Hey guys, I had the pleasure of sitting in with Ron Jones of Redneck Pride Outdoors this week and discussing dogproof trapping and my baits and lures. Take a listen! Great info for the beginner and expert alike. Ron will be doing more DP shows in the future!
With the low prices that are on the horizon at our fur sales this year, some of us trappers are pondering was to do with our catches and how to make up the difference in the prices we might be paid at auction. Currently prices are dismal and probably wont get any better until long after the change of guard in Washington. There are several ways to make significantly more by keeping your fur this year and putting a little more work into a finished product. This includes self tanning, selling to taxidermist and others, craft projects, selling meat, skulls and skeletons.
Once you finish fleshing those raccoons, fox and coyotes, take a minute to go over them again and get ready to enter the world of self tanning. Tanning has come to be known as an difficult process when if fact it is more time consuming than anything else. There are tons of ways to tan from using salt, alum, brains and commercial tanning solutions. I prefer to use the salt method, which involves soaking your pelts in salt water for several days followed by layers of salt to pull out the moisture. Being that you can buy a 50 lb bag of salt for $4.00 at Tractor Supply, this is not a huge cost investment. While you are there, go to the equine section and pick up a bottle of neatsfoot oil to finish your tanning process and you are good to go. The process can be done in about a week not including time to stretch and soften your pelt. Once you are done, you can either sell as is or smoke your pelts for a rich, golden color on the underside. I use a old smoker for this purpose and find that the propane burner makes for easy temperature control and even smoking of your tanning project.
Once you get done tanning your furs you can begin marketing your products via the internet on E-bay and other trapping and taxidermy websites. Taxidermist are always looking for suppliers of quality furs as well as those that know how to tan and prepare fresh pelts. Remember that the way a taxidermist wants a pelt cased is very different that what auction houses want. They are looking for intact feet with claws and pads included in the skinning. Also most prefer a non cased pelt unless they are sending it off to have it tanned themselves. In addition to taxidermist and fur lovers that want your finished pelts, you may find a good market on the Native American pow-wow circuit. In my past life, I created Native American jewelry and attended pow-wows in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The vendors at these events have a special group that they market to and fur is a needed commodity when it comes to making regalia, crafts and ceremonial items. The coyote, for instance, is one of the most revered and cherished animals in the Native American world and many will pay a hefty price for a well tanned and smoked pelt to make into a head dress.
If you are not familiar with the pow wow circuit or you are not near one don’t let that stop you. Design your own crafts and sell on Ebay, Etsy or other online shops. This can be as simple as stretching a raccoon pelt with leather thong on a framework of saplings tied together into a square. Many will pay for this unique item to hang in their mountain cabin or vacation home. This can be done with beaver, deer, coyote, fox or any other medium to large fur bearer. Keep them plain for a mountain man theme or tie feathers and beads on for a more Native American creation. You can also make money on coon skin caps, fur possibles bags, peace pipe bags and anything you can imagine. Fur is a powerful item that people just love to feel and spend money on.
Other ideas include the selling of meat, not only for human consumption (if legal in your state) or to other trappers for the making of various baits. Raccoon is very popular in the southern states around the holidays and makes an excellent meal. The bobcat that you skinned out can be taken and the meat ground for predator bait bases. This also includes the selling of glands to trappers as well. A gallon of coon glands go for well over $40 and all it involves is an extra 5 minutes while skinning to cut the vent and section of the intestine out and throw in a jug in the freezer. Before you throw the carcass away, take off the head with a saw and throw it in the freezer as well. Lot of people are looking for skulls and skeletons, either with the meat on or cleaned by dermastid beetles. A meat-on skull will sell from $1 to $5 depending on the animal. Simply freeze and then advertise on taxidermy or trapping websites to get customers. You can wrap them securely in plastic and newspaper and ship overnight or next day without the danger or thawing. Another idea is to get you a colony of beetles that will strip and eat the meat off the skull in a matter of days and you have a product that some will pay upwards of $10 to $50 for especially if it is whitened with peroxide and have the teeth intact or glued into place. Last but not least, remove the penis bones from raccoons for a Appalachian novelty that sells well in my home state of TN. Legend has it that this “Tennessee Toothpick” was used as stoppers on moon shine stills when the whiskey was flowing into bottles too fast. These can be sold for $5 in various markets.
There are many ideas that today’s trapper can use to make money and continue to enjoy the traditions of the trap line. The fur market will not always be as low as it has been but its nice to have some ways to fall back on and still make a profit from something we all dearly love. Whether its the feel of fur under our hands or the cool morning air as well walk our trapline, no matter the pay, this is all worth it.
