Groenewold’s Latest Fur Market Update

It appears that the economic crisis in Russia, weakness in other countries and a strong U.S. dollar have combined to put a huge damper on the already weak fur market this season.  Here’s the latest update from Groenewold Fur & Wool.

Fur prices

Raccoon: Cheap Chinese raccoon prices and the falling Ruble continue to hurt American raccoon.
Muskrat: Cheap Ranch Mink and lack of Korean buying have seriously undermined the value of this product.
Beaver: Better beaver are difficult to sell.
Wild Mink: Watch ranch mink prices…
Coyote: Coyotes continue to sell well and should see better prices.
Grey Fox: Very slow.
Red Fox: Very slow, especially in China.
Skunk: Slow item again.
Fisher: Prices have really come down.
Otter: Very difficult to move.
Bobcats: Still selling relatively well.

Maine Trappers Association Fur Auction Results: 12/2014

MaineTrappersLogoBelow are fur price results from the Maine Trappers Association’s annual Central Maine Fur Auction.  Though not applicable to fur prices everywhere, this auction is held annually and can be a good indicator of what the fur market is going to bring the rest of the season.

It’s looking pretty poor.  I was particularly disappointed to see the low marten and fisher prices.

Central Maine Chapter Fur Auction
Ermine……..$ 2.75……….10
Female fisher.$50.00……….13
​Male Fisher…$42.00………. 7
Gray fox……$25.00………. 2
Mink (M&F)….$10.75………138
Muskrat…….$ 4.92……..1007
Raccoon…….$ 7.00……….39
Red Fox…….$29.75……….37

Beaver castor.$31.50/lb…….13-3/4 lbs

Click here for Trapping Today’s 2014-15 Fur Market Forecast.

Stay tuned for more state fur auction results.

Alaska Beaver Snaring Pics

Trapping Today reader James from Alaska shared some great pictures from his beaver trapline.  James sets snares on poles at several locations in runs between the beaver house and feed bed.  He’s had great success so far.  Thanks James!


Indiana Considers Otter Trapping Season

North_American_River_OtterAfter a successful re-introduction of river otters to the state, Indiana wildlife officials are considering a fur trapping season for otters for the first time in decades.

INDIANAPOLIS — Efforts to restore Indiana’s river otter population have been so successful over the last two decades that state wildlife officials say they need to cull the population.

The Natural Resources Commission will hold a hearing Thursday in Plainfield on a proposal that would create a river otter trapping season for as early as next year, The Indianapolis Star reported ( ).

Unregulated trapping for the fur trade and a loss of habitat wiped out so many otters that they were listed as a protected species in 1921. By 1942, otters had disappeared from the state, as they had from much of the country.

The Department of Natural Resources began releasing otters back into the state in 1995. Over five years, more than 300 otters from Louisiana were released at 12 Indiana sites, and by 2005, the otter had been removed from Indiana’s endangered species list. The animals now are found in 80 percent of the state’s counties, said Linnea Petercheff, a spokeswoman with the DNR’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Full story here.

Maine IF&W Suspends Marten, Fisher Trapping to Protect Lynx

December 9, 2014

IFW News — IFW Adopts Emergency Trapping Rule Changes In Northern Maine

For Immediate Release: December 9, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has implemented immediate trapping regulation changes through an emergency rule making process after two Canada lynx were killed in traps this fall.

“We are taking immediate measures to drastically decrease the probability of having another lynx killed in a trap,” said James Connolly, Director, IFW Bureau of Resource Management.

Effective immediately, lethal traps that are commonly used to catch fisher and marten are not allowed above ground or snow level in areas of the state where there are lynx, specifically Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) 1-11, 14,18,19 (Predominantly Aroostook, northern Somerset, northern Piscataquis, northern Penobscot, northern Hancock and northern Washington counties). In WMDs 7,14,18,19, lethal traps smaller than 7 � inches may be used on the ground if the trap is placed within a lynx exclusion device. Additionally, the use of any foothold trap above the ground or snow level will not be allowed in these WMDs.

