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      U.P. Trappers Convention underway

      Trapping, a sport dating back hundreds of years, continues to attract newcomers every year.

      The 46th Annual U.P. Trappers Convention kicked off Friday at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba. The event was hosted by the local District 3 of the U.P. Trappers Association.

      The centuries old industry is still alive and well. Demand for wild animal pelts, such as bobcat or raccoon, is still there, especially in the market overseas.

      "People think the fur market is dying, and it's not really dying," said Minnesota trapper and retailer, Steve Gappa. "Furs are being used, especially in Europe and other countries. And here, North America doesn't use fur as much as other countries around the world."

      Although demand is up, prices are not.

      Gappa says if you're looking to strike it rich, right now, trapping isn't for you. That's why many just consider it a hobby.

      "That's what goes to hurt the trappers is the price of gas," Gappa said. "It's just not cost efficient to trap. Trapping is to the point now where a trapper that works hard can make money on it, but you can't get rich at it because the prices just aren't there like they were back in the day."

      District 3 President, Rick Arduin, expects over 1,300 trappers to walk through the convention doors this weekend.

      Over 20 trapping vendors will have their traps, lures or furs on display.

      Arduin says trapping continues to be both a sport and family tradition, passed down from generation to generation. Even though the numbers have declined over the years, he still sees interest among youth.

      "That's our goal is to get, recruit new trappers, especially young people," explained Arduin.

      The convention will continue Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.