Fur prices 'disappointing' as winter sales commence

The numbers are in for fur sales for the early part of 2018 as auction houses across North America are beginning to move winter inventory.
Fur prices 'disappointing' as winter sales commence

Photo: Mark Kayser

The numbers are in for fur sales for the early part of 2018 as auction houses across North America are beginning to move winter inventory.

The North America Fur Auctions ranks as the largest fur auction business in North America with a second-place finish in the world fur auction standing. Their history dates back to the beginnings of settlement in North America with roots to the Hudson Bay Company in 1670.

For a quick review of 2018 sales the NAFA reported improvements in the market. That noted, they still feel that market prices could be better according to their auction overview.

Skinning coyotes in the field is an easy way to get the process rolling before doing more extensive work at home. (Photo: Mark Kayser)

“Although the results of our February sale showed general improvement in both price and clearance, for some articles, however, with the exception of a few articles, prices in general are disappointing. We will continue to explore every possible way to promote and expand the wild fur market in major fur consuming countries so that NAFA can ultimately achieve the highest possible prices for its shippers.”

Overseas fashion support

The fashion industry is the reason for the improvements as they continue to show support for wild fur. Most of this support comes from overseas including China, Korea, Greece, Russia, Italy and other scattered European countries. North American buyers were also present, but the bulk of fur goods still are shipped overseas.

Coyote hunting dominates most predator hunters who visit Predator Xtreme and the good news is at the NAFA February sale 100 percent of the coyotes sold. The top average price for the Heavy category was $105.96. The Semi category averaged $57.21 and the Eastern category averaged $40.57.

In my Wyoming and Montana backyard coyotes on the carcass were selling for as high as $40 and skinned coyotes were fetching $50 and above depending on the quality so it definitely paid to spend a couple weekends chasing coyotes over the winter. Nearly 74,000 coyote pelts were on the February sale.

Raccoon sales were more volatile as only one category reached 100 percent of sales and another hit 82 percent of the furs sold. Prices ranged from a high of $20.32 to a low of $9.37 making it a bit tougher to make a profit unless you have a plethora of raccoons to harvest. Just slightly over 149,000 raccoons were offered on the February sale.

A final view of major fur sales includes the beaver offerings. In all three categories beavers sold above 90 percent, but none hit the 100 percent sales goal. Prices varied from a high of $12.15 to a low of $10.39. More than 35,000 beavers were placed on the February sale roster.

Other prices that were eye-catching include western bobcats that averaged $378.99 compared to Lynx that only averaged $63.53, Red Fox hit a high of $25.24 and grey fox landed at $23.11. Timber wolves averaged $163.05.

The fur market continues to stay steady despite its fickle nature from time to time. If you have furs in storage now might be the time to test your luck at the auction, especially with coyote prices holding their own in a fluffy market of other competitors.

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