Saturday, November 4, 2017

Squeezing A Dollar From A Penny Trapping

By Michael Wells

           When trapping this year take time and think about how much money is thrown away every year. A lot of trappers will sell the pelts of their catch but forget that there is other money to be made. If a person takes the time and puts in a little bit more effort, they will find that there is extra money sitting there waiting for them. Let’s be honest the fur market is down and not a lot money is being made off fur alone right now. Hopefully with this quick article I can show how you can earn extra coin per catch by thinking outside the box.

Let’s start off looking at what a novice trapper might catch and earn from selling pelts. Then we will us the same catch and look for the extra money there. I will use the average going price for the pelts and other items when we get there. Also, all animals will be the same size and fur quality in this scenario to make math easier. 

Novice Trapper Catch
10 Beaver (All weight 40lbs) Pelt Price $8.19
30 Raccoons                           Pelt Price $4.35
10 Opossums                          Pelt Price $3.56
5 Skunks                                 Pelt Price $3.96
3 Coyotes                                Pelt Price $29.70
Total $356.90

This season catch will more than likely have the trapper close to being in the hole on money spent compared to earned. Once you factor in gas, bait, lure, license, miscellaneous gear, fur auction prices and time. Yes, time is worth money even if it’s a hobby. So, how does one stretch such a meager catch, so they are not in the hole? I’ll break each animal down and explain where there is profit to be made and we will relook at the same catch after.   

Ok, beaver pelts on average can go for $8.19 per. Keeping this in mind there is money still to be made with what’s left. First, we will look at the castor sacks on the beaver. This is an easy one that most people already know about. The castor can be removed and dried out and sold for $40.00 per pound average. I understand that the price can be higher, but we will call it $40.00 just for this article. Also, we will say that the novice trapper has one pound of castor after drying. The skulls on the animal can be sold to the taxidermy market for around $3.00 per. This is as easy as removing the head after skinning and freezing it. The taxidermist will usually take care of the flesh themselves.

Now let’s say that 5 of the beavers are male.  The baculum of the male beaver will sell for $0.25 per. Baculum is the penile bone on some male animals and is usually sold to taxidermist and craft makers. The tail of the beaver can be skinned and sold for about a $3.00 a piece to craft makers once tanned. But, we are looking for the most money. So, we will take the tails and turn it into beaver tail oil. This easy to make by cutting up the tails and letting them sit in a jar. As the tail decomposes the oil will rise to the top of the jar. This can be removed and placed in a jar and sell for around $20.00 per 16oz to bait and lure makers. Ten beavers should make around 16oz of beaver tail oil so we will add that to the overall total.

The next thing that can be sold on the beaver is the meat. This is usually sold to hound hunters or lure and bait makers. Most will be interested if the price is around $0.25 per pound. With ten beavers at 40 pounds apiece will say around 240 pounds of meat can harvested off the animals. Keep in mind that you will need to check you state laws and make sure that this is legal in your state first. Behind the castors in the beaver are the oil sacks.  The oil from the sacks sell for around $1.50 per ounce to most bait and lure makers. The Oil sacks once empty also sell for $0.18 an ounce from bait and lure makers.

Raccoons are one of the most trapped animals in America and the fur industry is flooded with them every year. To make any real money off this animal will require a little patient. The skulls on this animal can be sold to the taxidermy market for an average of $2.00 per skull. Just like the beaver the baculum can be sold for $0.25 per to taxidermist and craft makers.  The anal glands can be removed from the coons and sell for around $0.62 an ounce. Thirty coon can average around 4oz of anal glands. When preparing the glands make sure you have talked to the bait and lure maker and ask how he would like them cut first.

The gall bladder of the coon may also be sold to bait and lure makers at average price of $0.46 an ounce. The novice trapper should have around 8oz of gall bladders to be sold. Now, it comes down to the meat market. This can be a little tricky and taboo to some. There are people that eat coon in every state except maybe Hawaii. The first thing you should do is check and see if its legal in you state first. The second thing would to be just putting it out there that you have coons for sale. When preparing the raccoon gut the animal, skin it and leave the head on and at least one back foot. As strange as that sounds when people do show up to buy they want to make sure it’s a raccoon and not something else. Once a person buys a coon you’ll be surprised how fast the word spreads and others will show up. The average price for a coon carcass is around $5.00 per.

