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PostPosted: 30 Mar 2015, 19:01 
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Joined: 25 Dec 2012, 16:59
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Location: NW PA
Now that the NAFA sale is winding down for wild fur, and quite a few of us have been disappointed with the results. With that being said, what are your views/opinions on trapping in a down market. I know many on the forum must turn a profit from their line, while many of us (myself included) are more hobby trappers. Let's take coon and beavers for example. Both species did not sell well at the auction, but are two critters that I hear the most complaints from land owners, farmers, etc. from the damage that they do. Beavers flood good land and damage valuable timber. Coons create problems from crop damage to disease when populations are left unchecked. Trapping is a management tool for states to control furbearer populations. How much does that play into your decision to trap or not? I remember back when I left home to go to college in the late 80's early 90's, the fur market was terrible to say the least, I had farmers and friends begging me to trap coons on their land because they were becoming overpopulated. Years later we had problems with rabies/mange/distemper in may furbearers. I hung up my traps because I couldn't run a line with my work commitments, now that I have acquired sufficient vacation where I can run a sizeable line for a few weeks I decided to pick up my hobby again. I am fortunate that I don't have to turn a profit in order to justify my trapline. I know not all can.

So, with that being said, what are your thoughts to take fur to help control animal populations to prevent overpopulation/disease/property damage? We all come from different backgrounds and have different beliefs and I would like to have a discussion on this topic so we can all hear what you all think. Why do your trap???? No wrong answers, your beliefs are your beliefs, and we should all respect them. Diverse opinions are good for the collective group. Let me give an example. Deer hunting in PA is a huge deal to practically all resident hunters. Many would think that hunting deer with dogs is unethical, but it is perfectly acceptable in some places in the south.

Lets hear it!!!!


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PostPosted: 30 Mar 2015, 20:54 
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Joined: 11 Jan 2011, 13:25
Posts: 244
Location: West Central Minnesota
I first started doing a little muskrat trapping in grade school with my dad early before the bus came for school. We got about 50 muskrats one year...half of them through the ice. I think it was around 1980 and we got $5 a piece for a finished muskrat. I thought we were rich!!! Soon after that I started sports in jr high and throughout my hs career so I didn't trap anymore. I then went to college....then onto working in the Mpls area...then lived in Fargo. I didn't have the opportunity to try trapping again until a few years ago when I moved to a small rural community. I'm now surrounded by trapping land. I took up trapping again because I find it challenging and fulfilling. I look forward to setting traps on opening day and can hardly sleep that night before the first check. I think I got spoiled the previous few years since I started trapping again. Prices were good and it was VERY enjoyable. I trapped only muskrats because that was all I knew and they were plentiful. I have had some success lately trapping other critters like coyotes. I'm still clueless in alot of ways but I'm learning and I manage to keep myself busy skinning and fleshing.
Now that most furs have lost most of all of their worth I will probably divert my resources from muskrats, mink, raccoon to coyotes. I almost feel bad that I trapped a few mink because they were relatively worthless. Not that trapped any early mink December mink is now a waste to trap. I feel If I wouldn't have trapped it ..it would have made the population stronger and better in the future years when the price might be decent again.
Beaver are really a waste of time also. Everyone knows the amount of work that goes into finishing a beaver. Spring beaver season is just about ready to start and I'm not sure I will trap any except for the farmers who have asked me to get rid of some nuisance beaver. I enjoy beaver trapping but I can't even sell the fur let alone get a decent price. I really like the time I spend with my son doing it and all the neighbor kids love coming with and checking traps. I admit I do like that little pile of money I make from trapping....who wouldn't. It is just a hobby for me so I don't rely on the money. So bottom line for me is that I will trap just as much next year except my target critters will be narrowed down to canines and fortunately for me I have plenty of untouched land around me to do it...... Trapping is and still will be VERY enjoyable.

