As one door closes for trappers in Saskatchewan, another opens

Wrangler Hamm, the president of the Saskatchewan Trappers Association, said the winding down of the North Amercan Fur Auctions was initially concerning, but it could open more doors for trappers in Saskatchewan.

North Bay, Ont.-based Fur Harvesters Auction Inc. prepared to take on more volume, says Trappers Association

The Saskatchewan Trappers Association president says North Bay, Ont.-based Fur Harvesters Auction Inc. is prepared to take on more volume as North American Fur Auctions announced it won't be having an auction in March, 2020. (Submitted by Fur Harvesters Inc.)

The Saskatchewan Trappers Association says there may be a new opportunity for those looking to sell furs after the announced closure of a historic auction house.

Earlier this month, the North American Fur Auctions (NAFA) was granted creditor protection status and said it's unlikely that organization will host any auctions in 2020.

Saskatchewan Trappers Association President Wrangler Hamm said the organization has contacted the Fur Harvesters Auction Inc, based out of North Bay, Ont., to see if it's ready to pick up some of the market share in Saskatchewan. 

"They plan to increase their productivity and marketing, they've also started expansion projects and staff recruitment, and they've assured all the trappers across Canada here that they can handle the fur volume," Hamm said. 

"They're prepared for it."

Hamm said the winding down of the North Amercan Fur Auctions was initially concerning.

"The biggest worry [from trappers] was 'Now what?'" Hamm said.

He said the NAFA situation isn't about the fur market, it's about the global economy. 

Hamm said the Saskatchewan Trappers Association has started strategic planning to see if there are opportunities for trappers to market fur elsewhere. 

He said it looks like there might be more opportunities for trappers to sell their furs in Saskatchewan in greater quantity, as well as accessing other markets through Fur Harvesters Auction Inc. 

Hamm said the trappers organization has taken a proactive approach. 

"We have over 4,600 licensed trappers in Saskatchewan, and that's not including First Nations, and we want to ensure the accessibility and marketability is there," he said. "We want trappers to have the ability to choose."

Ministry of Environment offering support

The Ministry of Environment also expressed concern about about the North American Fur Auction winding down. 

Fur and problem wildlife specialist Mike Gollop said trappers' concerns range from finding work to getting paid for the furs they've already provided to NAFA. 

Gollop said other auctioneers may step up to fill the void left by NAFA, but there could be a spell where it's hard to get furs to market. He said he's been provided a few suggestions from Hamm about where to go from here.

He said he's been asked to help in finding buyers aside from NAFA, who has been the number one fur buyer for "quite awhile." 

Gollop said the ministry has also been asked to facilitate connecting the existing fur dealers in Saskatchewan with potential new buyers. Gollop encouraged trappers to check the Saskatchewan Trappers Association website for updates.

"Any support or ideas that they have, Wrangler's wide open to hearing them," Gollop said.


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