The prices being paid for some furbearing animals, like the muskrat pictured above, are the highest many trappers have seen in years.
In March, the Fur Harvesters Auction held in North Bay, Ontario, saw prices trending upward across the board. Beaver advanced 30 percent over January levels, with an average blanket fetching $44. Otter and muskrat continued to climb as well, with prices averaging $99 and $11.60, respectively.
Land trappers made out too, with red fox fetching $63 on average; grey fox $38; raccoon $14 and coyote a whopping $49. Fisher also fared well at $98 and marten brought a cool $116. Also of interest is that nearly 100 percent of the inventory was purchased, another indication of a healthy market.
That is the type of market I remember from the 1980s, and some trappers I have spoken with are reporting personal bests with price averages.
Fur buyers are attributing the stimulated market to an increase in the use of real fur in fashion trends, especially in foreign markets.
Adding to the surging prices is stronger competition among fur-buying countries due to an increase of new countries entering the marketplace. Previously, countries like Ukraine and Belarus did not have a presence in the bidding process.
From what fur buyers are saying, the surging prices shouldn’t end anytime soon — and next year could be even better. I may just have to dust off the old packbasket.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org