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RISE IN PRICES RENEWS INTEREST IN TRAPPING
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OHIO OUTDOORS --- ASSOCIATED PRESS
By JOHN WISSE
Division of Wildlife
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Division of Wildlife says an increased demand by some foreign countries has led to rising prices for raw furs and a renewed interest in trapping. Most of Ohio's fur trapping and hunting seasons open in November. The beaver trapping split seasons open in late December and early January. An estimated 60,000 people participate in some aspect of Ohio's fur trade, which generated $750,000 in primary sales during 1994. Ohio annually ranks among the nation's top five producers of raw furs. During the 1994-95 reporting period, Ohio fur dealers purchased 349,961 fur pelts, the second highest since 1987.
But what is sparking renewed interest this year in the fur market is an increased demand for North American raw furs,
generated largely from buyers in Russia, Korea, China, and Greece. As the world's supply of raw furs has diminished in
recent years, more demand for new fur stocks has created some significant price hikes at raw fur auctions.
In February, the North American Fur Auction held in Canada resulted
in the sale of nearly all 700,000 fur pelts
brought to the auction block. The average price of furs sold was $23.09. The average top price, which is paid for the
highest grade furs, rose to nearly $50.
"We have seen fur prices climb the past two years along with a new foreign demand for North American wild fur pelts.
The really good news for trappers in Ohio is that we continue to have a high abundance of fur bearing animals," says
Michael Budzik, Division of Wildlife chief.
The Division of Wildlife says Ohio's raccoon population has increased
800 percent over the past 15 years. Beaver
abundance has also increased over the past decade, while prices paid for beaver pelts have more than doubled from 1994
"Trapping remains an important management tool for helping to balance
furbearer populations in Ohio. A gradual decline
in trapping participation and harvest during the 1980s and 1990s, however, has led some furbearer populations to expand
out of control in many areas. This in turn has resulted in more complaints from landowners and added concerns regarding
public safety," Budzik said.
While far from the high fur prices trappers enjoyed some years ago,
today's fur market appears to be recovering
because of increased foreign demand and a diminished supply. And while domestic producers continue to market their
farm-raised furs, the world demand for wild furs is what is providing better pelt prices and renewed interest in trapping
"It's hard to accurately predict the future economic impact of
the fur industry as it stands today, but the
opportunity is here now to recapture interest in trapping in Ohio. We feel we have many good trapping opportunities
and the need is there to better balance some of our furbearer populations," said Budzik.
OHIO'S FUR TRAPPING SEASONS
Fox, Opossum, Skunk, and Weasel - November 9 through January 31.
Raccoon, Mink - November 13 through January 31.
Muskrat - November 13 through February 28.
Raccoon, Muskrat, and Mink (in Erie, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Lucas
County east of the Maumee River) - November 13 through March 15.
Beaver (NE Ohio Zone) - January 11 through February 28.
Beaver (Remainder of Ohio) - December 28 through February 28.
OHIO'S FURBEARER HUNTING SEASONS
FOX: NOV. 9 - JAN. 31
RACCOON, OPOSSUM, SKUNK, WEASEL: NOV. 13 - JANUARY 31
Fox and coyotes may be hunted on Sundays in Ohio, except on December 8, 1996. There is no limit on the number of
furbearers which may be taken during the hunting and trapping seasons. A fur taker permit is required in addition to a
hunting license to take fur bearing animals, except coyotes.
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