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OSTA President's Award

Muskrat Study Report

For several decades, trappers in the Midwest and the northeastern United States have been aware that populations of muskrats have been declining and their distribution reduced. Similarly, wildlife managers have recorded declines in muskrat harvests. The overall declines in regional population trends for muskrats are alarming. As such, the Ohio Division of  Wildlife, working in cooperation with the Wilds, launched an ambitious project to methodically examine potential factors that could be contributing to the muskrat decline. Our first step was to examine their health, and determine exposure to toxins and other chemicals. Accordingly, objectives of this study were to collect muskrat carcasses from across Ohio to determine health
in terms of (1) presence of disease, (2) accumulation of toxins, and (3) detrimental effects of contaminants. Sex and age structure, as well as reproductive output were also determined for the sample population. Trappers across Ohio donated legally trapped muskrats for this study. A total of 592 muskrats from the 2013-14 and 2014-15 trapping seasons from across the state were necropsied. Click to Read Complete Study

• The overall declines in regional population trends for muskrats are alarming. As such, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, working in cooperation with the Ohio State Trappers Association and the Wilds, launched an ambitious project to methodically examine potential factors that could be contributing to the muskrat decline. 
• Objectives of this study were to collect muskrat carcasses from across Ohio to
determine health in terms of (1) presence of disease, (2) accumulation of toxins, and (3) detrimental effects of contaminants. Sex and age structure, as well as reproductive output were also determined for the sample population. 
• Trappers across Ohio donated legally trapped muskrats for this study. A total of 592 muskrats from the 2013-14 and 2014-15 trapping seasons from across the state were necropsied.
• Based on molar indices, approximately 11% of the samples were adults. All adult
females had reproduced, having 1–3 litters/year with an average placental scar count of 15.0 ± 6.1 (range 3 – 32). Sex ratio was 1.1 males for every 1.0 female. These values are typical for muskrats at Ohio’s latitude. 
• Few abnormalities of carcasses were noted during necropsy. White lesions noted on the livers of six muskrats were diagnosed as strobilocercus, which are bladder-like cystic structures formed by taenioid tapeworm larva. These likely had little effect on the population. 
• Pesticides and personal care products appeared to play a minor role in muskrat
toxicology based on observed exposure. 
• Nineteen of the 23 tested elements, however, occurred above threshold values. 
• Forty muskrats of the 41 adults tested exhibited exposure above threshold limits for 1 to 18 metals. 
• Less than 25% of the individuals (n = 9 of 41) were exposed to aluminum, arsenic,
boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, cadmium, lead, nickel, selenium, silver, vanadium, or zinc. 
• Three muskrats from widely separated areas, Ashland, Fayette, and Guernsey counties, exhibited exposure to 18, 17, and 18, of the 23 metals for which we tested, respectively. 
• The exposure to 6 metals was more widespread and consequently has the potential to cause detrimental effects on a large scale. These were antimony (n = 19 muskrats), calcium (n = 19), iron (n = 21), mercury (n = 21), molybdenum (n = 19), and strontium (n = 22). 
• Muskrats in areas across Ohio suffered from moderate to severe levels of metal
contamination. Such contamination can have negative effects on health, survival, and
reproduction. However, the pathogenic effects of contaminants cannot be known without additional testing. Histological tests on major organ tissues are needed to determine if and to what extent contamination with metals is impacting muskrat populations in Ohio.
• Nonetheless, knowledge concerning the level of exposure to toxic metals in Ohio’s
muskrats represents a significant beginning in our effort to determine factors contributing to muskrat decline.
Study Summary
Est. 1940 - The nation's third oldest trapper association
Nomination Application

Nominations are being accepted for OSTA Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement awards.
Induction into the OSTA Hall of Fame is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon those who have given of themselves to help preserve the heritage of trapping - a memorial for all time.
The Lifetime Achievement award is given to a person who has devoted themselves to protecting trapping in many ways for a number of years.

If you know of someone who meets this criteria, download the attached form and submit to an awards committee member.
NOMINATION APPLICATION

2021
No Inductees

2020
Keith Daniels
Karen and Dave Linkhart

2019
No Inductees

2018
No Inductees

2017
Eric Ucker

2016
No Inductees

2015
Bob and Lenore Landis
Kim Martin
Jerry Thomas
Frank Pike
William Schlafly
Glenn Wilson Jr.

2014
Dan Hill
Mark Stackhouse

2013
No Inductees

2012
No Inductees

2011
Tom Parr
Jon & Phyllis Hughes
Mike & Patti Conrad
Bob & Shirley Fissell

2010
Ruth Gram
John Vargo
Doug Haubert

2009
Bob Best
Sheldon Colvin
JC & Mary Ann Conner
Jerry & Ann Cooper
Clyde Pidcock
Tom Pike
Ed Richards

2008 (First Year)
Art Scott
Charles Dobbins (D)
Keith Landies
Hal Sullivan
Denver Hill
Lester Fitzgerald
Russ Collar

OSTA Lifetime Achievement Award

2021
Tim & Peggy Ackerman

2020
Greg Wasilewski

2019
Frank “Connie” Grauer

2018
Wayne & Gloria Mott
Keith Daniels

2017
Dirk Shearer
Dave Pitstick
Menno Yoder

2016
Ken Stewart (PDK Snares)
Jeff Robinson (JR & Sons)

2015
Keith Winkler (Sterling Fur)
John Epler (Epler Furs)
Don Duro (Duro Enterprises)
Joe Goodman (Goodman Prints)

2014
Ed Molnar
Carroll Black
Dave & Karen Linkhart

2013
Keith Jones

2012
Ted Arters

2011
Corky Klausing

2010
Harry Kennison

2009
D. Kim Martin
Matt Vedrin
Don Holmes

2008
Bob Bucher

2007
Harold Weismiller

2006
Rich Butera

2005
Russ Collar

2004
Denver Hill

2003
D. Kim Martin

2002
Hal Sullivan

2001
Lester Fitzgerald

2000
Art Scott

1999
Jeff Kirn (F-F-G)

1998 (1st Year for LAA)
Rex Inbody

2022
Ken Stewart
Joe Young
Keith & Tina Jones
Bill & Chris Davis

2021
Keith Daniels

2020
Ken Stewart
Sara O’Banion

2019
Doug Lee

2018
No Nominations

2017
Steve Bourgeois
Dean & Ray Eaton

2016
Steve Hiller

2015
Mike Conrad

2014
Richard Neu

2013
Tim & Peggy Ackerman

2012
No Nominations

2011
Keith Daniels

2010
Nancy & Mark Basinger

2009
Don Smith

2008
Carl Jones

2007
Shirley & Bob Fissell

2006
Doug Haubert

2005
Mike Conrad


2004
Steve Massie

2003
Jon & Phyllis Hughes

2002
Ron Reinhart

2001
Rex Adams

2000
Larry Williams

1999
Jerry Heimbrock

1998
Chris Prickett

1997
No Nominations

1996
Keith Daniels

1994-95
No Nominations

1993
Bob Best

1992
No Nominations

1991
Keith Landies

1989-90
No Nominations

1987
Bob Landis

1986
Charles Dobbins
Art Scott

1985
Ruth Gram

OSTA Constitution & Bylaws

The Ohio State Trappers Association, Inc., revised the official Constitution on September 9, 2022. Click to view or download the document.
The Ohio State Trappers Association, Inc., revised the official Bylaws on June 20, 2023. Click to view or download the document.
September 30, 2023: Region A Fall Meet

October 7, 2023: Region B Fall Meet

October 28-29, 2023: OSTA Trapping Workshops

November 4, 2023: Region C Fall Meet
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