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 Trappers Association - President's Report          submitted November 15, 2018; posted November 22, 2018

Hi, All! Hope your season is going better than mine. Here in the Peoria area, by November 15th, we have had four rounds of snow and my lakes already have ice on them.  

I’ve got some stuff to catch you all up on. First, I want to thank all who came to the ITA Convention in October in Decatur. The weather there was just as good as trapping season - all crap. However, we had a good time, anyway. At our Membership Meeting, we had better than expected turnout, and gave away a lot of great awards. Congrats to all winners! I also want to say thank you to our Awards Committee as Kurt and Kory McAllister were presented with the ITA President’s Award and Joe McCall received ITA Director of the Year. Trapper of the Year went to Larry Sylvester and, to my surprise, I was inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame.

I hope to see you at the fur auction in February in Strasburg, Illinois. For more information on the auction, please contact me and/or watch our website. Also, we will be at the Fish and Feather Expo in Bloomington in January and at the Elmwood Sports Show in March. Any and all help from the membership will be welcome at ANY of these events. Any organization is only as strong as its membership and we need our members to pitch in at these outings to make them successful. To learn more about any of these outreach opportunities, please contact me.

All of our raffle items have been purchased for our 2019 raffles and the tickets are at the printer. We hope to get those tickets out so that you all can sell as many as possible; our raffles are one of, if the THE, biggest fundraiser for the Association each year, so your help in selling tickets is crucial. We are watching the veto session in Springfield and next year we may be in for a fight on some bills that will not be good for folks interested in outdoor pursuits. 

For your information, there is a typographical error in the IDNR Hunting and Trapping Digest. It says that traps have to be tagged with name, address AND customer #. However, what it should say is that our traps must be tagged with our name and address OR customer #. I hope to see a lot of you in this next year at some sort of trapper gathering or sports show. 

I guess that is all for now. Tight chains to all, and please remember to take a kid trapping!

Neal Graves, President, Illinois Trappers Association