Demo Schedule and Demonstrator Bios & Pics
Convention Demonstration Schedule (Main Demo Area Only)
See She-Side and Kids Cave for additional Demos
Thursday, July 27
9:00 a.m. | Chris Lunn of Wyoming – Do’s and Dont’s of ADC Work
10:00 a.m. | Jeff Hagerty of Michigan – Muskrat
11:00 a.m. | Leon Windschitl of Minnesota – Fur Handling
Noon | Sarah Gomez of Michigan – Beaver From Trap to Plate
1:00 p.m. | Roy Dahlgren of Michigan – Winter Bobcat (NTA Members Only)*
2:00 p.m. | Jeremy Laakso of Michigan – Mink (NTA Members Only)*
3:00 p.m. | Nick Erny of Indiana – Trapping with Round Bodygrippers
4:00 p.m. | Dennis Alberts of Michigan – Weasel Trapping
Friday, July 28
9:00 a.m. | Heimo Korth of Alaska: Arctic Fox (NTA Members Only)*
10:00 a.m. | Justin Webb of Idaho – Wolf
11:00 a.m. | Rich Wilson of Michigan – Open Water Beaver (Avoiding Otter)
Noon | Kendall Obermier of Iowa: Predator Trapping for Livestock Damage
1:00 p.m. | Jeff Dunlap of Michigan – Predators
2:00 p.m. | Clint Locklear of Tennessee – Predator Q and A
3:00 p.m. | Megan Lockwood of Ohio – Nuisance Trapping
4:00 p.m. | Dave Eckels/Paul Dobbins/Robert Conner – Beaver Roundtable (NTA Members Only)*
Saturday, July 29
8:00 a.m. | Rusty Johnson of Idaho – Predators
9:00 a.m. | Mark June of Michigan – Bobcat
10:00 a.m. | Linda White of New York – Fox
11:00 a.m. | Al Dubord of Alaska – Marten
Noon | Mark Charpentier of New York: Fisher Trapping (NTA Members Only)*
1:00 p.m. | Lesel Reuwsaat of South Dakota: Summer Coyote Control
2:00 p.m. | Heimo Korth of Alaska: Wolf Trapping (NTA Members Only)*
3:00 p.m. | John Daniel/Jason Wiesnewski – Protecting Trapping
*Exceptions for “NTA MEMBERS ONLY DEMOS“: Spouses or family members under the age of 17 will be allowed in when accompanied by an NTA Member.
Mark June MI: Bobcat
Growing up on an inland lake in Michigan, Mark June began his trapping career as a young boy catching muskrats, mink, beaver, and raccoons out of a canoe before school. He later attended college to become a biologist, a degree paid for with mink and red fox hides that Mark trapped during the robust fur markets of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Mark was well known in Michigan as a young man who laid a load of well-handled pelts on the tables at Michigan Trapper’s Association fur auctions, pelts trapped during a period of intense trapping pressure and competition.
Mark started trapping in Nebraska in the 1990’s and ultimately moved to that state in 2004. He has trapped eighteen states during his trapping career, and now resides and typically traps in Texas for coyotes, bobcats, and the occasional mountain lion. He is known as a hard-working, humble, yet confident trapper who enjoys teaching others how to trap predators in their area. Mark’s experience in coyote research projects dates back forty years and that expertise helps him answer many questions that trappers typically have about coyotes or predators.
Today, Mark routinely fur traps in Nebraska for coyotes and bobcats in November and December and he traps high fence ranches in Texas and other states from January through whitetail fawn drop in late June/early July, plus he likes to lend a hand on coyote research projects as often as time allows.
Mark June’s Lures, a company he started in 1984, is today one of this country’s largest suppliers of lures, baits, urines, and DVDs. Mark’s products are sold at leading retailers such as Cabela’s and Sportsmen’s Warehouse, and they are sold internationally in places like Australia where dingo dogs fall victim to Fox Frenzy and other Mark June’s Lures products.
We are excited to have Mark’s demo in our NTA demo lineup, as he is always a crowd pleaser, sharing “why” predators do what they do in addition to showing methods that help you catch more coyotes and bobcats.
Finally, if there’s room available in his Pro Predator Trapping Academy, taught each year during late March, make a point to talk to Mark about this premier training program held in Kansas, designed to produce Top 1%’ers in predator control.
Mark has now moved back to Michigan where his trapping career first began. He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2022 and is an associate pastor at Grayling Evangelical Church in Grayling Michigan.
Paul Dobbins NC: Beaver Roundtable with Robert Connor & Dave Eckles
Paul was fortunate to be born the son of a professional trapper, Charles Dobbins. At the age of six, his dad took him out and had him set muskrat traps. His dad was a great teacher and Paul thoroughly enjoyed trapping through his youthful years with his dad. A year after high school Paul enlisted in the USAF and this afforded him the opportunity to trap in many different places where he was stationed. He trapped in Virginia, Maryland, South Dakota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Alaska, and North Carolina. During his twenty-four years in the U. S. Airforce, he’d often dream of being a professional trapper. At each duty station, He would look for situations that would enable him to pursue such a profession. Not until his last duty station in North Carolina did he find a situation where he could see his dream come true. And he realized animal damage control work seemed to be the only way to earn a decent living by trapping.
While stationed in North Carolina he was already lining up permissions and trapping part-time. He loved trapping beaver, and they were everywhere – backed up water, peeled sticks, and plugged culverts told the story. Not long after he started trapping beaver, word spread that he could take away the headache of pesky beavers, and people started calling him for help. At first, he was trapping beaver for free and then some landowners insisted on paying him a fee. Soon a local city contacted him take care of their beaver problems for a set, monthly check and a contract was signed. Still, this was just a part-time job, but it was trapping on a professional level. He was now getting closer to his dream job.
Upon his retirement from the USAF, he went straight into trapping beavers full time for a timber company in North Carolina. While interviewing for the job and making his presentation, Paul found out he wasn’t prepared for what this job entailed. He was asked about general liability insurance, worker’s compensation, what coverage he had on his vehicle and what his safety plan for his operation was. “Say what??” He did have insurance on his truck! He was more than a little concerned that he wasn’t coming across as being quite as professional as he would have liked. But his unquestionable reputation for catching beavers and his willingness to learn the ropes of contracting for a major timber company saved the day! Paul contracted with this company for thirty years as a full-time beaver trapper. And through those thirty years, he certainly caught his share of beavers. Now in his old age, he only traps beavers for a city near where he lives.
Another aspect that wasn’t realized while dreaming about this work was the daily encounters with the evil-tempered cottonmouth moccasins, mosquitoes, deer flies, ticks and hacking though dense undergrowth of cat-claw briars, wild rose, and greenbriers in the humid ninety plus days of June, July, and August.
When Paul told Dad that he was going to embark on full-time beaver trapping as a career, he vividly remembers that knowing sparkle in his Dad’s eye’s when he said, “So you want to be a full-time beaver trapper”, which was followed by a deep chuckle.
Though getting into this business (and sticking with it!) wasn’t easy – in view of the many legal requirements, taxes, the tons of paperwork, etc.; Paul can honestly say that his dream has come true, and he loves every minute of it. “There is some drudgery to it at times, but honestly, there’s no better way to make a living if you can do it.”
