"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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Raw Fur Prices Approximated
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Scifres

There is more information on the potential for raw fur prices this winter, but it is not etched in stone, so far as how prices will go this year for the species of animals we trap and hunt.

First, I am told, there currently is a freeze on hiring new people in the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). This apparently would mean that Bruce Plowman, formerly the DFW’s fur-bearer biologist, now working in Alaska, will not be replaced real soon. I also am told that the DFW took applications earlier after Plowman’s departure late last year, but DFW brass did not feel any applicant was qualified for the job.

Late last week we were told that there now is a favorite for the job that cannot be filled because of the freeze in hiring.

Although Plowman’s studies on raw fur prices for 2007-08 were not completed (he left in the fall, we understand), the DFW managed to find the approximate averages for the various species of fur-bearers and e-mailed them to me. The remainder of the report of trapper dealings with fur buyers remains unfinished, we are told.

Here are approximate prices of the fur-bearers, according to the unfinished report:  

muskrat $2.88, raccoon $10.69, red fox $14.41, gray fox $30.05, mink $11.00, opossum  $1.49, skunk  $3.29, beaver $12.45, coyote $11.38, and weasel $1.50.

It was thought in the late fall this year that prices might rise a bit this year from last year’s figures. There is room for doubts now.

As this column pointed out last week, Dorothy Corns, head of the DNR’s license sales unit, says the Division of fish and Wildlife now has a three-page list of those who have purchased the $75 dollar license to buy fur in the current year – July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009. The list cannot be moved by e-mail, but it can be ordered (U.S. mail) by written request to the Division of Fish and Wildlife, 402 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2781, or by telephone: 317-233-6527.

ART OF LAND – Red-tail Conservancy will stage an “Open Space: Art About The Land” exhibit at the Anderson Center For The Arts at 6 p.m. Friday (Dec. 12).

There will be food and treats, says Barry Banks, director of the conservation organization. Featured in the exhibit will be Hoosier art.

Additional details are available by e-mail from Banks: (redtail2@att.net).

(DNR News Release)

The February Canada goose hunting season that started last year in selected counties in an attempt to better control the population of the breeding waterfowl around urban areas will continue in 2009, as the result of the DNR's passing a temporary rule.
Counties where geese can be hunted during this season, which runs Feb. 1-15, include Steuben, LaGrange, Elkhart, St. Joseph, La Porte, Starke, Marshall, Kosciusko, Noble, Dekalb, Allen, Whitley, Huntington, Wells, Adams, Boone, Hamilton, Madison, Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson, Shelby, Vermillion, Parke, Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, and Greene. 
According to Adam Phelps, DNR waterfowl biologist, the February 2008 season was a success.  
“We issued permits to over 4,000 hunters, and nearly 3,000 of those hunted,” Phelps said. 
Phelps estimated that nearly 5,000 Canada geese were harvested during the season and said that, considering the wild fluctuations in weather that Indiana experienced that month, those results were excellent.
To meet guidelines from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at least 80 percent of the geese harvested during the three-year experimental period must be the giant subspecies of Canada goose. This is the goose that commonly breeds in Indiana and surrounding states.
After the first year, Indiana meets the federal requirements for continuing the late season; however, Phelps said that weather can have a huge effect on harvest, which is why the season must be evaluated over three years.  

“I don’t expect it to happen, but we could find out that over a three-year average, we’re harvesting too many northern migrant birds and have to close the season," he said.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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