Mostly Trapping

Looks like another depressed market for trappers
Nov 18, 2019 09:41 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

The fur market has pretty much always been a boom-or-bust proposition.

It’s definitely been more bust than boom in recent years.

And the prices for local pelts like raccoons and muskrats aren’t expected to improve much this year either.

“It looks like things are going to be about the same as they’ve been,” said veteran trapper Jim Scott of Strasburg. “The fur industry always has up and down cycles, but I’ve noticed the up cycles don’t last very long.

“There’s a market for really big coons, like the 4X- and 3X-sized ones, but the smaller ones aren’t really worth anything. Muskrats are expected to be about the same as last year, too.”

The mink, muskrat, raccoon, fox, skunk, opossum and weasel seasons – known around these parts as trapping season – began last week. The beaver and river otter seasons begin after Christmas.

One of the problems with trapping is supply and demand.

“The market is flooded with fur from these farms,” said Scott. “People get greedy when the prices go up and start producing all these ranch mink and it takes a while for the market to come back around.”
The one exception to the falling prices might be coyote pelts.

“The coyotes are actually selling pretty good,” said Scott. “The ones in western Ohio can bring up to $100 if they are skinned, stretched, dried and in excellent condition.

“Of course, the terrain is different in western Ohio and the DNA is better so they are worth more. Around here the DNA is bad and the fur gets torn up because they are always running through brush and around old fences so you’re lucky to get $20 for one here. But at least there’s a market for those pelts.”

While beaver pelts themselves aren’t worth much these days, the castor from the animals can be worth up to $70 per pound.

“They use it in the perfume industry,” said Scott. “It’s a natural way of making the perfume smell stay on a person longer.”

Most guys laying steel these days aren’t doing it to provide for their families anyway; it’s just something they love to do.

“There’s a few hard-core guys out there who are going to do it no matter what – just like guys who go deer hunting no matter what,” said Scott. “I’m doing it as much to help the farmers as anything. They were there for me when the prices were good so the least I can do is return the favor. It’s hard to believe how much grain one coon or groundhog can eat. It’s unbelievable.

“Most people trapping today do it as a hobby – it’s just something we like to do. I enjoy all the sights out there. I can’t tell you how many big bucks I’ve jumped up just out checking my traps and that’s pretty cool. As long as I can get out and do it I’m going to keep doing it. I told my wife the other day if I don’t come home one of these days you will know I died doing what I love to do.”