Fur Prices, Land trapping — January 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Fur prices are dropping, the rumors are burning like wild fire!

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fur prices, North American AuctionIf you have been on a trapping forum or social media platform you have heard the rumors and bleak comments about the fur market. Most of these statements are based on the story of one or some Chines fur buyers that did not want to pay taxes on the fur they were bringing into China. I have talked to several guys that are nipple deep in the fur trade and this seems to be true. Sounds like the fur market is turning more free market all the time, the business’s are sick of giving money to a government for no reason. So they did what they could do to beat the taxes, go around them. Sounds about right to me.  Good for them, starve the beast I say!

Saying that, lets step back and put things in perspective. The world is getting colder, that seems to be the natural cycle right now. A lot of countries like China and Russian like fur, they want fur, it is part of their culture. The demand is screaming for more fur! Let that sink in for a moment, the demand is there and it is high. The China G-Men can cause a few wrinkles, but demand is king and the king gets served ALWAYS! Do you remember back in American history when some folks decided drinking was bad and they used the power of government to making selling alcohol illegal? Sure the government can make things hard, but that brought on moonshiners. I personally think moonshiners are American hero’s. They did not throw their arms up in the air, they went to work to meet a demand. They did not let a little misplaced law stop them for supplying the demand. They needed income and the demand of moonshine gave the mountain folk a way to feed their family. Guys, the fur market is based of the same blood line as moonshiners. If the demand is there and it is, the demand will win out one way or another. Could it stumble a little, sure, but demand will be met when money is involved. So the Chinese buyers will figure it out. Money is a great motivator.

Let’s say the market does stumble some this year. the prices drop. the demand is the same. In the near future, the low amount of fur is on the market because the Chinese government screws things up this year for buyers. What does this mean. The fur that is on the market or going into the market is worth a lot more, even artificially high till the market levels out.  Just like the game boxes that are sucked up and sold for 3 times their selling price before Christmas. There was are there was an idea that the game boxes where in short supply. Fur is no different. So once the fur market figures out how to work with or go around the government, the prices will be high, a lot higher than we thought the prices were this year. Then it will settle down and the price will meet the demand, what ever that is at the time.

Let’s look at another reality in the fur trade this year. The fur take will be down. It has to be. Most of the wid-west, west and North East is in a snow and ice filled deep freeze. I was breaking ice in the south in November beaver and otter trapping. My weather here and in the south and south-west is open for the most part, but these areas do not drive the fur numbers at the auctions. One good factor for us fur takers is that the prices were high enough to cause most trappers and dealers to empty their inventory in storage. The percentage of numbers sold last year was caused by people clearing out freezers.

What we are seeing right now is very different from what we saw in the last fur crash of 1987. The money went away when the stock market crashed. We were the big boys in the stock market, China and Russia were sucking in the world of income and with cash on hand. That is NOT the case today. China is rocking right now, they have a growing middle class and large upper class. Russia is making a lot of money from oil. We in America have the weak dollar and economy. The tables have turned. This is not good news for most industries, but fur is exported and exported in a very weak dollar. The makes are fur even a better deal to the stronger economies to import and use.

So before you listen and get depressed about the RUMOR of low fur prices, use the logical part of your brain, not the emotional side. Emotion has the IQ of zero.

Will the prices drop this year, I don’t know. I know there is a big demand and the people who want the fur have money. Plus there has not been a large wild fur action sale yet. Country buyers have to be carefull and make sure they don’t buy fur for more than they can sell it for. These are the dealers that have dropped there prices.

One thing is for sure, if you have fur, you can sell it now or decide to hold it for a later sale. If you don’t have fur, you are on the side line and it wont matter to you anyway.

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4 Comments

  1. Clint,that was a very good Article!! I Appreciate all your hard work that you do for the Trapping Industry!! Yours Truly,Larry

  2. you have a great way of putting things in perspective. you look at things from a great way. I love your attitude of failure is not an option and stop making excuses. helps make me proud of what we do. hope you had a great season

  3. Great article, I put up fur for other trappers as well as run my own small line. When the guys tell me they are not going to trap or can’t afford to pay me to put up their fur. I tell them I will sell them a fleshing knife and will just extend my line accordingly. I don’t have time for the whining, I will have coyotes etc to skin and put up whether it is for them or for myself. Tom

  4. It is now 2016. Hundreds of thousands of coon are still sitting at NAFA. I have trapping friends from Wisconsin who literally have hundreds of 2014 coon at NAFA with no end in sight. On top of this, ranch mink numbers (world wide) show over production and there is little incentive to buy wild fur when you can buy big, high quality ranched fur for a song.

    We were lucky to get a $7 average on our own coon this year and that was near the top of what our local buyer was paying for coon.

    Coon, which appears to be everyone’s bread and butter item, is out of favor. This year the industry wants long haired fur. Coyote has been king this buying season.

    All seasoned buyers are saying it’ll be another year or two before international politics, the price of oil, and the wild fur market stabilize. If you can store fur that long, go for it!

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