Rusty Johnson ID: Predator
Rusty Johnson started trapping at age 12, in Irwin County Georgia. No one else in his family trapped, and he quickly learned that the few trappers around wouldn’t share their secrets. So, he just started trying to figure out how to catch coons in the creek and predators in trail sets. In his first “season” he made more money in 2 weeks of trapping than he would have made in 3 months of working in the tobacco fields!
From day one he learned how to make a living from a pursuit that he loved and that is still what drives him today. Georgia furs aren’t worth a whole lot – so Rusty traps for hire, not for fur. He’s learned that it takes flexibility, patience, and commitment to harvest every last coyote on a piece of property. For him this is both challenging and rewarding. Here’s how Rusty says he feels after catching an extremely challenging coyote, “It’s a great feeling when I’m checking traps to look into the distance and see that coyote rise up as his foot’s firm in my trap. I know that in the moment of setting the trap the day before, I read all the signs correctly, and I was one step ahead of the coyote.”
Rusty has owned his own full time animal nuisance business, Critter Solutions, in South Georgia for 15 years and the past 5-7 years has been primarily beaver and predator work. He also markets his own proven lures and baits. He has trapped in numerous states and he was the lead trapping coordinator for the largest coyote study ever conducted in the U.S. spearheaded by the University of Georgia. In the first phase the researchers put 187 GPS collars out in Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. That study is still active and growing to this date.
And in his “spare time” Rusty has helped Mark June film his Bobcat and Coyote DVD ‘Reducing the Numbers’ and has been an instructor at Mark June’s Predator Trapping Academy in northern TX the past two years – this past March teaming up with Mark June and (the legendary) Tom Krause to train some of America’s elite wolfers. So, after working on various projects and trapping with Rusty, what does well-known trapper Mark June have to say about him?
Rusty works high fence contracts in NC, SC, GA, and TX where catching the last predator on a place requires coyote and bobcat skills of a whole new level.
Predator contracts or “paying jobs” are much different than fur lines where you take the cream and move on, and Rusty has also done much of this, but when push comes to shove and the landowner paying you wants a specific animal harvested, it takes more than great skills to make this happen… it takes hard work and attention to detail.
Rusty is one of America’s top dog trappers, proven by his wide range of projects and accomplishments.
Mark June – Biologist/Professional Trapper/Lure Maker
Though arguably one of the best coyote trappers in the country you will never hear Rusty brag about his catches or try to blow his own horn. Rusty sums up his life in a few words, “being prepared, organized, and determined – and putting in the hard work, I have learned and gotten it down to a science. Trapping is my way of life, how I support my family, and my passion. I am blessed to be able to do what I love every day.”
Lesel Reuwsaat SD: Summer coyote control
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!
Al Dubord AK: Marten
At age 6 or 7 Al Dubord got his first introduction to trapping by seeing fox, coyote, and bobcats in the back of his Uncle Elmer Aho’s Modal A along with a box of clean traps. When older Al would talk to his Uncle Elmer about trapping and how to catch critters. Meanwhile at age 8 Al obtained his first #1 Victor long spring trap and caught trapping “fever”. The farmer next door noticed his skills and gave him a 1 ½ Victor long spring trap and asked him if he would trap the woodchucks out of his field. Al didn’t know it then but he became and ADC trapper by default. After helping his neighbors with woodchucks and skunks he moved on to muskrats. Then one of Al’s grade school teachers took him along to check beaver traps. After that Al was off and running, trapping beaver on his own. At age twelve he started working on his uncle’s dairy farm and this really limited his trapping time. The farm work was endless. It started in late spring and didn’t end till there was too much snow to cut timber. So through his teenage years Al was pretty much limited to late fall muskrat trapping with a fox or two thrown in for good measure – and spring beaver trapping when it was too wet to get in the fields or for working in the woods.
Then in April 1978 Al packed up his guns, traps, tools and his new wife and moved to Alaska. He didn’t know anyone, nor did he have a job lined up. But he found work as soon as he arrived in Alaska. Al finally landed a job more in line with his desired life style: He now had a seasonal job at a remote fly-in fishing and hunting lodge and while working there he got his assistant hunting guide license and was enjoying his dream of seeing the beauty of Alaska from the air, on the water and out in the Alaskan bush country. In November of 1979 he moved to Fairbanks for steady employment. This is where he met many other trappers, joined the Alaska Trappers Association, and learned all he could from his new-found friends. Al has been a member of the ATA ever since. Later he became a large part of that organization but for now it was “all about learning how to trap in Alaska.”
The spring of 1980 found him on the move again back to the Alaskan bush in the western part of the state. He was 180 miles from the nearest road and 60 miles by bush plane from the nearest village. His trapping now started in a big way. Marten was the main fur animal. His first wolf and wolverine were caught on his birthday later that year! In Al’s best year in western Alaska he caught approximately 50 marten and numerous fox, lynx, wolf, and wolverine; all made their way to his stretchers. This impressive catch was made while still working a full-time job!
Four years later found him back in Anchorage so his son could attend school. It wasn’t long before Al (along with two other men and a woman) became involved in starting the South Central Chapter of the Alaska Trappers Association. Soon he found himself as “Chairman” of this new organization. Then the SCC-ATA took over of the famous Anchorage Fur Rondy Fur Auction to make sure it was once again only selling local fur caught by Alaskan trappers. To this day it remains the premier fur sale in Alaska.
Al’s new job took him all over Alaska and he was passing up way too much fur; he just had to set some traps! So he took traps and snares with and set up some of these new areas after work. Al hauled his fur back to Anchorage in airplanes and the company truck – and did his skinning in the company generator room. One time when he arrived back at the office in Anchorage with several frozen coyotes and fox wrapped in a tarp in the company truck he was almost “busted.” Several co-workers were in the parking lot and Al didn’t want them to see his catch, so he parked so they couldn’t see in the truck and walked over to them, keeping them away from his work truck. Then later, when they went into the building, he made the transfer to his personal truck and quickly left for home.
After trapping in many different areas and gaining lots of experience in various terrains, Al has now been trapping in the same remote area for 25 years, putting over 20,000 miles on his primary trap line snowmobile! He has now been trapping in Alaska for over 44 years and is there to stay!
Jeff Dunlap MI (LP): Predator
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!
Linda White (“Trapping Girl”) NY: Fox
Co-Owner of Trapping Girl Inc. and Sawmill Creek Baits and Lures, 2021 recipient of the NTA Leadership award for her work with women and kids in the trapping community, Executive Media Manager, Board Member and Podcast Host for Women of the Wild, Organizer and founder of Kids for Catches, Co-Organizer & Instructor for multiple Women’s Trapping Workshops throughout the USA, Columnist for The SHE Side and Chairmen of the workshop Committee.
From a young age Linda had enjoyed fishing, camping and other outdoor actives with her father, but trapping never made it on the list until meeting her husband, Michael. The first time she went out was mainly to see what it was REALLY all about. Linda had city friends explain to her what their idea of trapping was, but something didn’t add up. She needed to see for herself, and man was it eye opening! In that first ride along, Michael shared his passion and knowledge with her and after the first coyote catch, she had helped with, SHE WAS HOOKED. There was not only a fire lit in her soul to be a trapper, but she felt it was also her mission to help bring a positive light to others who may not see trapping that way. Running her own line changed so much for Linda and opened her eyes to what a challenge trapping could be for a woman because so much was made to accommodate men in the sport. Since then, Linda has made it her quest to give women a voice in trapping and the outdoors. She runs different events throughout the USA, sits on National Boards, and writes for different magazines to help accomplish that goal.
