Note: This is NOT the most recent fur market forecast. Click here for Trapping Today’s 2018-2019 Fur Market Forecast.
The 2017-2018 trapping season is upon us, and trappers everywhere are looking for a clue as to what fur prices will bring. Since the crash in the fur market a few years back, it’s been tougher to get information on fur prices until late in the selling season, after trappers have harvested, prepared and shipped most of their furs. This makes it difficult to determine where to focus your trapping effort. However, there’s still a lot of information we can use to predict what we’ll see for fur prices this season.
The fur market ended on a low note last season, with NAFA’s July fur auction turning into a bit of a fire sale. The few buyers bidding on fur were looking for deals, and in many cases, they got them. The continued low market that’s spilling into this year’s selling season hinges on a couple of key factors: the price of oil and the value of the U.S. Dollar.
The bulk of the fur that we trappers harvest is ultimately consumed by Russia, and a strong Russian economy is critical to maintaining a solid fur market. Russia’s economy is overwhelmingly dependent on oil exports, and the recent crash in oil prices sent the Russian economy into a tailspin that it hasn’t yet recovered from. In addition, a strong U.S. Dollar makes our exports more costly for foreign countries to purchase, making buying U.S. fur even less attractive.
There is some encouraging news – oil prices have been slowly creeping up, and the value of the dollar has gone down in recent months. Still, conditions remain in a rough state, and we shouldn’t expect a recovery in fur prices anytime soon.
So in a nutshell, expect the low prices we saw at the NAFA July 2017 auction to continue into this season. Below are some predictions based on today’s information for individual species.
Beaver – This is probably one of the most disappointing fur items in today’s market. Beaver will be a tough sell this season. The hatter (felt) market is strong, but hatter beaver can be low quality, early, southern pelts, and typically command low prices. There will be little premium for fully prime northern beaver. Sadly, $8 – 12 average is about what we can expect at this point.
Raccoon – Some buzz was going around this summer about a bump in coon prices. Unfortunately, I’m pretty certain this was just a rumor. All information points to an almost nonexistent coon market this season. Demand for raccoon in this fall’s fashion lines isn’t there, and it’s speculated that a huge volume of coon pelts are being held in cold storage in hopes of a bump in the market. Those pelts will need to be sold at some point. A $5 coon average this season is probably a safe bet, with better money for some of the higher quality skins. This could change throughout the season depending on the size of the harvest.
Muskrat – with a recent rise in ranch mink prices, muskrats should see a small bump in price. The major auction houses held back a lot of rats this past season in hopes for better prices, but for the most part this didn’t materialize. I’m guessing rats will average around $3 this season.
Coyote – the coyote market continues its strength, bucking the trend of most other furs. The higher quality pale western coyotes are holding their high price, though eastern dogs have taken a bit of a drop recently. Western coyotes should average $50-75, with Eastern goods bringing around $20-30.
Mink – we’ve seen a long term average for wild mink around $10 for the past decade or so without much variation, but this year wild mink may average a little less, maybe around $8.
Otter – expect around $20 average for otter, possibly $30.
Bobcat – this is a high end item that has gone down a bit in price over the past few years, but demand for high quality bobcat skins from the western states remains high. Averages around $300 should continue, with much better prices for select, super high quality, well spotted cats. Eastern goods should fetch around $50-100, and southern cats may get around $25-50.
Red Fox – prices for reds haven’t varied much over the years, but may be a bit lower this year. Look for around $15-20 for the better pelts, single digits for flat or lower quality foxes.
Marten – low harvest makes these a bit of a specialty item that is still in demand, and prices shouldn’t be much different from last season. Alaskan and Canadian marten should average around $75, semi-heavy marten from areas like northern Maine should average $30-40, and marten from the western U.S. states will probably be worth $20-30. Marten trappers would be wise to get their furs to the Fur Harvesters Auction sale in Helsinki, Finland next March for the best price.
Fisher – these are similar to marten – limited supply specialty items. They’ve taken a hit in recent years. Fisher should range in price from $20-40 this season.
Lynx – prices continue to be disappointing, and I feel bad for northern trappers who relied on lynx pelts for a large part of their income. The same skins that brought over $200 on average just a few years ago are lucky to get $70. Expect lynx to be in that $70 range again this season.
Overall, it’s going to be another tough market for trappers this year. Many folks will drop out of the ranks and move on to other things. Others will continue trapping because it’s part of their culture, they enjoy it, and they just can’t imagine not trapping a season. For me, these low prices present an opportunity to become a better trapper. With fewer trappers out there, competition is less of an issue and I can take the opportunity to try different things and learn trapping techniques – and make mistakes – at a pretty low cost.
There’s always a chance that the market will pick up, and we trappers are eternal optimists when it comes to fur prices. Still, it’s good to enter the season with eyes wide open to the reality that is this year’s fur market. Good luck and happy trapping!
For more on the fur market, check out my new book Fur Profit.
Uugg! Not great news for folks like me that need a good fur check. My job is seasonal and I don’t get paid in the winter. Catch what I can and hope for the best I guess. Thank you for being honest.
