In April, trappers from all over B.C. will make their way to Cranbrook for the annual British Columbia Trappers Association (BCTA) convention. This year it will be hosted by the East Kootenay Trappers Association, said the association’s president, Mannie Roberts.
The BCTA holds its convention once a year and it is typically held in the north part of the province.
“I think it’s because those guys don’t think we can do it right down here,” Roberts joked. “But we’ll show them.”
This will be the 69th convention and it will be held from April 24 to 27 at the Cranbrook Curling Club.
“Trapping is a much misunderstood industry, a lot of people think we just run around and kill animals just for the heck of it,” he said. “That’s just not true. There is a real need for intelligent trapping and we believe we trap intelligently.”
The association advocates for trappers with the industry and government.
There will also be a bit of a trade show at the convention and the public is welcome to come. There will be an admission fee of a few dollars, that will also enter you into a draw for prizes.
They are also trying to get the local schools to bring in students.
“We’re constantly trying to educate youth,” he said. “The theme for this convention this year is youth.”
Darby Dean, a 16 year old archer from Kimberley who placed ninth in the World Champion Archery shoot in China, will be doing a demonstration of her archery skills on the Friday night.
Dean’s family are all trappers and Roberts said she will be taking the trappers course as well.
He said the convention will bring 250-300 trappers and their families to the region.
“We’ll have lots of demonstrations of fur skinning,” he said. “And a friend of mine is coming in from Alberta to do some beaver skinning demonstrations.”
The man can skin a beaver, something known to be an arduous process, in under two minutes. It’s the first time he’s come to B.C. for a convention.
Roberts said there are probably about 130 members in the local trapper association.
“We’ve got one of the biggest locals in the province,” he said.
He said for the convention they will be getting help as well from the newly formed West Kootenay Trappers Association.
He said B.C. leads the industry in certified traps and humane trapping standards. He said the standards have become better as well as the industry has changed and adapted.
“We’re very highly policed, by ourselves and by conservation officers,” he said. “Our ability to handle fur is better, because the public has demanded it: the European market, the Chinese Market… They’ve just become more sophisticated and want more and more. There is an insatiable appetite for wild fur over in those areas.”
The BCTA was started in 1946 and is the oldest trapping association in Canada. Roberts also noted that trapping is the oldest industry in Canada, started 400 years ago.