Globe and Mail: 2015 Fur Market Turmoil

In China, some of the fur buyers are in jail, while others are under investigation. In Russia, a plunging ruble and economic sanctions are keeping the mink-clad jet set at home – often in very real ways, with wealthy buyers unable to secure travel visas.

It has, in other words, become a bad time to sell fur, most of which has traditionally gone to those two countries. Now a double set of misfortune has slashed prices and hurt the outlook for an industry that had been in the midst of a comeback from the dark days of animal rights criticism. Fur has become one of the more overlooked victims of recent global economic turmoil.

Read more here.

Kansas Fur Auction Results: January 2015

KansasFHAlogoThe Kansas Fur Harvester’s Association held a fur auction on January 17th, 2015.

Below are some highlights from the auction:

Beaver – $6.42 average, with 21 sold.

Wild Mink$7.50 average, with 2 sold.

Raccoon – $7.73 average, with 532 sold.

Badger – $13.20 average, with 5 sold.

Coyote$8.70 average, with 64 sold.

Possum – $1.18 average, with 11 sold.

Bobcat – $66.55 average, with 36 sold.

Muskrat – $15.00 average, with 108 sold.

Click here to view the full Kansas Fur Harvester’s Association January 2015 Fur Auction Results.

Ohio Fur Auction Results: February 2015

The Ohio State Trappers Association held a fur auction on February 7, 2015.

Below are some highlights from the auction:

Beaver – $13.35 average with 15 sold.

Wild Mink$7.03 average, with 53 sold.

Red Fox$18.18 average, with 68 sold.

Gray Fox – $15.00 average, with 2 sold.

Raccoon – $5.69 average, with 1264 sold.

Coyote$13.44 average, with 157 sold.

Muskrat – $5.92 average, with 568 sold.

Opossum – $2.23 average, with 52 sold.

Click here to view the full Ohio State Trappers Association February 2015 Fur Auction Results.

Oklahoma Fur Auction Results: February 2015

The Oklahoma Fur Bearers Alliance held a fur auction on February 7, 2015.

Below are some highlights from the auction:

Beaver – $3.59 average, with 32 sold.

Red Fox$15.00 average, with 1 sold.

Gray Fox – $14.57 average, with 7 sold.

Raccoon – $3.20 average, with 440 sold.

Coyote$11.11 average, with 54 sold.

Possum – $1.20 average, with 293 sold.

Skunk – $1.00 average, with 17 sold.

Bobcat – $75.12 average, with 144 sold.

Otter – $30.30 average, with 5 sold.

Badger – $12.00 average, with 2 sold.

Click here to view the full Oklahoma Fur Bearers Alliance February 2015 Fur Auction Results.

Colorado Fur Auction Results: February 2015

The Colorado Trappers Association held a fur auction on February 12, 2015.

Below are some highlights from the auction:

Beaver – $15.46 average, with 170 sold.

Red Fox$30.80 average, with 182 sold.

Gray Fox – $17.00 average, with 87 sold.

Raccoon – $11.16 average, with 698 sold.

Coyote$40.74 average, with 1614 sold.

Possum – $13.00 average, with 7 sold.

Skunk – $15.30 average, with 141 sold.

Bobcat – $95.56 – $177.86 average, with 138 sold.

Muskrat – $2.49 average, with 234 sold.

Pine Marten – $21.00 average, with 8 sold.

Badger – $18.29 average, with 70 sold.

Click here to view the full Colorado Trappers Association February 2015 Fur Auction Results.

New Fleshing Machine Wows Canadian Trappers

Anyone want to invest in a revolutionary new fleshing machine? John Seabrook of Manitoulin Island in Canada has developed a device that makes fleshing pelts quicker, easier, and much less painful on the back! Here’s more:

MANITOULIN—John Seabrook unveiled his fleshing device last weekend at a Manitoulin Trappers’ Association workshop in front of a large crowd of eager Island trappers.

The device features a built in chair and interchangeable forms for cleaning different types and parts of animals, making the task of fleshing animal hides easier for seasoned trappers and newbies alike.

The new invention could prove fruitful for a willing investor.

