Cattaraugus County Sportsmen's Rendezvous opens today in Little Valley

Blacksmith John Riese of East Concord speaks with attendees of the 2017 Cattaraugus County Trappers Association Sportsmen’s Rendezvous. This year’s Rendezvous at the county fairgrounds in Little Valley runs from today through Sunday.

LITTLE VALLEY — After a year off due to COVID-19, the 2021 Cattaraugus County Trappers Association is back this weekend with its annual Sportsmen’s Rendezvous.

The Sportsmen’s Rendezvous starts today and runs through Sunday at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds in Little Valley.

The Sportsmen’s Rendezvous has been organized and hosted by the CCTA for more than 40 years, and has become one of the largest locally run sportsmen’s conventions in the eastern United States. More than 70 vendors specializing in trapping, hunting, fishing and other outdoor-related products typically attend the event each year, including many well-known trapping supply dealers from around the country.

The Trappers Association expects attendance of 2,500 or more over the three days. It is open to the public. Admission is $5 a day. Camping is available.

Brian Davis, Trappers Association treasurer and longtime member, said vendors as well as other outdoor experts, such as Mike Wilhite of Trapper’s Post Magazine, give presentations and demonstrations on trapping, hunting and other outdoor activities. They also donate goods which are sold at an auction on Saturday night of the event to help support the efforts of the group.

Trappers Association member David Allen will present a trapping demonstration at the Rendezvous which will include trapper certification needed for a New York state trapping license.

Davis said another interesting activity at the Rendezvous includes the Mountain Man Encampment, where area re-enactors give a glimpse into the lives of early pioneering outdoorsmen and women from the late 1700s and early 1800s, and includes a blacksmith.

The Cattaraugus County Trappers’ Association was formed in 1980 when several trappers from the county joined together for the purpose of preserving and promoting the sport of trapping, Davis said.

“Thanks to the dedicated effort of over 150 members from Cattaraugus County and surrounding areas, the Association has grown into the successful organization that it remains to this day,” Davis said. “The primary goal of the CCTA was, and continues to be, to educate and inform elected officials and the general public about the importance of trapping as the most effective tool for proper management of furbearing wildlife.”

The Sportsmen’s Rendezvous is the primary fundraising activity for the CCTA each year, Davis noted. Other activities include an annual fur auction, usually held in mid-February, and attendance at other outdoor shows and county fairs each year to promote the organization, and the sport of trapping.

Funds raised by these events are used primarily to support public information and education activities. Programs that the CCTA has supported include sponsoring kids to attend Department of Environmental Conservation Camp and the Trappers’ Camp at Camp Rushford; Cattaraugus County and New York State Envirothon; 4-H programs in Cattaraugus County and other surrounding counties, and many others.

The CCTA also funds a scholarship for students looking to enroll in college to study a natural resource conservation discipline such as fish and wildlife management, ecology and environmental science.

“Many of our members generously share their knowledge of and enthusiasm for trapping with those interested in learning about the sport, including youth and adults alike, Davis said.

“The Cattaraugus County Trappers’ Association recognizes that our youth are the future to preserving our outdoor heritage, and believes that by providing these opportunities for youth and adults alike to learn about the important role of trapping, hunting, and fishing in managing and protecting our wildlife and other natural resources, that outdoor sports will be able to continue to thrive for future generations,” Davis said.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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