The Northern Great Lakes Fur Harvesters held their 2016 convention this past weekend, September 23 – 24, at the Chippewa County Fairgrounds in Kinross.
Beautiful split ash trappers baskets.
There were vendors selling split ash trappers baskets, furs, leather, and trapping equipment (stretchers, lures, traps). There were activities, workshops on effective trapping, and a day of special activities aimed at introducing youth to the world of becoming a fur harvester.
The trapping of fur bearing animals (beaver, muskrat, fisher, marten, weasel, raccoon, skunk, opossum, red squirrel, otter, mink, lynx, bobcat, wolf and coyote) is a sustainable industry, but certainly isn’t one that you will become financially rich at. Bobcat and Lynx are the best priced pelts ranging from $99.58 to 96.34. A muskrat is worth $5.78. Now that is prices for perfect pelts, good size, no holes…
To trap in Ontario, you must follow a number of requirements: have a licence and complete the required course, only trap during open seasons, adhere to annual harvest quotas, limit trapping on Crown lands to specific assigned areas, called traplines, have written permission from the landowner when trapping on private property, and only use humane certified traps. Then you must trap on your trapline, during a set period of time, and take only your quota, and in the case of beaver, at least 75% of the Beaver quota assigned to them.
So why do they do it?
Getting outside, enjoying nature, helping to keep predators in check, conservation of resources. In some cases, trappers help with relocating animals from where there are too many, to an area where there are little to none.
There were many youths introduced to the world of trapping in a series of events. After viewing a number of furs, the youth learned how to build and built a muskrat float, and then in a demonstration, watched a float set up near shore and a colony trap.
Throughout the demonstration, these future trappers were reminded to abide by the rules and regulations that govern trapping. There were many questions asked of the two demonstrators, by children as young as 9. After the demonstration, each youth was given a pail full of trapping supplies: a pail, muskrat trap, a piece of fur, bottle of lure, some magazines, and a poster for migratory bird identification.
These youth were winners in a draw that gave them a variety of items. Everyone won a fur bag, fur stretchers and traps.
Trapping seems to be dying out, but these trappers, or fur harvesters are determined to share their experiences and expertise with the youth, to ensure it stays alive.