next year, as well as moving to August instead of February, so come on by and say “Hi” next year!

Well, I guess that's all I’ve got for now and please remember to take a kid trapping!

Your ITA President,

 Neal Graves 

January - February 2015 President's Report    (submitted 1/14/15; posted on 1/24/15)

Hi, All!

I hate to start with this, but here it is anyway.  The outgoing Governor just vetoed the bobcat hunting Bill on Sunday the 11th.  Let me assure you, I have been in contact with the president of IFOR and he is telling me we will have to run the Bill from scratch. In fact, it is already in the works so it can be brought up when the new Governor meets with IFOR.  

I want to thank all who helped and bought and sold furs at the Odell ITA fur sale.  It went much better than I thought it would go; we had 10 buyers and 22 lots of fur.  We sold 657 pieces of fur and the breakdown was as follows:  coon top at $24.00 with the average of 4X coon at $17.95, 3X at $15.21, 2X at $10.64, XL at $6.75, and Large at $5.05.  Beaver toped out at $13.00 with averages of $8.00 for 2X, $9.75 for XL, $8.00 for Large, $6.00 for Large-Medium, $7.06 for Medium, $5.22 for Small, and $2.00 for XSmall.  Coyotes had a $26.00 top, with an average of $13.98.  Male mink topped out at $14.50 with an average of $8.60.  Female mink had a top of $6.50 and an average of $6.50.  Red fox averaged $30.66 with a top of $31.00 and a low of $10.50.  Rats topped out at $10.75 with averages of 3X at $8.44, 2X at $7.35, XL at $6.18, Large at $5.76, and Small at $ 3.31.  We still have the Fairfield sale to go on January 24th and I hope to see a lot of you there! 

We will be going to the Deer and Turkey Classic in Springfield and a gun show in February, so if you see us, stop by and say Hi!  For that matter, we can always use more help and these type of events are great ways to meet people and spread the message about our Association, so contact me or any Officer or Director if you’d like to help by joining us at these (or any other) events.

As of now, our membership is at 1260.  Great job, All, but I am pushing for 1500 in the near future.  Therefore, I am going to challenge you all to sign up 1 new member over the course of this year.  One new member is not hard to get…I have done that probably 50 times or more this last year, alone!  

Also, we are going to have our Vet Outreach Banquet coming up on April 4th.  We still have some dinner tickets left.  We are giving away a 4-wheeler at the banquet and we only printed 1000 tickets, which means you have a great chance to win if you purchase a ticket (or two!).  Tickets are only $10.00 each or 6 for $50.00.  Call or e-mail me and I will get you tickets. 

We are starting to sell tickets for the 2015 ITA Convention Sweepstakes for the convention that will be held in Decatur this year.  We have a Savage .223, a Puma .22, a .22 mag revolver, a Stihl chain saw, and a cash prize.  Get ahold of any Director and you will be able to get tickets.  Tickets for these drawings are $2.00 each. 

I would like to encourage you as an ITA member to talk with the ITA Directors in your region and tell them what you would like to see us do for you in the upcoming year.  Also, let them know how you think the Association is serving the memberships’ needs (good or bad).  I often hear from members that the Association needs to “do more”.  However, when we endeavor to “do more” we very often do not get the help or the members to show up and pitch in.  So, with that in mind, you tell us what you want and we will see if we can make it happen…but we certainly feel that the Association will work best when a greater amount of members contribute their time and effort to make it better for all.  Keep checking our website as we will be posting things on there all year. 

I hope you all have a safe and happy trapping season and remember to take a kid trapping!

ITA president, Neal Graves  

November - December 2014 President's Report    (submitted 11/5/14; posted on 11/20/14)

Hi, All! Hope all is going well.

I want to announce that we are now over 1200 members…Nice job, All! Let’s keep going and see if we can hit 1500!

By now, trapping season is in full swing. It is hard to write some of the reports as I am sending this in on November 4th; a lot can happen between now and when you read this. We have had a lot happen since my last report and some big changes have taken place. First, we lost Paul Kelley on September 15th. He will be missed by a lot of us. He did a lot for the outdoorsmen in this state, whether you trapped, hunted, fished or just hiked in the parks. His shoes will be hard to fill. We also lost Mike Gragert as our ITA President. He has stepped down to take a job that will not let him fulfill his duties as president. Now, the officers are Neal Graves (President), Cody Champ (Vice-President), Wes Johnson (Secretary), and Bill Paulsen (Treasurer). 

