Conservation and Trapping Science

Where to sell pelts this year from MA perspective
Aug 27, 2021 07:44 ET

[Reprinted from original]

Plenty of pelts
Coincidentally, coyote hunter and Telegram & Gazette reader Mark Morisi wrote in asking where he’ll be able to locally sell his coyote pelts this coming season.

Malcom Speicher, former Massachusetts Trappers Association president, said he didn’t have an answer, and suggested searching beginning in October, when demand will be clearer. As the fur market bottoms out, though, it’s getting harder and harder for hunters and trappers to find convenient markets and auctions, never mind fair prices for quality and effort.

The world supply of pelts has far exceeded demand. Fur buying countries like China and Russia have had poor economies recently. Ranch furs were also grossly over-produced, creating gluts and contributing to even lower prices. The big Fur Harvesters auctions in North Bay, Ontario, were all halted last year. Pandemic travel restrictions to Canada hurt, too.

There is hope for fur trappers, however. Sable auctions recently held in Russia saw a price increase of 25% over last year. But as long as oil prices are low, Russian demand for furs will be down. Denmark’s Saga Furs, the largest fur skin auction company in the world, held a March auction that cleared much inventory and also saw prices rise.

Unfortunately, for local coyote hunters, western pelts are denser, higher-quality, and get the most interest. That can mean double, triple, or even quadruple the reward that an eastern coyote pelt will fetch. Expect eastern coyote pelts to sell for $15-$25, while western coyote pelts will sell for $50-$60.

As for other pelt demand, there’s hardly any for beaver now. Top grade pelts might get $18-$25, but most will bring $8-$10. That’s not worth the effort. Beaver castor, on the other hand, is selling extremely high — about $80 per pound.

While beavers use their castoreum along with their urine to mark their territory, humans use the vanilla-scented, anal-area secretions in perfumes — and foods, including frozen dairy products, gelatins, puddings, and beverages. The real money in beaver trapping is ridding nuisance beavers that flood roads and properties.

Eastern bobcats likely will bring $30 a pelt, while western bobcats will command $150-$200. Forget about raccoons. Recently unsellable, they’ve generally commanded only $5-$6.

Mink are worth only $5-$6, as there are just too many mink farms. Red or gray fox might bring $10-$15. Otter will probably be worth only about $15-$30 here. If you can deal with the smell, you might get $5-$10 for a skunk pelt.

Some trappers might target fishers, as they can bring $20-$45. Overall, you can earn a lot more money per hour of effort delivering the newspaper. Today’s trapper does it for the love of the trapping tradition.