As the new trapping and hunting season is about to begin, we are working to discover the real market for wild fur. We have been marketing wild fur aggressively by establishing new means of making wild fur readily available to the end users .
What have we discovered about demand? We have seen a moderate rise in the prices of muskrat and otter which could be a result of the recent rise in ranch mink prices with 100% clearance. We expect muskrats to maintain this trend and these levels as ranch mink coat sales are very good in Northern China. We are hoping otter will also continue to move in a positive direction.
What about raccoon? We have realized a price level on raccoon which is seemingly low to motivate trappers, however we are seeing our goods being used for both Chinese and Russian consumption. With raccoon in both markets we are hoping to see an uptick with this item.
The Russian market will be interesting to watch this year. There is a new regulation in place to track skins which have been imported legally to make the black means of importing easier to detect. This will have advantages and disadvantages to the producers in Russia, and the market fallout is yet to be determined. We are seeing much a colder winter develop in Russia this year. A cold winter will result in raccoon consumption, however the net effect on the market will be known later as skin dealers are dumping cheap skins on the market to generate cash.
Fur Routes. We will be starting our routes later this year to encourage a catch of primer skins. We do not see the need to put inferior skins on the market when there are plenty of goods which were cleared at very low prices last year. Quality skins are desired first in this market.
Legal Stability in China. We have discovered that Chinese are now importing goods and paying the legal taxes. This is good for business because it creates a even playing field for all competitors.
Beaver: We continue to market and process beaver. We can always use beaver.
Coyote: Western heavy coyotes will have good value while other grades will be more selective in demand. The damaged coyotes in the Midwest and Eastern States will have little value this year as their final commercial uses do not work economically.
Currencies: The Russian Ruble has steadied which gives investors confidence. The Chinese Yuan is losing value so this is becoming a concern as this causes our exports to look more expensive to them.
Big Lot: We are doing our Big Lot Marketing Program again. Please check our website for details.
New York: We will introduce a Western New York route this year.
Fur Dealers: If you have any questions about how we can cooperate together call us at 815 938 2381.
If anyone has any questions about the market, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may try to answer them in our next blog or answer them personally.
Raccoon prices have found a bottom.
Prices have come off of spring lows and have moved to more respectable levels.
Better beaver are difficult to sell.
Watch ranch mink prices…
Western’s will be respectable, Eastern damages will be very cheap.
Selling at better levels.
Sold a few for fashion, mostly novelty usage.
Otter have moved up a bit.
Better goods are sold out. Commercials waiting for Russia…
Hey guys! Got an awesome October special for all my followers on here! We are offering 16oz sizes of our DP Dynamite and Mini Bear Crunch for $5.00! This is a perfect size for your trap bags and if you want to try something new this upcoming season!
This all season dry bait is a candy/cracked corn/dog food mix. Its sweet with an irresistible smell that coons love. Cracked corn and dog food is added for protein to use late season. Includes powdered flavorings to enhance the base products. Attracts coons with a variety of smells and tastes! Good for use in cage traps as well as dog proofs.
There is a new DP tool out of the market that looks to be really slick. I will be ordering one of these in the next few weeks and let everyone know about it. Really looks easy to set and it has other uses as well. Please take time to check out our new group page on Facebook and our new online store here on the website. We have t-shirts and decals available with free shipping on decals for group members. Only 88 days till trapping season here in Tennessee!!
Does anyone else have the end of season trapping blues? I know you can still trap coyote and beaver here in TN, but where I am, there is not an abundance of them. I hung my traps up last month for the year. Now I’m getting that itch. You know the one I am talking about. You need to get into the woods and be in nature. So far I have cleaned and re-dyed all my traps and snares, put up all the leftover fur, stored the glands and cleaned up the fur shed. Oh and made two rat colony traps. So what’s the solution? What does a trapper do in the off season?
Well I can tell you what I am going to spend the spring and summer doing. I am going to read and learn more. See that’s the thing about trapping. You never know everything. So in April I’m going to the Tennessee Fur Harvester Association Spring meet in Maynardville. They have a whole weekend planned of training and demos showing skinning, trap setup and vendors. Plus great food and fellowship. That’s how I learn the best. By talking with others and getting ideas and learning one on one with others. I’m super excited, especially since its only 45 minutes from the house. If you would like more information, you can go to their website at http://www.tfhaonline.net or give me a call.
