St. Lawrence County Trapper's Association


FORECAST-deemed reliable but not official

  • 2016-2017 Wild Fur Market Forecast
  • Many Trappers that have been in this game enough years have seen the fur market peak and then fall off. What makes this situation different from the last market drop is that fur is in fashion more than ever. Our two main markets remain Russia and mainland China and both these countries have political and economical issues they are working on resolving. Once resolved, prices will take off. The question is when will we see the market head upwards. We have seen very fast recoveries before and in the case of China it can happen very quickly. 
  • China has the 2nd largest economy in the world, second only to the United States of America. China has a populous of an estimated 1.4 billion, with a growing middle class that has been enjoying buying luxury goods the past decade. China needs a good start to winter and it is not unrealistic to expect some wealth to flow down to fur coat purchases and other fur products. 
  • Russia's problems are different and have a political component that involves the EU/ USA not to mention their currency the Ruble has very little buying power outside their country. As oil prices strengthen so will the Ruble. This being said the hunger for fashionable fur coats in Russia remains. These shops need to have inventory hanging on racks and fur needs to be bought this coming season to replenish sales. The Russian market will come back stronger than ever most believe once the political playing field is cleaned up. Fashionable clothing is always a top priority to the women of Russia and this will not change. We have been hearing reports that business is picking up in Russia
  • We are confident that the 2015-2016 season was the bottom of the market and price levels will now begin to head in a Northern direction. The 2 European auctions September rounds saw ranch mink increase 10% to 15% which is an indication of a better year ahead. More importantly there will be a reduction in the world's mink crop this year. 1st time in over a decade. We currently have very little inventory left over from last season. Historically this has proven to bring about positive results going into a new selling season.
  • We continue to have interest in beaver of all sizes and grade, plus castor prices are very strong. We also see improvements on muskrats taking place with our opening auctions. Sables continue to be a sought after luxury article as well as western cats and female fisher. Heavy coyotes are going to be in demand as a trim item once again, but a cold winter will help in North America
  • Wild fur is our bread and butter, our pickup schedules and sale dates reflect that we are staying the course and have cut back very little as it pertains to customer service.
  • Our March auction is once again in Finland and we have a great deal of buyers committed and confirmed already with orders for our wild goods. Russians with orders will fill them at this time as we will only be 30 minutes away.
  • No one can predict when the industry will take off again but we all know it will in time as we have seen this cycle many times.
  • However we trappers are blessed as we enjoy what we do and we do it in the best of surroundings. Not many other professionals get to work and spend their days in the wilderness breathing clean crisp air.
  • Keep the faith and thanks for your loyalty to this great industry and this fur auction facility.
  • Respectfully
  • Mark Downey
    Chief Executive Officer
    Fur Harvesters Auction Inc

Mixed Results Expected for the 2015 Season – Wild Fur  

 July 24, 2015

The selling season we have just experienced has been one of the most challenging in a long time, primarily due to one of the warmest winters on record in China, Russia and Europe.  The warm temperatures had an extremely negative affect on retail sales, with many retailers reporting clearances of 50% or below.    As a result, ranch mink prices declined up to 70% from the record levels established the previous season. Overall, world production of ranch mink is expected to be over 70 million next season due to pelts outs, as mink farmers in many parts of the world are selling skins significantly below their cost.  This will have an effect on the price of ranch mink, as well as on many of our wild fur articles, especially beaver.   At the present time, although a little early to predict, we think that we will see a repeat of last year’s price levels.

Unfortunately, the mild winter hit at a time when we had reached record prices for our product, which also meant record garment prices in retail stores. The combination of warm weather and high garment prices simply made the pricing of garments unattractive to the consumer. As a result, there is a large inventory of garments, dressed and raw pelts, which at current price levels is worth substantially less than it was purchased for.  As difficult as this may be, these new reduced prices will create opportunities for the next retail selling season, allowing consumers who could not afford to buy at last year’s prices to buy at the new attractive price levels in the upcoming season.

Last year’s wild fur prices declined 30-70%, depending on the article.  As the season progressed and mink prices continued to decline, the challenge to maintain wild fur prices became more difficult. As a result of a lack of confidence, price levels and clearances were mostly lower in the May sale compared to the February sale. Generally, the longer haired, trimming goods performed well, with good clearances and satisfactory prices, while the short haired varieties or flatter sections that compete with a lower priced ranch mink, suffered in price and clearance. The two articles that performed extremely well all season at levels similar to the previous year were the muskrats and western coyotes. The muskrat had strong support from Korea and the western coyotes had solid support from the high end trim trade in North America and Europe.

Given normal weather conditions, we expect similar results next season, with good demand and clearances for long haired trimming articles, while shorter haired varieties and flatter sections may not perform as well.  Low grades, damaged, early and late caught pelts will have little or no commercial value, and will be nearly impossible to sell.  It will not be worth our producers’ time and effort to process and ship this type of merchandise and our shippers would be well advised to be selective in their hunting and trapping this coming season. In a market such as this, any inferior quality skin will be substantially discounted by the international trade simply because the cost of dressing and handling a lower grade or inferior pelt exceeds the value of the peltand therefore is not worth it for them to buy, nor for you to ship.

Remember, it is not because fur is out of fashion – it is the weather.  In the grand scheme of things, these price reductions will help us attract new buyers and create support from those who previously could not afford to buy your product. As the largest wild fur auction house in the world we will continue to attract the largest buyer attendance and have most competitive auction room. Our large, uniform assortments of all wild fur varieties make us the most attractive auction for the international trade and where price levels for wild fur will be established.

 The challenges that the fur industry is facing today are not new.  NAFA has experienced fluctuations of this nature in the past; we have steered our way through these troubled markets before and our producers have benefitted because of our steady and experienced approach. This experience will benefit our consignors once again. These problems can be overcome with proper management and product promotion, which is so important for wild fur.  We have made some significant inroads in the fashion design industry and we need to continue these efforts, despite the current weather related problems. 

Together with the WFSC you have NAFA’s commitment that we will continue to work as hard as we can – we are committed to the future of the wild fur producer.

We will be providing monthly updates at www.nafa  beginning in September. If you would like updates e-mailed, please provide us with an e-mail address if it is not currently included in your account information.


Next Sale will be held on March 23
, 2012

Next Sale will be held on March 23
, 2012

  Trappers will trap no matter the price, its in their blood.

Take this link to see the latest fur sale results from the Fur Harvester Auction