A biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources who specializes in furbearing animals says Iowa trappers had a good season this year despite some challenges from low water conditions. Vince Evelsizer says the quota of 450 bobcats and the 850 otter quota were both met again this year.
“The fur market is strong, the drought has made it tougher to trap, but I think overall they’ve had a pretty good season,” Evelsizer says. He says he heard of few problems during the season.
“I think there’s been some complaints with overcrowding because of the drought — where there is water there’s been more traps — but the biggest thing I’d guess I would like to mention, is that there’s been quite a few cases reported to us of concerns with poisoning, primarily from fly bait and coke mixture put out for raccoons,” Evelsizer explains.
“Poison is an indiscriminate killer, so it’s something we’d like to try and under control.” Using poison to catch the animals is illegal.
The furs from Iowa animals are sold here and many end up overseas. Evelsizer says the market for the furs has been strong.
“Muskrats have averaged between nine and twelve dollars, with better prices even than that in some places,” according to Evelsizer. “Otters have averaged somewhere around 60 to 80 dollars and bobcats have averaged 80 to 100 dollars. And coyotes are going for 30-some dollars for of the better ones, and foxes, some the foxes are going for 30 to 40 dollars.”
The good prices for furs are no doubt part of the reason the number of trappers in the state has also stayed strong. “Since 2009, the number of fur harvesters has increased about 3,000. It was down at somewhere around 14,000 and some and then last year it went up to around 17,000 and some. And this year I would guess it would be more up around 17,000 and some — so we’ve gained about 3,000 I would says over the last three years,” Evelsizer says.
Evelsizer says they will take a look at all the numbers and determine if the furbearing quotas will stay the same or increase for the next season.