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The Hidden Profit in Beavers


As trappers, we hear what we are being paid for the fur we are catching, and we cringe. A lot of hard work, long hours and money is invested for something that does not pay for itself in most circumstances. Today’s trappers are a diehard bunch who get up before dawn to check traps and spend late nights in the fur shed putting up fur all for the love of the game.


One thing about trappers is that they are a group of people that can turn a bad situation around and make some good out of it. We can figure out what to do when the coyote is walking all around our trap but not stepping on it. We know ways to get that trap shy beaver that is avoiding our 330’s. One thing we can’t turn around though is the price of furs.


I have written in the past about the way’s trappers can sell such things as skulls, skunk essence, and claws for extra money and some different markets to sell these items such as eBay, lure makers and flea markets.


It wasn’t until this past season when I was trapping in New York with Michael White, owner of Sawmill Creek Baits and Lures that I realized just how underrated catching a beaver is when it comes to selling the catch.


Most trappers think they caught an eight-dollar beaver pelt and think about all the work that went into making that eight-dollar bill. They turn their nose up at the little return for a lot of hard work and ask themselves if it is really worth it. I quickly learned that a beaver is actually one of the best money makers on the fur line right now.


Many trappers are not out to get rich. Good thing too. Those days are behind us for now. But luckily a beaver is one of the few animals you can part out entirely and turn a five dollar catch into a 30 dollar catch or more. Lets look at how it is done.


Castor $10

If you get on any social media site where there is talk of fur prices and beavers the topic of castor is going to come up. This is where the real money is in trapping beavers. You can expect to get a couple ounces of castor from an average beaver, more for bigger ones.

Castoreum is sold by the ounce based on a price per pound Grades No. 1 Castoreum pod is big and full, generally brownish in color. No. 2 Castoreum pod is darker in color and not as full. No. 3 Castoreum pod is virtually empty and very dry. Trappers can expect to get upwards of 80 dollars per pound for castor at this time.


Just about any lure and bait maker will purchase castor. Get in touch with some of the manufacturers of baits and lures and shop around your castor and see how they want it shipped. Chances are though that the prices will be even from buyer to buyer.


Some buyers might want their castor shipped a certain way, but if not here is how I do it. I simply put the castor is a brown bag and include my name, address and trapping license information on a piece of paper that is in a Ziploc bag. I put the paper bag in a cardboard box and seal it. Never use plastic though. Plastic can cause the castor to rot and it is not saleable at that point.


Another option is to sell the castor at your state’s fur auction or to a country buyer. Prices should be steady here to, but you never known what might happen at auction. There could be a bidding war and receive a hefty amount for your castoreum.


Oil Sacs $3


This is a market that changes each year based on supply and demand. I have talked with a few lure buyers and they are all about the same on price. You can expect to receive 3 dollars per pound for oil squeezed from the sacs. The entire sacs with nothing removed are fetching about 8 dollars per pound and empty sacs with the oil removed is bringing in the neighborhood of five dollars a pound. Like castor, this item is often purchased by the ounce based on the price per pound.




This is an item that I recommend contacting your buyer to see how they want them exactly. Each lure maker has their own recipes for their products. Some lure and bait makers rot and then grind the sacs while others grind them fresh. However, you can never go wrong selling the sacs fresh and allowing the buyer to prepare them they whey they want for their formulas.


Skulls $3

There is a market for skulls for just about all furbearers. I had a conversation with a beaver trapper in January of this year that was able to sell his beaver skulls for two dollars apiece. This is pretty easy money when you consider all you have to do is cut the skull off and toss it in a Ziploc bag and then the freezer.

There is even more money to be made if you want to take the time to clean the skull and bleach it. Right now, on eBay, beaver skulls are fetching 30 dollars on the low end. It might be worth your time to clean them up and bleach them, but it is hard to say how long they will take to sell as it is a limited market.


Tails $3

Beaver tails are another item with a limited market but with a little shopping around you should be able to find a buyer. Expect 3 dollars for you average sized beaver and up to 5 dollars for the big guys.


Beaver tails provide a thick, durable leather that is used in the manufacture of wallets and knife sheaths. There are other uses but these two are the most popular.




Another buyer for beaver tails are lure and bait makers. They use the beaver tails in their formulas once it is sun-rendered and makes an oil. These are either used in the recipes or as a standalone canine attractant.


Beaver Meat .50 per pound

Beaver meat is the main ingredient in a lot of canine and feline baits. Finding a buyer for beaver meat is about as simple as finding a buyer for castor. You can expect to 5 or 6 pounds of beaver meat off of a good size adult beaver. It might not be much at 3 dollars but it sure beats throwing it in the gut pile.


Conclusion

These numbers come to a surprise to a lot of beaver trappers. All they look at is the price of fur and forget about everything else. Thirty dollars seems great to many trappers but remember these numbers are for your average size beaver. If you are catching 60 plus pound beaver these numbers will be even higher. If you are catching kits, these numbers will be drastically lower.




Another thing to consider is tanning beaver hides and selling them through eBay, flea markets and online. You will spend roughly twenty dollars to have a beaver hide professionally tanned but that hide all of a sudden is worth fifty dollars for a medium size beaver and the price goes up from there.


Some lure and bait makers will trade their products for items they can use in their formulas. Often times, this results in a better deal for the trapper willing to trade castor for example for a couple bottles of lure.


The next time you are catching a boat load of beavers, remember there is hardly any part of a beaver that can’t be sold. Some parts might take a little searching to find a buyer, but they are out there, and the search will be worth it.

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