Winter Coats Drive High Demand for Coyote Fur
The popularity of winter clothing made with animal hair has greatly increased the demand for coyote fur. Coyotes are wild animals that are related to dogs and wolves. They are found in North America.
Many people living in cold-weather places around the world wear coats designed with furry edges that circle the head and neck.
Many clothing companies use coyote fur from the United States to create these kinds of coats. Coyote fur is a favored choice because it is naturally full, soft and has beautiful colors.
A good coyote from the western United States is highly valued and can sell for at least $100. One top price at a recent sale in Colorado reached $170. That was up 40 percent from four years ago.
John Hughes is a longtime buyer at J and M Furs in Roundup, Montana. He spoke to the Associated Press about the current demand for fur. "Coyotes are hot," he said. "And it's all due to the trim trade."
The best time for trapping coyotes is in late fall and early winter, when coyote coats are at their fullest. But a lot of the selling happens in late winter. Much of the fur is sold at big auction houses in Canada. Local sales are also held in areas near where the animals are caught.
One such auction was recently held in the small town of Herkimer, New York. People gathered in a local community center there to take part in the auction. Tables inside were filled with hundreds of furs from coyotes and other animals. The selection included muskrats, beavers, mink, fox, otters and bobcats.
Fur experts say the increase in demand for coyote fur started with coats made by Canadian clothing company Canada Goose. The coats are recognizable by the company's official design that shows the Arctic Circle.
Canada Goose coats saw a big jump in sales in 2013. It happened after American model Kate Upton wore one of the company's coats over her swimsuit in a photo that appeared in the U.S. magazine Sports Illustrated. Over the years, more famous people and their fans have also chose to wear the fur-lined coats. Canada Goose coats can now sell for up to $1,000.
Mark Downey heads Canada's Fur Harvesters Auction company in North Bay, Ontario. "Canada Goose is always the name that people relate to," he told the AP. "But there are so many other brands that make similar coats."
Downey said that most of these kinds of coats include coyote trim around the neck of the coat. Downey predicts the large demand for coyote fur will continue.
Another seller is North American Fur Auctions, based in Toronto, Canada. In a statement published on its website in November, the company said the coyote trim business "continues to be in full fashion, with Canada Goose being the major taker."
The hot market for coyotes comes as trappers deal with recent economic downturns in both China and Russia. They also face competition from people raising animals for fur. In addition, animal rights activists call the trapping process cruel.
I'm Bryan Lynn.