Trappers convention returns to Escanaba

Marty Meierotto

ESCANABA — The 59th annual National Trappers Association Convention and Sport Show is coming to the U.P. State Fairgrounds today through Saturday.

Convention coordinator Roy Dahlgren said this will not be the first time this event will take place in the area.

“This is the second time in Escanaba (and) the third time in the U.P.,” he said, noting the convention has also been held in L’Anse.

Dahlgren said when the convention had last taken place in Escanaba in 2014 it attracted thousands of visitors to the area.

“We had right about 10,000 total,” he said. This figure included both vendors and paying attendees.

Because of this, Dahlgren said the convention had a significant impact on the local economy.

“All the motels were full up last time,” he said.

According to Dahlgren, the 2018 convention may bring even more people to Escanaba. Total attendance figures for the event are expected to be between 10,000 and 15,000, he said.

One major factor behind this estimate is the list of prominent attendees that will be at the convention this year.

“We have some really big-name people coming to this one,” Dahlgren said. These attendees will include:

— Nick Beder of Wisconsin, who has taught trapper education, fur handling, and trap placement/selection and setting in his home state. On a recent 46-day trip to Mississippi, he and his wife Christie harvested 121 beaver, 64 bobcats, 302 raccoon, 72 coyotes, 62 otter, 633 opossums, and 28 gray fox.

— Jim Comstock, known as one of the better animal damage control trappers in the country. He has patented cage traps, which are used for both damage control and wilderness trapping, and invented the “swim-thru” beaver cage trap.

–Professional coyote/bobcat trapping expert Rusty Johnson. Johnson, who primarily traps for hire, focuses on nuisance/damage control harvesting. His full-time business “Critter Solutions” has been operating successfully for more than 15 years.

— Mark June, a trapper and lure maker. June has trapped in 18 states, and his lures are sold through major U.S. and international retailers. Additionally, he has formed a professional trapping school known as the Pro Predator Trapping Academy.

— Marty Meierotto, along with his wife and daughter. Meierotto stars in the History Channel show “Mountain Men” and has appeared on the cover of Field and Stream Magazine. He spends most of his time 200 miles from civilization without electricity and with few modern conveniences.

— Bob Noonan, who is known for both his trapping skills and his skills as a writer and artist. Noonan serves as the field editor of Trapper and Predator Caller and the founder/publisher of Trappers Post, and his work has appeared in many other publications.

— Mark Zagger, who is known as an expert on capturing coyotes. Over the last 10 years, Zagger has averaged 135 coyotes per year, with a personal best of 185 captured in a year. Zagger gives trapping demos around the country, has created an instructional course called “Coyote U,” and has written magazine articles and contributed to books on canine trapping.

Several buildings on the fairgrounds will be filled with dealers selling sporting goods and equipment for trapping, hunting, and fishing. Many of the people selling products at this event will offer special sales.

“There’s something for anybody that likes the outdoors,” Dahlgren said of the products available at the convention.

Other activities will be available at the convention, including raffles, children’s games, and a free children’s fishing pond. Food vendors featuring local cuisine will have a presence at this event, as well.

The National Trappers Convention and Sport Show’s hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time for all three days of the event. Adults will be charged a fee for admission, but children aged 12 and under can attend for free.

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