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Paynesville Press - April 26, 2003

Trapper becomes MTA director

By Jennifer E. Johnson

As a newly-elected regional co-director for the Minnesota Trappers Association, Ken Olson is responsible for providing youth education about trapping, which he started last week by speaking to students at Paynesville Area Elementary School.

Olson - who was elected to the board of the Minnesota Trappers Association in February - will travel to 14 counties in the region to give youth groups, scout troops, and school children an introduction to trapping.

As a regional co-director for the Minnesota Trapper's Association, Ken Olson speaks to youth groups around his district. Last week at PAES, students - from kindergarten to third grade - shouted out guesses as Olson held up each of his pelts during his presentation.

Olson, a Paynesville native, has talked to students in the Paynesville schools about trapping before, but his presentation at PAES last week was his first since being elected to the board. "It's important to start educating them early," he said.

During his presentation, Olson held up a variety of animal pelts - most of which he had trapped himself. Olson asked the students what kind of animal each pelt had come from.

Olson, a 1987 Paynesville Area High School graduate, represents trappers in the Minnesota's fifth district, which includes 14 counties. He is a lifetime member of both the national and state trapper's associations. Elected positions for the eight districts of the MTA are unpaid and are voted on only by members of the same district.

For Olson, trapping has been a way of life since he was a young boy. Though he occasionally sells his furs in the United States, most of his pelts go to Canadian companies to be used as hats, coats, and even furniture.

Trapping is a tradition that he hopes to pass on to his own children.

Along with trapping, keeping abreast of trapping legislation, and doing presentations for area youth groups as a regional co-director, Olson works nights at AMPI.

Olson returns to PAES this Friday to address grades four and five.

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