Chuck Sykes-The Management Advantage Consulting
The concept behind The Management Advantage television program was conceived by myself and my wife Sue in the late 1990’s. At that time, I was managing a commercial hunting lodge in Alabama and operating a fledgling wildlife consulting business. Sue and I figured that since land managers in our area were in need of sound management advice so were managers in other parts of country as well.
To address that need, ten years ago The Management Advantage began airing on Outdoor Channel. It was the original television program completely devoted to wildlife and land management. Since that time, The Management Advantage has brought cutting edge wildlife and land management tips and techniques to land managers all over the country.
Trapping’s Role in Predator Management
Trapping has always been a major component to the management plans written by The Management Advantage Consulting Team. Trapping is necessary to the management of upland game birds and many large game animals as well. Therefore, trapping has been projected as a necessary and biologically sound management practice on the television program.
Historically, the shows that featured trapping received tremendous viewer support. The only negative comment received was from a trapper. His comments were, “you should not be using rusty traps to catch animals.” I am admittedly not a professional trapper. I know just enough to be dangerous to the critters in our area.
Three years ago I was introduced to Robert Waddell at the Quality Deer Management Convention. I wanted to feature trapping in an episode of our show during the upcoming 2008 season. So, we made arrangements to feature Robert and his beaver trapping techniques. We traveled to Mississippi that following February and spent three days with Robert. The show turned out to be a huge success.
Fur Takers of America
We received overwhelming support from the trapping community as well as members of the Furtakers of America, an organization of which I knew nothing about. Many of the emails started arriving prior to the show even airing. I was extremely impressed with devotion of this group to the trapping cause.
The following February, I employed Robert to remove nest predators for several of my consulting clients in west Alabama. We filmed four days of trapping and produced another great program showing the benefits of nest predator removal. We again received overwhelming response from our viewers as well as the trapping community.
Robert made arrangements for us to meet with FTA Board at the annual Rendezvous. We presented a proposal to feature a two minute trapping segment each week on our program. The proposal was met with unanimous support. The next step in the process was to travel to the Trappers College to film many of these segments.
The trip to the college was a huge success. Not only were we able to film almost all of the FTA trapping segments, but most importantly, we were able to get to know many of board members and FTA members personally. I have never been around such a diverse group of people all united for a common cause.
The outdoor industry is full of overinflated egos that I have to deal with on a regular basis. So, it was such a pleasure to work with the FTA board and members while at the college. The segments that we filmed were genuine and from the heart. The honesty and true compassion for trapping and the education of others from the FTA members far exceeded the personal agenda of anyone we interviewed.
We were all a little apprehensive when the first few segments aired in early January. As all of you know, trapping is not the most politically correct topic to the general public. However, we have never chosen the path of least resistance and neither has the FTA. Both The Management Advantage and the FTA believe strongly in our causes and we were hoping that everyone else would see that as well. Apparently they did! We have only received positive comments about the FTA segments.
It has been a very rewarding experience working with Robert and the other members of the FTA. I certainly look forward to working with the FTA in the future to promote wildlife and land management and the need for regulated trapping.