If you follow Linda on Facebook or IG, you will find her out running her own line and encouraging other women to get out and do the same. Although Linda has become proficient in trapping multiple species, fox is where her focus is. From trapping in the New York snow to gumbo in Arkansas and various terrains over different states throughout the USA, Linda has grasped K9 trapping in all situations and is excited to share that knowledge and experiences with you. Come join her for her fox demo on the main stage and at The SHE Side.
Roy Dahlgren MI (UP): Winter bobcat
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!
Jeff Hagerty MI (LP): Muskrats
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 is now a Lifetime member of the National Trappers Association.
Jeff has trapped 11 different states so far. Although he enjoys his local muskrat or coyote lines in Southern Michigan, he really loves the adventure of a remote, wilderness line for a change of pace. Some of my favorite traplines have been Fox trapping on Kodiak Island AK; High Elevation Bobcat Trapping in NM; beaver, otter and marten trapping in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan; Predator trapping in the mountains of NV and UT or large plantation tracts in GA.
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.
Not that Jeff isn’t busy enough as it is, he and his wife Jessica started Trapline Coffee Co. – The Official Coffee of the NTA – and they pride themselves on supporting fair and ethical trade practices abroad, providing great small batch coffee — and giving back to the trapping community — through portions of product sales & change roll-up and donation programs.
Sarah Gomez MI (LP): Beaver from trap to dinner plate
Sarah Gomez is an accomplished trapper from Iowa. Her earliest memory of trapping was going with a family friend to check raccoon snares, at the age of 5. Though not a morning person, she quickly bounced out of bed, whenever trapping was involved! She quickly learned what a coon trail looked like and this young girl was even spotting coon trails as they traveled between the various farms. The seed was planted and soon she was dreaming about catching raccoons on her own and began reaching out to every trapper she knew to gain more knowledge – and most were more than gracious with their knowledge. It wasn’t long before she was headed to a trapping store to buy a dozen DP’s and some name tags!
And in her first year of trapping Sarah hit the ground RUNNING. Within the first couple of nights she already had 8 raccoons. At that moment she was definitely hooked and went back to the trapping store and bought 2 dozen more traps and continued buying traps until she had 5 dozen DP’s. Soon all her traps were set and she was catching piles of raccoons. Then she started buying freezers and had to add more electricity to her storage building to keep them all running! But she never counted the raccoons; her goal was just to keep filling the freezers! When the first season was over, she was just shy of 200 raccoons. With a full-time job as the Executive Director of a four-county economic development organization, you might say she was a little busy? Her cherished trapping friends helped her survive that first grueling season. One friend came down to her shop and taught her how to flesh and stretch raccoons. And a year or so later this same friend helped her skin her first coyote. Allen Sayre at Funke Trap Tags lives near her and spent hours talking to her about trapping and helping her find the right equipment needed to get started and he also connected her to the Iowa Trappers Association. For her, those are all special memories and she’s grateful for the people who took the time to help this 30-year-old uncertain, new trapper – wondering what to do, how to do it, where to place the trap, how to connect the trap, and what to do with the fur when she caught an animal? The help she received is what now drives her to help others – to be that special person giving someone the confidence and encouragement needed to become a trapper!
After Sarah’s successful first season she continued to focus on filling freezers with raccoons and leveled off at around 200 coons per season. After a few years of just catching raccoons, she was eager to catch more fur, so she attended a coyote trapping school and learned the basics. She started the next season with some coyote traps and was soon walking up to her first coyote! She was so excited, she could hardly talk! That overwhelming and confusing feeling of not knowing how to catch a coyote quickly evaporated along with almost all of her remaining doubts. So, she confidently started setting traps for bobcat, red fox, beaver, otter, muskrats, and weasels – she now truly believed she could catch anything she set her mind to. And being able to catch raccoons, beaver, and coyotes led to some great relationships with Iowa farmers and to those treasured permissions on prime properties – another necessary tool for being a successful trapper.
Sarah enjoys the challenge of pursuing each species she goes after – in fact she says her favorite animal to pursue – is whatever one she is trapping at that time! She usually starts the season setting heavily for coyotes, and then the DP’s come next. Early winter finds Sarah having fun making bobcat cubbies and getting creative with lights, feathers and squeakers trying to catch the eyes and ears of a few big Tomcats. And when it turns cold and the snow is deep she enjoys some laid-back weasel trapping. And after a long winter, she looks forward to spring water trapping, especially setting for those traveling beaver.
When asked if she trapped alone or with a partner she said, “Let me tell you about my Uncle Tom! He is always up for an adventure and has been along for the ride since the very beginning! Every time we go out, we know it will be unpredictable and something will always happen. We’ve been stuck in the mud and snow, we’ve been sprayed by skunks, we’ve been in some sketchy areas, we’ve taken calls to help people out who have had raccoons or skunks and ask ourselves ‘what did we get into this time.’ We have fallen in the mud and have slid down steep ravines. We have learned from A LOT of mistakes. But the quality time that we have spent together in the woods – I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world.”
Sarah has accomplished much in her few short years of trapping and she feels a strong bond with all trappers – but especially with young girls and women. Her passion and excitement is contagious and she loves to talk to beginning trappers and hopes to plant the same seed that sprouted in that five-year-old Iowa girl many years ago. She has now trapped in Iowa, Northern Michigan, and Louisiana and will probably prove herself in other states. Sarah also attends 14-15 conventions throughout the year and does demos (at most) to help new trappers and always has time to encourage others. In 2019, Sarah started SheTraps and Sarah’s Trapline Lures and has the selfless goal of making a good product that ANY trapper would feel confident in using. And would you believe that Sarah enjoys skinning, scraping, and stretching her catches as much she loves catching fur?
Chris Lunn WY: Do’s and don’ts of ADC work
Chris Lunn has been an avid outdoorsman his whole life. He started by being packed around in the woods on his dad’s back when he was two years old. His passions are his family, trapping, hunting, fishing, and the fur industry. Although he grew up hunting and fishing, none of his family trapped. It wasn’t until his twenties that he decided to try trapping. At first it was just a simple hobby, then it became a passion, and after a few years it became a livelihood!
Chris owns and operates RM Wildlife and Pest Solutions in Wyoming. Being self-taught, he had to not only teach himself how to trap all sorts of problem animals, but he also used his construction background to offer long term solutions to his customers. He got rid of the problem animals, did the necessary repairs to keep them out of buildings and implemented changes to whatever attracted the pests in the first place. Happy customers meant a growing business. He now is a certified wildlife control operator who has trained multiple employees how to trap and solve human/wildlife conflicts. He has grown his single operator business to multiple employees and trucks to serve his area, all while showing a positive light on the wildlife control and fur industries.
His love for fur and the industry made him decide to learn the ins and outs of all aspects of the fur trade. In addition to owning and operating RM Wildlife and Pest Solutions, Chris is also a fur buyer (Wyoming Fur Trader) and a partner in Prestige Furs, a garment and fur accessories store. And his passion and love for fur really comes through loud and clear on the Prestige Website: “Our furriers are some of the finest furriers in USA, Greece, and Turkey. We strive hard to bring the best quality fur coats, fur garments, furs, and fur accessories to our customers. We strive for 5-star customer service. Look great this winter by wearing one of many great products brought to you by Prestige Furs.”
