Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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N.Y. trappers upbeat this season

Rochester, N.Y. — Trappers in New York are gearing up for another season with anticipation as reports from both within the state and the worldwide fur markets are pointing to quality harvest numbers and trapper-friendly pelt prices.

Jim Geffert of North Rose, Wayne County, owns and operates Night Owl Lures and maintains a firm grasp on the market conditions within New York and nationally through his business.

“I’m seeing some really promising developments this season with all the interactions I have had,” he said. “I’ve talked to hundreds of trappers when conducting business and attending trapping conventions this summer and fall, and everyone is really upbeat.”

Trappers who have talked shop with Geffert are reporting across the board higher expectations than at the start of the 2011-12 season. “I think trappers are convinced that the fur market is in a decent place overall, from local buyers to the regional auctions, and even the larger fur houses. Most believe that prices will be slightly better for many species and the trapping conditions should be good to the point that their harvest numbers will be acceptable or better,” Geffert said.

Part of Geffert’s business is conducted as a wholesaler, and his buyers are also reporting similar experiences. Most buyers have increased their purchases and are expecting trappers to spend more on their gear to ensure they are ready to hit the woods and water.

“My buyers are telling me the same things I’m hearing from individual trappers, but it’s even more convincing when the orders they place are showing increased demand in certain products,” he said. “The conditions are such that they feel confident trappers are willing to spend a little more because the season is going to be better and produce a good number of pelts.”

One of the product areas where Geffert has seen an increased demand is beaver trapping supplies. Beaver has been a low spot for trappers in recent years due to market economics, but showed signs of a rebound during the final auctions for the 2011-2012 season.

“I think there are going to be more trappers targeting beaver this season based on lure sales being slightly higher than last year, but I also think the fact their fur sold better at the end of last season has convinced trappers that it’s again worth their effort to trap them,” Geffert said.

For the rest of New York’s furbearers, Geffert believes prices will be similar or better than last season. “The staple species such as muskrat will continue to sell well, and prices will be favorable for trappers. Other species will sell close to last season to the point that trappers are counting on those price ranges,” he said.

On the worldwide scale, officials at North American Fur Auctions (NAFA), the largest fur clearinghouse, believes the market conditions are solid as China continues to grow as a significant consumer of unprocessed fur. However, there is a small concern present with regard to Russia’s purchasing this season.

“Russia bought less last year in both skins and garments, which reflected the Russian fur trade’s expectation for this upcoming retail season. Hopefully this means that their inventories are balanced,” NAFA Managing Director Herman Jansen said.

Outside of that concern, Jansen says that as long as trappers can produce enough furs where the clearinghouse can assemble large lots of skins of similar size, color, and quality, buyers will repeat their purchasing decisions from the 2011-12 season. NAFA was expected to release an updated forecast for this year at the end of October; Jansen believes that this season’s “first reports appear to be positive.”

Another solid sign is when new trappers join the sport in increased numbers or when trappers who haven’t set steel in recent years dust off the traps and return to the sport.
“I met more young and new trappers coming to the sport this summer than I have in many years, and the same goes for the number of older trappers who haven’t been out in years who are returning,” Geffert said. “When that happens, you know there is some increased excitement. This season will likely be a memorable one for many trappers in New York.”

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