Saskatchewan trappers are cashing in on a hot new fur trend.
This year, the price of a coyote pelt is going for almost double what they were three years ago. The best pelts used to fetch $50. Now, trappers can get about $100.
Mike Gollop, a fur and problem wildlife specialist with Saskatchewan's Ministry of Environment, said this is the best time to be a trapper since the early 1980s.
"It's the first time that it's shown a sign of sustaining itself," Gollop said.
"I think it could even increase because, two years ago, the price actually went up to about the current level but it didn't go up until the end of the trapping season."
Gollop said the number of trappers has since increased — last year, the Ministry of Environment provided an extra 400 licences in the southern trapping regions. There are usually 3,000 licenses provided each year.
Coyote pelts are becoming more common in the world of high fashion. He says the majority of the furs go to Europe and Asia.
"China is a big volume buyer," Gollop said. " But the top (pelts) for sale usually go to the fashion industry in Greece or Italy."
Western Canadian coyotes are considered the best in the world because the colder climate results in thicker coats.
"As far as parkas or what have you, wolf and coyote will not frost up on those cold days that you're breathing on them," Gollop said. "They make an excellent trim."
It is difficult to tally coyote numbers beyond voluntary trapper surveys.
Here are the number of coyote or "prairie wolf" pelts in Saskatchewan from 2006-10:
|Year||Number of coyote or "prairie wolf" pelts in Saskatchewan||Value|
(Source: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment)