Conservation and Trapping News

Jim Gibb: All in on Castor $ (video)
Jan 6, 2023 13:07 ET

Published: Jan 6, 2023

Follow along as I share what I know about handling and grading beaver castoreum. Castor is a hard commodity to work with because it is always shrinking due to the moisture content. easily mishandled and some folks don't bother with it but it is a valuable addition to beaver trapping. One thing about castor is it is easy to store in the freezer. One handling tip I forgot to mention in the video was to always dry it first before freezing this helps the castor from turning black. Buyers like the light brown color. Castor can help add value and revenue in a tough beaver pelt market.



  • Castor is always shrinking. When someone buys castor, they want to buy "200 lbs" or whatever of castor, not the shrunken down version of that.

  • Castor is graded into three different groups, 1's, 2's and 3's. They would be "good," "ordinary," or "shells," respectively.

  • Everybody wants to buy of course, #1's (1 grade).

  • There used to be two ways to handle castor but today there is only one. When the castor comes into the auction house, they do a "standard deduction" for what they think will be the shrinkage in the castor from the time you bring it in until it's sold.

  • Jim thinks they even make a select Western grade now because you get some really nice castors out of the west.

  • Castor market today (01/06/2023) is in a (inaudible) certain state that sounded like stalled or not great. He said it was chugging along pretty good at close to $100 per pound, but recently he has been quoted in the range of $70-$80 per pound. Now Jim is in Canada so this pricing (and he mentioned it) is in Canadian Dollars but we all know the prices from past Fur Harvesters auctions and can pull them up in both denominations on

  • The trick for the trapper to understand is 1.) How to handle it properly and 2.) How to get the most out of it.

  • If you broke down the castor by grade it's basically, $70, $60, and $40 payouts currently.

  • #1 castor: Big, firm. Will have a full set of castors in it. #2 is a big castor but with nothing inside of it or very little, but still spongy. #3 have nothing inside of them and are small.

  • Small castor doesn't necessarily mean it's not good castor, just that usually if it's going to be closer to a shell.

  • Freeze. Inside of paper bag. Put 1-2 paper towels in the bottom of the bag. Never use plastic.

  • You might get a better price at auction than selling in-person but you need to calculate in the shrinkage fee and also calculate in the commission you have to pay.

  • Caster is a very hard commodity to work with. It's always leaking.

  • He saves the shells usually to make his own lure. And sells the other grades.

  • You'll likely end up with more #2 than #1 castor.

  • Castor seems to reach a limit, then fall back down again. And that's where we are right now. It's a very volatile market.

  • Last year the #2 castor didn't really sell.

  • As the price of beaver caught drops, the price of castor usually comes up.

  • Castor market is a very secretive market. The better stuff goes into the perfume industry. There is some use for medicine. Some use for making liquors. Some use for flavoring cigarettes. Nobody really knows all the uses.

  • He used to call the May castor sales, "mold and maggot sales" because castors weren't handled properly.

  • You can keep castor in your freezer for a long time if you don't like the price. He used to keep castor 2-3 years, up to 5 years he said before selling.

  • When initially hanging up beaver castor, hang it up for a Maximum of 4 days until the outside is hard but-not-solid. Then put in freezer in paper bag with paper towels at bottom. Then take out before shipping to auction and put on some paper towels and put into cardboard box and ship.

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