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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2007, 12:25 
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Joined: 30 Aug 2006, 10:13
Posts: 1562
Location: The Withers of Wisconsin
From Gary Meis, President, Minnesota Trappers Association

Here you go boys and girls, it is official. What a great day to be a trapper. Read and enjoy.

It is with great pleasure that I'm able to inform the trapping community that we have come out successful in the lawsuit brought upon us by the HSUS. Last week the HSUS asked for a settlement in the lawsuit. HSUS asked the Federal judge for a 45 day delay to work out the settlement. The judge denied HSUS the delay. Consequently the HSUS laid their cards on the table and said they would drop the lawsuit without prejudice (standard in civil lawsuits) if the MN DNR would agree to pay a total sum of $25,000 in court and attorney costs. In return the HSUS would give a grant in the sum of $12,500 to the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife fund to be used for Canada lynx programns such as critical habitat. It was further agreed upon that the defendante (MN DNR) will be able to apply for an "incidental take permit" with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. This maneuver will protect trappers by allowing trapping evev if lynx may be accidentally caught while trapping. It was extremely important that we had the asurance of all non trapping parties in this agreement that we would not be punished while waiting for the permit. If you recall in my reports I could not expose numerous parts of our game plan. I still cant tell you everything, but we can tell you that the "incidental take permit" was a very important part of out strategy. Both the plaintiff and the defendants have agreed to all the above. In short we wont lose any of our traps or geographical trapping range from the outcome of the HSUS lawsuit. You may ask if there is a huge problem with the USFWS issuing the permit. The answer is "no". In 2000 the Federal register, the USFWS has already stated that trapping under the current Minnesota regulations for trapping hold no ill effect on lynx populations. Another interesting thing is these permits are NOT suppose to be politicaly motivated. All this gives us confidence that an "incidental take permit" will be forth coming without changes to the existing trapping regulations. We dont intend to just leave this be. The MTA and our legal team will follow the "incidental take permit" process just as closely as we did the HSUS suit. This is a good outcome for Minnesota trappers.

You may ask why did the HSUS drop the case. Myself and our legal team can give numerous reasons but rather than gloat lets just let a sleeping dog sleep. Obviously being prejudice I would like to give the MTA and our attorney Gary Leistico top billing for this victory but in all fairness it was a total team effort. The MN DNR, MN Attorney Generals Office, USSA, FTA, NTA, and affected trappers Cory Van Driel and Todd Roggenkamp all played equal and integral parts in the lawsuit and without each party doing their assigned responsibilities the victory may not have been attained. I would also like to express my gratitude to all trappers around the United States who have so unselfishly donated money to our legal defense fund.
In summary, we have won the first part of the battle. We still have the API lawsuit to deal with and we have been assured it will be no small battle. The legal fees are going to get larger so anyone caring to donate we would be more than honored to accept your donation. In the mean time I'm going to get my first good nights sleep since last summer. This is a huge weight off of my back as well as all involved.


Gary Meis, President
Minnesota Trappers Association

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