Mostly Trapping

Newspaper: Fur prices not going up any time soon
Nov 16, 2020 08:46 ET

[Reprinted from original]

Every fall I try to stay one step ahead of what’s coming up on the outdoors docket. Just about every year I fail miserably though not from a lack of effort.

Trying to keep up with everything that’s coming up is a daunting task for someone as organizationally challenged as myself.

To wit: I planned to preview the upcoming trapping season -- for what few trappers are left -- before the season began. Well, the season started Nov. 10 for most species. Better late than never maybe.

As has been the case for many seasons now, the prospects for making any money are glum.

“It looks like it’s going to be about the same as last year… or should I say the last five years?” said veteran trapper Jim Scott of Strasburg.

“Prices are looking pretty flat,” said Scott. “There’s not much of an upswing in sight. I’m not sure what could happen that would actually make the market climb.”

The fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum and weasel seasons began Nov. 10 and run through Jan. 31. The mink and muskrat seasons also started Nov. 10 but they run through Feb. 28.

The beaver and river otter seasons open the day after Christmas and run through Feb. 28 as well.

There’s no limit on any animal except river otter. In Zone C (eastern part of the state) trappers can take three otters. In Zone B only one otter can be harvested.

With prices plummeting and access to a land a constant problem, the raccoon population has exploded in many areas. Many deer trail cameras have more pictures of coons than deer.

“I’ve had people tell me they made more money when they were kids than they are right now,” said Scott, who is retired. “It’s crazy but it looks like it’s going to be this way for a while.”

While some people won’t bother laying steel until prices climb, others simply enjoy being outdoors.

“It’s not going to stop me,” said Scott. “This is what I like to do. I do it as much now to help the farmers as anything. All these animals eating their crops makes it hard for them.”

Believe it or not, the coronavirus has even impacted trapping.

“This virus has affected everything,” said Scott. “Right now the fur dealers can’t get rid of the fur because of the travel restrictions. They can’t get the buyers to the dealers and vice versa.

“They’ve tried to do online sales but they haven’t gone very well. If you’re going to buy fur you want to be able to see it and feel it in your hands.”

Plus the ranch fur that flooded the market a few years ago is still around.

“There’s a lot of ranch fur still on the market,” said Scott. “Wild fur is going to stay down until that ranch fur is gone. It’s supply and demand.”

Right now it looks like there is much more supply than demand.