By the time you read this, the fall trapping will be over and the serious winter trapping will be in full swing. At this writing I am trapping from a primitive deer camp in west-central Illinois as I always do the first week or 10 days of our season.
By the time you read this the trapping season will have been open almost three weeks in Illinois. The first week at least was pretty mild, so I’m sure many trappers took advantage of this. Certainly, it will be easier to trap fall beaver without a lot of snow and ice.
The last couple of years has been pretty tough on wild fur.
Trapping season is right around the corner – for Illinois trappers, that means an annual gathering for trappers is even closer.
The Illinois Trappers Association will hold its 61st Fall Convention at the Macon County Fairgrounds in Decatur Oct. 6-7. Admission is free.
“We welcome everyone to the convention and we have a great lineup of demonstrations and about 15 inside vendors, plus outside tailgaters,” ITA President Ryan Ruhl said.
Permits for the eighth modern bobcat season in Illinois are up for grabs until the end of the month, with more than 6,000 trappers and hunters competing for 1,000 opportunities.
“Competing” may not be the accurate description – a DNR lottery actually decides who gets a permit. The number of applicants has remained high since the inception of the season in 2016, proving there are large numbers of bowhunters, trappers and gun hunters interested in hunting or trapping the apex predator.
Unfortunately, things have not gone well in the fur trade in 2023. Prices on most items, while up from 2022 sales, started from such a low value that the increases don’t seem like much – with the exception of a few items like beaver or bobcats.
Ranch mink prices are what drive wild mink, raccoon, and muskrat prices. When ranch mink are doing poorly, these items suffer greatly. That’s what we are seeing now in the market – terrible prices on most ranch mink, except for a few of the more desirable mutations – the whites, pearls, palominos, etc.
If you are a trapper and looking to put up numbers of desirable pelts, beaver appears to be the way to go in pretty much every section of the U.S.
Averages on the more commercial pelts have almost tripled from last year and some in the market expect prices next season to be even higher. Hats are driving this market so I thought readers might have some interest in how the process works – from trap to Stetson.
The Fur Harvesters Auction (FHA), the only international auction outlet for most North American wild fur, held its first auction of the year March 20-22 in North Bay, Ontario.
Most items were up significantly over last year’s results although, for the most part, offerings were relatively small. One example of this was an offering of 35,000 raccoons. Ten years ago, between the now defunct NAFA and FHA, that offering was over 2 million.
Illinois hunters and trappers had their best bobcat season ever.
According to DNR Furbearer Biologist Stan McTaggart, preliminary tallies show that a total of 383 bobcat permits were filled for the 2022-23 season, which ran Nov. 10 through Feb. 15. It is the highest number ever tagged since bobcat hunting and trapping was reintroduced in 2016.
It also signaled a bounce-back of sorts.