The 2018 Spring Meeting was today at the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area in Columbia, Missouri. The Board of Directors Meeting was at 10:00am where several things were discussed and then was brought forward to the General Meeting which started at 1:00pm.
President, Clay Creech called the meeting to order and started with the invocation which was presented by our Chaplain, Tim Wilson along with the Pledge of Allegiance. Secretary, Bob Scarlett then gave the minutes of the last meeting, which was at the last Fall Meeting. Vice President, Randy Adey reported on the upcoming 2018 Fall Rendezvous which will be held at the Commons in Salem, Missouri on September 14th, 15th and until noon Sunday. He also reported that RV hookups are limited, so arrange for one early to ensure you get a spot. I will report more information later as more information comes available.
Treasurer, Ann Scarlet gave a brief report on the Associations finances, accounting for our general funds, the lifetime membership account, the legal defense funds and the status of the Missouri Trappers Training Academy (MTTA). Conservation Director, Kenny Wells reported on the meeting that he and his committee had on November 9th, along with Laura Conlee, the furbearer biologist of the Missouri Department of Conservation. They discussed several things concerning possible regulation changes for Missouri trappers. Rules and Regulations Chairman, Darryl Damron spoke on some proposals that later was discussed in new business. The first proposal was whether or not to allow snares to be set 1/2 out of the water instead of having to be submerged like the regulation reads now. The second proposal was to ask the Conservation Commission to have a 48 hour check on lethal water sets with foothold traps. The third proposal was to ask for the opportunity to purchase a lifetime trapping permit just as there is for hunters and anglers. All three proposals were discussed thoroughly and were passed by the membership to present to the Commission.
A few other things were brought up under new business such as proposing to be able to obtain a fur handlers permit for those preparing furs for others without having to buy a fur buyers license to do so. The membership voted to support this proposal. Two other things were brought up and voted on by the membership, one of which is to propose to doing away with the 6 inch minimum height between the bottom of the cable restraint to the ground. The other thing discussed was whether we would support allowing trapping with dog-proofs or cage traps without the a Special Use permit on Conservation Area's. The membership voted not to support these two issues.
The NTA Director, Rick Friedrich reported on some things going on within the National Trappers Association. He reported that good things are happening right now like the State of Idaho won the issue they have been having on the Lynx. A federal judge reversed an earlier ruling, negating a requirement that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game alter its bobcat trapping rules to protect threatened Canada lynx. U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill at Boise dismissed the four-year-old lawsuit. The NTA has also been working closely with the ongoing issues in Maine and Montana. Mostly everything Rick reported was very positive. He also touched on the upcoming NTA convention in Escanaba, Michigan on July 26th through the 28th. He emphasized that we are going to need a lot of help to pull of the NTA convention that we will be hosting at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield in July of 2019.
Awards Chairman, Charles Samuels reported that he has already received several nominations for awards such as Trapper of the Year, District Director of the Year, the Ray Brudigam Leadership Award, and Appreciation Awards. Contact Charles at 660-725-4602 if you know of some member who is worthy of a nomination. Doren Miller, the Hall of Fame Chairman reported that his committee has two nominee's for this prestigious award and will be presented at the 2018 Fall Rendezvous in Salem.
Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) Delegate, Ken Drenon touched on the CFM Annual Convention that was held on March 9th through the 11th. Miss Missouri, Jennifer Davis was there to represent the MTA. The Federation is providing a grant that is available to us in the amount of $1,250 to be used towards trapper training. The MTA will then have to report back to them on how the money was used. Ken also reported that the CFM Board of Directors has been reduced to 24 members, one of which is our very own Tom Westhoff who was voted onto the Board. On March 27 the CFM will be having the Conservation Day at the Capitol with over 30 affiliate organizations for a day of talking with legislators and promoting the CFM.
There were two committee chairmen vacancies that were filled. The Bylaws Committee Chairman was filled by Paul Webb and the Nominations and Elections Chairman is now Gene Whyte.
Pageant Chairman, Keith Voss reported that Miss Missouri, Jennifer Davis attended the CFM banquet on our behalf and was well taken as she wore the fur vest that was presented to her by us and will also be attending our fundraising banquet that will be held April 14 in Chillicothe. The new queen will be crowned June 17th in Mexico, Missouri. The MTA will soon start sponsoring Miss Missouri Rodeo, sponsoring her like we do Miss Missouri. The new queen will be selected the 4th weekend of September at the American Royal in Kansas City. She will take over as the 2019 queen on the first part of January where an event will be held for her where we will present her with her fur vest. The vests were made possible by tanned fur donated by Tommy Alexander and Debra Lark Lemberger of Fur Arts in Kansas City who is putting the vests together.
The fur auction, chaired by Justin Elliott, went well considering the fur market. Gene Whyte reported on his behalf and reported that there were 12 buyers present, 47 lots of fur, and a total of 2,960 hides presented. The committee is also considering changing the fur auction date to the 4th weekend of February in hopes that it will get more buyers in from other states such as Kansas and Illinois that had their auction the same day that we did. It will also give trappers a little more time to trap and put up their furs.
All in all, it was a good meeting. There was 42 members in attendance which was more than enough to make a quorum. Congratulations to Charles Samuels for winning the 50/50 cash raffle and he was also the winner of the card raffle where he won a Heritage .22 revolver. Our new president, Clay Creech did an outstanding job coordinating his first meeting. I encourage every member to attend these meetings and bring your concerns and ideas to the table. As you can see, the association touches on many ideas and issues. The MTA represents the Missouri trappers and their best interest. If you are not a member, it is encouraged that you join because there is strength in numbers.