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PostPosted: 30 Mar 2015, 22:16 
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My thoughts on the matter browning, are pretty much based from biological facts and idea's . I do not believe trapping is an effective way of long term or wide spread population control, nor is it needed for the animals to continue on, in future existence at healthy levels. However, I do think that trapping is a great practice to reduce damage to human revenues and goods that is being caused by animals, albeit very temporal too. I'm not in the least bit worried, that if folks quit trapping today, that animals would cease to be in healthy numbers because of over population.....that simply isn't true.

First let's look at just what conservation means. From Kansas Wildlife and Parks,,," ....The wise use of a renewable resource". Notice it didn't say a word about the needof harvesting for overall animal populations? The wise use..... that's what it is........For instance, I like to ask folks that believe harvesting animals or birds is a necessity this question. "Who is it that harvest Robins, Jays, other song birds or any other thousands of species of wildlife that are not harvest-able by law?" Are those populations remaining? Are they healthy? Yes they are...and without harvesting of any type. Those animals are susceptible to many diseases and woe's, just like fur bearing animals, or game animals are.....yet they remain in healthy numbers without harvest being in the mix. How much more proof is needed? Harvest is about the wise use, of a renewable resource.

Now that I covered that portion, I will continue with the renewable resource part. Anyone that studies biology much, knows what "Carrying capacities" are, but others may not know. When any certain types of wildlife have the elements needed for life and survival, they naturally can exist in that parcel of ground. How many animals within that parcel is determined by the limiting factors of the amounts of space, habitat/cover, food, air, and water available on that parcel of ground. By nature, that determines the number of wildlife that can utilize that, which is that parcels "carrying capacity". That averaged number won't change no matter if animals are harvested or not. There may be a temporary reduction caused by any number of outside influences, such as trapping, but the number will always increase right back to the carrying capacity and no more, and do it rapidly. There are 2 exceptions to that rule, one devastating, and one quite natural that happens every year,,,,with or without our influences.
In devastation, wide spread animal annihilation would have to take place, so that animals cannot recover and no pops are left to spread back into habitats. Things like introduced species, or massive habitat alterations, both can cause this... but not normally your average disease. With disease, many animals make it through, for a number of various reasons, to repopulate. It can be devastation, but most of the time not, and normally it's localized in certain area's and spotty. For instance, distemper swept through my State a few years ago. The State said it killed thousands of animals, like coons and foxes. By the time trapping season came, I never could tell because enough animals made it through to repopulate right back to the carrying capacity.
Now the other more frequent happening, is a seasonal population fluctuation. When spring is here, life blooms. Everything is rich, easy and plenty. More food, more cover, more water and so on. So nature answers by giving us,,,,baby wildlife. Suddenly, a population boom to match the environmental boom. As the year goes, and fall and winter starts to set in, food, cover, water, and so on, gets more slim. Now there is too many animals for the once flourishing fauna to support, because the vegetation is largely going dormant. Again nature responds, and animals must die, to match the fauna's ability to support. Once that has leveled out, those animals go on, until spring comes and plenty abounds once again, and the cycle starts again, and repeats over and over. To find the true carrying capacity, an average must be taken from the population fluctuations high and it's low. Do we need intervene in this grand scheme to make it work? Certainly not! Remember the Robins? Nature doesn't need us, to survive a healthy population.

Having said that and going back to conservation,,,,The wise use of a renewable resource. The fact is, there are a certain amount of animals going to die when winter comes on and carrying capacities are coming to a low. Now, we are presented with a couple choices. One, we can leave animals to die at the hands of nature, not because of some "out of control pop explosion" from lack of harvest, but because it's a finely tuned machine that works. OR.....two,,, we can make WISE USE of animals that are in the seasonally high pop fluctuation, and both helping mankind going on in his way, and saving the unlucky critters the suffering of starvation or exposure due to seasonal pop fluctuations that will occur every single year. Isn't it ironic, our hunting and trapping seasons are centered around and just before/during the same time of year the animals numbers will be reduced by nature anyway? I don't think it's to much so.... Instead I think its strategic planning by biologist that understand the cycle of wildlife.

