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Illinois hunting and fishing

Trappers gather around Jim Bethell during a trapping seminar on skunks. Photos by Chris Young.

Trappers gather in Lincoln for 50th anniversary convention

October 05, 2012 at 05:09 PM

Prairie State Outdoors

All kinds of trapping wisdom and experience, accumulated over the past half century, were on display at the Logan County Fairgrounds Friday as the Illinois Trappers Association 50th Anniversary Convention got underway.

When Jim Bethell of Woodhull shared a formula for removing skunk smell from clothes, equipment or the family dog, even veteran trappers took out a notebook and leaned closer to hear every word.

Bethell, who operates Bethell’s Wildlife Control, was giving a seminar on trapping skunks.

Illinois hunting and fishing
Jim Bethell talks about skunk trapping Friday.

Here’s the formula:

To cut the smell of skunk spray, mix 1 quart of three percent hydrogen peroxide with ¼ cup of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap.

“The dish soap cuts the grease on the dog or your clothes so the others will work,” he said. “When you mix it you will get some foaming action and that’s when you want to use it.”

Rinse with clean water.

More seminars and demonstrations are on tap throughout the day Saturday.

Tom Olson of Lakeland, Minn. said he gives seminars because he likes to help fellow trappers become more successful.

Olson has more than 30 years of experience trapping beavers in several states.

Illinois hunting and fishing
Tom Olson talks about beaver trapping Friday at the Illinois Trappers Association convention.

Near the end of his talk, he encouraged audience members to carefully sift through information they find about trapping, especially if the information is found online.

“One thing (trappers) have to learn about is the people they are dealing with and check out their credentials,” he said. “There is so much baloney out there, but there is a lot of good information too.”

One way to sort good information from bad is to learn more about the trapper’s quarry.

“It’s important to me because I want to know as much as I can about every animal,” he said. “The more you know about anything the better off you are.”

Seminars on river otter trapping were popular, with an early afternoon session drawing a crowd of about 30.

“That is something we kind of focused on with the implementation of the new season coming up,” said Illinois Trappers Association President Mike Gragert.

Trapping season for river otters begins Nov. 5 in the north zone, north of Interstate 72, and Nov. 10 in the south zone.

Illinois hunting and fishing
A trade show is part of the annual trapper’s convention.

Saturday’s schedule of events also will feature a trapper’s education course, required of trappers under age 18 that wish to receive a license.

Performances by the Heartland Cloggers dance group of Peoria and Richard Withers and The Illinois Boys band of Petersburg are planned for Saturday evening.

So, for those wondering why the magic skunk smell formula hasn’t made someone very rich, Bethell said the solution doesn’t keep well.

“If you get on the Internet and Google skunks you will find that recipe in about 50 places,” he said.

Even though there’s no commercial future for the skunk spray eliminator, Bethell said trappers are important to the nation’s economy.

They provide an unseen service when harvesting animals as a recreational pursuit or removing nuisance animals, he said.

“If people here didn’t harvest the raccoons they do in the fall, my phone calls would quadruple,” he said.

Recreational trappers and wildlife control experts have a lot in common, even if the circumstances are different.

“It’s the control of an animal that is able to reproduce so fast,” Bethell said.

“None of the animals we trap are endangered by any stretch of the imagination, and trappers are just trying to trying to harvest a renewable resource.

“Raccoons are very renewable.”

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528.

Related stories

Illinois Trappers Association to hold 50th anniversary convention

Illinois Trappers Association president Mike Gragert talks about the group's history and accomplishments as the association gets set to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Click inside for Gragert's interview and a schedule for the annual convention to be held Oct. 5 - 6 in Lincoln.

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