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Hi all,

Received the following message from Peter, who compiles data and studies within our Iowa DNR. If you are contacted to participate in this study please do so. Also please read the following as it is a nationwide study.


Craig Sweet



I am forwarding this heads-up message to my fellow trappers big and small about an important survey that is to occur this spring. If contacted, please take a moment to participate in this survey about trapping and trap types currently being used by trappers. It is important that trappers participate in these studies so that an accurate picture of trapping today informs messaging and programs developed by our state wildlife agencies.

Peter Fritzell

Life member of NTA, FTA, Iowa Trappers Assoc.,member of Maine and Vermont Trappers Associations. 


"We are all often leery of unsolicited calls, letters, or emails regarding trapping which makes us wonder if such inquiries are legitimate or a ploy by anti-trapping organizations to extract data to use against us. However, I wanted to take time to notify our members about the following, upcoming survey being conducted by a legitimate group that will help inform decision making regarding trapping over the next few years.  The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) will begin conducting a national survey of furbearer trappers in 2024.  This will be the fourth iteration of the survey which was previously conducted in 1992, 2004, and 2015.  The goal of this longitudinal study is to capture important information about trapping and trappers in the United States so that Agencies can better understand and promote the activity for future generations to enjoy.  Information gathered in this survey will also help agencies gauge the success of current efforts to recruit, retain, and reactivate trappers, and plan future efforts to increase trapper participation. All US State and Territorial Fish and Wildlife Agencies are members of the AFWA, along with many Federal Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Canadian Federal and Provincial Agencies, and over 45 non-government conservation organizations like the well-known National Rifle Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The Fur Takers of America are also members of AFWA and have been important partners with AFWA for over 30 years in assisting agencies with understanding trapping.  This survey, like the previous three surveys, will be the most comprehensive national survey ever conducted on the technology and techniques used to harvest wildlife by trapping in the United States. The information gathered will allow for a longitudinal assessment of many aspects of trapping. The objectives of this current survey project are to:  1)  determine which types of traps are being most commonly used by trappers for various species,  2) determine which species of furbearers are of highest priority to trappers to capture on their traplines, 3)  determine changes in trap use (sizes, types, etc.) by trappers over time, 4) quantify and assess trapper knowledge and use of Best Management Practices for trapping, 5) acquire basic demographic information (age, race, gender, etc.) on trapping license holders, and 6)  increase state fish and wildlife agencies understanding of trapping as it is currently being practiced so R3 efforts can be implemented to increase trapper participation.  Although AFWA has commissioned the survey through a Multistate Conservation Grant, the survey will be administered by staff from Responsive Management, one of the leading human dimensions survey groups in the wildlife management industry. Surveys will be administered to participants based on lists of licensed trappers provided by wildlife agencies across the country. The surveys will kick-off in April, 2024 but will likely continue through the summer as additional data use agreements and contact lists are acquired by the contractors.  I want to encourage all of our members to participate in this survey if contacted as it will provide invaluable information for the agencies to make informed decisions regarding trapping. In addition, because FTA members represent only about 1.5% of all licensed trappers in the US, it is likely that a high proportion of trappers will not be aware of this survey when contacted as they have not had any advanced notice through The Fur Taker or this Quarterly Report. Hence, it is very important for our members to inform non-members of this survey and why they should participate. This also illustrates a key reason as to why membership in the FTA is important to all trappers as we often have information to share for which most are unaware."

Greetings all. On February 11th Jim Mesler of West Burlington passed away. Jim was our first ITA President from June of 1961 to October of 1962. After being president he took over as secretary/treasurer from October 1962 to September 1964. In 2002 he was inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame. I first met Jim in 2001 at the NTA National in Mason City. He was standing in the aisle of one of the dealer buildings flipping pennies in front of kids watching them chase them down.  I had may conversations over the years with Jim as many on this Board has. He was a part of this association from almost its inception. He will be greatly missed by his family and all who knew him. RIP Jim.

Season is over for another year, except for beaver which runs to April 15th. Season 51 was far better than last and memory fill as each season has been. My old trapline car, 98 Intrigue, has come to the end of its line. December 16th she hit 500k for miles, then on Feb 6th at 505k she decided it was enough and “herniated a disc” in the lower end. With only a couple major repairs ever and both in the last year, a head gasket and lower intake, other than normal maintenance and tires she caused no troubles. Only one time did she leave me detained in a field where I should not have drove. Between my 79 Cutlass and this Intrigue I have traveled many trapline miles. Who says you need a truck and 4wd to trap, plus saved a lot on fuel cost by doing so. 

