U.P. Trappers Convention & Outdoor Expo

July 9-10, 2021

59th U.P. Trappers Convention and Outdoor Expo

July 9 – 10, 2021 | Escanaba Michigan

Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds

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Overview

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VENDORS

The 2021 regional convention will host two or more large buildings full of INSIDE vendors. Outside, there will be even more vendors! Many well-known trapping supply dealers from across the country will be at the convention. Many of these top-notch vendors will be offering special “Convention Pricing”. This will be your chance to stock up on needed supplies without having to pay shipping and handling, and picking up a trick or two from these trapping greats is totally FREE!

NOT JUST FOR TRAPPERS

There most likely will be vendors with canoes, snowshoes, predator calling supplies, outdoor clothing, waders, crafts, antiques, quilts, jewelry, etc. Items of interest for not only trappers but for their children, their spouses, and friends.  Stuff of interest to trappers and non-trappers alike — especially for other outdoors-men and outdoors-women!

U.P. Trappers Convention Overview

Friday July 9 & Saturday 10, 2021
Open from 8 AM — 5 PM Friday
Open from 8 AM — 4 PM Saturday

The biggest trapping & outdoor show in the Upper Peninsula (and one of the biggest regional conventions in the country) is coming to Escanaba, Michigan! To be held at the beautiful and spacious U.P. Fairgrounds located in a small friendly town. A chance to meet and chat with some of your trapping heroes; many legendary trappers from around the U.S. will be selling their wares, giving demos, or just enjoying the show! There will be something for everyone in the family to enjoy! Many activities for the kids. We highly encourage you to bring the whole family! Some trappers and outdoor enthusiasts have never seen this much equipment, “must-have” inventions and gear all in one place!

Like last year there will be another Friday night Fish Fry/Fundraiser Banquet catered by Soderman’s Catering — some say they are among the best in the entire U.P. — and the fish was caught right here in the great Upper Peninsula.  Raffles, drawings, lots of awesome prizes, delicious fish with all the “fixings”, great conversation — does it get any better than that?  Limited tickets available! Contact Roy Dahlgren ASAP at (906) 399-1960 for ticket information.

LIVE DEMONSTRATIONS

There will be great trapping demos throughout both days of the convention! Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the sport who is eager to obtain the knowledge, supplies and confidence to get that first season under your belt, you can bet that we will have something for everyone. While wandering around the fairgrounds chat with some of the biggest names in trapping. Many famous trappers from all over the nation attend these conventions! You never know who you might “bump elbows with” at this Regional Convention!

Check out this year’s great demonstrators (and their bios) by scrolling down the page — and then determine if you can afford to NOT attend this year’s convention!!!

Everyone knows that Lesel Reuwsaat racks up hundreds of coyotes and foxes every year, but this year he is going to show us how to catch large numbers of bobcats!

Professional State Hopper!:

Jeff Dunlap

Jeff is the owner of Dunlap Lures from Alpena Michigan.  He has been involved in trapping since he was a young boy – chasing after his dad Gary on the line.  Growing up in a trapping family he learned the trade well.  He loves to state-hop and goes where the fur is – and where money can be made.  He has trapped Alabama, Georgia, Arizona, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Upper and Lower Michigan, and in the 2018-2019 season he trapped in Alaska for 3 months chasing primarily lynx, pine marten, and red fox. He traps full time for much of the year and has made some outstanding catches.  Here are a few examples from past years: In the 2011-2012 season he caught 1105 rats, 495 coon, 76 otter, 326 beaver, 25 grey fox, 21 bobcats, 3 red fox, and 18 mink.  In the following year he caught 53 otter, 703 raccoons, 97 grey fox, 5 red fox, 54 coyotes, 404 muskrats, 32 bobcats, 18 mink, and 243 beaver.  In the 2013-2014 season he concentrated on bobcats, grey fox, and coyotes for a portion of the season, catching bobcats in three different states on a three-month multi-state trip.  The remainder of the season was spent in his home state of Michigan trapping mink and muskrats. During the few months when he isn’t trapping, he concentrates on Dunlap Lures, traveling the country to various trapping conventions – selling his proven and personally tested lures and baits and other trapping products and doing demos at many of those conventions.  And of course he uses some of his “extra time” to get ready for the next grueling season. Jeff also appears on the F&T Freedom Outdoors TV Program on the Pursuit Channel and has been a regular guest on Clint Locklear’s Trapping Radio Program.  In addition, he is now operating “Trapping Talk” on Facebook to promote trapping. And yes he has also produced at least nine instructional DVD’s!

