February 3, 2023

Fur Prices On The Rise Making Trappers More Plentiful

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The interest in trapping has waned over the past several years mainly because the selling price of fur for the trappers was so low it was costing the trapper more money than he was taking in. Thanks to a global market for furs, mainly from Russia and China, the price trappers are fetching these days is enough to prompt a few “old timers” to buy a license, dust off the traps and head back on out to the favorite trap lines they used to run.

Jack Duggins, a registered Maine guide, has trapped for years. This year he’s been out beating the bushes hoping to have success but more importantly wanting the prices he can get for his furs to be worth the effort. He recently attended a fur auction in Dixmont, Maine.

Jack is a valued and active member of Maine Hunting Today and regularly keeps hunters and trappers up-to-date at the Maine Hunting Forums. When he returned from the fur auction, he filed this report at the forums.

Well, prices were as good as I’ve seen in a while! The auction started at around 8:30 with three wardens showing up to tag fur.
The lowest rat price was $7.32 each for 176 of them and was refused. (unsold)
Highest rmuskrat price I saw was just over $10 each but was a nicely put-up small batch of around 40.
Most muskrats averaged $7.52-$8.25 each.

Coon, well put-up were $14+.
Otter was $50 to $80.
Mink went for $25 average, $28 tops.
Male fisher $80 and females were $90.
Fox $25.
Coyote $20 to $30.
Bobcat were all over the place from $77 for a road kill cat to $160 for 1 huge well spotted cat.

Overall, it was a good day and what looked like strong demand for everything. Bill Spear, from Mass, bought the largest percentage but there were 8 different buyers which may account for higher prices.

This trend goes beyond just Maine. Because of the interest of citizens in both Russia and China, a resurgence in the demand for fur continues but that demand seems to be a bit fickle. According to an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota, the price of otter was pretty good as the demand in China for otter was high until it was reported that the Dalai Lama doesn’t like otter fur.

In both Russia and China, citizens are finding wealth and as a way of showing off that success, furs are making a showing. If this trend continues, trappers should be able to pocket a little extra spending money in the years to come. It also appears that the U.S. market for furs is on the incline.

Despite years of protest by animal-rights activists, the U.S. fashion industry also is embracing fur, according to the California-based Fur Information Council of America. Sales of fur and fur trim grew 81 percent between 1991 and 2005, according to the council’s Web site.

I expect with the publicity that is following the upswing in the fur trade, animal rights activists will becoming more vocal, so what else is new. With a renewed interest in trapping, this will aid wildlife officials in their quest for a healthier wildlife population.

Tom Remington