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March, 2024 President's Report

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

Castor…2.6#…$28.46…..$74

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

Total….$21,926.05


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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