The market for coyote pelts remains strong, with 100% selling at advancing levels in North American Fur Auctions’ first major fur sale of the year.
Western heavy coyotes averaged $104, almost identical to last year’s February/March results, and up from the later auctions. It’s uncertain how long this hot market will continue, but a shortage of coyotes in the major fur producing areas, combined with strong demand from multiple buyers certainly helped.
Western semi heavy coyotes (early caught or otherwise less prime) averaged $60.
The surprising thing to me was the bump in prices for the lower quality coyotes. It seemed that color and softness was less important to buyers in this auction, and a shortage of Western pelts probably had buyers scrambling for alternatives. The heavy Eastern coyotes, which are typically highly variable in color, have coarser hair, and sell for a substantially lower price, actually brought an average of $54. This is up more than 30% from last year’s auction, and up even more from previous years. These Eastern coyote pelts are selling for around double their long term average, and hopefully for Eastern trappers, the trend continues. Section III coyotes averaged $17.
The raccoon market is improving slightly with obvious demand for the better quality, larger sized pelts. 75% of the 250,000 coons sold, with averages between $7 and $17.
Muskrats sold well, with most all pelts selling at an overall average of $3.59, which is up from this time last year.
Just when you thought beaver prices couldn’t go any lower, they did. Eastern beaver averaged $11, Westerns $10, and Section III sold for less than $9. The joke about castor being worth more than a beaver pelt seems to becoming more reality than joke. With the low beaver numbers (33,000 in this sale), castor supply is down and demand remains strong. I’ve been hearing of top quality dried castor selling for $80-90 per pound, and in some cases even more!
Only a few of the better wild mink sold, for an average of just over $9.
Lynx sold at 80%, for a disappointing average of $62.
Red fox, gray fox and otter remained mostly unsold, and held for private treaty or the next auction.
Marten and fisher prices took a dip in this auction. Heavy marten averaged $61 and semi-heavies averaged $31. This is down from $88 and $58 from last year’s Feb/March auction.
Fisher were down around $5 from last year to $41.54. Many marten and fisher did not sell due to weak demand.
Bobcat results aren’t out yet, but I’ll add them when available.
Coyotes continue to drive the bulk of the wild fur market, and it’s a good thing, because most other species are still selling at uneconomical levels for most wild fur producers. The good news? It appears we’ve hit a bottom in the market, and continue to move along at a low level. How long it will last and what the recovery will look like is anyone’s guess.