With such low fur prices, I’ll be keeping and tanning my furs. Then they can be sold as wall hangers or turned into hats and such. The nearest town to me is kinda touristy and eat this stuff up. Saved my season last year when prices were this low.
Mountain man..what do you use to tan the furs?
Either Rittels tanning solution or brain tan. Depends on the animal.
How much do you get for a tanned beaver hide?
Hunter girl says
Mountain man -where do you live and would you be interested for fur trapping on our farm?
Live in eastern TN up in the mountains. Always looking for more trapping area. Where are you located?
Hunter girl says
I don’t know how much trapping you, and we’ve gott’em all over our farm. I love on a big farm in Maryland and trappers asking us about trapping here
Hunter girl , I live on eastern shore ,MD. I would love to trap on your farm. I lost my spot to hunting club !
Okla welder chic says
Hey mountain you still in the trapping game?
Mountain man where in Tennessee are you located? I am in Sullivan county and have killed over a dozen coyotes in the last two deer season just from the deer stand and have seen a lot more on my two farms and would like to start trapping them and selling them any help and info you could provide would be much appreciated.
Leslie in Utah says
Was wondering about the price of wolves, seeing as how coyote was so high, seems like wolves would be real high.
Richard Joiner says
One market I’ve never seen explored us fly tying . If you’ve never checked it out,you’ll be amazed. Any chunk 4x4inch of fur between 5-10$. Not sure how would market,but always kills me,knowing what we get for whole pelts.
Im trapping and running coon hounds in lincoln neb.this year and have taken some big coon in to my fur buyer. The first 5 i took him they averaged aboit 8$ a coon.. These coon are around 20 26 lbs. 3 4 xl. .. But the last 12 i took him .. Only averaged out to 3 to6$ a piece .. At that price ill just quit hunting coon all together i guess.. I have snared 4 ted foxes. And my fur buyer give me 12$ a fox . not bad but should be worth more i think..
Thanks for the report Scott. Have heard similar reports. I think it will continue to be tough to sell coons in this market.
They pay way to low for martens .Lynx .red foxes.otters.beavers.
Robin musaskaoe says
So western coyotes are gonna be lower then the 93 dollar average like in last years may sle?
I just posted results from this week’s FHA Auction. Western coyotes averaged $81.79. Here’s the link: https://www.trappingtoday.com/2018-fur-prices-january-fur-harvesters-auction-results/
Ya I thought that the prices for a lot of furs would be higher
I live in stephencity virginia would anyone happen to have land or a farm to run a trap line near me i love doing it anf have lots of time domestic animals are not an issue nor threatened ….
Michael Parcell says
The most money to be made on furs and deer hides without the hair on them, is at flea markets. It is worth the time and effort. Learn how to tan hides, hair on and off. Deer hides with the hair off sells really well where I live in va. People love throws and bed cover made out of furs, but the price is out of most peoples reach, 800 dollars and up depending on fur of choice. If you learn to make items such as these and other you can make good money selling them at a lot lower price. Good luck to everyone this year.
That’s a great idea Michael, thanks!
Hey this is Mike. Yes it looks like another bad season ahead unfortunately. Sadly, this will continue until we completely phase out a big portion of this ranched fur. It is killing our wild market. Some will disagree with this thinking higher ranch prices lead to higher wild prices. It only leads to higher ranch production which stagnates our wild fur prices. I live in central Missouri and it looks like early coyote and better spotted cats are the target items this year. If you can afford to hold your better fur, do it as I think were only a year out from much better prices. Good luck this fall
Steve m says
I haven’t trapd in years livening Eastern Oklahoma lots of coyotes bobcats coons I seen a price list For Whole animal ????are we freezer and delivering that way or still skining Just an old timer making sure thanks
I live in Massachusetts and have always loved being in the woods was thinking about starting a trap line in either NH VT or MASS just to enjoy nature and make a little cash at the same time but it seems almost like a lost cause nowadays I would have to buy everything to get started any tips from experienced trappers out there I know an area in NH with alot of mink thinking about starting there
James Mckinney says
What’s a black eastern coyote pelt wrought?
Forrest Green says
Keeping the price list out in the open is a great thing , I don’t trap the wild anymore , I just trap the Nuisance
Animals ,for my Critter Business , thecrittergitters keep the good work up, Forrest Green.
WOW! been along time and was just wondering what a coon would bring these days and found this site. I use to hunt coons with mule and a hounds. Use to get $25-$45 for top coon. I live in the midwest last time my friend and I took in our coons we got $10 grand $5 gs a piece. Never hunted that hard either.. Use to get $125 for a red fox can’t remember what coyotes were bringing back then. We only hunted weekends mostly do to our jobs. I wish now that I would of kept a few and made me a racoon coat but back then money was needed.
Long time ago like in the mid to late 70’s; Hard to believe they took that much of a dive but did here that these crazy animal groups in Europe erupted in to big protest in fur coats etc and kinda killed the coon market. Farmers use to beg us to come and take these critters same as dear. Use to get nice change for a dear hide.
Oh well just found this to be very interesting would love to hunt again but things up this way has got the land owner/farmers to the place they want to be paid and their prices would wipe out any profit. I paid for my mule and dog in one night back then.