Even in animal damage control, the animals will always return. They are there to stay, and unless the habitat is largely changed, they will continue to always fill the carrying capacity. I personally think we as humans think to highly of ourselves, in what it is we control and what we don't.

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Last edited by Amak on 30 Mar 2015, 22:58, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 30 Mar 2015, 22:55 
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POST-JACKING AND PIXEL SIZE CZAR (P.J.A.P.S.C.)
POST-JACKING AND PIXEL SIZE CZAR (P.J.A.P.S.C.)

Joined: 25 Dec 2007, 23:33
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Location: Alberta, Canada
I think I'll trap if I want to and if I don't want to I won't. There was a time I made good money at it but it was never my main source of income.


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PostPosted: 31 Mar 2015, 02:01 
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Joined: 06 Jun 2011, 11:03
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I believe that I became a trapper out of my own outdoors evolution as I like to call it. I started as a kid fishing and then small game hunting. When I came of age I received my big game license and hunted deer with a rifle. Some years later I took archery hunting and heavily pursued that sport with a burning passion. I became a very successful archer and took many animals.

Many years went by and I found myself wanting to be more hands on with my outdoor pursuits. I have come to learn that trapping is by far the most in depth and fulfilling outdoor pastime I have come across. I'm not sure what's next in my evolution but for now I'm learning every day, and enjoying my new passion that's called trapping.

Great topic

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PostPosted: 31 Mar 2015, 04:19 
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Joined: 12 Sep 2010, 11:36
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Location: Windber, PA
Surprisingly, I've not heard a lot from the general trapping population about the disappointment in the fur market this year. This is mostly, coming from locals from my area, and the trapping boards such as this forum, the mink trapping site and the PA hunting site. Sure there are grumblings how much the price dropped from just 2 years ago but truthfully I expected more of that.
I'd say a good portion of us has trapped through the bad times and it doesn't affect the hobby trapper like me as much as somebody who relies on furtaking as a portion of their income.

There is a segment of the trapping population that will be severely effected is the lure and trap manufacturers. I remember calling F&T in September of 2013 and the person that answered the phone said they were so backlogged with orders and were short on help. It's a good chance it won't be like that this coming fall but you never know. The last mini fur boom we had 2 years inspired old and new trappers alike. Some of those people will drop out but some that really enjoyed the sport will stick with it. I know I did in the late 80's and into the 90's.

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PostPosted: 31 Mar 2015, 09:55 
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Joined: 28 Jan 2011, 16:07
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Location: northwestern Ontario
My thoughts and opinions on this topic are as follows.

Yes we need to trap fur bearing animals to help control damages caused by certain species and over population and disease. Beaver is one rodent left unchecked can reek havoc on the landscape. Left alone they can over populate and then all die off from disease and just not in that specific area but over a vast area the disease will spread. Then what does the trapper do when he has no beaver to trap on his line. By keeping beavers in check and constant thinning of their numbers will insure a better pelt that is not all full of bite marks from over population and prevent mother nature from creating a die off. Many towns across Ontario have trappers councils that preform nuisance beaver control for the townships, road boards, logging companies etc. With out the help from the trapper the damages and cost to repair would be in the millions.

I trap because at an early age I enjoyed the outdoors. At around 9 or 10 years of age I started snaring rabbits, what a thrill it was to go out and catch them. Couple years later I started to target weasel and mink. By the age of 14 was into fox, mink, muskrat, beaver, fisher and lynx. Being 14 years of age I was to young to get a trappers licence and my avenues to sell my fur were drying up. My dad went and bought a trappers licence so that I could sell my fur. At age 16 I was old enough to get my own licence. 8 years later after trapping farmland I bought my first registered trap line. The rest is history. Have seen many good years on fur prices and some average ones as well as some bad ones. No matter how ticked I get at the sales and rant and rave, every fall I return to the line to start over. Its in my blood till the day I can no longer get out. Bad years come and go and we try and work smarter. Today I sit with a smile on my face. One son has went to live in the bright city lights and the other one is now a trapper. 2nd generation starting on my line. Good memories with the family and friends.


