Global demand has US fur market at 30-year high

The Missoulian reports the demand for fur is on the rise and prices are booming—primarily due to a growing market in Russia, China and Korea—providing a windfall to trappers who say their industry has hit a 30-year high.

The jump in prices is driven largely by overseas demand, where residents in China, Russia and Korea are seeing their incomes grow. Residents in wealthier countries like Canada, Sweden and Switzerland also remain buyers.

Fashion designers are driving the trade’s resurgence by incorporating more fur into their clothing lines. One British magazine reported that nearly 70 percent of fall collections included some form of fur.

“The market is strong and improving. It’s a good time to be a trapper right now,” said Toby Walrath, president of the Montana Trappers Association.

Current estimates suggest Montana is home to 6,000 active trappers and houndsmen. Rising pelt prices provide most trappers with a supplementary income. For a few, Walrath said, fur sales may represent their primary income.