The Super Bowl has little correlation to the great outdoors other than it was held outside this year. Like many viewers, I tuned in with little to no interest as to who would win.
As a trapper, I could not have been more pleased than to see it begin with fur in the spotlight. The coin toss by Joe Namath sporting a coyote coat trimmed in Arctic fox was seen around the world by millions and should bode well for fur sales. During an early commercial break, a coat trimmed with real fur also stood out to me, further emphasizing society’s acceptance of fur for fashion.
The first international auctions of the year have set some price structure for our furs, although much is yet to be determined. A crackdown on import fees in China, which is the largest producer of finished fur goods, could lead to less being paid for raw materials.
Several local fur sales are scheduled for this month, allowing the seller to receive same-day payment and the option to not complete the sale.
Shipping fur to an international auction adds uncertainty to the prices that will be paid, and it can take months to receive payment. Although a commission is taken by the auction house, furs are marketed directly to the garment industry so the best prices still are often received.
Hunting or trapping for predators at this point in the year is difficult, to say the least. The fox and coyote have been pursued for three months, with the young and dumb already on stretchers. Many furtakers are beginning to market their catch and looking more toward next fall, rather than the last two weeks of this season.
Discovering tracks may indicate evidence of a canine, but oftentimes these survivors can be difficult to catch or call. With twice the average snowfall so far this year, predators are more likely to take advantage of bait stations than in milder years.
With so many coyote hunts scheduled for this month, predator hunting pressure could be noticeable on the weekends. Raccoon will begin to breed this month, although the approaching weather system predicts more snow.
Most movements will be boar coon going from den to den seeking out receptive sows. Running coonhounds in late winter reinforces this pattern, and almost always the track ends at a hole or den tree. Trapping also is difficult as tracks often indicate where coon walk right past baited sets in their search for love.
Much like our own winter gear, at this point in the year the fur quality is beginning to deteriorate. Beaver, however, remain prime well into the spring and can readily be trapped through the ice. Cutting holes through the ice is more work than most are willing to do, and open water is when most will gear up their efforts. Ice-out is a magical time for the beaver, with dispersal pushing them often into uncharted territory.
Special care should be taken with trigger configuration on body grip traps to help avoid incidental muskrat and otter catches.