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President's Report, November, 2023

Greetings all. It has been a busy July and August. Headed to Escanaba July 23 to 30th for NTA National. I attended NTA Board meetings with Rod Husman, a long two days but all went well. Made my way too the fairgrounds Thursday to Saturday to partake in convention activities and talk, if talk surprises you. Hung out with the Iowa gang in the evenings to make sure all the kids go to bed when they should. Gunner Hutton assumed my “Presidential responsibilities” Friday and Saturday due to his wearing of my badge. It sure made for some interesting responses during his tenure. Thanks Gunner!!

Got back home then headed to Eldora on Aug 5th for the Iowa Bow Hunters meet. We set up a display and perfomed demos for their group to equate their organization with ours. The day went very well and we gained a few members while present. Thank you to IBA for your hospitality while there.

August 7th it was off to Wildwood Ranch for the Outdoor Journey for Girls camp. Allyson Oser has been lead presenter for a trapping program for 3 years now. She goes over history, animals, pelts and traps and why we need regulated harvest. The girls relate to her very well, she even snaps a soft-catch 1 ½ on herself. There have been other girls follow her lead and snap that trap on their hands as well. Thank you Allyson for doing this.

After class Allyson, her mom and I continued with conversations. During that conversation I learned that convention weekend was also homecoming, she and the family were going to convention. At that moment I had plans for convention weekend in her honor. To be continued further down in my report.

August 26th I was present at the Beginner Trappers class in Knoxville hosted by Justin Deaver. There were 62 signed up and the building was full. While in the intro, Justin asked how many present were ITA members? A few hands raised, he said you can join today while here. After completing all stages and arriving back for lunch, 13 people joined the association as new members. One family had a daughter who attended the Outdoor Journey for Girls in St. Charles. All 4 of the family joined due to their daughter attending camp and being involved with Allyson’s presentation. Thank you Justin for hosting this event.

Sunday Aug 27th it was off to Central City for ECI 16 Rendezvous. Had a good time and got to talk with some people. It is always a good time over there with Shawn, Steve and Owen and all the Fur Taker family. I relayed info about FTA happenings to those present and asked them for their vote in my running for General Organizer. I will not know election results until about mid October when results will be released. I appreciate all who voted for me, time will tell.

Sept 5th headed to Osage for convention. Weather was about as perfect as we could ask for during a convention. About 15 campers were present by Wednesday evening ready for Thursday morning. Buildings were all setup on Thursday morning early due to all the help. I would like to say thank you to all that helped Thursday. This association and our members are very helpful with setup, tear down and clean up at convention. This is what makes convention so enjoyable due to the amount of volunteers who assist to get things done so efficiently.

Final touches for all areas were finished by late afternoon and vendors were pretty much done by early evening with their booths. There was a gentleman from Wisconsin that camped beside one of our members. He stated to him, it seems that everyone knows each other here at convention. His reply was, most everyone does. That is what is great about convention, there may be a couple campfires going, but almost everyone is around one or the other enjoying the evening food and activities.

Friday morning Justin Deaver was setting up a tv to allow the Board to view the new ITA YouTube channel being spearheaded by Justin Deaver and Luke DeMeulenaere. During setup a FFA group from Riceville was present. After talking with Justin, he was willing to present this to the group unannounced. After speaking with the teacher about this new video and students’ willingness to view it, the ITA YouTube was unofficially unveiled to the public.

Friday was our Board meeting. Guests were Justin Deaver, Luke DeMeulenaere, Justin Stiens, Jeff Milner, Joe Pannhoff, John Newlin, Shane Burmeister, Tex Adams and Bailey Knouse. The Board approved our having a booth at the Iowa Deer Classic March 1-3, 2024 in Des Moines. This is the first major event we will attend since Pheasant Fest back in 2012. We will be right outside the seminar rooms on the upper level, so stop by and say hello while you are there. The Board also approved having a booth at the NTA National in Sioux Falls, SD next year. We had 2 Director at Large positions up for election. Three nominations were received for the two positions. Those nominated were, Justin Deaver, Dwaine Knouse and Shane Burmeister. With 3 nominations, a vote of the general membership is required. After the Board meeting Friday, I had 2 different Board members come to me asking about making a new position on the Board for Justin due to his involvement and production of our new YouTube channel. Neither of the Board had spoken to each other, but each member was indicating about the same thing. Late Friday evening I talked with Cody, Tom & Mike to have an impromptu Executive Council meeting Saturday morning to discuss input I received on Friday. Saturday morning about 8:30 or 9 we came up with making a new position on the Board. We wanted Justin Deaver to Chair this position and Luke DeMeulenaere to be his Co-chair. Both of them just happened to stop by while we were talking. Both these guys were already working this project and Justin was absolutely willing to accept this currently non-existing position we wanted to make. While discussing all this with Justin we came to agreement we would have Justin remove his nomination for Director at Large. By doing it this way the association would "officially" be able to utilize all 3 nominees in the association instead of 2. By creating a new position, all 3 talents could be gained. With this coming around in such a short period of time before the membership meeting, none all the "side effects" of Justin removing himself from the nomination were even though of. This led to much confusion in everyone present to support Justin in his bid to obtain Director at Large. I didn't envision the confusion it would lead to because "I knew" what was going on and most everyone at the meeting had no idea. I apologize to Justin and all present to support him for my lack of ability to forsee the confusion "I" as president of this association created on Saturday.

