"This was one of the best fur auctions, more like 30 years ago," said Genesee Valley Trappers Association secretary/treasurer Paul Ackerman after all lots crossed the table at the final association's most recent auction.
Through four monthly auctions, prices and lots improved steadily. Ackerman saw December as bad, January as so-so, February as great and March as phenomenal.
While Western New Yorkers enjoyed an exceptionally warm winter, cold weather in northern Europe and elsewhere brought up fur prices steadily through the winter season.
Ron Schroder, lots coordinator, and Bob Hughes, chief auctioneer, pointed out extensive upgrading to the association's clubhouse in Bristol, including a new bin system that allows buyers to store purchased lots and get back to the bidding table more efficiently.
As for prices, beaver pelts increased each month, finishing with an average price of $27.88 and a high of $67. Other impressive increases were seen in gray and red fox, muskrat and fisher. Prices remained stable for mink and raccoon. Most exceptional price was one finished coyote that went for $100.
About 70 percent of the lots went to buyers from Pennsylvania during the last auction day.
A workshop for women
Registration is now open for the June 29-July 1 Becoming an Outdoorswoman workshop.
This year's workshop will be held at Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George in the Adirondacks. Of the 46 diverse classes being offered, participants can choose four classes to attend during this fun and enlightening weekend-long event.
New classes offered this year include wild mushroom foraging, birding basics, nature crafts, Adirondack ecology, car camping and beginner crossbow.
The registration fee increases by $40 after April 20; register early to save money and ensure your top class choices. For more details on this workshop and registration details, go to dec.ny.gov/education/68.html.
Update on COBIS legislation
Word came down from Albany this past week that proposed legislation for both COBIS (combined ballistic identification system) and microstamping are off the table for the coming legislative session.
Wording in the governor's budget has been included to ensure Pittman-Robertson Fund moneys from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be granted for approved outdoors programs in New York State this coming year.
Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D.-Buffalo/Grand Island) is sponsoring a bill in the Assembly matching the Senate bill of Senator Patrick Gallivan.