“The two big benefits of this machine are sitting and having it right in front of you so you can see what you’re doing,” continued Mr. Seabrook. “I was going to patent it until I found out it costs $7,500 just to talk to a guy and then another $100,000 by the time you are done (filing for the patent). I would like if someone more business minded than me approached me at making these, because I don’t really want to, but they are great and I could see them helping a lot of trappers. I wouldn’t even trap if I didn’t have one.

Read the full story here.

Pennsylvania Trappers Association Fur Auction Results – Jan 31st, 2015

The Pennsylvania Trappers Association held a fur auction on January 31st, 2015.

Below are some highlights from the auction:

Wild Mink$9.45 average, with 37 sold.

Red Fox$18.81 average, with 192 sold.

Gray Fox – $13.50 average, with 88 sold.

Raccoon – $6.25 average, with 359 sold.

Coyote$23.85 average, with 61 sold.

Muskrat – $5.27 average, with 318 sold.

Opossum – $1.75 average, with 50 sold.

Bobcat – $66.00 average, with 17 sold.

Click here to view the full Pennsylvania Trappers Association January 2015 Fur Auction Results.

Trapping Today Fur Market Update – February 2015

2_28_10_house_furauction_fishing_traps 012We’re part way through the fur selling season, and the predicted slump in the fur market is being reflected in both local and international auction prices.  We knew things would be tough this winter, but many of us trap regardless of fur prices.  Still, the low prices have undoubtedly kept selling volume down.  Many folks either cut way back on their trapping or are holding on to fur in cold storage.

In short, fur prices are way down for most species.  We won’t know how low they will go (or if they will rebound) for other species until the major spring fur auctions.  So why is the fur market down?  The greatest factor seems to be Russia.  The recent economic collapse in the country (due to tanking oil prices) and the falling value of the ruble (Russian dollar) really put a hit on the country’s buying power.  Russia consumes most of the utility fur articles, including most of the raccoon pelts that U.S. trappers produce.  In addition to Russia’s woes, other countries like China still have a lot of last year’s fur garment inventory unsold, meaning there will not be huge demand for more fur until the current items are sold out.  A cold winter in the East may be helping this along.

So what about specific fur prices?  Let’s take a look at a few of the major species that give us a read on the overall market.

Coyote

Coyotes have been the bright spot in the fur market this season.  The trim market is hot, and high quality western coyotes are in good demand.  Western coyotes averaged $50-100 at the most recent NAFA and FHA auctions, with the lower quality eastern skins bringing $20-30.

Red Fox has gotten a boost by the coyote market, and pelts are bringing $20-30 or so.

Hope you enjoyed that, because things kind of go down hill from here!

Muskrat

The past few years have been good for muskrat trappers, and we’ve been getting used to $7-10 rats.  That era may be over, at least for the near future.  ‘Rats have been trading at $5-6 lately.  Most of the market is going to the Chinese, and they have a lot of unsold stock.  The latest NAFA auction saw pretty big declines in muskrat prices.  The overall average for Large to 3XL rats was $6.23, but the smaller ‘rats only averaged $2.59.  All in all, that’s still a good price for something as small and easy to trap as a muskrat, but it’s uncertain whether the market will hold.

Raccoon

NAFA and FHA didn’t even bother to sell raccoons at the recent sales.  With the uncertainty in Russia, there is virtually no market for coons right now.  Some folks have rumored that there will be a huge comeback in coon prices in the spring auctions.  That remains to be seen, but I find it doubtful with all of the unsold coons waiting around for buyers.  The local fur buyers who are buying coons aren’t paying much more than $5-10 on average, and even then they may be taking a gamble.

Beaver

Beaver has commanded pretty low but stable prices for many years now.  The days of $1/inch beaver are long gone, but trappers have been able to expect a $20-30 average on good collections of beaver for years now.  Not this year, though.  We’re looking at numbers closer to $15-18, and possibly less.  If demand picks up in time for the spring auctions this may change, but beaver trapping is still going to be a losing proposition financially.

The Rest

Prices for fur items not mentioned above are difficult to determine right now.  Specialty items like western bobcats, marten, fisher and wolverine will likely hold decent value, but overall levels will be dependent on the state of the fur market in March and April.

As trappers, we’ve weathered storms like this before, and we know we have to take the good with the bad.  The fur market will improve, it’s just a matter of time.  For now, though, don’t make big plans for that fur check, or you may be sorely disappointed.