We won't really know how things went in our neck of the woods until fur-bearer biologist Bruce Plowman has a chance to digest data he is currently collecting from Indiana fur buyers on fur prices from seasons just past.
However, Bob Phares, a Hoosier fur buyer for many years, and results of the February auction of North American Fur Auctions (NAFA) indicate that prices on the past seasons' catch were up a bit.
NAFA capsuled results of its February sale as follows:
February 24, 2004
"NAFA concluded its February auction with a very strong Wild Fur sale. Lynx and Lynx Cats were sold under spirited competition to all the major markets, with Italy and Greece dominating. Raccoons sold very well, with Greece taking the majority of goods. Demand for Musquash (muskrat) was evident by the increase in prices levels with strong interest from many markets, including Russia. Throughout the sale it was clear that many of our Wild Fur products are destined for the Russian market.
"All the other Wild Fur articles sold 100% at advancing prices levels compared to last year, with the exception of Otters."
Phares could not be specific about prices the fur-bearers were bringing on Hoosier markets, but he thought prices of the fur-bearers of Indiana were from $1 to $2 higher for pelts taken in the past seasons.
Plowman's report on raw fur prices of major species for the 2002-2003 seasons was by species as follows:
Raccoon--99,945 pelts, down 30 percent from the previous year, $7.29 average, down 1 percent.
Muskrat--48,372 pelts, down 8 percent from the previous year, $2.58 average price, down 19 percent.
Opossum, 5,153, down 71 percent, $1.31 average price, up slightly.
Coyote--4,152 pelts, up 109 percent, $12.60 average price, up 63 percent.
Mink--2,818, up 7 percent, $9.13 average price, up 5 percent.
Red Fox--2,776, up 36 percent, $20.32 average price, up 5 percent.
Gray Fox--1,099, up 197 percent, $1024 average price, up 20 percent.
Beaver--2,633, down 2 percent, $10.80 average price, down 2 percent. (Note: The 2003-04 beaver-trapping season closes March 15. Hunting-trapping seasons on all other species are closed, However, landowners having problems with coyote may kill them any time.)
Skunk--287, up 11 percent, $3.57 average price, up 29 percent.
Long-tailed Weasel--6, up 50 percent, $2 average price, down 50 percent.
Plowman's report on the 2002-2003 fur harvest counted 167,341 pelts, down 20 percent from the preceding year. Average price per pelt was $6.23 (down 3 percent) and total value was $1,035,910.77 (down 23). Figures by species for the NAFA's February 24, 2004 sale were:
Raccoon--249,199 pelts, $14.29 average price, $23.00 high price.
Muskrat--183,920 pelts, $3.10 average price, $7.00 high.
Beaver--82,927 pelts, $21.84 average price, $110 high.
Coyote--37,613 pelts, $27.31 average price, $42.00 high.
Red Fox--33,661 pelts, $22,37 average price, $60 high.
Mink--32,882 pelts, $15.33 average, $38.00 high.
Gray Fox--7,251 pelts, $16.79 average, $28.00 high.
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