We had a good convention and I want to thank all who helped out with the event this this year! We had some cold, wet weather for it but we pulled through. Troy Becker now has a new shotgun and Brian VanderKooi now has a new rifle. Kris Crouch now has a new chain saw. Nate Kress won 1st and 2nd place in the cash drawing and Randy Wasilewski won 3rd place.  

I want to remind every one about the fur sales in Odell on January 10th and in Fairfield on January 24th. For info., call me or any ITA Board. With this year’s prices being down, this may be the year to sell at the ITA fur sales.  

The ITA also did some video work for Presley’s Outdoor Store on trapping. Go to their website (http://presleysoutdoors.com) and check it out. I hope by this time, the bobcat bill will be out in the veto session. We will just have to wait and see what goes on there with it.  

If you would like to get more involved in the ITA, just let me know, as we are going to have two fur sales and at least two public outreach shows we will be doing soon…if we get the help. Also, we only elected eight members for the ITA Board, so we will need a lot of help this year. 

I guess that's all for now. ‘Til next time, God Bless and take a kid trapping!

 Neal Graves, ITA President

September - October 2014 Vice President's Report   (submitted 9/9/14; posted on 9/9/2014)

Here it is, once again time to put in my report.  It will be very busy around here real soon!!!

Let me start by informing you that Paul Kelley was just inducted to the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame for all the hard work he has done for sportsmen and women across this state.  I say, “Thanks”, Paul, and we are proud to have you as part of the ITA.  Also, let me say Mike Gragert is no longer the ITA President.  He has stepped down to go to work in the oil fields.  Mike, to you we say thanks for all you have done for the trappers of Illinois and good luck…stay in touch.  

Let me remind everyone that Oct. 3 – 4, 2014 will be the ITA Fall Convention in Aledo. The building is full of dealers and we have a lot of great demos lined up for y’all.  Hope to see you all there! 

As trapping season is getting close, I would like to remind everyone to check out the digest as there have been some changes.  House Bill #5514 will now let trappers dispatch otter, beaver, mink, muskrat, and weasel with a .22 or smaller caliber firearm.  This law is in effect now.  House Bill # 5079 will go into law on 1/1/2015.  This law dictates that any first-time trapper in the state of Illinois…no matter what age…will have to take the State’s Trapper Ed. class.  

I would also like to remind all of you that the 2015 fur sales are coming up on Jan. 10th at Odell and Jan. 24th at Fairfield.  Hope to see a lot of you there as well - do not forget to bring a coon 2X or bigger for the coon raffle!

I would like to thank all you veterans out there.  The ITA Veteran Outreach is in full swing; hope you all have purchased your dinner tickets and raffle tickets.  For the raffles, we have a Polaris 400 4x4 we will be giving away in April.  Tickets are $10.00 each or 6 for $50.00.  We also have a 5-gun raffle.  We will giving the guns away in April, as well. Guns include an AR 15 M4 PSA, Remington 870, Marlin .22 bolt gun, Heritage 22 .22 Mag pistol and a 50 cal. inline muzzleloader.  The tickets for that are $5.00 each or 5 for $20.00.  You can buy these tickets online at itavetoutreach.com or by contacting me.  We are hoping to take some vets out hunting yet this Fall, so if you are a vet and at the ITA convention in Aledo, please stop by the booth and say Hi.  Also, the ITA will be hosting our 1st ever veteran’s outreach banquet on April 4th, 2015 in Canton, Illinois at Big Racks steakhouse.  We only have room for 300 people at this facility, so hope you get your tickets soon!  They are $45.00 for a single ticket and $80.00 per couple. Please help us help the vets who have paid the price for you and I to live and breathe in America!

I almost forgot - we have a Youth Trapper Camp at Lake Carlyle on Sept. 12 - 14.  We had to cancel the Northern kid’s camp due to lack of sufficient registration.  

I would like to invite you all to get a little more involved with the ITA!  If we all do a little, then no one has to shoulder too much burden. 

Stay safe out there this season and take a kid trapping!

God Bless all and do not forget to sign up a new member for the ITA!

Neal Graves, ITA V. P.

September - October 2014 President's Report   (submitted 7/28/14; posted on 9/5/2014)

Hello Trappers,

     Trapping season if fast approaching, and we as trappers have some new regulations we all will be dealing with this season. The first thing I would like to clear up is we do NOT have a trapping season for bobcats yet.  Even if the legislation had passed this year, which at the time of this writing it has not, but then we would have still had to wait for approval from USFWS for the tags, and that process has been known to take up to a year.  The sad truth is HB4226 never moved out of the senate, but that does not mean all hope is lost just yet.  We still have the veto session this fall, and it very well could move through the senate at that time.  I remain cautiously optimistic like I have from the start, and we will just see how far some other people are willing to support this legislation.

     HB5514 passed both houses, and is setting on the guvnor’s desk at the time of this writing, this will allow trappers to shot beaver, muskrats, mink, and otter while restraint in traps.  The original regulation stated the these animals could only be harvested by means of trapping, that still applies, but gives the trapper the ability to select the best way to put the animal down once captured.  Sometimes a firearm is the best choice for the job, and now trappers have that choice.

     HB5079 passed both houses, and is also setting upon the guvnor’s desk as well.  This regulation now mandates that anyone seeking a trapping license for the first time must have trapper education in order to receive their license.  The amount of new trappers coming into trapping the last few years is great, and the ranks are growing, but sometimes growth brings pain as well.  The largest sector of growth in trapping that we have seen has come for the 30-40 year old age group.  These people are sometimes trying to reconnect to a lifestyle they maybe were once a part of, or just looking to find a new way to enjoy the outdoors.  These things are all great, but sometimes these people come into trapping with little, or no trapping experience at all.  The ITA thought it best to try and get these people some form of trapping education under their belt, so in order to medicate any problems that we may be confronted with down the line from that lack of experience.  Another reason we decided this was a good idea was that the DNR now has an option for trapper education to be taken completely on the computer, thus giving these people within this category a chance to take this at home, and during their time schedule.  Yes, we like to see more people interested in trapping, and welcome them with open arms, but we also want our new trappers to well informed, and ready for the task at hand, and to be good representatives of trapping at the same time. 

     HB5911 is also waiting to be signed by the guvnor, and this bill pertained the freedom of information act, and how it was applied to trapping.  This Bill was pushed By IWCOA, the Illinois wildlife control operators association, and by Mr. Rob Erickson, along with the ITA.  This bill dealt with mostly nuisance trapping within metropolitan areas, and how certain people could obtain trap locations set by control operators within metropolitan areas.  The problem was these people were using this information to harass and to disrupt the whole process in any manner they could.  Thanks to this bill that will no longer be a concern to any operator throughout our state. 

     Summer is fast becoming like the fall for the ITA, with all the events we are asked to attend, and projects we are looking to move forward, well time has a way of slipping past you quicker than you realize sometimes.  This summer we were involved in many public outreach events, and the request for us wanting to attend certain events is continually growing.  The truth is we have a problem with manpower, and making all these events.  These events are very important to trapping, and how sometimes even non-trapper’s view us, thus any chance we have as a group to spread the word about trapping, and all it has to offers, then we need to take advantage of that opportunity.  Anyone that would be willing to become more active within the association, then please contact me, and we will do our best to make sure that very thing happens.

     Our youth trapping camps are in September, and this year we will be hosting two camps,. The first one will be Sept 12-14 at Carlyle lake at the Lotus camp ground at the Coles creek access area on the east side of the lake.  The second camp will be Sept. 19th -21st at the Torstenson Youth Education Center just outside of Pecatonica.  If you have a child age 18 and under that would like to attend eith of these camps, then please contact Neal Graves at (309) 989-7616 or bzbeaver@hotmail.com.

     Our association has started a veteran outreach program, and we are expecting great things to come from this program.  We will be doing things like taking vet fishing, hunting, and just giving a helping hand when and where needed.  Neal Graves and Derek Hahn are ramrodding an upcoming banquet for the spring of 2015 to raise funds for this project, and we are going to have drawing for several top prizes.  One item is an American-made, 4X4 Polaris ATV that they will be selling tickets on via the Illinois trappers Veterans outreach website, and Facebook page.  You may also purchase banquet tickets, and take part on other drawing, and activities for this project.  Just Check out these websites along with the ITA website for current information, and events.  I am sure Neal will have more information about these events, and this project within his report.

     The convention will be October 3rd-4th at the Mercer country fairgrounds in Aledo Illinois.  This is looking to be another great convention with a good looking demo list, and plenty of dealers looking to attend as well.  We will also once again offer a trapper education course on Saturday Oct 4th, and anyone wanting to attend that course may contact me.  Our annual membership meeting, with dinner and auction will be Friday night again this year, and I hope all attend that are able.  We, as an association, have some very important issues to discuss, and the more members we have present the better.  I hope everyone had a chance to look over the mailing, and was able to get their sweepstakes tickets mail back in.  The sweepstakes is a major fund raiser for our association, and offers some very nice prizes, so please make sure you mail in your tickets, and renew your membership if needed. 
I hope to see everyone come October in Aledo, and I hope everyone has a safe and happy remainder to this summer, until next time.
                                                                                                Mike Gragert