Thursday, July 24, 2014

Trappers’ workshop touts innovation

A spring workshop hosted by the Rainy River District Trappers Council on Saturday at Crossroads School in Devlin was deemed a success.
“I was very, very pleased,” enthused Brian Love, the group’s district president.

“I had lots of positive feedback from the trappers and some of the other people who took it in,” he noted.
Love said the event drew a good turnout with trappers, presenters, and visitors hailing from as far away as Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Atikokan, and Ear Falls.
“It was a bit of a departure from the norm but I think a good one,” he remarked.
The previous two workshops were based on best practices for fur handling while this one focused on trapline improvement and a wise use of renewal resources.
“So it was more of a professional workshop, but we did have some fur-handling demonstrations because the public likes to see that,” Love said.
But they also had a variety of different presentations, including one about different trap-setting techniques and one about the use of new equipment.
“There were workshops on utilizing various types of humane trapping methods, which is always important,” Love stressed.
“And we had some new designs,” he added. “We had actual trappers who had made modifications to existing types of equipment locally, which is always great to see.
“They had some great ideas.”
Love said he’s hoping to better document all the information next year by designating someone to take video of the workshop.
He also indicated they’ll continue with a focus on innovation.
“I have lots of ideas for next year already,” Love enthused.
For example, Love knows of a young man who did very well at the National Science Fair with his design for a computer program that can locate trap sets under trapline based on information he pulls from the MNR.
In addition, he’s aware of a biologist from Sioux Lookout who designed a nesting box program to help pine marten in heavily-cut areas that Love would like to bring here to do a presentation.
“The Rainy River District Stewardship Council and the Trappers Association have been on this project for going on three years now,” he noted.
“It will be a great presentation.”
Love said he also places a large focus on educating youth about trapping.
And he’s pleased with the recent agreement with the Ministry of Natural Resources for a youth apprenticeship trapper program.
“We’re just going into our first year for that coming up in the fall of 2014,” he remarked.
“We’ll be licensing 12- to 15-year-olds and taking them out on the trapline, mentoring them, and allowing them to get hands-on experience under the mentorship of an experienced trapper,” he explained.
“And they get to market their fur and keep the money,” Love added. “So we’re kind of excited about that.”
To be eligible, Love said youths must be a resident of Ontario or a Canadian citizen, have written parental consent, and successfully complete the 40-hour Fur Harvest, Fur Management and Conservation Course.
“Then they’ll receive a regular licence that they can take fur on,” Love said.
“It’s taken us 12 years to get that deal off the ground.”
Visit the MNR website for more information on this program.
“We think it’s really important to attract young people so we will be continue to offer presentations and visit the schools,” Love stressed.
“We want to send the message to students about the wise use of renewal resources—and that’s what trapping is.”
Love noted they are going to be running a trapping course over two weekends in November in Pinewood.
Those interested in participating can contact him at 1-807-599-2726 or via e-mail at bwlove@bell.net

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