What is the National Trappers Association?

The National Trappers Association is an organization of dedicated individuals who have joined together to promote and protect the appropriate conservative use of many of the furbearing species. The NTA was established in 1959.  For North America’s more than one-half million trappers, the purpose of trapping varies – from assisting wildlife biologists in furbearer studies, to population and disease control, protection against soil erosion, and for food, clothing, and income. Thanks to good management practices, furbearers are more numerous in North America today than 100 years ago. There is no trapping of endangered species and that NTA continues to research and encourage the use of the most effective and humane trapping techniques. Trapping has been an integral part of American Heritage, and NTA members want to ensure that it continues to contribute to abundant wildlife and sound management programs.

Why is Trapping Important in Todays Society?

In a world where humans interact with wildlife habitat in countless ways, management of certain animal populations will always be necessary. Uncontrolled, many species can infringe on real human needs. We may only think of rodents or insects in a grain storage facility to appreciate the need for action.

Urban Challenges
Parts of the world, like Western Europe, are now so heavily urbanized that the main challenge for conservationists is to protect what little is left of wildlife habitat. Even in these countries, however, wildlife must be managed. In Holland and Switzerland (often cited as places where trapping has been discouraged), state employees must now be paid to trap and shoot muskrats which are seriously damaging dikes, canals and riverbanks. Uncontrolled muskrats are capable of astounding rates of reproduction: females can produce more than twenty young each year, while females born in the first Spring litter may produce their own young by Fall.

Renewable Resource
Some countries including Canada and the United States, are fortunate to still have vast undeveloped lands and plentiful wildlife. The “surplus” produced by most wildlife species each year represents a valuable natural renewable resource for people living on the land in these countries.

Regulated Trapping
Regulated trapping helps to smooth out the “boom and bust” cycles which characterize some wildlife populations when Nature is left to do the managing.

Population Control
In many areas, animal populations must be controlled to protect human activities: bears destroy beehives; coyotes kill livestock; wolves prey heavily on young moose, deer, and caribou which local people depend upon for food and income; raccoons raid cornfields; hungry deer and elk ravage winter-stored hay; foxes, mink and weasels have a taste for domestic poultry; beavers can flood farmland and roadways.

Wildlife can also serve as a reservoir for diseases (like rabies and tularemia) which are potentially dangerous to humans. Beaver and muskrat can suffer horribly for weeks before finally succumbing to tularemia or other infectious diseases. (Foxes with rabies also take weeks to die.) Natural, yes, but hardly “humane”.

Household pets are susceptible to distemper, rabies, heartworm, parvovirus, mange, and leptospirosis, all of which can be acquired from infected furbearers. According to Charles Pils, a Biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: “While trapping is not the solution to every wildlife disease outbreak, under certain circumstances it can reduce threats to the health of humans and domestic animals….By removing population excesses which promote diseases such as canine distemper….in a localized situation, trapping can reduce and even stop the spread of a disease outbreak.”

For all these reasons – even if furs were not valuable – trapping would remain an important wildlife management tool.

What are the dates of the convention?

July 27th – 29th, 2023

Has the NTA convention ever been in Escanaba before?

The convention was held in Escanaba in 2014, 2018, and NOW 2023!!

How many trappers will attend?

Over the duration of the event, an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 outdoor enthusiasts from all over the US will attend.

What is there to see?

This event provides trappers with the opportunity to learn new trapping methods and speak with many experienced trappers.  Conversations with hundreds of experienced trappers over the three and a half days enables trappers to pick up tips, tricks, and ideas to make their trapping more productive.  And three days of demos (instruction) by top trappers from across the country and from Canada allow trappers to see methods used by some of the best! Along with this, you will be able to hear, and meet in person, Marty Meierotto from History Channel’s Mountain Men…and many of the World Famous Last Alaskans!!!

Is this a family event? Are there things for non-trappers to see and do?

Numerous other events and activities will occur at the convention which are great for the entire family.  The Kid’s Cave which has only been around for a couple of years will make a big splash in Escanaba as we try to make its third year the Best Ever!! Many attendees will bring their families and plan vacations around the event, so they can take advantage of seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Some stay for an extra day or two and others stay for weeks!  Other activities and vendors that will be available to the public either as part of the convention or at the U.P Steam and Gas Engine Village include glass blowing, knitting, spinning, weaving, quilting, pottery, woodcarving, trapping and predator calling demos, trap setting contests, gun dealers, outdoor clothing, etc.  The U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Village will be open featuring a blacksmith shop, granary, barber shop, cook shack, general store, an ice cream parlor and more!