I will state I am very proud of how "MEMBERS" of this association are stepping up to make this association one of the leading associations around the country. Due to efforts by Justin and Luke, through their personal YouTube channels, and others asking if you are a member. We have gained over 100 "new" members in just 2 months from all over the country due to their announcements. Just prior to convention of 2019 we were at 765 members and 421 lifetimes. Those numbers have steadily increased, especially over the past 2 months. Since my last report lifetimes who joined have been Rodney Christner, Luke DeMeulenaere and Curtis Barber. During convention we added 18 more new lifetimes. Those lifetimes who joined are Frank Ruegsegger, Robert Dilley, Dylan Humberg, DJ Vogeler, Kody Krusen, Larry Jacobson, Leon Windschitl, Cindy Anderson, Mick Craig, A & J Skinning Machines, Mary Thomas, Ian Tibboel, Allyson Oser, Sawyer Brenneman, Joseph Dudley, Ava Brenneman, Trapper Brenneman, Stephen Boehme, Dave D’Aigle and Justin Smith. The ITA currently has 1325 members with 503 of those being lifetime in our association. Thank you to ALL our new, renewing and lifetime members from around the USA who support the ITA!!!

During the membership meeting Dwaine Knouse and Shane Burmeister will be our Directors’ at Large for 2023, Cody Hutton and Chris Grillot will remain our vice-president and treasurer. Our scholarship winners for 2023 were Ben Johannes, Bailey, Knouse, Leo Sells, Dane Durkop and Kylee Eastwood. Congratulations to Ben, Bailey, Leo, Dane & Kylee for receiving those scholarships. Matt Lumley was presenter for our 41st inductee into the ITA Hall of Fame who was Dean Bartz. Dean is normally at the FTA Trappers College, but arrangements were made to keep him in Iowa for the weekend. I know he was a little surprised and caught off guard, but the secrets remained until the announcement. Congratulations Dean on your induction into the ITA Hall of Fame!!

Now back to Friday evening and the “to be continued’. I had plans to surprise Allyson at the potluck since she would not be attending homecoming. I purchased a “Queen robe and tiara, Hannah Manning designed a sash for my planned surprise. I wrote a short speech, just happened to be a couple straw bales present to act as a podium to announce from for the ceremony. After my speech I crowned Allyson Oser “Trapping Queen”. Following the crowning, Allyson stated that she had a surprise for me as well. Back in 2021 at Spencer, Allyson and I were looking through my photo album of trapline and fish memories. She took a picture of my photo of a 48 inch flathead caught in 1998. This past summer, she took taxidermy classes with Roger Hutton. While in class she made a replica of that flathead and presented that to me. Allyson was shocked by becoming Trapping Queen and I was honored to receive such a momentous gift from her. This is one convention both of us will never forget – Thank you Allyson for your memorable gift!!

Saturday Miss Iowa 2023 Alysa Goethe and Miss Iowa’s Teen Juliana Clark were present at convention. Tom gave them a tour, sat in the ITA booth and even participated in the trap setting contest. Juliana was only 6 seconds from placing 3rd which was pretty impressive for not setting a trap previously. Thank you Alysa and Juliana for your presence at convention, it is very much appreciated.

Saturday we drew for the pre-convention gun raffle which was a Weatherby Orion 12 gauge over/under. All 200 tickets were sold, so thank you to everyone who purchased a ticket. The winning ticket was purchased by Judy Sells. Congratulations to Judy for winning the gun.

Dave Phipps was selling spaces for pick-a-square at convention. Winner of pic-a-square for a Ruger 10/22 was Steve Grulkey. Both Steve and Judy were difficult to locate at convention, Steve was across the aisle from the ITA booth and Judy was beside us. Who wants a booth space next to ITA next year??

On Saturday, Justin Deaver and Luke DeMeulenaere organized a beginner trapper event. There were 40 some kids that attended this event which went over well like last year. Each kid received dp’s, bait and other items to get them started on their own line this fall. Thank you to all who assisted to make this possible again this year.

Just before the start of the auction Saturday evening, I made another short speech pertaining to a couple ITA members. They fed everyone Wednesday evening, Thursday morning, Thursday evening plus Saturday evening prior to the auction. They also volunteered to feed about 80 kids/adults at a Bow camp June 11 in Winterset. Prior to getting there, the camp manager indicated there was to be about 200 people present at the noon. That menu was changed to a walking taco for ease and volume of people. They also have volunteered to cook for the fur auction the past 2 years in Boone. I had contacted Dan’s daughter back in June to make plans and let everyone know ahead of time as to what my plans were. Once we got to Osage, Dan indicated that everyone including the grandkids were going to be at convention this year and was all excited. Little did he know what was in the works. After getting everyone’s attention before my short speech, I saw Kristie in the back of the room recording with her phone. She told me later she did that because I rarely speak like this not knowing she was recording their own award ceremony. With all this and other volunteering they have done, I presented the 2023 President’s award to Dan Roberts and Kristie Lambert. Thank you to Dan and Kristie for your most gracious efforts and all you do for the association.

