Why associations and why trap?
Well, most of you know this guy because for many years he was the Vice President of NYSTA and did a killer job with the NYSTA convention. He truly put his heart into the association. Now, Jack Spriggs is taking his skills to a new level with teaching a class for beginners in trapping (www.trappingsimplified.com) So of course he was easy choice to turn to when 2 topics came about. So please, grab a up of coffee, sit back and read Jack's take on things!
"When Linda asked me to write a post for the Trapping Girl blog my response was a quick “yes”. Followed by the immediate question, “ummm about what”? She suggested two topics that she felt were important and deserved addressing. The importance of trapping associations and why now is the best time to get people involved in trapping, even with a down fur market. To me, these two topics can hardly be separated because each one vitally depends on the other. So, here goes.
First things first. For those that don’t know me, I began trapping as a 12-year-old boy with a pair of old #1 Victor longsprings that I found hanging on a nail in Grandpa’s garage. That was 40 seasons ago this year. Since then, I’ve seen the face of trapping change several times. Some good and some not so good. I have proudly served as an officer in both state and local level trapper’s associations and currently run a trapping instructional business, Trapping Simplified with Jack Spriggs, that teaches new trappers the basic skills required to be more successful in the field. So, for me, these two topics are what the last 40 years of trapping have culminated into.
Trapper’s associations play a multifaceted role in trapping today. Anyone who has been involved with trapping for very long knows that we are under constant scrutiny by animal rights organizations and government agencies. It seems as though every time I turn around, another trapper has come under attack or another state is fighting to maintain the right to practice our trapping heritage. One of the most important things our associations do for trapping is provide trappers with a voice in government. Recently, states like New Mexico, California, Montana and here in New York have all faced serious legislation that threatened to destroy trapping as we know it. In all those cases, both state associations as well as the National Trapper’s Association fought hard to protect our trapping rights.
The second thing these associations provide is education. The general public has many misconceptions when it comes to trapping. For many, when they hear the word “trap” they immediately get a mental image of a huge steel device with big gnarly teeth. We trappers know this couldn’t be further from the truth. Trapper’s associations like the NTA and Fur Takers of America provide literature to help combat this misconception and give trappers, like us, solid information to use as talking points when faced with opposition.
The third piece to this puzzle, and one of the reasons I trap, is that associations provide good ol’ fashion comradery. You will find no truer family than a group of trappers. I’m not really sure why or what makes us this way, but go to any rendezvous or convention and you will soon see for yourself. Unfortunately, these organizations are dying.
We, as trappers, must do our part to recruit new trappers if we want to keep our trapping heritage alive. Most of the time, when someone says “new trapper” we think kids. That’s great and we need those kids. There are many organizations out there that focus on kids and trapping like Kids for Catches that Linda runs and I have the privilege of assisting with along with dozens of other trappers. However, we cannot afford to overlook the twenty-something or even the forty-something year old that shows an interest. These guys AND GIRLS are the working force behind keeping trapping safe for future generations.
Once upon a time, I made a substantial portion of my income trapping fur. In the early 1980’s I was making as much money trapping as my father was working a full-time job. That has changed. Most fur goes to the garment industry. Trends have changed, fur ranches have taken a bigger market share and animal rights groups have swayed public opinion. All of which contribute to lower fur prices to the trapper.
So, what’s in it for me? Glad you asked. In November of 2017 my first grandson was born. Little PJ doesn’t know it but he’s going to be a trapper. Why? Because Papa is a trapper, and I’m going to share that part of my life with him. He’s already got his pack-basket and a few traps. He already comes to see me in the fur shed where nothing is off limits and time is taken to satisfy his curiosity. A couple seasons ago two brothers started trapping with me. Jimmy is 18 and Steve is 26. Both young men love to trap and have free run of the fur shed all year round. I’ve seen the smile of a first catch and the disappointment of an empty, sprung trap. We talk trapping but also about life. My line and my shed are always open to a fellow trapper or future trapper. Questions are always answered, and class is always in session.
There you have it, the connection between trapping associations and why so desperately need new trappers. Associations will surly die a slow and painful death without new trappers and new trappers will lose their trapping heritage without the associations. Please, join an association and get a new trapper out on the line this year.
Trap hard friends!