As the communications coordinator at the Fur Institute of Canada I am often on the other end of the spectrum. I talk a lot about this industry and everything people do – but being able to go out and see the people in the industry, working in their element, is what reminds me of the great work we do as an organization.
This past week I was able to go to Alberta and spend some time at Gordy Klassen’s ranch. The visit to Gordy’s was the second half of a weeklong event hosted by FIC with a Russian delegation of four representing the fur industry and environment sector of the Russian Federation. The first thing I remember about the trip was driving up to Gordy’s place and the feeling of being somewhat out in the middle of nowhere. He lives in Debolt, which is about four hours outside of Edmonton, near Grande Prairie. His ranch is just off the highway, but shrouded in woods near a place that you could easily miss if you blinked.
The natural setting of being in western Canada where everything is bigger rang true. His ranch had many buildings on it and everywhere you looked there was something different to see. This was a large place, for a man with a large personality who has been a lifelong advocate for trappers and the Canadian fur trade. Gordy welcomed us and the Russian delegation and, wasting very little time, we were soon in his renowned workshop discussing issues around trapping and, particularly, wolves. It was a chance for Gordy to do what he does best: Understanding trapping and discussing the research the Fur Institute of Canada does. A lot of time was spent looking showing the Russian delegation the various traps that are used, understanding how to best use them and set them. Rudi Mueller was also on hand, so everyone was treated to his expertise by way of a necropsy on a wolf. This process is obviously key in helping better understand the workings of traps and to understand the animal itself; this allows researchers to continuously improve the methods used to humanely trap and hunt these large predators.
Coming from somebody who has never really experienced this type of thing before the opportunity was incredible. And to see and understand what a trapper does, through Gordy’s point of view, was an extremely worthwhile and impactful learning experience.
And great researchers, like Rudi Mueller, Pierre Canac-Marquis and the rest of the TRDC research group continue to demonstrate their leading edge knowledge of animals and traps. All in all, the trip was an opportunity to personally see what I advocate for on a daily basis here at the FIC. I can honestly say it further solidified my belief in this industry and makes me want to get these great stories across to more people.