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Fur Market Summary #7456611
01/10/22 07:12 PM
01/10/22 07:12 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,432
North Bay Ontario
G
gibb Offline OP
trapper
gibb  Offline OP
trapper
G

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,432
North Bay Ontario
realistic assessment here on the industry a whole

https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/ ... expertise/





There aren’t many trappers out in the backcountry this season. There are certainly a few diehards that trap just because they need an excuse to be out in the wilds. Additionally, there are sport trappers running around who have little knowledge (but are working hard at getting some), and are unsure about what do do with the fur they catch. Then, there are the dedicated few who realize there isn’t much money to be made in the fur market. These guys have spent time exploring specialty markets and, in many cases, developed their own markets.

The majority of trappers who are making any money at all in their endeavors are selling fur to taxidermists or to local niche marketers who need fur to fill hat and mitten orders. Some of the true bush operators are doing their own tanning, sewing and marketing. Yes, you can sell some fur this way. Not many, if anyone, can make a true living wage by these methods. However, the trapping lifestyle does not require making $30,000 a year. A successful season depends on perspective.

Doing a considerable internet search, you can find a lot of bunk. I found an informational site that claimed that the average trapper made $16.91 per hour!?! A good marten line must then produce 12 marten for every eight-hour day — at present prices. Trappers don’t get paid vacation or time off. That would equate to over 1,000 marten in a three-month season.

Fur prices have hit rock bottom. The good news is that some items look to be on the upswing. Marten is one of them. This winter, Alaskan trappers could conceivably net 50 bucks for good quality skins. The average is likely to be less than $40, though. Red fox will sell poorly or possibly not at all. Local fur sewers may take a few fox. Muskrats have held their value through the pandemic. Three or four dollars is reasonable for decent skins. Lynx are an enigma. They have value for certain, but buyers are reluctant to set a market price. Expect $70 on the fur market. One may get double that from the tourist market.

Coyotes, which have been a bright spot in the fur market, are destined to drop in price. Canada Goose, which has been featuring coyote ruffs on their high-end parkas, recently announced they are going fur-free. Canada Goose was fueling the surge in coyote prices. Whether the decision to cut fur was in response to the anti-fur folks, or a cost-cutting measure, is unknown.

Beaver, long a staple for trappers, have become an item of doubtful value. A decent large beaver used to bring 60 or 70 bucks. Now they are worth $10 — or less. Back in the day, the middle 1800s, a beaver pelt was worth two bucks to the trapper from the buyers at the Hudson Bay Company. The price at one of the “rendezvous” was somewhat less. That was double the wages of a normal day’s work at that time. Beaver hides were bought by the pound in New York and London. Five dollars per pound was the accepted rate. The average dry beaver pelt weighs a pound and a half. There was money to be made in the beaver market. Today, beaver castor is worth more than the skin. Castor sells for just under $100 per pound. A large beaver might carry four ounces of castor.

There was money to be made in the Alaskan fur market also. It wasn’t long ago — in the late 1970s, when I personally averaged over $300 each for cross fox and just under $200 for red fox. Fox are worth $10 today, if one can sell them. Wild mink are worth only a few dollars each. Mink ranchers, who provide almost all of the mink used today, have mostly gone out of business. The furs they do have are sitting in cold storage in the forlorn hope the market will rebound.


The demise of the fur market can be mostly blamed on the reaction to COVID. China, the largest consumer of fur in the world, is largely shut down. Korea still takes a few furs, as do the Russians. But COVID is not the only reason for the dramatic downturn in fur prices. The anti-trapping, anti-killing anything movement has also taken a toll. Rather than getting into a debate with an anti, a good suggestion would be that they turn their efforts into saving some of the folks living homelessly on the streets of our cities — possibly by giving them a fur coat.

Trapping is not an archaic enterprise that is destined for the scrap heap. Trapping is a very important area of expertise. Good trappers, true experts in their fields, are becoming more and more rare as age takes a toll. Fur prices will rebound, albeit slowly, and likely not to the levels we have seen in previous decades. However, look around you. In what direction is our world heading? How important might it soon be that some will need to take their living from the land?

Re: Fur Market Summary [Re: gibb] #7456627
01/10/22 07:27 PM
01/10/22 07:27 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 9,345
Armpit, ak
D
Dirt Offline
trapper
Dirt  Offline
trapper
D

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 9,345
Armpit, ak
I vote for John to be "Trapper of the Year"


Who is John Galt?
Re: Fur Market Summary [Re: Dirt] #7456683
01/10/22 08:27 PM
01/10/22 08:27 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 38
Sultan , Wa
Jakeland Offline
trapper
Jakeland  Offline
trapper

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 38
Sultan , Wa
Good write up ! You should see it here in Washington. The funny thing is I have more people every year that are city folks thinking it is really good what we do ! It’s like they understand that trapping and hunting is actually good for the environment and and good “ hobby “as they call it

Re: Fur Market Summary [Re: gibb] #7456694
01/10/22 08:39 PM
01/10/22 08:39 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,262
juneau, alaska
A
alaska viking Offline
"Made it two years not being censored"
alaska viking  Offline
"Made it two years not being censored"
A

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,262
juneau, alaska
Thanks for the frank assessment, Gibb. It is definitely not a great time for wild fur, and I feel for those that really need and depend on trapping to make ends meet.