I wish ya all good luck and hunting sorry to see the market like this.
Jeff Parker says
Denny , if you can tan all your hides you can get alot more money out of them , cause I’ve seen coon hides for instance they only want to pay like 5 bucks for a nice coon !!! If you can tan you’re own hides , I’ve seen prices in my state of Montana for coon 50- 80 bucks if there taned ! Anyway something to consider for coons !! Muskrat are bringing 3-4 bucks each !! Our yotes are bringing 50- 85 for a good Western pale !!, If you want to talk more about Trapping or hunting , I’m usually around !! Have a good one Denny !!
Dennis Davis says
Thanks for the info. Back when I was hunting was 1975-1977 and the buyer who gave us top dollar did not want us to tan them for the ones buying from him were in Europe back then. So we shinned them right there in the field so we did not have to lug the excess weight around.. Use to skin a coon in less than 30 seconds. Left the caucuses for the Coyotes and did take some near end of the hunt to feed the dogs. It was great fun only thing I regret is I did not keep 20 hides to make me a long raccoon coat.30 big boys back then would do it. I living in the city now taking care of my parents so kinda puts the kink on me doing any hunting actually puts a halt to most of my wants. Not quite how expected to spend my first 10 years of mandatory retirement. My folks have 4 or 5 nice size coons come up to the door about every night in winter cause my mom feed em. So I applied for a silencer and waiting on my threaded barrel. I have the silencer now. So once set up I will have those 4-5 coons nice big ones I say two weigh in at 30-40 others not so big. Then I will tan them myself and one day maybe be able to get enough to make my coat then I probably be way to old to enjoy it.
I sure do thank ya for the come back and info. We did pretty good for three years made big bucks last year we made the 10G dealer gave us 45 straight through he new we always brought him in good hides. Would of had a lot more but my partner was not financially blessed so he sold some through out the season to keep afloat so not sure what we really would of had. He had big deep freezer and kept them there until sale time but he would get into them now and then. He always told me and of coarse it was ok by me. I made good money and he was like a brother I never had who taught me how to coon hunt amongst other things.
I would highly recommend you check your local gun ordinances before shooting the raccoons. Now that you are in an urban area and we live in a post 9/11 world, things are a bit different and you run a serious risk of losing your firearm and landing yourself in some very expensive legal trouble like a friend of mine did.
Long story short, he lives in the city and was using his AR 9 Carbine 9mm with a suppressor to deal with the pigeons that were crapping all over his house. The neighbors reported gun fire and half a dozen heavily armed cops showed up in body armor as a response. They seized his beloved AR9 as evidence and he is facing first degree reckless endangerment charges on top of a 500 dollar fine for unlawfully discharging a fire arm within the city limits.
The fine is no big deal, but the reckless endangerment charge actually caries very serious penalties. Luckily his lawyer thinks he can get the reckless endangerment charge either dropped completely or reduced to second degree. Regardless of the final outcome, my buddy was put in a world of hurt by the legal system just for shooting some pigeons in his yard.
It sounds like you are very experienced with firearms so you likely know that suppressors aren’t like how they depict them in the movies. It will still make a very loud rapport that everyone in the neighborhood will hear, particularly in the middle of the night, so if you do go though with the plan to shoot them then you would be wise to talk to the neighbors first and make sure they aren’t the sort that will report you to the cops for it.
Personally, I think you are better off buying a hunting bow. Most areas don’t have laws against firing bows and even if they do they are dead quiet.
Thanks for the comeback. Your right I do know a little about weapons and silencers/suppressors. Personally I don’t know why one would use a 9mm to shoot birds in their back yard etc inside city limits. Shooting any kind ofa bird where I live is illegal using rimfire ammo we must use shoot guns here.
I use a 22 short in my revolver which is already fairly quite and if in a rifle it is almost no sound and when adding the silencer you hear nothing maybe a pssssss thunk when target hit. But it is against the law where I live also. So I have thought about it and I do have a crossbow which is what I will be using. Silent death it is. I thank ya for the warning and bow info. The fine here I don’t know what it is for shooting inside the city but it is a class one mismenor and would be enough here to keep you from purchasing a fire arm ever again or get your license to carry, Plus they take all your weapons via search warrant with in minuets of your being arrested. Only way here to fire with in the city is self defense.
If it were not for having to take care of my parents I would not live in a city. Love the country when had my farm I could go out the back door and shoot as long as I had ammo. It was great but not privileged to that fun anymore. Thanks again for getting back to me and the good info.. Much appreciated.
hi to everyone…
after my mother’s death 4 years ago we desided to open her closet and start sorting and giving things away.. i have found a very black fur 70cm from nose to tail. the actual body is 50cm. legs are still attached and some of the claws still there. front legs are 6cm and back legs 9cm
can anyone tell me what kind of fur is this and how much its the retail value? its not for sale but i really want to know what i have in my hands…
behind near the tail there is a stamp with a logo “SMITH DYERS DRESSERS LONDON” and on top befind the head there is a red stamp that looks like an “O” inside a circle…