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PostPosted: 31 Mar 2015, 13:21 
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Joined: 07 Jan 2015, 18:53
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Location: Waverly, NE
I'm a hobby trapper just trying to keep some of the population down in my area. What really got me started trapping is when the coyotes in my area became so many that they got bold, and started killing my friends cats. Since my friends family has a decent amount of land, and let me do whatever I want on it I thought I might as well do my best to stop anything from destroying their fields, crops, pets. I wasn't aware of it until this year, but there's an over population of skunks. The number of holes they dug in one field this year was just ridiculous. I believe I trapped something like 10 skunks off of this one 80 acre parcel, and I still didn't get them all. It's a good hobby to have, and my friends mom likes that there aren't possums eating the cat food anymore. I'll probably never get the money back that I spend on traps, and other supplies, but I'm fine with that.


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PostPosted: 31 Mar 2015, 14:24 
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TheNebraskan wrote:
I'm a hobby trapper just trying to keep some of the population down in my area. What really got me started trapping is when the coyotes in my area became so many that they got bold, and started killing my friends cats. Since my friends family has a decent amount of land, and let me do whatever I want on it I thought I might as well do my best to stop anything from destroying their fields, crops, pets. I wasn't aware of it until this year, but there's an over population of skunks. The number of holes they dug in one field this year was just ridiculous. I believe I trapped something like 10 skunks off of this one 80 acre parcel, and I still didn't get them all. It's a good hobby to have, and my friends mom likes that there aren't possums eating the cat food anymore. I'll probably never get the money back that I spend on traps, and other supplies, but I'm fine with that.

Why don't you sell them? They can't all be worthless.

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PostPosted: 31 Mar 2015, 15:01 
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Joined: 07 Jan 2015, 18:53
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Location: Waverly, NE
WCS wrote:
TheNebraskan wrote:
I'm a hobby trapper just trying to keep some of the population down in my area. What really got me started trapping is when the coyotes in my area became so many that they got bold, and started killing my friends cats. Since my friends family has a decent amount of land, and let me do whatever I want on it I thought I might as well do my best to stop anything from destroying their fields, crops, pets. I wasn't aware of it until this year, but there's an over population of skunks. The number of holes they dug in one field this year was just ridiculous. I believe I trapped something like 10 skunks off of this one 80 acre parcel, and I still didn't get them all. It's a good hobby to have, and my friends mom likes that there aren't possums eating the cat food anymore. I'll probably never get the money back that I spend on traps, and other supplies, but I'm fine with that.

Why don't you sell them? They can't all be worthless.



I don't have a good place to keep them from spoiling. I don't catch enough all at once to justify taking a load in, and with my school being extremely strict about missing any class it's just not in my schedule to meet a fur buyer.


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PostPosted: 31 Mar 2015, 21:38 
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I agree totally with you amak.... My only twist to the carrying compasity... With the big changes in habitat bc of agriculture most hunters are trying to carry a unrealistic compasity of animals and birds to hunt.... And the ones I think a trapper, who traps an area year after year,can really help is the duck population,it helps those birds have a successful hatch and then they are gone for the rest of the hard times of the year. I agree for the rest of the animals and birds( pheasant) that stay are totally dependent on habitat and carrying compasity.... I know if a person traps coons and skunks year after year in a given location you can virtually trap them out to a number that isn't worth trapping... Coyotes diff story....but no if we all stopped trapping, life and nature would go on but... The reason it makes sense is we keep altering habitat, and there ways of life, and human vs animal conflicts are only gonna get worse....and so we trap! And we trap because it pre dates us to the roots as a country! We trap cause it literally runs through our veins, passed down from or blood that came over on a boat!