I will also be fishing and turkey hunting. You see I use a lot of the trash fish that I catch to make coon bait for my DP traps. There are some great recipes online at Trapperman.com or you can make your own like I will be doing. Summer is a great time to experiment with various bases and essential oils to get a bait that is just right. Its where I come up with those that will be sold at English Mountain Lures in the future. Its trial and error, but summer is the time to try them out and do come catch and release on those bait bandits of the night. Ground fish, anise, vanilla, honey and small marshmallows mixed is a great recipe that I pulled off the internet that you might want to give a try.
Have a great spring and summer! Go fishing, turkey hunting and enjoy life!
Trappers today all have one thing in common. Finding land. Back ten to fifteen years ago, most of us would ride around looking for land that we could trap on, then talking to landowners or waiting days to see the farmer in their fields or feeding their cattle. In recent years we are turning to computer technology. We can use web forums, online maps, social media platforms and computer programs to find and gain access to our catches.
Web forums like Trapperman.com and others allow trappers from all over the nation to connect. Use this tool as a way to make contacts with others. If you are a trapper that can travel to other areas and states this is useful in finding locations to trap. You may even find others that want to trade locations with you and trap the land in your area. This can extend your trapping season and allow you access to animals that you might not have in your home state. You can look at other forums that attract deer hunters and bear hunters as well.
Online tax assessement maps is one of the easiest ways to find land. These can usually be found on your counties website and have a search feature. To begin looking for areas to trap just put in a name of a nearby road or even you own address. This will bring up the map and you can begin to search for land that looks suitable for trapping. Each property is lined off showing the boundaries of the land. Once you find something you like you can locate the landowners address and either go visit them or send a letter to ask for permission. I have done this in the past and sent letters out in bulk and received good response.
Facebook groups allow you to advertise trapping services and connect with others in the outdoor community. In my home state of TN, I join farm and garden groups in my local area that sell chickens and other farm animals. These folks are always having trouble with predators at their farms and welcome trappers to help them rid them of their problems. Recently I met a older gentlemen that needed help ridding his property of coyotes that preyed on this birds. No only did this help with my fur count but ensured me deer hunting property come next season.
Craigslist is an option to use and have others do the searching for you. From your web browser search for www.craigslist.com. Select your state and nearest city. From there you have several sections that you can advertise in. Simple tell people that you offer free trapping services and ask nothing in return but the fur from the animal. Be specific as to what animals you trap. Some sections to consider are Free Services, Lawn and Garden, Personal Services, Services Offered. You can do this with or without a free account. Each listing has an expiration date so check back to renew your listings. Go a step further and list your services in nearby cities as well.
Use your computer to create flyers and place in your local farmers coop, Tractor Supply and post offices. These locations cater to farmers, hunters and landowners. I have found that flyers that have tear off tabs at the bottom where interested people can tear off your name and phone number have served me best. Most computer have programs such as Microsoft Office that will create a professional looking flyer that will serve you well at many locations.
We have come a long way in the last 20 years in how we as trappers locate land and the landowners that we can serve and assist with their predator issues. Using the computer and the internet allows us to use technology to our advantage.
According to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VFWD), additional predator “control” strategies (such as a bounty system or management method other than hunting and trapping) wouldn’t benefit wild turkeys.
In their current Big Game Management Plan 2010-2020 draft, the VFWD suggests that: “Predator/prey relationships are extremely dynamic and complex. These relationships involve a variety of factors which defy a simple, quick fix. Wild turkeys are prey to a long list of predators including coyotes, bobcats, foxes, fisher, weasels, skunks, opossum, raccoons, snakes, hawks, owls, domestic dogs, and humans. In the case of implementing ‘coyote control,’ for example, assuming that this could be effective, removal of coyotes would only reduce competition among the remaining host of predators that would continue to prey on turkeys.”
In other words, coyotes help control the list of other turkey predators.
“Coyotes, in fact, prey upon weasels, opossums, raccoons, foxes and rarely skunks,” the VFWD suggests. “All of these species are effective predators of nests, chicks, and nesting turkey hens. For this reason, it is possible that removal of coyotes could allow the populations of these other predators to increase resulting in more, not less, turkey predation and an overall decrease in a turkey population. Complex species relationships are common in nature.”
Could the wild turkey and coyote have more in common than we think?
“Many of the qualities that hunters admire so much about these birds, such as their incredible eyesight,ability to detect movement and wariness, are products of the turkey’s long evolutionary history that they share with their predators,” the current VFWD management plan draft suggests. “As wild turkey populations increase, the potential role of this species as a significant source of prey for other Vermont animals may now be greater than ever before.”
Predator hunting is encouraged however. There’s no closed season on Vermont coyotes, and a fall trapping season as well.