Not Yet an “Oldtimer” but Definitely a Professional!:

Lesel Reuwsaat

Lesel Reuwsaat is from Black Hawk SD.  He is a self-taught trapper who racks up phenomenal numbers of coyotes, especially for a guy who has only been a full time Professional Fur Trapper for a short time!  During Lesel’s 2013 season he harvested 432 coyotes and has broken his own staggering record with 458 coyotes for 2014!  And mixed in with his 2014 coyote catch, he racked up 300+ coons, a very respectable number of bobcats, and numerous badgers, foxes, skunks, etc.

Trappers who catch far less fur than that can appreciate why Lesel owns 10 freezers and still has to rent a pallet slot at a cold storage facility!!!!  Lesel has also had the opportunity to participate in the F&T Freedom Outdoor TV program.  He did six shows for the F&T program in 2013 and another five in 2014.  And those trappers, who get the F&T Freedom Outdoor Program on their televisions, are hoping he does many more shows!

At this year’s convention he will be doing a demo on bobcat trapping for us. We’ll get to see how he catches so many of those high-dollar cats!  You will see how he makes his sets, how he places his lure and baits, and how he chooses locations to set his traps.  Lesel will agree that there is a lot more to catching this much fur than lure and bait – but if you want to try the same lures and baits he uses on his own line, he will have them for sale at our convention.  And he has definitely proven that they work!

Trapping Supply Dealer, Lure Maker, Trapper:

Ed Schneider

Ed Schneider grew up near Quincy in West Central Illinois. He began muskrat trapping in 1970 at the age of eight and soon branched out to trapping raccoons as well. Ed primarily trapped raccoons until the fur crash.

Moving to Virginia for work, he became more interested in trapping canines. He started trapping red and grey fox in the peanut and pine areas. Then moving back to the Midwest he was fortunate enough to get private instruction from Richard Thurman and Craig O’Gorman where he learned to focus more on land sets and became addicted to trying to outsmart the wily coyote!

It was always a dream of Ed’s to run a long trap line. In the 2017 season he teamed up with Dick Dickerhoof and Richard Johnson to catch over 400 coyotes and numerous skunks, badgers, and raccoons along the way – in Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota. This was mostly on “cold ground”, meaning that they had to find locations, locate sign, and start from scratch. A catch of this size in unproven, un-scouted areas shows Ed’s exceptional skills as both a trapper and lure maker.

Ed has had good success as both a raccoon and coyote trapper. A couple of his best years were catching 843 raccoons on the Missouri River in 2007 and catching 650 coyotes in 2018.

He has trapped in eight different states, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Carolina, and Wyoming and currently belongs to 18 state trapping organizations and donates to various other groups.

In 2015 he teamed up with Joe Stanbro in Oklahoma to develop lures under the Stanbro label. Between Stanbro’s extensive testing and formulations and Ed’s own lure ingredients, they came up with lures that nailed down furbearer after furbearer and proved deadly in the hands of an experienced trapper. Ed won’t manufacture a product that doesn’t work for him. You can count on Ed using the very same lures that he sells on his own Trapline.

Ed is the owner of Kansas Trapline Products in Auburn Kansas. Despite his very busy schedule, Ed finds time to share his knowledge in public forums. In addition to trapping and running his business, he gives Private Instruction to students all across America on their own Trap lines each year. Ed is always interested in hearing from his customers and hearing their success stories. He invites his customers to email him with any questions they may have.

