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Trappers from far and wide attend convention

Ilsa Minor | Daily Press Attendees of the National Trappers Convention, held at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds, had plenty to see and experience this week. Nearly every building at the fairgrounds and the entirety of the midway is filled with vendors, demonstrations, and informative booths. The event continues today, with gates open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

ESCANABA — The largest trapping event in North America, the National Trappers Association Convention, drew crowds of outdoor and trapping enthusiasts to the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds this week. The event continues today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It’s been going good. It’s a good show,” said vendor Hannibal Hasse, of New Prague, Minn., who has made the pilgrimage to the the national convention every year since 1969.

This year, Hasse was joined by his daughter, Allie Fisher, and his two granddaughters, Rose, who is nearly 4, and Rain, who was possibly the youngest future-trapper at the show at only six months.

Creating an environment that is welcoming to the next generation of trappers is something many of the vendors at the show strived to do. At the Florida Trappers Association booth, children were given alligator teeth, including one little girl who asked if she could have a second tooth for her younger brother who wasn’t at the show. She was pleased when they said yes.

“They are the future of the trapping, and if we don’t get the youth involved, we’re not going to get … the trapping,” said Harry Lindenmuth, the recently-elected Florida representative for the National Trappers Association.

At home, the Florida Trappers Association offers youth training in trapping that includes best management practices, conservation, and skills like using restraint poles to release animals that have been caught in snares out of season. At the convention, the group showed off some of the unique species that can be harvested in Florida, like alligators and tegu, an invasive lizard native to Central and South America.

“We knew that there’s going to be furs, raccoons, possums, and coyotes — coyotes are a big thing in Florida, too — but snakes and alligators, most of the people here probably wouldn’t see,” said Lindenmuth from behind a table lined with a full-length alligator skin.

A few doors down from the Florida Trappers Association’s table in the fair’s beef barn, the swine barn had been transformed into a section of swampy river where a number of trapping experts gave demonstrations on trapping skills. The set included a beaver dam, a pool that crossed under a culvert and plenty of tall grass and mud to mimic realistic trapping scenarios while still being sheltered from weather and hot sun.

Some of the demonstrations were for National Trappers Association members only, like a mink trapping demonstration presented by Jeremy Laakso given Thursday afternoon. However, many of the presentations were open to anyone in attendance at the show.

Demonstrations will continue throughout Saturday, including Rusty Johnson of Idaho: Predators at 8 a.m.; Mark June of Michigan: Bobcat at 9 a.m.; Linda White of New York: Fox at 10 a.m.; Al Dubord of Alaska: Marten at 11 a.m.; Mark Charpentier of New York: Fisher Trapping at noon; Lesel Reuwsaat of South Dakota: Summer Coyote Control at 1 p.m.; a National Trappers Association member only demonstration by Heimo Korth of Alaska on Wolf Trapping at 2 p.m.; and John Daniel and Jason Wiesnewski presenting “Protecting Trapping” at 3 p.m.

Those attending Saturday will also be able to peruse booths featuring traps, lures, furs and skins, and instructional books and videos, as well as non-trapping items like cast iron cookware, guns and knives, and nature-themed art and jewelry.

For more information about the show or the National Trappers Association, visit www.nationaltrappers.com.

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