We had a few lifetime members join since my last report. Those lifetime members are Steve Griebel, John Nebel, Laurent Sarrazin, Tracey Rieks, Mark Norman, Matthew C. Alber, Glendon Mesch and Ben Deters. Thank you to all who have joined as new or have renewed their memberships. Your support is greatly appreciated.

March 1st to 3rd we had a booth at the Iowa Deer Classic for the first time. We had a display of pelts for all furbearers harvestable in Iowa as well as info. Conversations were with young, old, men, women, first time trapping this past season, those who had in the past to some that knew little to nothing about what we do. Allyson Oser brought her badger hat with claws that kids got to try on. The smiles on those kids faces when they put it on and the number of photos taken were far too many to count. Some of those people will probably never trap, but left with a memory and knowledge about what we do. During the weekend we also signed up 4 new members as well. Thank you to all who stopped by for conversations during the weekend. Our next event is the Legislative Breakfast March 21st at the Statehouse from 7-9 A.M.

Our 22nd annual FBU/ITA banquet will be held April 6, 2024 at Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel. This new location is located off I-80/I-35 near the west mixmaster at 1800 – 50th St in West Des Moines. EVERYTHING will be located in one big room which will be different than in the past. If you need any info or want to attend email me at  and I will get you that info. All tickets need to be returned by March 25th and we do not allow walk-in’s.

The Spring ITA Board meeting will be held 10 A.M. April 7th at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel 1800 – 50th St West Des Moines. This is the same location as the banquet. I am planning June for the Summer meeting. As always, all current members are welcomed to attend.

That is about it for now. Til next time - Craig

Greetings all. Another new year has arrived upon us. As most know, trapping season has been extended to February 28th for all harvestable species except beaver which will remain April 15th. For me trapping season will close on January 31st for most species. This is due to fur damage that occurs during this time of the year. As I write this on January 10, rubbing is starting to occur in coyote and raccoon. Go have fun, but be mindful in the price reflection that you may receive from fur caught from here on during this point in the season.

 January 6th was the ITA’s 14th annual fur auction. Sellers were up 19 over last year and 148 more lots of fur were presented and sold. Prices received were better on some species while others were about the same compared to last year. The biggest increase was averages for some finished verse green species. Last year there was a 24 cent difference in the raccoon average, this year there was a $4.60 difference. There were 3 more finished raccoon this year over last, but 504 more green or a 62% increase in green over the auction last year. It definitely paid if you took the time to finish your fur this year.

Thank you to all who sold fur, but a big thank you to the buyers who attended and were willing to buy fur --- North IA Fur - Bill Drewelow, NE IA Fur Exchange - Rick Hemsath, Midwest Taxidermy - Ben Trumblee, Miller Fur - Don Miller Plymouth, IL, Stark Fur – Ernie Kovacik Stark, KS, Hutton Valley School of Taxidermy - Roger Hutton,  Kokas Fur Barn – Craig Kokas Prospect, OH, Midwest Bone & Fur - BJ Deaton, Mountain Man Outdoors - Jeff Filloon, Baetsle Fur – Kerry Baetsle and Sleepy Creek Tannery – Ben Deters.

Help with setting up, lotting in, carrying fur during the day were Chad Thede, Peter Fritzell, Dave Phipps, Cody Hutton, Brock Holker, Joe Hornback, Calvin Barber, Curtis Barber, Allyson Oser, Matt Fox, Randy Porsch, Cooper and Garrett Stiens.  I think Cooper and Garrett had a good time helping place fur on the tables in front of the buyers.  I see both being a part of the crew in the years to come at the auction. Thank you boys for all your help!! Bret Smith was auctioneer, Nat Hill & Tracy Hutton - clerked, Dan Roberts and Kristie Lambert oversaw the food area, Thank you all for doing this over the years. Funke Trap Tags (Allen Sayre), Backwater Baits (Bruce Rhoads) & Mike Nelson were present selling supplies. Sleepy Creek Tannery (Ben Deters) accepted fur to be tanned as well. Again thank you to everyone who assisted in one way or another to make this auction flow as it does. Without all your assistance this would not be possible. Also, Thank you to everyone who donated fur and funds to the Mertens’ family in their time of need. I am sure Kaci and Justin appreciate the generosity of their trapping family. Also thank you to everyone who donated fur to the ITA.

We had 11 Buyers, 51 sellers and 439 lots of fur. All lots of fur sold, as you can see some fur sold for as low as 20 cents per pelt. "F" is for finished -- "G" is for green. On carcass bobcat, otter, badger and a few black raccoon I combined green and carcass animals together.

