Thunder Bay·Audio

Fur harvesters face challenges accessing trap lines, thanks to warm weather

A Thunder Bay trapper says in his 10 years of trapping, this year has been one of the hardest.
Thunder Bay area trapper Mark Deans says the warmer weather up until recently has made it very hard for him to get to his traps. (Leyland Cecco)

A Thunder Bay, Ont., trapper says in his 10 years of trapping, this year has been one of the hardest.

Mark Deans told CBC News the warm weather of the past few months has made it very difficult to access traps.

"The lakes, the ice conditions, have been really poor. So as trappers, this time of year, we run a lot of lakes, and this year, so far, we've been kind of staying off up until this past week."

He also said the heavy, wet snow that fell in December also brought down branches over the trails, blocking them.

"This year's been, actually, probably one of the more challenging years we've had."

Winter's warm start has meant a reduced harvest for one local trapper. Mark Deans says he will be lucky if he's able to get half as many animals as last year

Deans noted that this year, he expects his harvest of furs such as martin, mink and lynx to be about half of what it normally is.

Deans, who lives in South Gillies, just outside of Thunder Bay, does trapping as a family activity with his wife and kids, and it supplements his family's income.

The warm weather has not impacted the quality of the furs themselves, Deans continued.

"The access has been the main issue."

Demand for furs may be down too, thanks to the warm weather — and that means prices could be lower.


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