The new year started in Arkansas with a thousand black birds dropping dead out of the sky over Beebe and a 20-mile stretch of dead drum fish, possibly numbering in the hundreds of thousands, floating in the Arkansas River between Ozark and Clarksville. It is not known what caused the deaths of either species, although lightning strike is a suspect for the blackbirds. Sick, but live, drum fish have been sent in for testing. Trappers in these areas may want to check local news reports for the latest information and adjust your lines accordingly.
Secretary/Treasurer Rocky Weeks is in the process of verifying and updating ATA membership information. Fur Sale letters were sent out in late December to everyone on the current membership roll. If you received a Fur Sale letter, please follow the instructions inside to verify that everything is correct. If you did not receive an ATA Fur Sale Letter and are an ATA member, please contact Rocky with name/address and membership payment information.
The ATA Fur Sale will be Saturday, February 19, 2011 at the National Guard Armory, 1717 Airport Road in Russellville, Arkansas. If you did not pre-register for a lot #, you may purchase a lot # for $10 when the doors open at 6:30am the morning of the sale. Sale schedule, guidelines and checklist are also available at this time. Please do not bring your fur into the building until your lot # is scheduled for sale. The sale will be conducted similar to previous years and AGFC will be on site to issue otter and bobcat CITES tags. Beaver castor must be dried or fully thawed and will be graded before sale. The Fur Sale letter, schedule and guidelines are also available on the ATA website at http://arkansastrappers.org.
Last month, a few days before Christmas, Brad McDaniel, David Lovell, Jay Gill, Aaron Hitchcock, and Dub Shankle built a 13×27 foot awning on the front of the Community Building where River Valley Chapter holds their monthly meetings. Claudine Shankle and Mary Hitchcock served an outstanding lunch. The work was completed long after dark. The ladies that oversee the upkeep of the building were very happy with the final results. Most of the materials and transportation of the steel were paid for by the Community Building staff and the remainder of the materials were donated by other people that use the building. The building is used by many groups and individuals that will be kept dry and shaded as a result of the hard work from a group of fur trappers. The Community Building is located next to the Fairview Church, 3.6 miles east of Mulberry on US Highway 64. Everyone is invited to attend River Valley Chapter meetings which are held at 7pm on the third Thursday of each month.
The ATA now has several sets of professionally-tanned furs to be used for education and display purposes at schools, scout meetings, county fairs, trade shows and other events. If you would like to use a set of furs at an event, contact an officer in your area for more information. We are still short some furs like muskrat, weasel, civet (spotted skunk) and mink. If you wish to donate fur to the project, contact Dub Shankle or see Dub at the upcoming Fur Sale in Russellville.
The ATA website has been changed to a new format that is more like a newsletter instead of a commercial website. The new format makes it much easier for staff to get updated information to the membership. Officer/Director contact information and other standard information like flyers for the convention, fur sale and workshop are one-click away using the labels at the top of the page. Other information and articles are organized in chronological order or by categories on the right side of the page. If you have information, an event notice or short story that you would like posted on the website, send it to Editor-Mark Alexander or Secretary/Treasurer-Rocky Weeks. As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated.
Hope everyone has a safe and successful end to land trapping season. See ya at the fur sale! – Mark Alexander