Chris is very active in trying to educate the public in the necessity of trapping for sound wildlife management. He is currently the vice president of the National Wildlife Control Operator’s Association and is the chair of their governance and advocacy committee. Chris loves to share his successes and failures with others, so they know that it is possible to make a living following their passions.
Chris has trapped in Idaho and Wyoming for most legal species. His favorite animal to trap is marten. The solitude of deep winter on a snow machine chasing the beautiful silky fur of marten, is what he enjoys most.
Leon Windschitl MN: Fur Handling
Leon started trapping and putting up fur when he was in high school. Over the years, he took in many demos at conventions on trapping and fur handling. He learned by watching those demos and asking questions. He made his own adjustable stretchers to put up his fur on. Leon has now trapped for almost 40 years in Southwest Minnesota and has been a dedicated supporter of the Minnesota Trappers Association. When out on the trap line, his main target is raccoon and mink. His real love is water trapping. In the fall, he also targets fox, coyote, and muskrat. In the spring, he traps beaver. Although Leon is not a full-time trapper, he runs his trap line in a fast and efficient way, while working a full-time job. His trapline is about a 60-mile radius around his home. He uses quick and effective water sets and has found that dog proof traps really add to his catch. He harvests respectable numbers of his target animals, in a short amount of time.
Leon is well known for his fur handling skills and has personally received many Top Lot awards for his pelts from a major International Fur Auction. He has done demos at several state conventions as well as national events. He has won Minnesota Trappers Association Master Fur Handler of the year multiple times and is currently the chairman of the competition as well as a judge. He is the pelt handling instructor at LKL Trapping Experience. Leon has a natural way of teaching. He shares the information in a way that is easy for everyone to understand. When people started asking Leon to build adjustable stretchers for them, his Top Lot Stretcher Company was born. His successful company is in Worthington Minnesota and is owned and operated by Leon and his wife Denise, who devotes much of her time to the business. He has three DVDs out on fur handling: Top Lot Coon Handling, Mink and Muskrat Handling and Top Lot Coyote Handling.
Leon also believes that putting fur up is essential. He has doubled his coon money when he stopped selling carcass coon. He earned more money in the fur shed than on the trapline! He knows and understands exactly what the auction houses and buyers want. Modern day techniques that consistently push your pelts into higher grades. And he firmly believes that ANYONE can make more money by putting up their own fur and making sure it looks its best before going to market.
He is a strong supporter of state and national associations. Leon is a lifetime member of the National Trappers Association, Minnesota Trappers Association, Indiana Trappers Association, Missouri Trappers Association, and North Carolina Trappers association. He is also an active member of Fur Takers of America and several other state organizations. He believes everyone should support their state organization and national organizations.
Leon’s demo will cover the complete process of coyote handling from the fleshing, ear cartilage removal and proper pinning to get the most out of each coyote. He also will give you tips to use in the fur shed.
Jeremy Laakso MI (UP): Mink
Jeremy was five years old when his Dad first introduced him to trapping. “Jeremy can still picture that beaver stretched out on a board in the basement.” In addition to working full time, his Dad also ran a mink line, which included: mink, muskrat, beaver, otter, coyote, fox and bobcat. Over the next four years, his Dad would occasionally take him along. By the time he was eight, Jeremy was setting his own mink and muskrat traps in the creek, lake and pond, within walking distance of where he lived. Yes, he still remembers where his first muskrat and mink were caught!
At nine years old, Jeremy remembers, October 25th, like it was yesterday. His Dad woke him up and asked if he wanted to go and set traps for opening day. He couldn’t believe his ears! He was going trapping on the “big trap line!” He knew he wouldn’t be making any of the sets that first year, but his job was important, none the less. He would grab traps from the back of the truck and get them ready with a piece of wire and make sure his Dad’s job of setting was easier because of what he was doing.
October 25th is like a holiday for Jeremy and his dad. In 34 years, they have not missed an opening day. Jeremy is very grateful to be able to live with and trap with his Dad. He has always had a Fur Fish Game or trapper magazine to look at, has always had traps around and has always seen a trapper’s day to day life.
Jeremy has trapped every animal that can be trapped in Michigan, except for a badger, plus some wolves that were released unharmed. He is still waiting for that “incidental mountain lion.” His main focus each season has always been mink trapping; his Dad’s love of trapping mink, just wore off on him. He and his Dad, run a mixed water line every year, which lasts between two and three weeks, depending on the weather. Over the last couple of years, Jeremy has started to set a few coyote sets along their water line. Most seasons, he would only put a few coyote sets out during the winter, close to home. Yes, he catches coyotes, in footholds, in the U.P. winter-deep-snow! Jeremy says it is refreshing to drive up on the snowmobile and see a winter-caught-coyote in an old Victor 3N at 20 below zero!
Jeremy’s Dad told him that he had taken their trapping to the next level; meaning he is always trying to run the line and fur handle more efficiently, and improve their trapping styles. When Jeremy and his Dad run the trap line, they both run 100 miles an hour. Well, nowadays, according to Jeremy, his Dad has slowed to about 65 miles an hour. Whether they are running their 250 trap line or their walking distance line of a dozen traps, they are always looking for more efficient ways to do so. Jeremy’s setup out of the truck is the same every time he heads down to the creek to make his mink sets. Over the years, if he picks up something from another trapper, he uses it in his own system, if it is more efficient.
Jeremy has been the UP Trapper Association District 5 President for over ten years. He has taken several trapper education courses online and says he will never stop learning. He is now working toward his Michigan Trapper Education Instructor Certificate. He believes that it is every trapper’s responsibility, at a minimum, to be a member of his/her local or state organization. He also feels that membership with the National Trappers Association and Fur Takers of America is vital. “Any trapper, who isn’t a member of any of these organizations, is stealing from those of us who do support these organizations.”
Nick Erny IN: Trapping with round bodygrippers
Nick Erny was born and raised in a small town in Southwest Indiana. He still resides near that same area with his wife Dana and son Lane. Whether trapping, hunting, or fishing; he has always been an avid outdoorsman. While growing up, Nick was taught the value of hard work and dedication. This led him to be the successful owner of “RBG” Round Body Grip, Erny Enterprises.
In 2017, Nick and his father purchased the company that was making round body grip traps and began the journey of establishing and growing the company into what it is today. Since the beginning, they added a variety of products to their line of traps. They are currently now offering over 14 sizes of traps along with several other products effective and convenient for the fur and nuisance industry. These products can be found at multiple dealers all over the world and at the local store Nick owns and operates, Erny’s Feed and Outdoor Supply. In it he offers a full line of trap supplies, fur buying, feed and agricultural products.
Over the years Nick has trapped in many states including Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Michigan, Iowa, and Indiana. He had the opportunity of doing both fur and damage control jobs in these states, which allowed him to stay knowledgeable and proficient on current requirements and necessities of the industry. Nick strives to continually learn and grow in order to develop his skills to pass along to future generations allowing the industry to thrive for years to come. He belongs to, participates in, and has held various positions in his local Fur Takers of America chapter and currently sits on the board of directors for the Indiana State Trappers Association. Nick stays very active promoting the sport of trapping through Trapper Education, Predator Management Training, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Dubois County Sportsman Club, and 4-H Shooting Sports.
