The hunting and trapping season is underway in the state and a Department of Natural Resources expert says he expects thousands of Iowans to take part. DNR biologist, Vince Evelsizer, says the number of people looking for furbearing animals has been on a bit of a resurgence. “For the past four years the trend has gone upwards, where last year the total number of furharvester licenses was over 20-thousand for the first time in a long time,” Evelsizer explains. “So, for this year I expect it will be about the same or may be down a little bit.”
Evelsizer says the increase is due to economics. “I think a lot of it was that the fur market had trended up, and so prices were good, and that probably spurred folks to get back into it that had been out of it for awhile when the fur market was low,” Evelsizer says.
He says the wetter weather has filled up lakes and rivers and that is good for both the animals and the trappers. “It just helps provide more good habitat for the fur critters who are out there — things like mink, beaver, muskrats, coons — the whole gamut there, otters included,” Evelsizer says. “And then it also just gives people more places to trap, spreading out pressure.”
The fur of the animals caught here ends up being another one of the state’s exports. “It’s a long circuit for some of them, but a lot of them end up in large auction houses in Canada. And they are eventually sold globally,” Evelsizer says.”Countries like Russia, China and several other European countries will compete and buy those furs with North America as well.” The hunting and trapping is generally the best during the first two to three weeks, and traditionally tails off after Thanksgiving.