2020 Convention Report
March 13th & 14th, 2020
The day prior to convention was when we received the announcement of Saskatchewan’s first presumptive case of COVID-19. To continue or to cancel was the immediate thought, but following some enhanced cleaning/serving strategies put in place by our catering, hotels, and convention centre, we decided to move ahead with the event.
Friday morning kicked off with a flood of folks coming through the doors. Vendors spread across two rooms held the crowd while Floyd put his fur handling skills to work on a beautiful red fox.
The crowd gathered following for a knife sharpening presentation by Joe Lozinski, the creator of the trap spring knife.
We managed to get Lawrence Sochaski to bring his gear and put up a fisher. Anyone in the crowd watching should be taking pointers as Lawrence is one of the leaders in our fur handling competitions. This year Lawrence won the Overall Grand Aggregate Marcel Thibodeau Award. Congratulations, Lawrence!
Corey Grover from Lights Out Snaring brought his tools to the table and gave everyone a review on how his product performs, as well as tricks he has learned to improve performance as a trapper.
Graham Rewega worked his magic on a beast of an otter, somehow making the whole process look easy! If you ever need someone to show you the ropes, get in touch with Graham.
A convention is never the same without Jim Bahr and his amazing presentations. This year he had us all crawling in our seats, discussing tick borne illnesses and lyme disease.
Our evening presentations consisted of tracking dogs and the training involved to utilize these keen canid noses to find wounded game, as well as a discussion and provincial strategy with respect to wild pig populations.
Saturday was no change to the number of attendees coming through, kicking off a coyote fur handling presentation by Wrangler Hamm, and on the other side of the hall was a complete hands-on hat sewing workshop coordinated by Sheila Schmutz and Marcy Friesen. It was great seeing so many people involved and engaged at both programs.
Dr. Trent Bollinger brought his wisdom and knowledge to the main stage with a presentation on Tularemia and other wildlife diseases. As trappers, we often see the diseases first hand – and moving forward we hope to work with Trent to create a more streamlined approach to submissions and reporting.
We scheduled our Annual General Meeting prior to lunch. It was a great opportunity to discuss current issues and address questions from the membership. I will be taking a handful of resolutions to the ministry for consideration.
Following lunch we had the chance to ask away at Derek Senger and Brendon Smith, Field Officers from the Humboldt area. They brought answers to many questions and I appreciate their honesty and hard work to help simplify some of the regulations we have within Saskatchewan.
Trappers of all ages got together to participate in the trap setting competition. It was fast and fun! The women’s event not only had to set 3 mouse traps, but to stack them on top of each other. In the end, the final heat had Michelle Kukurudza come out in 1st place. The men’s event was 3 footholds, and each set all seemed to have one trap that just wouldn’t set. Many close calls, but Mason Weichel came out ahead. Great job and thank you to everyone for participating!
The fur competition was bigger than expected. We had over double the amount of entries compared to last year. Even with two judges, the time involved was lengthy and unfortunately we ran short on time to discuss and present the fur across the tables. A huge thank you to Mary Schellenberg and Jason White for your help judging the event.
Saturday banquet filled the Bella Vista. As always, a fabulous feast and great time had by all. Frank Johnson brought a handful of his beautiful prints that he’s photographed across Canada. Every trapper could relate to the beauty of our wildlife and the moments that Frank has managed to capture. Casey Peterson wrapped up our evening as our live auctioneer and managed to get the crowd into a bidding frenzy.
With all the uncertainty that lies in the current fur industry, the atmosphere at convention did not show it. I am so thankful for the help from everyone, the donations brought in, the sponsors, the vendors, the staff at the Bella Vista Inn and the Uniplex, and also the folks who came out to spend their hard earned money and support the organization. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Without you, we would not be able to continue doing what we do, moving forward with trapper education, public information, government relations, and involvement with fellow organizations – to move the rights of trappers forward.
Thank you again.