ESCANABA — One of the most popular events for over the past fifty years began today at the Escanaba Fairgrounds.

The U.P. Trappers Convention brings thousands upon thousands of hunters and wildlife enthusiasts each year. The convention is filled with vendors from all over the country, and some from just down the road. All of these contributors helped this year’s convention improve once again.

“We definitely grew the convention this year and we’ve got a lot more people,” said Clinton Seawright of Skunk Creek Trapping Supply in Gladstone, a lot of things that other people are interested in like knives, blankets, basket makers and things like that. There’s a lot of trapping supplies and pretty much everything you could want.”

Among all of the sales, demonstrations were given every hour on helpful techniques to benefit the trappers and the animals involved. One of the main goals for trappers at this convention is to help the community understand why trappers do what they do.

“I’m a full–time trapper, this is what I do for a living,” said Lesel Reuwsaat with Extreme Performance Baits & Lures, “there’s a lot of knowledge to be gained here. If you’re an outdoorsmen or a deer hunter, you can see what trapping actually does to preserve you’re hunting. When we’re trapping coyotes and fox, it’s really promoting fawn recruitment and it benefits you as a deer hunter too.”

“We’re the guys that maintain the predators to a level where there will be deer to hunt for years to come,” added Seawright.

“Trapping is the best way to eliminate diseased animals, to keep the numbers in check,” said Jack Herrick with Wildlife Unlimited, “so there isn’t overpopulation. It’s harder on an animal to die of a disease than it is to be trapped.”

The event also hosts fun and games for kids and members of the convention encourage for hunters to bring their families along. For those who were unable to make it today, you can still make it to the convention on Saturday from 9 to 3 before having to wait until next year.