Fur trapping family keeps tradition alive in Essex County

An Essex County trapper wants to keep the Canadian tradition of fur trapping alive and well in the region.

Greg Morencie and his teenage daughters trap beaver, muskrat, mink

Greg and Maddie Morencie have been trapping in Essex County for years.

An Essex County trapper wants to keep the Canadian tradition of fur trapping alive and well in the region.

Greg Morencie has been trapping for 10 years in the McGregor area southwest of Windsor. He’s passed the interest on to his teenage daughters.

“The kids and the younger generation are leaning more toward electronics than the manual labour side of the world,” Morencie said. “Most parents don’t ask their kids if they want to go hunting or trapping. If my kids want to see dad they have to put their boots on and come with me.”

Samantha, 17, and Maddie, 15, have been trapping with their father for years.

“It’s a family thing. I’d rather teach them food doesn’t always come from [grocery stores],” Morencie said.

Samantha has taken a fur manager course and Maddie tags traps by hanging ribbons in nearby trees and preps fur with her dad.

“I’m all about being different and it was just something different and new to try,” Maddie Morencie said.

Even through the number of licensed trappers are on the rise in Ontario — there are 216 in the Windsor-Essex-Chatham region — Greg Morencie and the Ministry of Natural Resources want to ensure the tradition continues.

In October, the Ministry of Natural Resources introduced the Youth Trapping Program in Ontario. It’s designed to “promote succession planning in the trapping industry through the recruitment of new trappers.”

Greg Morencie said “there is always a need” for trappers.

“It’s very rooted in our history. People should understand that if you don’t manage animals, they get out of hand and become a nuisance. Canadians have been doing it for 200 years,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s becoming less popular. You don’t do it for money. You do it for passion, to keep the tradition alive.”

The Morencies trap coyote, beaver, fox, muskrat, raccoon and mink.

Three times a year, there’s a local fur pickup. The Morencie hand over their pelts, which are sold on consignment at auction in Toronto. The price for some pelts have tripled in 20 years.

Greg Morencie said 75 per cent of Canadian fur is sold overseas. Raccoons are most popular.

“The raccoon is the one everyone wants for trim and coats. Muskrats are really good fur,” he said.

According to the Canadian Fur Council, 65,000 Canadians work in the fur trade, contributing $800 million for the Canadian economy, including more than $300 million in exports.


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