Nick has been able to showcase his diverse trapping skills in other ways as well. He has been featured on Trapping Across America and Kentucky Afield TV Shows as well as several YouTube channels and podcasts. Most of the time, he is highlighted for his beaver, otter, and muskrat trapping experience and skills, but he also really enjoys K-9, bobcat, and raccoon trapping. Nick generally traps with his son but has on occasion has partnered with other trappers, while trapping out of state. He really enjoys the different set of eyes a new person can bring to his trapline no matter how experienced they are.
When not in the shop, Nick also enjoys staying active outdoors with Dana and Lane. They can be found enjoying the adventures that trapping, hunting, or fishing have to offer.
Dennis Alberts MI (UP): Weasel Trapping
Dennis Alberts didn’t get addicted to trapping till he reached the ripe old age of five – and now in his seventies, the “itch” still hasn’t left. His older brother, Bruce, talked their dad into helping them set out a few traps for muskrats, on a large pond near home. When Dennis was 12, his dad started a small dairy farm with several potholes containing muskrats. In addition, there were a couple of small streams and a large marsh near the farm. Allowed to drive his dad’s tractor to check traps, Dennis was on his way to becoming a “longliner.” One of those streams yielded his first mink.
Then a neighbor showed him how to catch fox using dirt-hole sets and Fur-Fish-Game magazine taught him about mink pockets. When old enough to drive the old pick-up truck, he really branched out catching lots of mink, muskrats, and raccoons. His first of many foxes came during his senior year of high school.
After high school he fell in love with a girl from the UP and started college. A friend, Bob Bolitho, was his trapping partner all through college. In his sophomore year, he married that Yooper girl and a little over a year later they had a little one to feed. It was then that his trapping money became very important and supplemented his scholarship, loans, and part-time job.
After college he took a job in Holland Michigan, but continued to trap, partly for the money, partly because of his love for it and because it was something he could do with his boys, Scott & Clark.
In the early eighties, he and his wife purchased property in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, built a log home, and began his lifelong dream of becoming a professional trapper. At that time the fur market was up, and he was able to make a decent living trapping, but not without spending many long days from sunup to well after sundown running traps and putting up fur. Did he still love it? Yes!
The first couple of days of mink season, he made sets until well after dark, any coyotes were skinned right out on the line, while they were still warm. At home, after a hurried dinner, he skinned any fox and coon, which were then placed in bread sacks and put in the freezer along with any coyotes. Any rats and mink were wrapped in newspapers and put in the freezer whole. These would be taken out and skinned once the catch dropped off.
As they had time, his boys, Scott, and Clark helped with the skinning and went trapping with him on weekends. After a couple of weeks, as his mink catch leveled off, (he would usually have around fifty by then), he would put out some beaver and bobcat sets. Trapping beaver meant it usually wasn’t long before his second freezer would be getting full, so he had to start putting up some fur – especially beaver, otter, and raccoon. Over Thanksgiving, the boys really helped put up fur and not only did they make space in the freezers, but soon had pelts ready to ship to North Bay. When the kids were off school for Christmas vacation, he took a little time to help the boys catch some beaver and get their quota of otter. At the end of December, it was time to pull the rest of the mink line and wrap up the beaver line. In early January, Dennis just “had to” catch some of those prime beaver through the ice! But soon it was time to get those freezers empty (again) and get all the fur put up! Why? Because spring break-up was coming, and he couldn’t resist filling those freezers back up with beaver – when they started to travel and could be taken in large numbers.
Dennis also enjoys writing trapping articles with many published in Fur-Fish-Game and a few in The Trapper, but his real love is trapping. He has not missed a season in 70 years but admits to having slowed down quite a bit.
During these slower times, he has the privilege of being able to trap with his grand kids. His grandson, Chris Ducsay, was his constant partner – since he could barely walk – till he started his own construction company. Now Chris’s sister Ambriah is his trapping partner, and Dennis says, “She is really good at it!”
In his seventies, his approach to trapping is very different. Gone are the days of catching a hundred plus mink and a hundred plus beaver, in addition to all the other critters and putting them all up. He tries to catch a few of each legal furbearer, then tans most of them and gives them as gifts.
Dennis’s passion for trapping even extends to supporting those who protect trapping – he is proud to be a lifetime member of the National Trappers Association!
Heimo Korth AK: Artic Fox/Wolves
While growing up in Wisconsin, Heimo had an exuberant interest in wilderness and adventure, stoked by stories of hunting big game in the pages of Outdoor Life and Field and Stream magazines. The biography of frontiersman Daniel Boone was also very inspirational to him.
As a young man of twenty, Heimo discarded a factory job which he found to be dull and uninteresting. It was August of 1975. Heimo flew to Alaska to take a job as a packer for big game hunting guide Keith Koontz in the Brooks Range. They became friends and Keith helped Heimo get set up with a cabin for a winter of fur trapping.
The cabin was in remote wilderness 70 miles south of Fort Yukon on Beaver Creek. Heimo was alone with meager provisions and no experience with trapping or wilderness living.
For the first month Heimo lived mainly off what grouse and ducks he could shoot. There was no stove in the cabin. Someone was supposed to come downriver with a stove but didn’t show up because of the early freeze-up.
By early October there was a foot of snow on the ground and temperatures dropping below zero. Heimo had to sleep outside and build bonfires to keep warm. He was in real trouble.
Needing food, Heimo set out to find a moose and in the woods out back of the cabin miraculously came upon a collapsed cache with a wood stove and stove pipe among the debris. Heimo got it set up in the cabin and finally had heat.
By mid-November, desperately low on food, Heimo attempted to hike to another known cabin with the hope of finding food there. On the way, he fell through the ice and had to make a run back to his still smoldering wood stove to survive.
More desperate than ever, Heimo hoped to signal a plane. Chances of a plane flying by were very slim. A friend of Heimo’s asked a bush pilot to do a flyover and check to see how Heimo was doing. Again, seemingly another miracle, Heimo was able to signal that he was in trouble and got flown back to civilization.
The few furs Heimo had managed to catch during his time on Beaver Creek brought less than $100. Not wanting to give up on Alaska, Heimo went back to work for Keith Koontz, this time on St. Lawrence Island off the west coast of the Alaska mainland.
In the ensuing years, Heimo would continue to trap and built his first cabin on the upper Coleen River in June, 1978. Here he would trap for over 40 years and raised a family along the way.
Among the furs Heimo harvests in this northern boreal forest include wolf, fox, marten, wolverine, lynx and beaver. Heimo runs his traplines by snowmachine. He has had several seasons of over 100 marten harvested.
Heimo received the Alaska Trapper Association’s Fabian Carey Trapper of the Year award in 2003, in recognition of his commitment and dedication to trapping. Heimo’s sense of humor and engaging personality have won him friends near and far.
An excellent book, The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska’s Arctic Wilderness by James Campbell came out in 2004. Much of the information for this short biograhy came from that book, with Mr. Campbell’s permission.
More recently, Heimo has been featured as one of the cast of the very popular reality TV show “Last Alaskans”. The show has helped to portray fur trapping positively to audiences worldwide.
Justin Webb ID: Wolves
Justin Webb, an Idaho Trappers Association Board member since 2017, is a Life Member of the National Trappers Association, Idaho Trappers Association, Montana Trappers Association, Wyoming State Trappers Association, Intermountain Fur Harvesters, Foundation for Wildlife Management (F4WM) and more. 1.“United we stand, divided we fall” and 2. “Leave it better than we found it” are Justin’s two favorite Mantras.