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PostPosted: 31 Mar 2015, 22:02 
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Very good post Browning, and I do hope this gets more feed back. Be honest and true to your beliefs. No one is going to hang you on here.


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PostPosted: 01 Apr 2015, 10:44 
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Your very first question was "about views on trapping in a down market".....
Well, I just trapped animals that were not "down" and I tried to trap "more" of them.
I'm a hobby trapper.... Guess I got luck this year.


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PostPosted: 01 Apr 2015, 12:19 
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" I believe I trapped something like 10 skunks off of this one 80 acre parcel, and I still didn't get them all."

Not to try a hijacking, but if you think this is a crowded bunch of skunks, consider the following.

My brother took nineteen skunks from the same location, in a three week period, and "didn't get them all". Believe he had over fifty that year.

I meet a land owner, at his home one evening, and on the half mile lane, from his house, to the county road, I counted fourteen skunks. One was the largest I'd ever seen. It look to be the size of a spaniel. This was among the hay meadows, of the Laramie River, southwest of Laramie, Wyoming.

A friend was fishing the "Miracle Mile" section of the North Platte, in Wyoming. He walked the hundred yards to the camp ground outhouse, before turning in for the night, and reported that he had counted over thirty five skunks. He said it was a slow trip. Reason for this concentration was due to the suckers tossed back into the sagebrush by fishermen.

The point being, you may have a lot of skunks, but if the habitat is there, the animals will make the most of it and what might be a ridiculous number there, it may not be much somewhere else. Remember the saying, "nature abhors a vacuum". Remove a population and others will move into the emptied habitat.

We now return to the original thread of "opinions and viewpoints".


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PostPosted: 01 Apr 2015, 14:53 
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Rem--- i think your post is very pertaining. I couldnt agree more.

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PostPosted: 01 Apr 2015, 17:09 
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I feel like that might be considered over population.


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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2015, 10:12 
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Im sorry then, but you dont understand your quarry or simple ecology. The fact is whereever striped skunks exist, they den stacked on top of each other and 10 skunks in a single den is very normal. Over population would mean exceeding the carrying capacity of the ground which is determined, left alone, by nature. Over population, and animals being in mans way are two very different things.

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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2015, 10:47 
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Joined: 09 Nov 2010, 11:58
Posts: 1306
Location: Kansas
Amak wrote:
Im sorry then, but you dont understand your quarry or simple ecology. The fact is whereever striped skunks exist, they den stacked on top of each other and 10 skunks in a single den is very normal. Over population would mean exceeding the carrying capacity of the ground which is determined, left alone, by nature. Over population, and animals being in mans way are two very different things..


AGREED TOTALLY!!!!!! Amak beat me to this. I have been holding back on my response but my temper got the best of me. Trapping and killing critters just to throw to the way side to rot and then posting about it does us trappers no justice at all. To say they are worth nothing is nuts. Skunks have great value. Skunk pelts are in big demand and selling good. Worth more than coons. Not to mention the essence selling between $14 to $16 an ounce. Plus the empty pods hole value to the lure makers. Add that up and that's some very good coin for them little critters. This is a great thread my friend!

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A FOOL NEVER SEES THE ONE HE MAKES. (Harold Warp)


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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2015, 12:38 
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Trapper
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Joined: 07 Jan 2015, 18:53
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Location: Waverly, NE
A problem animal gets dealt with like a problem animal.


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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2015, 12:46 
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Professional Trapper
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Joined: 28 Jan 2011, 16:07
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Location: northwestern Ontario
Gentlemen the post was opinions and views and why you trap. I have deleted parts of some peoples post. Please keep it civil.


