In 1974, after buying his first Tennessee Fur Buyer’s License for the grand sum of two dollars, Kenneth Jones founded the ‘Kenneth Jones Fur Company’. Mr. Kenneth came to Millington Naval Airbase in the spring of 1973. Being a navy man since 1948, his service had taken him away from the childhood times of hunting and trapping, which he longed to resume. He remembers his selling of raccoon furs to F.T. Taylor for $0.75 each in the 1950s.
In the fall of 1973, Kenneth could not find a fur buyer in the Memphis area. He contacted the ‘coon hunters’ in the area only to find out coon meat was being used, but the fur was being thrown away. There were no buyers in the area. He also learned that raccoons could not be legally trapped in Tennessee. In the spring of 1974, Mr. Kenneth met with the commissioners of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in Nashville sporting a 1-3/4 Northwood trap. His request for a raccoon season (other furbearers were legal) was turned down.
Following this meeting, an ad was placed in the Memphis Commercial Appeal seeking interest by area trappers in start a local chapter of Fur Takers of America.
Howell Reeves of the Jackson/Huntingdon area, Frank Faulkner of Millington, and Henry Reynolds met with Kenneth Jones in a restaurant in Brownsville, TN and the decision was made to form West Tennessee Fur Takers. The General Organizer of National Fur Takers was contacted and by the fall of 1974, West Tennessee Furtakers Chapter 24-C was chartered with the goal of promoting the art, craft, and skills of proper fur handling, and ethical trapping. And also, to provide the area trappers a means of marketing fur. Thus WTFT-24 began.
Addendum: At the 1975 spring meeting of the TWRA commissioners, Kenneth Jones, Howell Reeves, and other members of the newly formed WTFT petitioned the TWRA for a raccoon trapping season coinciding with other furbearers. Due to opposition from some dog hunters the “full season” request was declined, but TWRA did approve the first raccoon season for the month of December each year.
We wish to acknowledge the support that was given by Henry Reynolds, sports writer for the Memphis Commercial Appeal and Tony Campbell of the Tennessee Conservation League during that time
This is an account of the beginnings of West Tennessee Fur Takers-24C of the national organization of Fur Takers of America as told to Mark Moore by Kenneth Jones on Monday, December 11, 2017. There were some names and dates that “Mr. Kenneth” could not recall but WTFT-24C expresses our thanks for his time, perseverance, and passion for the craft of trapping and fur handling that brought about our club.