With a passion for uniting the voice of Sportsmen and Ag industry organizations – to create positive change that protects our rural lifestyle, Justin attends nearly all State Game Management Agency and Commission meetings in his home state of Idaho, and many within Montana. As the Executive Director for the Foundation for Wildlife Management, Justin spends countless hours manning tradeshow booths educating the public on the benefits of trapping and how that relates to States’ abilities to manage over-abundant wolf populations, to negate the negative impacts Elk, Moose, and Livestock. A passionate outdoorsman who grew up off the grid in the back country of North Idaho, Justin enjoys hunting Elk, Bear, Mule Deer, Whitetails, and loves chasing big fish… But Trapping wolves has consumed most of his time afield the past several years. Blessed in his hunting and fishing career, wolves are the most challenging of any animal he’s ever pursued and happen to be what Justin says is the most important target animal for the conservation of all big game species.
Prior to wolf trapping in 2012, Justin’s trapping experience was very minimal with only a few Raccoons under his belt. The weeks of inactivity that often accompanies wolf trapping, lead Justin to target Bobcats along his wolf line. He says while wolfing is hard work, Bobcats are fun and give him something to look forward to while awaiting the wolf packs return to his sets. With no trapping history in his immediate family, and zero in the field or hands on training, Justin sought information from as many successful wolfers as he could find, applied what made sense to him, to the knowledge he obtained in his 200 days per year in the field scouting and studying wolf behavior, and developed his own system. Firsthand experience with wolves and the hard lessons wolves teach us, have been his largest instructor, but he also credits good conversation with other wolfers, a few old-timers in his area, and professionals such as Jack Whitman, for many of the concepts he applies to his trapline.
After many hard lessons, Justin now averages half dozen wolves a year and similar numbers of Bobcats. With nearly 40 wolves under his belt, an appetite for education, and passion for understanding wolf behavior, Justin continues his quest for knowledge and understanding. Through his work for F4WM.ORG, an Idaho based non-profit that reimburses trappers up to $2000 for each wolf they harvest, in effort to control wolf numbers, he regularly visits with many of the top wolfers in the nation. Justin will share with you, his firsthand knowledge from ten years of trapping and snaring wolves in North Idaho, as well as that which he has compiled from many in depth conversations with some of the top wolfers on the continent. You can reach Justin with Questions about wolves and/or the F4WM program at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kendall Obermier IA: Predators/for Livestock Damage
His favorite animals to trap are bobcats and mink. Even with a very healthy population of mink in Iowa, his mink numbers are impressive – given the number of other trappers pursuing mink there – and especially when he is catching a thousand or two coon at the same time. And you know he likes pursuing bobcats, when during the 2020 – 2021, he caught 110 bobcats while also racking up 850 coyotes.
During the early years Kendall wasn’t satisfied with the design and overall results of the “standard” traps. At age 20 he started modifying traps and making his own baits. In everything Kendall makes he strives not only to make something different but better than the other products out there. His due diligence means a superior product for his many satisfied customers. His company motto at NO-BS Lures is, “The Proof is in the Catch!” Everything Kendall makes comes from years of testing, tweaking, and using his products and inventions on his own lines.
Between playing in his band, Farm Rock, building traps, making lures and baits, and owning and operating NO-BS lures, Kendall has been very busy – but every year he makes sure he sets aside some time to trap! He now has his own 1 ½ Coil Spring Trap and his own Dog Proof Trap. And Kendall has also designed a wildly popular X-treme series of traps that he can hardly keep in stock! So far, he has developed the K-9 X-treme Coyote Trap, the K-9 X-treme JR Predator Trap, the Beaver X-treme Trap, and the X-treme Wolf trap. And probably isn’t done inventing other new and different types of traps!
Kendall has trapped in Iowa, Mississippi, Alabama, North Dakota, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas and traps six months out of the year. He is also one of the three instructors at “LKL Trapping Experience” held in Minneapolis Kansas each May. He is a lifetime member of the Iowa Trappers Association and belongs to the National Trappers Association and multiple State Trapping Associations.
Kendall has some sound advice for both experienced and beginning trappers: “If you keep things simple and organized, come up with your own methods, and go where the animals are; you will catch fur. JUST DONT GET HUNG UP ON YOUTUBE CHANNELS, LOL!
Clint Locklear TN: Predator Q & A
Once back home in Tennessee, Clint focused on water animals with some land animals thrown in. After several years of trapping his reputation grew and he was hired by a county to trap beaver for 10 months a year. After 4 years of concentrating on beaver, the county expanded the job to include removing predators for farmers. But nothing lasts forever and eventually the contract ended.
This is when Clint started his business: Predator Control Group.
Predator Control Group focused on trapping predators for hunting clubs, farms, and deer breeders. Clint has trapped in 24 states primarily for beaver, livestock predators and nest predators. When time allowed, fur trapping was pursued. For Clint, trapping was not a hobby, but a full-time livelihood. Along with trapping, Clint has developed an extensive line of trapping lures, baits, books, and DVDs which can be found on his website: Wolfernation.
From the very beginning, Clint looked at trapping like a business. Clint read and watched videos (before all the stuff on today’s internet) but looked at trapping education more like taking college courses where you can learn quickly, so he took instruction from several top professional trappers to jump start the learning curve.
Clint’s favorite animals to trap are bobcats and otter. A lot of people know how to catch these animals, but this wasn’t enough for Clint. He wanted to catch these two interesting and desirable animals in large numbers year after year. His best season on these “favorites” was 174 bobcat and 123 otter!
Between fur trapping and predator control work, Clint has had several yearly catches of over 400 coyotes! While working for the county in Tennessee he really put the hurt on the beaver population, which is exactly what the county had hired him to do! His best season’s catch was 1104 beaver, with 3 additional years of over 700 beaver per year!
From the very beginning Clint learned that trapping was a thinking game; not a trap setting game. Clint espouses that the best trappers learn much more from the animals than they do from all the “generic” trapping information out there. He champions the concept of using the animal’s habits as your best guide to successful trapping. Traps set by formulas or in industry standard locations became backseat in Clint’s trapping. Now he learns from the animals much more than he could learn from other trappers or their writings.
Unlike the greedy, tight-lipped trappers from years ago who selfishly protected their “secrets,” Clint shares nearly everything with anyone that wants to get into trapping. The hundreds of demos he does all over the country, his many excellent DVD’s and books, as well as the time he spends with trappers at his booth – not just selling his lures, baits, and equipment but showing and telling them how to effectively use these tools – shows that he wants all trappers to succeed as he most certainly has done. Clint also does personal instruction and holds trapping schools as part of his many contributions to those desiring to become better trappers.
A good place to see what Mr. Locklear is all about is to follow him on the Wolfernation channel on YouTube. There you will find great videos on trapping, snaring, survival, and much more.
Megan Lockwood OH: Nuisance Trapping
Megan began trapping on her family farm when she was just nine years old. She trapped critters like opossum and raccoons that would get into the feed for their livestock. She used mainly cage traps until she got her first foot-holds at the age of 12. Her passions were lit when she caught her first raccoons in pocket sets! She began educating herself by reading any and all books that the local library had on hand.
In 2005, Megan ran her first trap line. Each year she had the urge to make it bigger and better. She started doing a bit of nuisance work for a local DTE power plant, controlling coyote, ground hogs and raccoons.