Demonstrator:

Mike “Red” O’Hearn

My name is Michael Patrick O’Hearn, most folks in the trapping game just call me Red. Like most of you I started trapping at an early age. Alas, sitting here reflecting on my beginnings, it goes back farther than I had previously thought. All during the late 50’s and the 60’s I had a steady diet of cartoons. Bugs Bunny, the Coyote & Road Runner plus all the others from that time frame. My concept of a trap or snare was derived from these early encounters of cartoon trapping. So armed with this somewhat sketchy information I headed for the overgrown pasture behind our house in town with a hunk of clothesline with a loop with slip knot and a piece of salami. I tied the line off to a convenient sapling, opened the loop on the ground and gently laid my salami bait in the loop. I went back to the house with great anticipation.

Well you all can guess the rest of the story. I didn’t catch anything. And some animal or bird ate my salami. Unfortunately, most people think of trapping in those same terms.

I did finally manage to get 4 or 5 traps and some help from someone who knew a bit more than me. I did catch a possum and 2 muskrats the first year I trapped in 5th grade. I was bitten by the trapping bug. A hobby gone awry so to speak. Anyway my life began to revolve around trapping. I learned as I grew. I have had many, many teachers. But for me, I got to a point of being proficient at capturing all the local species of animals. The problem was I was stuck. I knew so much that I was closed minded. This is a symptom of thinking you know it all. Finally when I got to my early 30’s I finally met a group of people who really helped me. It wasn’t that the help was unavailable before. I wasn’t ready for it.

There is a saying I have recently become aware of that fits this situation perfectly. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Since I started learning again I have been fortunate enough that I haven’t had a regular, punch the time clock job, since 1983. I’ve run lines in 9 states. I had some very good catches of coons, mink, rats, beaver, otters, cats and coyotes. I still get a kick out of catching an animal in a set I have constructed specifically for that animal even if it is a skunk set.

“Strictly Seasonal” is my motto. Every season I do something different. When it is trapping season, that’s my favorite pursuit. By changing species of animals, trapping season can be stretched 8 or 9 months. Be humble, learn all you can about your craft and pass it on.

Demonstrator:

Jeff Hagerty

Jeff Hagerty is the owner of J3 Outdoorz and Inventor of HAGz Trapping Products. He grew up hunting and fishing as far back as he can remember. Always an outdoorsman, he was never introduced to trapping nor got excited about it until after he returned from the Marine Corps in the late 90’s. 

He started noticing more coyote tracks than deer tracks on late season hunts. In 2002 he tried his hand at trapping coyotes and after 2 seasons caught his first coyote.  In that same time period he tallied up numerous mink, muskrats and raccoons – it soon became clear that he was hooked on trapping! 

A few seasons later he was already breaking 50 Michigan coyotes a season and now generally averages around 75 coyotes a year while working a full-time job, running their trapping business, and doing as much state hopping as he can. 

In 2012 he began proto-typing a device that would allow the use of 3/8” rods and a “set anywhere mentality.” The same bracket also incorporated a stake swivel and drowner lock for various water line sets. One major hurdle was this bracket needed to stay attached to prevent looking around for miscellaneous devices on the line, increasing efficiency. That prototype is now their patented HAGz® Bracket. 

Soon after he invented and was issued patents for the HAGz® Spring Clip and Spring Clip XL for body-grip trap stabilization on rods. Since then he has developed several other products and continues to proto-type new trapping products to this day. He has utilized his engineering and technical skillsets to develop American made products in an industry he is extremely passionate about. It has been said countless times that the HAGz Brackets and Spring Clips have revolutionized water trapping – and Jeff is happy to provide quality, American made products benefitting trappers. Jeff not only supports trappers and trapping by inventing simple, effective tools trappers can use but also believes that he (and all trappers) should belong to their local and national associations. Jeff is a proud member of both the Michigan Trapper and Predator Callers Association and the National Trappers Association. 

When not trapping Southern Michigan, Jeff enjoys trapping in other states such as high elevation (10k’ +) bobcat trapping in New Mexico; beaver, otter and marten trapping in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan; fox trapping on Kodiak Island and most recently chasing beaver, otter and coyote in Arkansas with well-known trappers – Jeff Dunlap, Clint Locklear and Chip Davis. 

In his spare time, he is either furthering the development of even more useful, time saving trapping products or traveling to various trapping conventions throughout the off season.

