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Published February 13, 2012, 10:13 PM

High fashion driving regional fur prices

Downer, MN (WDAY TV) - It is hard, cold, tiring work, but this winter fur trappers are celebrating a profitable fur season. For those who sell and buy pelts, it is a welcome sight after a few years of rollercoaster prices.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

It is hard, cold, tiring work, but this winter fur trappers are celebrating a profitable fur season. For those who sell and buy pelts, it is a welcome sight after a few years of rollercoaster prices.

Dusty Hough of rural Clay County has been in the fur business 10 years, but he's never witnessed this kind of cycle. Worldwide demand for fashion fur has sparked a huge demand for wild animal pelts.

Dusty Hough – Fur Buyer and Seller: “It is well on the way up, like the stock market, you know don't hang on to articles when they are so high.”

Like the stock market, there are highs and lows. Right now fur auctions are witnessing the Chinese and Russians begging for pelts. That is driving up the price. What do they want? Coyote.

Dusty Hough: “In Montreal, the high fashion is driving the western North Dakota coyote prices up, some of the most beautiful in the country.”

Beaver - $8-$10 last year - will yield $18-$20 today. A $10 coyote a year ago is $50 now. The price for muskrat has tripled. It is fashion that is driving this. Coyote head bands, beaver mittens fox hats, even the smelly skunk has become a cuddly teddy bear.

Dusty's wolf and coyote furs are headed for Hollywood's fashion runways.

Dusty Hough: “High percentage of the fur being sold now is going into collars.”

For those trapping and bringing in animals to Dusty for skinning, it has been a good year.

Ray Welle – Moorhead Trapper: “Way back when it was a part of life, so might as well teach the heritage to the kids.”

Next week, Dusty heads to a big worldwide fur auction in Canada,

Dusty Hough: “It is truly unbelievable until you see how many skins are sold. At this sale there will probably be close to four and half million skins for sale.”

It will be a tell-tale sign of whether the boom continues.

Fur associations around the tri-state area often host youth trapping seminars. Click on the easy link tab for more on that.

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