The new regulations were triggered by a contingency provision in the Department’s incidental take plan developed to obtain a permit under the Endangered Species Act from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the unintended take of Canada lynx resulting from the Department’s trapping programs.

Under the conditions set forth in the incidental take plan, if two lynx are killed by legally set traps, trapping rules will be modified to prevent the likelihood of another lynx being killed.

These are the first lynx trapping deaths in six years in Maine. Statistics show that trapping is not a major factor impacting Maine’s lynx population. Since 2009, there were 26 lynx killed by vehicles, and only 2 by trapping.

“Although trapping related deaths are uncommon, we have worked diligently with Maine trappers in order to change the regulations to protect lynx,” said Connolly. “We are committed to protecting Maine’s lynx population.”

According to Laury Zicari, supervisor of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Maine Field Office, “The incidental take permit for trapping issued to Maine accounted for the possibility of lynx deaths. It outlined what trapping restrictions would need to be implemented if lynx were killed to hopefully avoid additional deaths. We commend Maine’s swift action through these regulation changes to address this issue, demonstrating that the permit framework is working.”

The first lynx death was self-reported by the trapper to the Maine Warden Service when he checked his traps as required by Maine regulations and the conditions of the Incidental Take Permit. The second dead lynx was discovered Sunday, December 7 St. Croix Township by a Maine Game Warden conducting a routine check of traps for compliance with Maine trapping regulations. An initial inspection by the game warden showed that the trap was set in compliance with Maine’s trapping regulations. The trapper was immediately notified by the warden about the capture.

“Trapping education, outreach and compliance with Maine trapping laws are important aspect of Maine’s lynx management plan. The Maine Warden Service is in the field, working with trappers, to make sure trappers are complying with Maine’s trapping regulations to protect lynx from accidental trapping,” said Major Chris Cloutier.

Trappers are required to report all lynx captures and all lynx captures are investigated by the Maine Warden Service.

Brian Cogill, President of the Maine Trappers Association commented that “The Maine Trappers Association has always supported department efforts to protect lynx. Trappers understand and believe that these measures are currently needed, and support these immediate protections for lynx. We look forward to working with the department as they develop long-term regulations to protect lynx for the 2015 season and beyond.”

Lynx are listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). IFW recently received an incidental take permit issued by the USFWS, which allows for the accidental trapping of Canada lynx by trappers legally pursuing furbearers in Maine. The permit outlines specific protocols and mitigation measures for the incidental take of lynx that minimizes direct impacts to lynx while providing habitat that benefits species recovery.

In 2006, Maine’s lynx population was estimated at between 750 and 1,000. IFW has increased protections for lynx in those areas where lynx are now found. IFW will also be conducting a lynx population survey this winter.

Maine’s lynx population is a subset of a larger population of lynx in Canada, and Maine lynx continue to interact with a far-reaching lynx population in Canada.

As part of an extensive 12-year lynx study, the IFW radio-collared over 80 lynx and monitored their movements, and documented survival and birth rates. Although more lynx die on roads than in traps, the major source of mortality for the 85 radio-collared lynx tracked over a 12-year period in northern Maine was predation by fisher and starvation attributed to disease (i.e., lungworm).

Radio-collar research of Maine’s lynx show that Maine’s lynx travel in and out of Canada, and ear-tagged Maine lynx have also been captured in Canada. Maine’s lynx study showed that one lynx travelled a straight-line distance of 249 miles from northern Maine into the Gaspe Peninsula.

Another lynx was tracked using a Global Positioning System (GPS) collar after it was trapped and released last fall. Although the lynx was initially trapped northeast of Greenville, in May, the lynx headed east all the way to Fredericton, New Brunswick, before turning around and venturing back to the Greenville area, covering 481 miles from March through December.

Trappers Catch and Release Too!