Trapping Supply Dealer, Fur Buyer, Lure Maker:

John Chagnon

John S. Chagnon is from Turner, Michigan. He started trapping at age 7, in 1970, when his father introduced him to Muskrat & Mink trapping in the Tip of the Thumb Michigan. He has trapped most furbearing animals every year since he started trapping in the 70’s. John’s personal goal every year is to have one of each of Michigan’s furbearers in the back of his truck on a day’s trap check. 

From an early age, John spent most summers fishing, frog hunting and turtle trapping which he admits was mostly scouting and observing furbearing animal sign and habitat that he attributes much of his success as a trapper in the fall and winter. Reading every issue of Fur Fish and Game and Trapper and Predator Caller magazines also helped, but nothing beats that quality time in the outdoors.

In the 90’s John met Mr. Asa Lenon when he moved to the Upper Peninsula, Manistique. Many visits and 1000 cups of coffee later, which made him a better trapper, he got a call from Mr. Lenon in 2015 asking if he would like to carry on Lenon Lures. The rest is history as John now formulates and bottles every bottle of Lenon Lure. John will continue to visit Mr. Lenon and he hopes he has 2000 cups of coffee to look forward too with Mr. Lenon.

Demonstrator:

Roy Dahlgren

 Other than the many trapping articles in Fur-Fish-Game magazine that Roy Dahlgren devoured as a youngster, his trapping skills were mostly self-taught – as no one in his family trapped.  He did get a few pointers from one older trapper that he worked with; but in those days few, if any, trappers were sharing their secrets.

Roy began trapping at 9 or 10 years old and has now been at it for 50 years!  When fox were plentiful in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (before the coyotes expanded – after the bounty was removed) Roy took 116 fox in a single season and said they were almost equally divided between red and gray fox.  He has also had some pretty impressive catches on coyotes, muskrats, and coons.

Roy describes himself as an “all-around-trapper” as he rarely goes after any one animal as a primary target.  His motto is “Why should I pass up gas money” and by this he means that if there are muskrats in a ditch on his way checking coyote traps why wouldn’t he make a quick stop and add 8 or 10 rats to his pile of fur?  Or that place where he saw a mink run across the road?  Why not slap in a few sets and add a mink or two to the fur shed on his next time by?  Roy has caught and sold every furbearer in the state of Michigan except the pine marten.  He has however vowed that the 2021 season will solve this problem.  When asked what animal he likes to trap the most Roy quickly answered that it was coyotes.  He loves trying to outsmart these more wary animals.  But then he quickly added that he may be changing his mind on coyotes being his favorite animal to trap since the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is now being overrun by wolves.  They are not only running coyotes off of the properties he traps but he finds many of his trapped coyotes shredded to pieces in a pile of blood, with wolf tracks all over the catch circle.  “Kind of takes the fun out of coyote trapping when you see a beautiful piece of fur totally destroyed,” he added.

One year he did decide to target raccoons and wound up with about 80 coons, which is a nice catch for his area.  He also made a muskrat trapping trip to North Dakota a few years back and came back with about 2000 rats.

But Roy’s love for trapping doesn’t end with catching animals.  He has been a strong advocate for Trappers and Trapping throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and beyond.  He puts on many trapping presentations at area schools and is particularly interested in getting young people into trapping.  He has put on programs for both grade schools and high schools and one especially interesting program he did was at the Escanaba High School.  He put in a coyote set in a patch of trees on the high school property (less the trap) but otherwise a “working set.”  The students could “check” the trap via a game camera and could also “check” the set in person, looking for and identifying tracks, etc.  He has also mentored various teens on his own lines, many of whom are now accomplished trappers.

Most U.P. trappers agree that Roy is the best convention coordinator the U.P. Trappers Association has ever had.  In just a few short years he has increased our annual attendance from a few hundred attendees to thousands!  Also in 2014 we broke a 10 year record for attendance at the NTA convention we hosted – and much of this was due to Roy Dahlgren’s efforts.  Almost as soon as the dates are set for the next convention the planning and work begins, his phone starts ringing, and it’s almost impossible to count how many times Roy is on the radio to promoting trapping and trapping events.

