Trappers thrilled with rising pelt prices

High demand for wild fur brought high prices at a recent Toronto fur auction, making trappers from the Northwest happy.

Thunder Bay fur harvesters net big gains at Toronto fur auction

These are good days to be a trapper in northwestern Ontario — as prices for wild fur at a recent Toronto fur auction exceeded the expectations of many trappers.

Red Lake fur trapper Tracy Herold was thrilled with the jump in prices for marten pelts at this year's Toronto fur auction. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

Tracy Herold of Red Lake said the money her catch brought in was nearly double what she earned last year.

Pine Marten pelts normally fetch $80 to $100 dollars each, but Herold said "one of my martens went for $250 and I averaged $143."

"A top-lot marten … went for $685 for one [pelt]."

Herold said she and her trapping partner made nearly $10,000 for 70 marten pelts. 

Prices for beaver and lynx were good, but not quite as impressive as marten, she added.

Fetching higher prices for pelts is a welcome change for trappers, as gas prices and other costs associated with working the trade have risen. Because of those high costs, people who operate trap lines have often simply broken even.

Herold said she believes a cold fall in Russia and parts of Asia may have led to a decline in pelt supply from those areas, sparking the jump in pelt prices here.

She also noted trappers are using more humane traps that cause less damage to fur, which improves the quality of the pelts.