Made it almost 3 years without censor!

Re: Fur Market Summary [Re: gibb] #7460946
01/14/22 07:56 PM
01/14/22 07:56 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 335
Iowa & Neb
Larry Sills Offline
trapper
Larry Sills  Offline
trapper

Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 335
Iowa & Neb
Is this a repeat of post WWII? With this administration and World Wide confusion; I often wonder, all while I lay in my cabin on the plains and wonder as I look at the stars glistening in the sky of no natural light.

http://www.argenweb.net/white/wchs/HardTimesHighFurPrices_files/HardTimesHighFurPrices.htm


Cracker Jack Trapper and Predator Enthusiast
Re: Fur Market Summary [Re: gibb] #7461255
01/15/22 01:34 AM
01/15/22 01:34 AM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 36,153
james bay frontierOnt.
B
Boco Offline
trapper
Boco  Offline
trapper
B

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 36,153
james bay frontierOnt.
Yep,just another one of dozens of cycles affecting the fur trade over the last 350 years.


Forget that fear of gravity-get a little savagery in your life.
Re: Fur Market Summary [Re: gibb] #7461368
01/15/22 08:46 AM
01/15/22 08:46 AM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,011
Idaho
B
bearcat2 Offline
trapper
bearcat2  Offline
trapper
B

Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,011
Idaho
Well I for one would love Depression era prices (adjusted for inflation).

Re: Fur Market Summary [Re: gibb] #7464815
01/18/22 03:08 PM
01/18/22 03:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 9,345
Armpit, ak
D
Dirt Offline
trapper
Dirt  Offline
trapper
D

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 9,345
Armpit, ak
"Beaver fur is tough to sell, and the harvest has probably never been any lower. Who wants to trap beavers for less than a $10 average? In many areas, the low pressure on beavers from fur trappers is reflected by the damage-complaint calls received and the contracts given to animal damage companies. For sure, the only way to make a profit from beaver trapping today is to wait for them to flood something valuable or cut beautiful trees on somebody’s property. The only good news from that is that the price of castoreum is higher than ever before, with prices of $90 to $110 USD per pound for the top quality and well-handled glands. On a 40- or 50-pound beaver, you are most likely going to receive more money from the glands than from the fur. Harvest and handle the glands well — this is the main financial reward you will get from a dead beaver caught where it does no damage.

I always ranked beaver trapping as the most dangerous of all types of fur trapping: big traps, ice, deep water, sharp stumps, heavy animals, mud, snow, ice chisels, chainsaws, etc. And I now have no trouble listing them among the least profitable of any time of fur trapping "

Serige Lariveire


Who is John Galt?
Re: Fur Market Summary [Re: gibb] #7465176
01/18/22 08:53 PM
01/18/22 08:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,432
North Bay Ontario
G
gibb Offline OP
trapper
gibb  Offline OP
trapper
G

Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,432
North Bay Ontario
I like Serge full report,
By Serge Lariviére

The holiday season is over and most trappers in North America have already harvested the bulk of their skins for the season. Cold weather has arrived, and up in northern areas, snow makes traveling easier once the waterways are frozen and snow covers rocks and stumps in remote landscapes. For roadside trappers, snow seldom makes things easier, and for water trappers, snow — and especially ice — make everything more difficult. Whatever animals are left to catch have beautiful fur, and this is the time of quality — not quantity.


The Trapper’s Fur Market expert Serge Lariviére.

For this season, catching less is no drama because as we enter the year 2022, fur prices still sit below long-term averages, with still no big changes in the forecast. COVID-19 outbreaks linked to the Delta variant are increasing in many European and Asian cities, and travel restrictions, barriers or anything that is a hindrance to travel and public gatherings also have an impact on the fur market.


Fur coats are sold for warmth, yes, but in most countries they’re also a luxury symbol that only work when shown in public. No gatherings, no travel and no public events limit displays of wealth. Moreover, luxury thrives on stability, so whenever “normal life” is disrupted, luxury takes a back seat. Our industry still suffers from the uncertainty caused by COVID and this does not help recovery.

The impacts on our wild fur trade have been hard, and are still ongoing. For many species, we are seeing prices much below long-term averages. Beavers and raccoons are below $10 average, fishers and otters at $15 to $20, martens not even reaching $30 or $40, red foxes below $20, wild mink at $5, and Canada lynx much below $100 — a far cry from the top years of skins going for $500 or more!


Photo courtesy Steve Bartylla.

The strongest item we have had for a long time, Western coyotes, is likely at the end of its popularity. We are seeing signs that suggest the end of this fashion craze worldwide, with companies slowing down or abandoning coyote fur in their parka trim. This is what kept many trappers in operations during the last six or seven years, and the incredible prices of the past have mellowed in the last few years. When the tide turns on a hot item, the first sign is the poorest goods start to drop first. In the case of coyotes, damaged skins, poor quality, bad colors (e.g., red coyotes) or poor sections (Southern coyotes being worst, Eastern coyotes being next) see price decreases first, and we are seeing this now. Top quality Western coyotes will continue to attract buyers this year again, but even that market will likely see a 10% to 15% decrease in price. Do not expect prices for coyotes to increase with time, so if you have them in your fur shed, sell them at the first opportunity, as this likely is on the verge of dropping back even more.

Beaver fur is tough to sell, and the harvest has probably never been any lower. Who wants to trap beavers for less than a $10 average? In many areas, the low pressure on beavers from fur trappers is reflected by the damage-complaint calls received and the contracts given to animal damage companies. For sure, the only way to make a profit from beaver trapping today is to wait for them to flood something valuable or cut beautiful trees on somebody’s property. The only good news from that is that the price of castoreum is higher than ever before, with prices of $90 to $110 USD per pound for the top quality and well-handled glands. On a 40- or 50-pound beaver, you are most likely going to receive more money from the glands than from the fur. Harvest and handle the glands well — this is the main financial reward you will get from a dead beaver caught where it does no damage.


If you are trapping private land, forestry land, or main road or railway networks, get paid or compensated somehow for your trapping efforts —whether it is cash, hunting or fishing privileges, access to other more valuable species, etc. Be creative. Beaver damage costs a lot of money — do not be shy to ask for compensation and explain that the fur itself is no pay for the work required. Investigate markets for meat (for human consumption or for dog food), or for carcasses (established black bear hunting outfitters often buy beaver carcasses for $5 to $10 each). Leather from the tails is a very limited market, but ask around — you never know who might consider giving a dollar or two for the tails.

I always ranked beaver trapping as the most dangerous of all types of fur trapping: big traps, ice, deep water, sharp stumps, heavy animals, mud, snow, ice chisels, chainsaws, etc. And I now have no trouble listing them among the least profitable of any time of fur trapping — which breaks my heart because it’s fun when you have the animals in abundance in beautiful landscapes! If you choose to go, make it a family trip, take friends along, harvest fewer, but enjoy it more. Spend the evening at water’s edge watching them, or sit and watch them get caught “live” in front of you in the evening! It is still fun, just not very profitable anymore.

Muskrats should be okay — maybe even improve in price as the supply of ranch mink on the market slowly decreases and prices seem to stabilize, or even advance slightly. I expect this item to be one of the first to recover when the dust finally settles and the wind turns back in our favor again.

Winter will set in, and we will now watch to see what the start of the 2022 selling season will bring. The next international fur auction sale will be held in North Bay, Canada, at Fur Harvesters Auctions (www.furharvesters.com) on March 24-28, 2022. Hopefully by then, the pandemic will have been controlled enough to allow normal crowds of international buyers to come in. Big prices at the auction in North Bay would drive the country buyers’ prices up also, so a good auction in North Bay should be our wish for the start of 2022!


The Wolf’s Place in

Re: Fur Market Summary [Re: gibb] #7465422
01/18/22 11:09 PM
01/18/22 11:09 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,262
juneau, alaska
A
alaska viking Offline
"Made it two years not being censored"
alaska viking  Offline
"Made it two years not being censored"
A

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,262
juneau, alaska
Speaking locally, I can tell you that from my tiny part of the big picture, harvest is way down, (from s.e. Alaska).
My take from various sources is that a good portion of the state is similar.


Made it almost 3 years without censor!

Re: Fur Market Summary [Re: gibb] #7465563
01/19/22 02:57 AM
01/19/22 02:57 AM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 36,153
james bay frontierOnt.
B
Boco Offline
trapper
Boco  Offline
trapper
B

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 36,153
james bay frontierOnt.
Its a good thing that trappers have pulled back.The worst thing for the market is when the prices start to rise again after covid etc that trappers flood the recovering market with a ton of fur that has been stored for 3 years in the freezer,or worse stale from being not held in a freezer.
This will not only flood the market but when it comes back from the dressers in poor condition it will kill the manufacturers confidence in our wild fur product.

Last edited by Boco; 01/19/22 02:58 AM.

Forget that fear of gravity-get a little savagery in your life.
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