The auction contained many quality items made and donated by some very generous members of the association. Also for the auction, Ben Deter had an idea for auctioning 5 lifetime memberships with a chance at a gun. All items brought very generous amounts to assist with ITA funds. Thank you to everyone who made or donated items for the auction, Bret Smith for his auctioneering services. Everyone’s generosity in purchasing and donating items is and was much appreciated to make the auction the success it has.

September 11th the ITA in conjunction with Justin Deaver and Luke DeMeulenaere launched our new ITA YouTube channel. Currently there are 2 videos, one covers basic parts and mechanics of different style of traps and the other covers dog-proof how to’s. The channel will cover basics on trapping, traps and trap prep to everything between. Their plan will be to host weekly youtube videos provided by ITA MEMBERS! If anybody is interested in filming their trapping season they would love to have you! They are still working on ways to receive videos without using snail mail, but we'll figure it out. Below are more details for those interested!

-videos from first catches to longliners, -trap prep, trap adjustment, everything EDUCATIONAL and/or entertaining. They love to see kids involved, but we will need written permission to show them on youtube by parent or guardian, -no blood, firearms, or dispatches. -speak firmly at the camera, don't turn your head or walk away and continue speaking. All submissions WILL BE REVIEWED AND EDITED AT OUR DISCRETION, OR POSSIBLY DENIED IF IT DOESNT MEET THE ABOVE CRITERIA. Let's use our heads and show good ethics, if there's a few images of things that shouldn't be there editing those out won't be a problem. We can handle that.

Justin believes (not 100% sure) that it will be the very first state association youtube channel. HELP US SHOW THE COUNTRY WHAT US TRAPPERS ARE ALL ABOUT! To view and subscribe go to As I write this there are currently 231 subscribers with 769 views in only 3 days since it was launched. Thank you Justin, Luke and Jennifer for all the work involved to get this channel launched for the association!!!

The 2024 ITA Convention and Sports Show was originally planned for Osceola. Due to circumstances after our July meeting and the printing of our convention brochure that location has now changed. The 2024 location will now be held at the Madison County Fairgrounds in Winterset September 6-7th. For those camping, there will be plenty of spaces for primitive or electrical and some water hook-ups as well are available. There is also a dump station onsite available.

The ITA Fur Auction will be held January 6, 2024 at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Boone. Dave Phipps, I presume, will begin accepting seller numbers starting Dec 1st as he has in the past. You can contact Dave at 515 491-8214. Some contact me, which I have no problem with, and will relay that info to Dave. My phone is 515-306-9385. When you get there you will receive a card with a number, this number will be your seller number for the auction. This system helps with the lotting process as Dave, Cody and myself no longer have to inquire which seller number we are currently on and much easier to keep track of. Also, the issue we see most when lotting in fur is ‘bad” pelts mixed with good. If you have blue or damaged pelts put them on a separate string. Those blue or damaged pelts will only downgrade the value of your good pelts if they are mixed in. Once your fur is lotted in, all fur MUST cross the buyers table before it can be pulled for “No Sale”. Let us know when we are lotting in your fur the minimum price you are wanting so that can be written on the seller sheet. For any “No Sale” fur, the commission is calculated off the last bid received. Commission as in the past will be 3% for “No Sales” and 5% for sales. Pay the clerk via cash or check only as we will not be able to accept debit or credit cards. After paying your commission, a sheet will be given for you to take to the buyers which purchased your fur. Doors will open at 7 A.M. and auction will begin at 9. Last year Dan Roberts and Kristie Lambert provided food for lunch plus we will have doughnuts, pop and coffee like in the past. We will be doing the same again this year as well. Hope to see everyone in Boone!!

Mark your calendar for our 22nd annual FBU or NTF (National Trappers Foundation)/ITA banquet to be held April 6, 2024 at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel. The new and bigger location I located off I-80/I-35 at the west mix master in West Des Moines. Hope to see all of you there again next year. As I indicated in my last report, there are many other motels located well within a mile of this location as well. Save that date and we will see everyone next April.

Trapping season opens on Novenber 4th and closes on February 28th this season, except beaver which will close on our normal April 15th date. As most of you know, the season was extended on all species to February 28th due to current population treads in wildlife. Even though there is an open season for hunting or trapping of raccoon on private property, doesn’t indicate that pelts caught or hunted early will be of any value. Wait until the regular fur harvest season opens on November 4th or even later to get those raccoon pelts fully primed. Get out and have some fun while taking a kid or adult along that has never participated. This is one way to get others involved and introduced to the lifestyle that made America the country it is. Also don’t forget about trapline photo’s for the photo contest at convention or footage for the YouTube channel.

I am planning meetings for February, April, June and of course September in Winterset. As always, all members are welcome to attend any meeting.

That is about it for now. Take care til next time - Craig

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