Species... Number... High/Low... Average... Total... Top

Raccoon ...F…346... $26/.50.... $8.23...$2849.75….Donated to Justin Mertens

Raccoon… Carcass/G...1260 ...$21/$11.50/.50…$3.63... $4574.50 … Dave Phipps $21 carcass John Davidson $11.50 green

Coyote...F…102..$50/$3…$12.99…$1325…Donated to ITA Mike Mazur

Coyote… G…44 ... $14/$5…$6.25…$275…Mike VenRenterghen

Muskrat… F...939…$4.75/.75…$2.67…$2511.50…Steve Grulkey

Muskrat... G... 31…$4/.20…$2.22…$68.90…Brian Burrows

Mink...F...41…$8/$1…$6.06…$248.50… Steve Grulkey

Mink...G…5… $2/$1…$1.25…$5… Scott Nibe/Keaton Jones

Bobcat...F...6..$72.50/$31…$57.91…$347.50… Tim Anderson

Bobcat…Carcass/G...26...$180/$31…$54.42….$1415… Craig Sweet

Skunk…F...32..$15/$8..$11.75..$376…Tim Anderson

Skunk...G…118..$17/$3…$11.37…$1011…Curtis Barber

Red Fox...F...8..$22/$10…$14.62..$117…Larry Wilkinson

Red Fox…G…6..$11/$3…$9…$54…Mike VanRenterghen

Badger...F...12...$41/$11.50…$36.75…$441..Larry Wilkinson

Badger…Carcass/G...10..$72.50/$26…$37.85…$378.50…Russ Bruns

Otter...F...9..$46/$19…$30…$270…Craig Sweet

Otter…Carcass/G...16..$37/$10…$31.93…$511…Chad Mahler

Beaver...F…23...$46/$26…$34.65…$797…Donated to Justin Mertens

Beaver…G...199..$38/$5…$19.56…$3892.50…Bret Smith

Tanned Beaver....1...$10/$10…$10….$10…Donated to ITA Brian Burrows

Opossum...F…25... $3.50/$1…$2.61…$70.75… Craig Sweet

Opossum…G...31..$4/$1…$1.23…$38.25…Brock Holker

Gray Fox...F...6..$25/$11…$18.75…$75…NOT IA gray’s Donated to ITA Mike Mazur 

Weasel...F...1…$2/$2…$3…$9…Donated to ITA Mike Mazur

Fisher…1..$75/$75….$75… $75 … Donated to ITA Mike Mazur

Nutria…1…$7/$7…..$7…$7…Donated to ITA Mike Mazur


Squirrel Tail…168..70c/60c…$101.90… Craig Sweet

Beaver Tail...40..50c/25c…31c …$12.50… Curtis Barber

Deer Hide…1..$7/$7..$7…$7 … Chad Thede


At fall convention our membership was at a little over 1300. I don’t know exact numbers currently, but that number has increased as well. I place that increase on Justin Deaver and Luke DeMeulenaere. Their announcements on their personal YouTube channels and overseeing the ITA’s new YouTube channel. Both these guys have their hands full trapping, let alone what they do for the association in their “spare” time. Both have been willing to take this project on and get it implemented. There are currently 622 subscribers, 17 videos with thousands of views. Thank you to Justin and Luke for all you both have done to this point. What you have done is far more reaching out to others than I am capable.

Since my last report we had 4 new lifetime members join, Drew Baier, Bradly DeWall, Jeff Dunlap & Sarah Gomez.  With that our lifetime is currently at 509 members. The website is still currently receiving the majority of our new member activity. Thank you to all our new, renewing and lifetime members of the ITA, everyone’s support is greatly appreciated.

As I stated in my last report, we will have a booth March 1-3rd at the Iowa Deer Classic. Our booth number is G31which is located on the Upper Level Grand Concourse directly across from the middle seminar stage doors. We will not have merchandise, but will have memberships available. Stop by and chat while you are there.

Our 22nd annual FBU/ITA banquet will be held April 6, 2024 at Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel. This new location is located off I-80/I-35 near the west mixmaster at 1800 – 50th St in West Des Moines. EVERYTHING will be located in one big room which will be different than in the past. It will be different for me not being secluded in a room by myself for the silent auction. Hope to see everyone April 6th at our new location.

The Spring ITA Board meeting will be held 10 A.M. April 7th at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel 1800 – 50th St West Des Moines. This is the same location as the banquet. I am planning June for the Summer meeting. As always, all current members are welcomed to attend any meeting.

That is about it for now. Til next time - Craig

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