In 2012, she switched gears and started to learn about water trapping. Once again, she started reading and researching, this time, about mink and muskrat trapping in waterways. She spent all summer prepping her gear and getting permission from local farmers, who welcomed her to trap muskrats out of their drainage ditches. Megan remembers placing her traps on opening night and catching 694 muskrats in her first week! This was a successful season; in addition to the 694 muskrats, she put up 172 raccoon, 5 coyote, 12 mink, skunks and opossum. She got Top A lot for many of her muskrats, bringing her $18 each. She wishes she could see numbers like that again.
In 2018, Megan moved to Ohio so that she could go full force into starting a nuisance wildlife control company with her significant other – Johnathan. They both work full-time, year-round, trapping and excluding animals from houses and other structures, including commercial buildings. In the summer, they work an average of 12 to 14 hours a day and in the winter around 6 to 8 hours a day. Megan says there really isn’t one animal they remove more than the other. There are different animals with each season. Raccoons are abundant March through June, squirrels and bats in the summer and fall, skunks, February through May, and muskrat calls come in late summer. She loves the variety and prides herself in keeping her customers pest-free!
Megan is an active member of the Ohio State Trappers Association. She and some other female trappers are planning to host a women’s trapping retreat in Ohio this fall. She looks forward to being more involved with these types of events in the future and wants to make trapping a priority for all who are interested. Her future goals are to educate woman and youth about the importance of wildlife control in every aspect, from fur trapping to nuisance work, along with making repairs that not only stop the problem now but also in the future.
Megan is also a member of the National Trappers Association, where she got her first opportunity to provide information to the public at the 2022 NTA convention’s, “The She Side”, and for that, she is very grateful. She is all fired up to provide a demonstration on nuisance wildlife control on the main demo stage in Escanaba, at the 2023 NTA convention.
Rich Wilson MI: Beaver/Avoiding Otter
Rich Wilson was raised in Mecosta County Michigan near the village of Mecosta. He started trapping in 1971 at the age of 12. A neighbor gave him 6 or 7 #1 longspring traps but he knew little about catching animals. Rich lived with his older brother, who had never trapped, so the only information he had was from reading Fur-Fish-Game magazines. His first season of trapping was not very productive: He caught a couple rabbits, squirrels, and a woodchuck, but no furbearers. The next fall his brother asked a friend of his (a local trapper named Bill Pike) if he would help get Rich started. Bill, who was a very good trapper agreed to show Rich a few things despite this being a time when most trappers did not share information, so he was very fortunate. The first day with Bill they spent a few hours walking the banks of the Little Muskegon River and Bill showed Rich Muskrat tracks, trails, droppings, feed beds, and bank dens. They also saw lots of other animal sign like Coon and Mink tracks and Beaver cuttings. On the way back Bill taught him how to set the feed beds and they set all the traps he had. The next morning, he had 5 Rats. He was one excited kid! That night in Bill’s fur shed he learned how to skin and stretch them. From this point on Rich was a trapper for life!
Later that fall Bill taught him how to set for Fox, Mink, and Coon. Bill also helped two of Rich’s best friends get started trapping as well. The next spring Bill and Bill’s brother Jim and his nephew, along with Rich and his two friends all went beaver trapping together. Michigan had a 6 beaver per person and 1 Otter limit at that time. With all of them trapping together they could get up to 36 Beaver. It was a lot of fun and Rich learned a bunch about Beaver and Otter trapping. They all trapped the spring season together for several years.
In November of 1979 Rich enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and when he was discharged, he moved to Grand Marais in Alger County Michigan in the fall of 1982. He partnered up with a local trapper and they had a great time fall trapping. Rich caught his first Coyotes that fall and has been hooked on Coyote trapping ever since. He trapped in the Grand Marais area until 1995 when he took a career seasonal job with the National Park service at Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota. At this job he was laid off from late October until the first of January each year. Rich trapped as hard as he could while he was laid off. He did his first Marten and Fisher trapping when he lived there. It was legal to use lethal snares there at that time and he did lots of Fox snaring. There were lots of Beaver in northern Minnesota and he hit them hard each spring. In 2004 he transferred to a job with the U.S. Forest service in the western Upper Peninsula. He trapped all Legal species in that area as well, until he transferred to the Seney National Wildlife Refuge in 2008. While employed at the Refuge, nuisance Beaver trapping was part of his job there. Also, while working there, he held youth trapping workshops in conjunction with their Youth in the Outdoor weekend each fall. In all, Rich introduced over 150 kids to trapping.
In 2014 Rich made his first trip to New Mexico to trap Coyotes and Bobcats and trapped there for four winters during the month of January.
Through the years Rich has taken trapping instructions from Ken Smythe, Johnny Thorpe, and Robert Waddell. In 2019 he attended the Fur Takers of America Trappers College. Rich is a Life Member of the NTA, NRA and member of FTA and MTPCA and UPTA.
Dave Eckles PA: Beaver Roundtable with Paul Dobbins and Robert Connor
Nobody in his family or any family acquaintances trapped or knew anything about it, so the learning curve was long. From day one in this new trapping game his biggest dream was to catch a raccoon, and he soon figured out they were the culprits leaving tracks in the small creek below his parent’s house. His first season resulted in no raccoon catches, but he did catch one trophy opossum.
Dave understands why deer and turkey hunters usually learn about the animal first and then proceed with how to hunt them. He says, “Trappers seem to want that magic set that works, but don’t get to know the animal as much as they should. Learning the species and their habits and the way they approach, and work sets is pretty important.”
Dave enjoys trapping almost every furbearer, but raccoons are still one of his favorites. He started traveling south for beaver and otter trapping 21 years ago and has continued this trip, still today. Some years with a partner, they have approached the 300-beaver number in their 3-week trip. Furbearer densities in the south are higher, so other furbearers are added in as well. Dave has also travelled to Maine several times to trap and foot snare black bears.
Most of Dave’s beaver trapping down south is control work, so he really needs to catch all the beavers and not leave “seed”. Landowners don’t care much for that! And like most experienced beaver trappers, Dave knows that a “spooked” beaver can become as trap shy as the wariest coyote! Usually, he sets pretty heavy, relying on as many blind sets as possible. Every location is of course different, but he prefers not to over lure an area unless it’s the only option. He tries to catch all or most of the beavers the first night, if possible, that way there are no spooked or wised-up animals to deal with. By the time they figure out something’s going on, it’s too late. He tries to sneak in, and sneak out as much as possible, and stay away from dens or houses. Beaver trapping in Dave’s home state of Pennsylvania is a little different. Down South the landowners want all the beaver gone! In his home state he must deal with beaver limits, trap limits for them, as well as jaw spread restrictions on foot holds that change the way he approaches things. He started his beaver trapping in Pennsylvania, but certainly increased his beaver and otter knowledge by traveling out of state.
Despite his early dream of catching truckloads of raccoons, catching numbers of otters is becoming a personal favorite of his. There is little information out there on otter trapping and their habits are quite different than beaver, so if you want more otter than the incidentals taken in beaver sets Dave, recommends “approaching the area and looking at it from an otter’s perspective.”
All four of Dave’s kids trapped with him when they were younger. His oldest daughter still traps with his granddaughters, and he has a whole new generation to introduce to trapping – his Grandchildren. He’s been active with the Pennsylvania Trappers Association for the last 20+ years, and each year they have a trapping school, averaging 20-30 students. Several of the younger generation that have come through the school, have asked for helpful advice on trapping or fur handling after the school and during the season. It’s always nice to plant that seed for future generations.
