Increased fur prices an encouraging sign

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Although I have not actively trapped in many years, I was heavily involved in fur management back in the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s.  My first trapping excursion with my Dad was back in 1971 and I was hooked for life! He taught me about trapping at a young age and never forgot it!

I have been to the North Bay sale; learned about grading and what to look for in fur quality and primeness.

I have even studied trapping and fur harvest from a management perspective; to gain a better understanding of how and why we trap fur-bearers in the first place.

For these reasons and more…I have continued to follow trapping and the fur industry over the years.

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Our nation, as we all know(or at least we should) was founded upon the fur trade and has since struggled to deal with public perception worldwide. It has been an ongoing battle.

Encouraging news from the trapping circles seem to indicate that fur prices are up this year and will continue to remain high.  Some fur like fox has increased upwards of 60%! The sale of fur coats in Russia has also soared and other parts of Asia and Europe as well.

Are the good guys finally winning over public opinion??

Have the Antis finally given up, or perhaps people are starting to discover the merits of wearing fur as the warmest natural apparel you can find.

There are several factors which could explain the increase in fur prices and they are all good for the industry. Fur interest in Europe and Asia is growing; following on the heals of a bitterly cold winter over there last year.

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There is, however, no indication that demand for fur within North America has increased, but for now trappers will, at least, benefit from increased interest over-seas.

Let’s take the price increase as a positive sign for the industry as a whole – we all should realize that a huge part of our natural heritage would be lost should the fur industry eventually go by way of the dodo bird.

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P.S. Thanks to Trapper for the heads-up on fur prices!

Outdoorsguy

Here is the news from the first sale of the season in North Bay:
Fur Harvesters Auctions first sale of the season was one of the best opening auctions in our company`s history.
Over 20 Chinese of which many were first time to North Bay took a very active position throughout the day. All International markets were represented with over 50 active buyers competing, resulting in all time record prices for articles such as Arctic Wolves, Arctic Fox and Polar Bears. Beaver which averaged $19.50 last January and averaged $31.50 at today`s auction an increase of 60%.

No one can recall such a tremendous increase over such a short period of time. This will come as great news to all beaver trappers and is long overdue. Long hair items like Red Fox witnessed huge price hikes as well with several lots selling over $100, finishing the day with eastern fox averaging $53.43 an increase over 90% compared to last January. Otter continues to advance with China and Greece competing aggressively. Otter advanced over 80% over last January`s level with a final overall average coming in at $82. Muskrats continue to sell strong with a clearance of 100%.
Our Arctic wolf collection sold at an all time record high with many countless skins selling between $800 to over $900 with a closing average of $403. Arctic fox topping at $200 and averaging $71.92 broke an all time historical record.

Everyone at Fur Harvesters Auction wish to thank the great many buyers that attended and made this sale one of the most successful January auctions in our company`s history. Members of our team are currently promoting wild fur at the Beijing fur fair and the following week will see us in Istanbul fur fair, Turkey.
Our March sale is well positioned as it follows the two most important Fur Fairs in the world…Hong Kong, and Milan. We are optimistic that our offerings will surpass last season high production levels.
In closing we wish to thank all of you who put your trust and confidence in marketing your great product through North Bay
Respectfully,
Mark Downey – CEO, Fur Harvesters Auction Inc.
1867 Bond Street
North Bay, ON P1B 8K6
Canada
Tel. (705) 495-4688
Fax. (705) 495-3099
www.furharvesters.com

Below is a pic of Mrs Trapper with a good sized coyote they caught last week..tks to Trapper for the photo:

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A pic of the same coyote after boarding. (NOT Waterboarding though..that would be cruel)

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37 thoughts on “Increased fur prices an encouraging sign”

  1. Jeff i dont think the Anti ;s will ever give up , i think their too busy with other things but im sure we’ll hear from a few on this one …lol glad to hear prices are up but long gone are the days where someone could do this to earn a living … what is the going rate for a beaver or fisher pelt these days anyway ?

    1. Matt, I think you’re right..but maybe one day they will all come to their senses and understand what fur management and conservation is all about.

