By Dar Danielson (Radio Iowa)
The Iowa trapping season is underway, and a DNR expert says the prospects are good. Furbearer biologist, Vince Evelsizer, says there shouldn’t be any trouble finding furs.
“Most of our species of furbearers and Iowa are doing well, the populations are either stable, or increasing slightly,” Evelsizer says. “Examples of that would be things like coons and beavers, even red fox, that sort of thing.” Evelsizer says the only two species that they’re concerned about are foxes and muskrats — which have seen declining populations. He says making a profit from trapping is a little less certain.
“It does look like there continues to be a relatively weak, wild fur market going into this fall and winter. However, some species like bobcats, and beavers, have increased a little bit in value,” he says. Evelsizer says the price of the furs is influenced by several things.
“In general, it has to do with the garment industry, and where supply and demand issues are. Right now, for example, in the past six, eight years, especially China and Russia, were two countries that were the bigger for buyers,” Evelsizer says, “and relations with those two countries in the US has been tense past few years, and that can affect trade on things like wild furs.” He says there’s been around 14 to 15-thousand licensed fur harvesters the past few years.
“When the fur market is weak, it does tend to lead to a lower harvest or effort from our harvesters,” Evelsizer says. “But that being said, there’s still a lot of fur harvesters that go out and do it. You know, your regardless of the fair market value, they go and do it because they love trapping or they love predator hunting or they love running their coon dogs.” Evelsizer says some trappers aren’t concerned about the fur price.
“Some folks are interested in the meat, you know, things like a beaver, for example, can be actually very good eating,” he says. Trappers don’t have to sell their furs this year — Evelsizer says they can keep them for one year and see if prices go up before they have to sell. He says there is one more beginning trapper event for the year this Saturday in St. Charles. It’s for beginner trappers of all ages and you can sign up on the Iowa DNR ‘s website to register.