Dave has belonged to the Fur Takers of America for many years and has been on the Board of Directors for the last 9 years. He is currently the General Organizer for the FTA.
Robert Connor Ontario: Beaver Roundtable with Paul Dobbins & Dave Eckles
Robert Connor got interested in trapping around 1968 when he was 12 years old, after finding a #1 Sta Kawt trap in the basement of a home his family was renting. Robert had already been watching muskrats swimming in the creek behind the house and he wanted to trap them.
No one else in his family trapped but his dad worked with a guy who trapped, and this man told him how and where to set the trap to catch a muskrat. He also showed him how to take care of the fur. After that Robert started trapping mink, coon, skunk, and beaver, all for his own use.
In 1970 his family moved further North in Ontario to a much more wilderness area, where lots of kids in school trapped. Robert then started going out with his buddies trapping and started selling raw fur to the local buyer.
Shortly after that he was hired as an apprentice, in an even more remote area, on a Registered Trapline with a mentor. They trapped mainly marten and beaver at this time, as those were the “bread and butter species” in that part of Ontario. While working for his mentor on this Registered Trapline, Robert also learned to snare fox, lynx, and wolves.
Robert started doing part time nuisance beaver work for the Railroad in around 1993 and in 2006 he got into beaver control work full time, as an agent for the railroad. He covered the entire rail system from April to December, including doing aerial surveys. During these years he would take several hundred beaver annually.
Robert continues to trap 3 registered traplines in Northeastern Ontario where he now resides, and he still does nuisance beaver control work in conjunction with his local Fur Council. He is presently a coordinator for their nuisance beaver program.
He belongs to several area fur councils and was involved with the Ontario Fur Managers Federation and has served as a Director and as Vice President of that organization.
Alan Probst was not able to make the Convention. His Demo is being replaced by Mark Charpentier, who will be doing a Demo on Fisher Trapping
Mark Charpentier (NY): Fisher Trapping
Mark Charpentier is a native “Yooper” born in Manistique Michigan from a long lineage of trappers. Mark actually began his trapping as a youth in Wyoming and the Sandhills of Nebraska. He runs a full-time wildlife control business in the Catskills of New York and begins each season with fisher trapping before heading west to work his Predator Control line in Wyoming each season. Mark will share his techniques for trapping fishers on poles, ground trapping, lure/bait usage and selecting the best locations within the available habitat.
John Daniel TN: Protecting trapping (w/Jason Wisniewski TN)
John Daniel was born in Southeast Tennessee which is where he has resided for his entire 59 years. He is married, has 4 children, 4 stepchildren and 15 grandchildren. John’s commitment to family, wildlife management and the education there of, community and a strong work ethic can be seen throughout his everyday life as a business owner, farmer, strong supporter of 4-H, and President of the National Trappers Association. He has also held many other offices throughout the years which includes former President of Fur Bearers Unlimited, former President of Tennessee Fur Harvesters, and former President of Hamilton County Cattleman’s Association.
His dedication to education brought about the Hiwassee Trappers Training Camp at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Birchwood, TN. This is a free camp that has been ongoing for 16 years and was founded on John’s determination and commitment to keeping the heritage of trapping alive.
John is a seasoned trapper with 40 + years of experience which includes most species of both land and water fur bearers with knowledge obtained from having trapped in many different states. Of all the fur bearers, mink remains his favorite.
John started trapping as a young teen. While he spent most of his time in the woods with his father and uncle, trapping was not on the agenda, instead it was hours of father/son bonding while coon hunting.
John, known as Johnny, back then, became interested in the ways of the mountain men. As a young teen, Johnny lacked a little in reading skills, but to learn the ways of which his heart was leading him he knew reading would take him there. So, he read.
He read Trap Lines North, Two Logs Crossing, Windigo, and absolutely everything he could get his hands on by E.J. Daily.
Not only did he teach himself through these books, but he also found a love for reading which excelled him in school.
With money earned by doing odd jobs he bought a half dozen no.1 long-springs and a half dozen 110 body-grippers at the age of 13 in 1977.
By the time he was 15, he was making as much money with his after-school trap-line as what his dad did by driving a truck.
He trapped all through high school but had to temporarily set it aside when he started his own construction business at the age of 19.
When his son Hunter was 5 years old, Hunter asked his dad about the traps hanging on the side of his grandpa’s shed. John explained to his son that when he was a boy, he had been a trapper. This sparked an interest in Hunter which rekindled that fire in John, a fire which continues to burn till this day.
Jason Wisniewski TN: Protecting Trapping (w/John Daniel TN)
Jason Wisniewski is the president of the Fur Takers of America. Although a life-long hunter and angler, Jason had in interest in learning to trap after running water and land lines with his friends who trapped in middle and high school. Although nobody in his family trapped or had gear, Jason had a strong desire to learn the skill and purchased used gear through the local traders guide early in college. Shortly thereafter he attended a weekend trapper training school hosted by members of District 5 of the Pennsylvania Trappers Association which gave him a solid foundation to build upon. Jason made his first catch about 6 weeks later, a beautiful Gray Fox on nearby public land. Soon after Jason began catching several more fox which were supposedly very difficult to catch according to many of his friends. This early success and thrill hooked Jason on canine trapping and the smell of a Red Fox remains one of his favorite smells of the outdoors.
After a few years of trapping around home, Jason moved south for graduate education and had little time or space for trapping. After graduating, Jason moved to northeast Georgia and began running a few traps around the house to catch Opossums, Skunks, Raccoons, and fox for some neighbors and started taking some nuisance wildlife jobs as a side business. However, due to busy travel schedules for work during the trapping season, Jason was rarely able to put together enough time to run a longer line – until he began spending more time at his wife’s family farm in Alabama – and noticed an overabundance of Coyote, Beaver, and Otter sign around the property. He reallocated his time in the winter months and tries to spend a week or so each year trapping predators and beavers to protect property, livestock, and enhance game populations. Because of limited time due to travel, Jason rarely catches big numbers but has maintained relatively good catch percentages on canines.
Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in biology in his native state of Pennsylvania and earned his master’s degree in wildlife biology at Tennessee Tech University. Jason has served as a fisheries biologist for 3 state agencies and specializes in freshwater mussel conservation where he has been responsible for the management and recovery activities of over 50 federally endangered species throughout the southeastern US. Throughout his career, Jason has become keenly aware of the need for furbearer and predator management as it relates to ecosystem management including public health, reduction in human-wildlife conflicts, and the conservation of both endangered and game species.
Jason is a life member of the Fur Takers of America, National Trappers Association, Georgia Trappers Association, and Tennessee Fur Harvester’s Association. He is also a regular member of the Pennsylvania Trappers Association and Louisiana Trappers & Alligator Hunters Association. Jason was the 2000 recipient of the Norman Gray Memorial Scholarship through the National Trappers Association and Furbearers Unlimited.
Jason resides in Mount Juliet, Tennessee with his wife Jenifer and daughter Jo Liz. Jason’s favorite catch was his daughter’s first coyote caught in January 2022, a week after her 4th birthday. Jason let her remake the set after a deer had set off the trap and she had a coyote 2 days later. This serves as further proof that setting on location, firm bedding, and patience are keys to catching canines.