Trappers plan demos at convention

ESCANABA – There are 25 trapping demonstrations and one predator calling demo scheduled at the National Trappers Association Convention in Escanaba, on July 24 through 27. Famous trappers and predator callers from all over the U.S. and Canada will be on hand to share their methods, tips and even some secrets valuable to both novice and veteran trappers. This convention is an opportunity to visit in person with some of the most well-known trappers in the outdoor arena.

Johnny Thorpe will be giving a demo on fisher and marten trapping. Thorpe is no newcomer to the trapping trade. He was inducted into the NTA Hall of Fame in 1996 and he has been a professional trapper and trapping instructor for over 53 years. He has trapped from the wilderness of Quebec, nine states, including the deserts of California. A living legend in the trapping world, Johnny has delighted convention crowds for many years.

Clint Locklear will be on hand presenting a demo on bobcats. Clint is a 40-year-old professional fur and control trapper from Tennessee. He started trapping in Alaska for marten. After coming home to Tennessee, he started long lining for fur and doing control work on beaver. Clint has trapped in numerous states. He also owns Big Country Lure, Beaver Control Institute and co-founded Predator Control Group, Inc. Clint stays busy with control work, but lives for the fur line.

Les Johnson will share his expertise on predator hunting. Johnson has been on a quest since childhood, pursuing his true passion – predator hunting. Born and raised on a south-central Nebraska farm, Les experienced nature first-hand. Once asked what his goal in life was, his reply was; “I want to be one of the best coyote callers in the world.” With that goal firmly in his sights, he was soon standing in the winner’s circle, securing the Triple Crown Championship of coyote calling in 1999. As the first and only coyote caller to win all three major championships (Midwest, National and World Championships), let alone the first and only to win all three in the same year, Les secured his place in coyote-calling history. As an ambassador of predator hunting, Les brings the adrenaline-fueled excitement of predator hunting to the public through videos, appearances and a television show dedicated to his personal Quest.

Brandon Johnson is from Northeast Ohio and is 23-years-old. He has been trapping ever since he could walk. He has been a full time fur and ADC trapper for seven years. He has trapped four states and has trapped in Africa.

He starts his fur season out of state and continues to state hop until early spring. A few of his high catch numbers in one season have been 800 coon 168 otter and 400 beaver. Johnson will be giving his demo on otter trapping.

These are just a few of the many experts giving demos each hour on the hour for three days. New for this convention is having all demos projected onto a large screen so all can see. For a complete list of presenters and their time and topic and for all information regarding the convention, go to or Some of the presentations are restricted to NTA members only, however, one can sign up to become an NTA member at the demo or the NTA booth.

This large, family event is sure to have something for everyone. There will be hundreds of vendors and tailgaters selling their wares. Many “convention specials” and no shipping charges! At least 15 food vendors will be on the grounds offering delicious food and local cuisine. The Gas and Steam Village on the grounds will be in operation. Contests for adults and kids such as trap setting and skillet toss, BB gun range, will be happening and there will be fishing in the Pocket Park. Two fur fashion shows will take place, and there’s a dance on Saturday night with the band Runaway Train. Sightseeing tours of the U.P. will be available. A non-denominational church service is scheduled for Sunday at 9 a.m.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to noon. Admission is $10 which includes all four days. Kids under 12 are admitted free.

“U.P. Trappers welcome all presenters, participants, volunteers and of course guests to the U.P. State Fairground. This may be a once in a lifetime event for many. Plan to attend the convention for a truly memorable experience,” said Jim Fornetti, longtime member of U.P. Trappers

For more information, contact Tamara Masterson, convention coordinator, at (248)-568-5804; or Roy Dahlgren at (906)-399-1960;