Most folks don’t realize that the foothold trap is a safe and humane method of capturing furbearers, and that we trappers have the ability to release our catch alive and well as the situation permits. For instance, Maine trappers are required to release Canada lynx that are often caught in their fox and coyote sets, and routinely do so with oversight from biologists. There are also many situations where the season is closed for a particular furbearer and we as trappers must release non-target catches on our own. I’ve released fisher and marten caught in my coyote sets when they were caught out of season in the past.

I read a neat article from a Kansas trapper writing for the Hays Post about releasing a bobcat. Here’s an excerpt:

The field lays along the river and at one point makes a jog which is a good spot to look for animal tracks in the sandy soil. Coyote tracks were plentiful, and I caught a bobcat last year at nearly the exact location where this one awaited me, so setting traps here was a no-brainer. The traps were set at the very edge of the stalks which hid them from my sight as I approached. Trapped bobcats usually hunker down and lay perfectly still until you get too close, so this one surprised me as I stepped beyond the stalks to take a peek at the trap before moving on.

It was a nice cat, but Kansas bobcats are not at their best until January. Besides that, I had just talked to my fur buyer and been told that bobcat prices will probably be appreciably lower this season than in the past few years. All things considered, I really didn’t want to catch any bobcats yet so I felt I needed to release this guy and try to catch it again later when its fur was at its absolute best.

People who know nothing about trappers or trapping can easily be of the opinion that we trappers are a heartless crew, when in actuality we trappers are some of the most avid conservationists on the planet. We understand that we harvest a God-given renewable resource that must be managed much like a farmer would manage livestock, and not harvest them until they are at their very best.

Well said, Steve Gilliliand, well said!

Read the full story here.

Raccoon Fur Handling Video Part 1 – Skinning

We’ve had some requests for fur handling videos recently, so I thought I would post a few that I’ve found on YouTube as part of a new fur handling series.  We’ll start off with raccoon, with three short coon handling videos from the guys at Coon Creek Outdoors.

Bobcat Fur Farm Comes to Montana

Though they have declined significantly over the years, fur farms still make up a huge part of the fur industry.  Most of the farms raise mink or foxes.  Only two bobcat fur farms are known to exist in the world, and one of them is soon to be in Montana.  Here’s the story:

Bobcat fur farm moves to Fergus County

Larry Schultz inspects one of the pens in the breeding yard. When the new facility is complete, there will be 120 adult bobcats on the premises. Photo by Christopher McConnell
Staff Writer

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 2:09 PM MST

Larry Schultz is a simple man with a live and let live philosophy – and a man who owns one of only two bobcat fur farms in the world.

When he was looking for property in Fergus County, a local real estate agent told him about a parcel near Roy. Schultz asked, “Does Roy have a post office?” Yes. “Does it have a place to eat?” Yes. “Does it have a bar?” Yes, two. “Perfect,” Schultz said.

When he saw the cabin, perched above rolling hills and surrounded by 80 sprawling acres in the shadow of the Judith Mountains, he knew it was where he was moving his controversial business. He and his domestic partner of 16 years, Carol Bomstad, purchased the property in June.

He filed for a fur farm license with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks on June 18. The agency did the required Environmental Assessment. The public comment period resulted in an astounding 21,185 statements representing 21,182 individuals, one petition and two organizations: the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Comments came from all over the world and in every state in the nation. Twenty of the comments were in favor of approving the license and the remaining 21,165 expressed opposition based on principle, objection to fur farms and the commercial fur industry.

The public comment period ended Aug. 29 and the EA determined a finding of no significant impact. The proposed fur farm was approved Oct. 24. Gary Bertellotti, FWP Region 4 supervisor, in a written statement said, “Based on the analysis in the environmental assessment, applicable laws, regulation and policies, FWP has determined this action will not have a significant effect on the human or physical environment,” and gave Schultz the green light to possess bobcats, “for the sale of pelts in the commercial fur industry.”

Read the full story here.