Roy also talks “trapping” to most people he meets and advocates for both UPTA and NTA wherever he goes.  When he gets someone new to join the U.P. trappers or the National Trappers or to attend a trappers meeting, Roy is in his glory – he is a real asset to trappers everywhere!

Demonstrator:

John Gunville, President UPTA

John “Gunner” Gunville was first introduced to trapping when he tagged along with his dad and uncle trapping coyotes for bounty, when he was ten or eleven years old. But until he attended a Boy Scout event in Florence Wisconsin a year or so later he didn’t know that you could trap all kinds of different animals and that you could make money by selling their fur! He learned you could trap fox, muskrats, mink, and raccoons and many other animals – Gunner’s mind was running wild! When he got home all he was thinking about was trapping! He started borrowing and buying books and magazines about trapping like Fur-Fish-Game and began studying and looking for animals to trap.

By age 15 he was already becoming an accomplished trapper and one book he read convinced him to go after muskrats: Muskrats: The Trappers Meal Ticket. So with just a few traps and a pair of hip boots he managed to catch 60 or 70 rats! But 70 rats were not enough for this young trapper. He needed more traps. A canoe would get him back in the cattails where the rats lived. Muskrat profits got him a few traps and some additional equipment. Already a pretty good welder and fabricator he built what he didn’t have and couldn’t afford. Finally an Uncle gave him some used traps and he fleshed and stretched some beaver for another trapper in exchange for used traps and slowly the bigger fur checks got poured back into more needed equipment.

He struggled to catch his first beaver. He knew they ate poplar and willow bark so he was using fresh sticks from these trees as bait – but using a “lure” was unknown to him. Finally a friend Bill (Butch) Pipp told him about using the beaver’s own castor glands to attract them.  Butch gave him a set of beaver castor glands and told him how to make the already famous caster mound set.  And “bingo” a couple of days later Gunner had his first beaver!

Gunner has also become an excellent fur-handler, mostly by doing lots of it!  While still quite young he and a hound-hunting partner took over 120 coons a year, for two years in a row – and it didn’t take long before he could get the hide off of animals in record time.  For him rough skinning beaver was easy but his “reskinning on the board” fleshing method was too slow. Like most trappers John wanted to spend more of his valuable time catching fur!  Once again his friend Butch Pipp came to the rescue and taught him how to flesh beaver on a fleshing beam with a two-handled draw knife.  Watching the legendary Fred Salczenko (who fleshed thousands of beaver for a living) further honed his skills.

In one of his better seasons as a young man; he caught 19 fox, 19 coyotes, 1 or 2 bobcats, some mink, some raccoons, some skunks, and 100-130 rats in the fall.  Then in just part of that winter – trapping through the ice – he caught 56 beaver.  And this was without the use of power augers, chain saws, snare poles or any of the other “toys” now available for through the ice beaver trapping.

Gunner never had the luxury of owning a lot of traps so he made do with what he had. Often 80%-90% of the traps he set were catching fur. Some of his friends were amazed to see him catching twice as much fur as them – with half the number of traps. Catching more fur with fewer traps takes a deep understanding of the animals, years of experience, well-maintained equipment and the savvy to set the trap where the animal will swim through a conibear or step right on the pan of a foothold.

And unlike the “secretive” old trappers who wouldn’t give him the time of day while he struggled to learn everything on his own, Gunner really “lights up” when he is passing his knowledge on to future trappers – especially those who are young and enthusiastic like that young Boy Scout asking questions in Florence Wisconsin years earlier!

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A Vacation Paradise

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is an outdoor vacation paradise with attractions for the whole family.

• 1700 Miles of Shoreline on three of the Great Lakes!

• Approximately 15 miles of beautiful Sandstone Cliffs rising 50 – 100 feet above Lake Superior in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore!

• 324 Waterfalls!

• Hundreds of abandoned underground copper, iron, and gold mines!

• Fishing and hunting paradise!

• Ninety percent of the U.P. consists of forests.

• Two National Forests, several State Forests, many State Parks, and hundreds of Inland Lakes with free or low cost access.