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.

 

 

 

 

Trappers Slowed by Fur Market Woes

Patrick Whittle of the AP recently wrote a good article on Maine trapper Brian Cogill and the current state of the fur market.

Tall, husky, barrel-chested, with a bushy auburn beard and a rosy complexion, he tromps through the forest to check traps capable of killing an animal within five minutes. Stepping onto a frozen pond, he chips through 4 inches of ice, reaches into the icy water and pulls out a 45-pound beaver.

Five years ago, its pelt would have fetched $50. These days, it will likely yield half that.

Economic forces including market slowdowns in big fur-buying countries like Russia, China and South Korea, as well as a continuing trend toward distaste for fur as a result of animal welfare concerns, make Cogill among a dwindling number of trappers catching fur-bearing beasts in the wild.

“I love trapping, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not going to trap something for nothing,” Cogill said. “If there’s no market for it, I’d have to sit on it. There are warehouses full of fur right now, and no one buying.”

Click here to read the full article.

Fur Harvesters Auction Results: January 2015

From Fur Harvesters Auction, January 2015: (click here for detailed fur price results)


As has been the case for countless years, North Bay once again opened the wild fur market this 2015 season. Fur Harvesters no longer offers fisher, marten, lynx or lynx cats (bobcat) on this season opening auction. These high endluxury articles are produced in smaller numbers and it is far more financially advantageous to hold them for our second auction and advertise a strong quantity which attracts more buyers.

Last year’s price levels fell as we all know from a record high level of 2013 and we expected pricing to start where it leftoff last season. For the most part this was the case, with coyotes, wolves and wolverine being the exception, as all threesold at increased levels over last season. This can be explained for coyotes in particular as the trim trade is doing very well in China, as well as in North America.

Items such as beaver and raccoon are strongly dependent on the Russian market and the economic and political situation in Russia remains dismal, and that continues to keep prices on these two important articles priced lower than we all would like.

Muskrats were expected to start to fall in price last year but this was not the case until spring of 2014. We are however pleased with our muskrat results during our January 2015 auction as a selling basis of $12.25 US is very acceptable, and for Canadian shippers the stronger US dollar will add at least another 20% to the hammer price.

As I write this report the Russian Sable auction is underway in St. Petersburg and it is felt this important article will advance. If this is the case our sable will follow as we received a great deal of interest from the Koreans that visited our booth in Beijing earlier in January at the Fair. We are optimistic that both fisher and sables will be
in good demand and sold at respectable levels.
This is a good year to be a western coyote trapper and by selling in Finland alongside SAGA Furs we could very well receive the highest returns of any marketing firm this season. The reason being SAGA FURS is world renowned as the fashion house for fox and Finn Raccoon trim, and many of the world`s top design brands only buy at SAGA. So we are very optimistic this will greatly increase our exposure to new buyers that ONLY buy at SAGA and help create more demand for our trim articles such as wild fox, coyotes, fisher, sable, lynx and lynx cats.
As Russia’s situation improves it will be FHA`s shippers that will strongly benefit because Russia borders Finland and a 35 minute flight has St Petersburg Russians landing in Helsinki. No need for troublesome visa requirements to travel to
North America and a huge cost savings all around. In particular all European customers have no need to leave their continent and now have direct access to the world’s finest collections of WILD and RANCH GOODS.

NAFA Fur Market Update: January 2015

Here’s the latest fur market update from NAFA.  They just concluded their first sale of the season.  Perhaps at some point I’ll provide my real-world interpretation of the spin,  but for now, here it is straight from them:

North American Fur Auctions

Wild Fur Market Update

January 30, 2015

We have just concluded our limited offering, January 2015 wild fur sale, which included Coyote, Raccoon, Muskrat, Red Fox and Beaver and it received mixed results. Articles that are used for trim, like Coyotes, saw outstanding demand with prices higher than last year for better Western Sections, while articles that are traditionally used by the Russian market, like Raccoon and Beaver, either were withdrawn or met with price resistance.

Muskrats sold 100%, predominantly to China, at price levels easier than our September Sale. These skins will be made into belly plates for liners and back plates for trimming and hopefully sold to the fashion industry in Korea. It would appear that the Koreans are no longer buying muskrats directly, as they have done for the past two years, but would instead prefer to buy the plates already made up from the Chinese. The lack of Korean participation in the auction room is the primary reason for the adjustment in the price of Muskrat from last season.

Beaver sold approximately 65% with a limited quantity of heavier, better quality shearing types selling reasonably well, while commercial quality, straight haired types sold at disappointing levels. The smaller size Beavers were not offered due to reduced demand and prices at the present time.

Red Fox sold 70% with premiums being paid by the trim trade for better qualities and colours, while commercial qualities and flatter sections met with resistance.

Raccoon were mainly withdrawn, primarily due to uncertainty created by the current political and economic conditions in Russia. This country has been a very important market for this article, whether it is purchased by the Russians for domestic consumption or purchased by the Chinese for export into the Russian market. We sold 350,000 Raccoon in our September Sale, which was a pleasant surprise to all. These are all scheduled for next season’s manufacturing and therefore the current market is not ready to purchase the fresh crop. As a result, we made the decision to adopt a strict selling policy to protect the price structure of our Raccoon assortment. Looking to our large wild fur offering in the March Sale, we will develop our selling policy based on market conditions at that time. This article is very attractively priced, which should make it very appealing to the Russian market given the current value of the ruble. However, the sale of this article will have to be properly managed, based on the purchasing patterns of the Russian and Chinese markets.

Looking ahead to our March Sale, other than articles impacted by lack of Russian support, we expect most wild fur articles will see satisfactory results. Trimming goods such as Coyote and Red Fox, and high fashion goods like Fisher and Sable, should be in good demand and sell well. Short haired articles should benefit from the increased price of Ranched Mink and improved demand from China.

We have just concluded our January Sale in which over 3 million ranched mink sold 100% at advancing prices for all colour phases and types. These mink were purchased predominantly by China, which shows the incredible buying power of the largest fur market in the world. With the development of China’s cold winter and outstanding retail in the past six weeks, it is expected that China will sell 80% of the garments that were available at the retail level; this compares to only 50% sold last year.

Given the current market conditions and the situation in Russia, our Wild Fur promotional department will concentrate on the articles that previously had sold into this market. As your auction company, we have been through and successfully navigated these difficult market conditions before. You can rest assured that we will do everything within our power to produce the most competitive prices possible for our shippers.