Opossums are a hard sell regardless how you fix them. Nothing is better than a well-placed coyote trap to find in the morning a grinner staring back at you. A large quality opossum skinned out for taxidermy can receive around $10.00 per. With that in mind we will say that the novice trapper caught two that meet the standards. The claws on the opossum can be sold to taxidermist for $0.10 per. The canine teeth on the opossum will sell for $0.20 per to taxidermist. You also might be able to get $1.00 per skull from taxidermist. As far as a meat market it would be similar set up as for coon. Except I would lower the price to around $3.00 per I wouldn’t imagine to many selling.

Skunk are always an interesting sell but it’s very profitable if done right.  The claws on the skunk can average around $0.10 per from a taxidermist. Where the real money is in the skunk essence. Everybody knows how powerful this stuff is. Its removed with a syringe and placed into a glass bottle with a metal lid. One ounce of skunk essence will sell for average price of $20.00 an ounce from most bait and lure makers. A lot of people talk about doing it but very few really do. Because of the demand and such few people trapping for essence there is a lot of money to be made there. The skulls of the animal can also be sold for around $2.00 per to a taxidermist. The essence sacks in the skunk once drained of essence also can be sold for around $0.19 an ounce.  The fat from the skunk can be rendered down over heat and poured off into a jar. This can sell for $25.00 a pint to bait and lure makers. Skunks are very fatty animals and good money can be made from this.

Coyotes lower jaw can be sold for $2.00 to a taxidermist and the upper canine sell for $0.50 each. The skulls will pull an average of $3.00 per. The glands sell for an average of $0.98 an ounce. Now when it comes to coyote glands there are a lot of different areas that can be removed for this. Make sure you talk to the buyer on what glands he or she wants from the animal. The gall bladder on the coyote sells for $60.00 a gallon. Most bait and lure makers will not buy them unless you have at least a gallon of it. 

Now that we have broken down all the animals let’s see what kind of difference it has made on the novice trappers money.

Novice Trapper
Beaver pelts 10 at $8.19 = $81.90
Castor 1LBS at $40.00 = $40.00
Skulls 10 at $3.00 = $30.00
Baculum 5 at $0.25 = $1.25
Beaver Tail Oil 1 pint at $20.00 = $20.00
Beaver Meat 240LBS at $0.25 per LBS = $60.00
Beaver Oil 4oz at $1.25 an oz. = $5.00
Beaver Oil Sacks Empty 4oz at $0.18 per oz = $0.72
Raccoon Pelts 30 at $4.35 = $130.50
Skulls 30 at $2.00 = $60.00
Baculum 15 at $0.25 = $3.75
Glands 4oz at $0.62 an oz. = $2.48
Gall Bladders 8oz at $0.46 an oz. = $3.68
Meat 30 at $5.00 = $150.00
Opossum Pelts 8 at $3.56 = $28.48
Opossum taxidermist 2 at $10.00 = $20.00
Claws 160 at $0.10 = $16.00
Skulls 5 at $1.00 = $5.00
Canine Teeth 6 at $0.20 = $1.20
Meat 1 at $3.00 = $3.00
Skunk pelts 5 at $3.96 = $19.80
Claws 100 at $0.10 = $10.00
Skulls 5 at $2.00 = $10.00
Essence 1oz at $20.00 = $20.00
Fat ½ pint at $25.00 pint = $12.50
Coyote pelts 3 at $29.70 = $89.10
Skulls 3 at $3.00 = $9.00
Glands 2oz at $0.98 = $1.96

Total: $835.32

                Once all the animals have been broken down there is an increase of $478.42. That’s double what the novice trapper would have earned otherwise. As the trapper becomes better at his trade he will see more money to be made as his catch ratio goes up.

                The best way to go about all of this would be to contact different taxidermist, fur byers, arts and crafts makers and bait and lure makers and see what they want. I would recommend doing this before season and have a list of several different ones you have talked to. This way if you have twenty coyote skulls and the taxidermist you talked only needs five you can send the others to another person on your list. The big thing is not to be shy and call around and talk to people, if you look you’ll see where all the money is.

                I hope this quick article gives you some ideas and new outlook on where to find money in trapping. There are several other ways for money to be made when trapping that could put this catch above $1,200.00. Make sure to think outside the box and ask older more experienced trappers how they squeeze a dollar out of a penny. Most of them will be happy to share the knowledge they have learned over the years..

Good Trappin’

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