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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2015, 14:29 
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I began trapping at the age of 5 (in 1960), when a friend showed me his muskrat traps and furs he caught. I will never forget that warm November morning (walking in the light rain), checking my trap and catching my first muskrat. I was so proud of that little rat and couldn't wait to show it to all my family and friends. I recall selling the rat, in the round and getting $1 from NorthWestern Fur Exchange (then it was Thornton's Fur Post). That dollar represented a lot to me and gave me a purpose to being a trapper. I could buy traps, supplies and was making money for my efforts. I didn't know it then, but the value of furs was way down at that point, but a dollar was worth far more than today (I would guess the equivalent of almost $10).
As the years went by, my interest in trapping waivered with the fur market. If it was worth while for me to trap, I did. I can recall after joining the service and starting a family, that without fur money, my children would not have had much if any Christmas presents.
My children often joined me on the trap line and we have found memories of the time we spent together setting and checking traps. My son also became a trapper and ran his own line. Today my son is a surgeon, and has little free time, but plans on running a line with his son and me. Trapping is in our blood and it is something we look forward to every year (to a certain extent).
Several years ago, after almost a 5 year hiatus, I pulled out my traps and started a short line again. A local farmer was having problems with some raccoons and the prices looked like they were starting back up. I caught some coon, fox, mink, and some rats. The exercise was very good for me, I removed some nuisance animals and I did a little better than breaking even on my cost/profit margin; it was a successful year. Last year I caught a few more furs (than the year before) and with the spike in the market made some extra Christmas money again. To me, the ends were justifying the means.
Just recently I got my results from the NAFA sale and as I expected, the prices were way down. I did ok on the few rats, mink, fox and the two coon I sold (had several bought back in each category), but I was very disappointed that they sold a coyote for $2 (they claimed it was damaged and there is no way I can dispute that now). But all in all, I expected the prices I got and limited my line accordingly. It was fun to trap and I may have broken even on expenses.
I enjoy trapping and will probably continue to be a trapper all my life, at least as long as it is legal. Without making a decent profit in trapping, I predict that the sport will die off. There is not enough young people in the sport and we have let the likes of PETA and the Humane Society stop trapping in many parts of the country. When the older generation of people like us are not longer there to support trapping, it will be gone. There are many factors responsible for this but corporate greed has to be the top of the list. When a fur (coyote) trimmed coat sells for a thousand dollars and we are paid $2, the industry is destroying itself. There has to be an incentive to trap. I can't see myself ever setting traps to just kill animals and throw them away (I have too much respect for wildlife). The industry has to change and hopefully it will be within my lifetime.


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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2015, 19:13 
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When I was young I trapped for money. Hides brought good prices back then. Large coons brought $ 30 or more, foxes 50 or 60. grinners 5 or 6. That was big money to a kid in grade school.

Now I trap for fun and the challenge, and to have one more excuse to be outdoors ( translated ......... alone !!! ) . :wink: :twisted:

Granted , I still tan and sell some hides, but just for the fun of working with them and so they are not wasted. All carcasses are composted and end up on my garden. Awesome fertilizer. !!

I also trap to protect our turkey and grouse population. I love to hunt turkeys, and a coon, grinner or skunk can wipe out a whole nest of eggs overnight. What they don't eat they break. Foxes , yotes and bobcats kill young as well as adult turkeys and grouse.

I believe any population of animal can and will become overpopulated if left un-checked. Even hunted populations , such as deer , have become overpopulated and die of starvation and /or winterkill. Nature will bring everything into balance one way or another, but it is better in my opinion to utilize a resource rather than to let it be wasted through death/disease/starvation.

Just my opinion, which is basically worthless in the grand scheme of things.

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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2015, 19:22 
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doc9013 wrote:
Just my opinion, which is basically worthless in the grand scheme of things.


Doc your opinion has always counted to me.


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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2015, 21:49 
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Doc..... Agreed


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PostPosted: 03 Apr 2015, 12:56 
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Posts: 1968
Location: Montana
I trap for the challenge of it and because I enjoy it. As well as just an another excuse to get out. The money is nice at times. But has never been the main point. I am kind of glad the prices are going down. get rid of some of the greedy wannabes that just want money and don't care for the laws or ethics.

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