      Regarding the actual detailed prices, Im sorry I couldn’t find all the averages listed from first sale, but I did see fox averaging in the high $50′s which is pretty darn good. I remember the days of $60-70 ave. for beaver..and then as low as $25 or less in bad years.

      I’m sure Trapper can help us out here, but I would expect current beaver price to be around $35-40..and maybe $60 for fisher, but don’t quote me on that.

      Outdoorsguy

  2. http://www.furharvesters.com/results/2012/jan12.pdf

    Fur Harvesters Auction, Inc. January 7, 2012 fur sale averages:
    Beaver – $7.03-33.85 (most $18.42-33.85)
    Mink – $20.87
    Otter – $82.15
    Muskrat – $8.72
    Fisher – $38.00-$57.47
    Raccoon – $13.31-$18.89
    Red Fox – $26.64-53.43
    Grey Fox – $24.32
    Skunk – $2.51
    Coyote – $63.30-$68.77
    Wolverine – $222.35
    Wolf – $125.31-$403.94
    Weasel – $3.56

    1. Thank you Chessy…my faithful Research Assistant

      Btw..Chess was one of the two winners in this year’s Great Outdoors Trivia Contest..congrats!!

      Outdoorsguy

    2. Funny..no Marten on that list. Maybe those lots were held over to next sale?

      Off hand, it appears as though beaver is still pretty low..but muskrat is looking decent at almost $9 average.

      Outdoorsguy

  3. the prices are up from what they were for sure(i remember less 2$ range for rats) but for the amount of work that goes into trapping its still pretty low. wonder what coyote hides with bullet holes are worth? LOL I remember ocasionaly being on my uncles trap line in the 70’s camping out overnight in january under a full moon etc.. it was an unbelievable exprience for a young lad .I envy the people that take the time to do it, but they probably don’t do it just for the money.

    1. Matt, that may be the case…but at least with the start they’ve had this year at North Bay fur sale, folks in that industry are now making it more worth their while financially.

      I just posted above the latest info from the first sale in North Bay this year.

      Outdoorsguy

  4. interesting to see the prices , coyotes seem to be worth a bit more than i thought , too bad there isnt more wolves and wolverines around ….actually on second thought im glad theres not ..lol

  5. so, i hope i am not the only one that didn’t chuckle when you read skunk on the list. i sure wouldn’t want to be at that viewing. pheww, pretty stinky…

  6. I remember back when I was 15 or 16 working on my uncles farm. He was a hobby trapper that went after rats,coons, beaver and rat’s, and weasles, and used to take me with him. I still remember the treks through the bush to the different lakes on his trapline in Quebec. He showed me how to set the traps arond the lodges and the dam’s where the beaver often traveled. I often daydreamed on those trips that I was a voyageur out in the bush like in the old days (kid’s with their imagination just running wild) lol. I still can close my eyes, and see my uncle out in the barn with the stretchers for the rats, and the hoops for the beaver, deftly removing the skins from what he had caught. Those are some of the most memorable days that I ever spent. And after 64 years, still are as fresh in my mind as though they were yesterday. And the plus side too it, we didnt even realise that that it was good excercise for us (grin).

  7. I too have many fond memories of going with my grandfather to check his traps on the Jock River. He used a birch bark canoe to travel along his trap line. I can still picture the stretchers for the muskrats in my mind after all these years.I still have his leg hold traps. They are artifacts now and we have them hung up at our cottage. My grandfather also raised mink in his back yard. I still have my Grandmother’s mink wrap (heads and all).

    Our fur and trapping heritage is important and thank you Outdoors Guy for reminding us.

    1. Hunting Mom, trust me this post was my pleasure!

      Seems like you guys also have very fond memories of trapping..and hey, if better prices at the sale helps ensure the future of trapping then Im all for it!

      Outdoorsguy

  8. Can’t figure out how to respond from my electronic leash so have to do it from the computer.

    @ Earl and Hunting Mom, You have described the attraction/addiction to a tee……

    @ Paul Hansen, good point and one I never thought of. Now I’m off to find out what auction house deals with the beloved seal pelt.

    Was a good weekend on the line, 2 coyote, 1 Fisher, 1 Fox and an Ermine. Fisher and Raccoon season closes tomorrow so now we settle into some serious Yote targeting……and of course more beaver through the ice once it’s good enough to walk on.

