Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1077096

Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 30, 2014

Iowa furbearing season began Saturday

Nov 04, 2013

Iowa fur harvesters will find good numbers of raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, river otters, mink, and, with all likelihood, other trappers in the countryside since the furbearer trapping and hunting season opened on Nov. 2.

“Population-wise, all species are doing quite well except for muskrats and gray fox,” said Vince Evelsizer, furbearer biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Trappers who typically pursue muskrats could do well this year if they switch to coyotes and raccoons, and to some extent mink or red fox.”

Muskrats are a bread-and-butter species for Iowa trappers, but the population took a significant hit last year after the drought left many Iowa wetlands dry heading into winter. This year, wetlands are in better shape, but the muskrats are not there.

“It will take a few years for the population to come back,” Evelsizer said.

What has come back and in a big way is the number of fur harvesters.

The number of fur harvesters varies with the fur market; and as the fur market outlook continues to be very good, more fur harvesters will participate.

“We’ve gained about 2,000 trappers per year each of the past three years,” said Evelsizer and expects the increase in trappers to continue, surpassing 19,000 last year.

“There will definitely be more competition out there,” he said.

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