  9. trap: we’ve got open quota on fisher down here, but there just aren’t enough mature females for my liking so I avoid collecting em. Got my first ermine of the year a couple weeks back and it was a find and not a catch, seemed like he was stomped by deer.

  10. Info from an anti sealing web sight. (I vetted out the anti stuff)

    There are only a few major processing companies. NuTan Furs, formerly known as Atlantic Marine Products Catalina, NL, Canada . This is the second largest processor. It is a subsidiary of the Barry Group (one of the largest seafood companies in Atlantic Canada). NuTan Furs / Atlantic Marine Products sells over 100,000 pelts each year. They are capable of processing up to about 150,000 pelts in their Catalina, Newfoundland plant.

    Another processor, Carino Company Ltd., St. John’s, NL, is owned by a Norwegian corporation, G.C. Reiber and Co., has a plant in a sealing town called South Dildo, Newfoundland. This is the largest seal skin processor.

    The pelts are tanned, then soldl them to brokers, who in turn sell them to fur coat and accessory manufacturers in China and other countries in the Far East, Russia, Siberia, and Europe.

  11. Rob, I’ve heard tell of these open quotas on Fisher. Where is “down here” ?

    I would hate to see an open quota on them in our area. We prefer the mature males and average 60/40 in favor of males harvests.

  12. Merrickville, Kemptville district has an open quota for a pilot project to see what the numbers are like, and they are showing around 1.5 ish mature females to everything else. Rule of thumb is around 3:1, so keeping my sets to just those around barns and similar (leaving the ones that aren’t a problem).

    1. Check out the photo (above) I just added of Mrs Trapper and a big coyote they caught last weekend.

      How big do you figure that one was, Trapper?

      Outdoorsguy

  13. Just boarded it yesterday and it stretched out to an extra large. I didn’t haul it out (she caught it so she can haul it…lol) but she estimated it at 70 lbs. I’ll send you a flic of it on the board.

    1. Hey Trapper..thats a big one and Yes, please send me any trapping pics you like! Are you under the no snare rule in that region??

      Outdoorsguy

  14. Fortunately we can use snares on our trap line. It is the most effective method both in results and cost.

    I sent you a flic of the yote boarded.

      1. I just added a pic of Mrs trapper’s coyote after boarding. (Not waterboarding though, that would be cruel)

        Outdoorsguy

  15. Hey Jeff I am currently firing up a trapline up here. Primary fur will be marten but it should produce most northern fur Im just starting out so it would be great to chat. Glad to hear the prices are rising.More for the acceptance of it then the profit.

    1. Hey yukon Bobby, glad to hear you’re getting into the fur industry. As you’ll read in my Outdoors Column this thurs, fur prices in the far north where you are, are at record highs this year in some cases. If ever there was a time to start trapping it would be now.

      Sorry I haven’t called…guess I’m not much of a phone person. I will drop you a line soon though.

      Take care and say hi to Rebel(& RIchmond) for me!

      Outdoorsguy

  16. yes the fur trade is a part of our heritage. But right now are heritage is living animals that are becoming increasingly rare in these parts – the lower laurentian mountains north of Montreal. There is a trapper around here who has caught over 4 dogs this winter alone, left a wolf in a leg snare for over 24 hours, and has been basically a menacing prescence to all who meet him. I spend all week in the bush maintaining trails for the cross country ski network, and am starting a petition to stop trapping in the crown land Park. I am very familiar with this area and the smalll amount of Otter fisher and marten living there could be trapped out in one season. The area is surrounded by roads and new development. Trapping might have a place in the far north, but around here these animals are worth more with their coat on.
    I am looking forward to meeting the trapper myself, to give him a bit of medicine.

    1. Hi regan, what part of the Laurentians are you from?

      I grew-up just south of Mont Tremblant and my family still resides in that area. I hunt and fish in that region every year in fact.

      I would be very interested to know where you are speaking of exactly, as I may even know the trapper in question. It sounds like there is an issue with his trapping technique, at the very least.

      I’m sure you probably heard about the trapper who disappeared in the woods up there last fall, and was never found?

      Feel free to contact me privately if you like

      Outdoorsguy

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