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Old December 3, 2008, 07:12 PM   #1
cchardwick
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Where can I sell racoon pelts?

I know a guy who lives on a farm and has a racoon problem big time. He kills at least half a dozen every year and just burys them or leaves them out for the crows. I'm thinking we can probably do better by at least selling the pelts depending on how much we can get for them. Anyone know where I can sell a racoon pelt and how much I can get for it?
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Old December 3, 2008, 07:24 PM   #2
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Wear gloves! Rabies is lethal, and a horrible death at that...

http://www.nafa.ca/page.asp?/trapper/shipping/index.asp

http://www.furharvesters.com/trapper.htm
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Old December 3, 2008, 07:29 PM   #3
hogdogs
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It was a labor of love in the days I did it. Skinning was done inside out with no belly slit. Then we had to flesh the hide and put on stretchers that at the time cost 10 bucks each. Poor coon hides were 7 bucks or less and good ones were normally 14 but I have gotten 30-35 in rare times for the rare "great" hide.
Brent
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Old December 3, 2008, 07:45 PM   #4
Daryl
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You need to study up on how to care for furs if you want to get top dollar. Poorly prepared furs will disappoint both you and the fur buyer.

Like Brent said above, case skin them. Ring the back legs at the ankle, and make a slit down the inside of each back leg, meeting just opposite the tail from the anus. Skin it by mostly using your fingers, but use a knife when needed. Split the tail and skin it carefully so that you don't break it off. Skin it right down over the head, leaving the lips, nose, and eyelids on the hide. Cut the cartilage in the ears from the head, and leave it inside the ears. They're hard to skin for most folks, and that's the way they're usually sold unless tanned.

Then you'll need a fleshing board and fleshing knife to flesh the hide. Washing the skinned/fleshed hide in detergent and water, and then brushing it will help you yield top dollar.

Sew up any holes you cut/shoot in the hide using a glove needle and fishing line, with no more than 1/4" between stitches (use individual stitches rather than sewing the whole thing, so that if a stitch comes loose, it's only one).

Put on a stretcher fur side in for an hour or two, or just until the surface dries a bit, and then turn the skin fur side out. While the skin is still fur side in, if you notice an area that's not drying, rub a little bit of 20 mule team Borax into the area, and let it dry just a bit before turning it fur side out. Put it back on the stretcher, and let it dry for a week or so.

If the skin gets too dry to turn fur side out, spray it with water using a spray bottle, just enough to turn the hide.

Study up on it a bit, and you'll get top dollar for the furs.

Daryl

Last edited by Daryl; December 3, 2008 at 07:51 PM.
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Old December 3, 2008, 08:32 PM   #5
L_Killkenny
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What these guys are talking about is way too much effort, let alone start up money, than you'll want to spend on a few raccoons. I won't even do it for 100 raccoons. Get real.

You have 2 options: You can just take the whole raccoon to a buyer and sell them that way. Obviously you will get bottom dollar but it's easy. Option 2 includes skining them and selling the fur/hide frozen. Done right you will get a fair price for the coon. Leave the fleshing and drying to the professionals that have the knowledge, the machines and the climate controled buildings to handle the fur quickly and easily. The extra work will only net you a couple bucks per hide at your local buyer. And shipping to auctions is a whole different ballgame.

All that was the good news. Here's the bad: The fur market is in the tank. Nice, big coon last year were going for $25-$30 tops and even small coon would get you $5-$10. This year: The big ones are currently bringing about $12 and many buyers are turning down small, damaged or ugly coon. These prices quoted are for skinned and frozen "green" hides. If you have some nice coon it will be worth it to skin em out, locate a buyer in your area and take the time to go sell em. If the coon are poor, leave em to the crows and yotes.

LK
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Old December 3, 2008, 08:43 PM   #6
Daryl
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Quote:
What these guys are talking about is way too much effort,
For who? You?

I've always felt that anything worth doing is worth doing right. A stretcher or two, and something to flesh a hide with isn't that much. You can wash them in a bucket, and you can make a fleshing board without too much trouble.

If you don't want to do it, fine; it'll keep the price up a bit for the rest of us. We can't sell them "in the round" here, meaning unskinned. They wouldn't be worth a plug nickel, because they'd overheat and the hide would slip.

Selling them frozen will yield you bottom dollar. It's too hard for a buyer to grade the fur.

Prices fluxuate, and you never know what you'll get for 'em. It's always your choice to sell them or hold them for another time or goal.

Tanned, they make decent decorations that some people will pay good money for. Send them to Moyle and have 'em tanned.

Of course, if someone isn't interested, then they shouldn't do it. I enjoy working with a good fur, and as long as there's a dollar to be made at it, and sometimes no more than that, I'll do it.

The OP asked where (s)he could sell coon furs, and I offered some advice on how to get the most money for them. I don't see that as bad advice, and I feel the effort is well worth it.

Daryl
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Old December 3, 2008, 09:15 PM   #7
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Basically I was saying it is rarely worth while even for a slew of coons. As a kid I once owned 250 or so traps and 75-100 stretchers. I spent never less than 40 hours a week laboring. I ran my line before school leaving the house at 3:30-4 am and skinning quick putting the hides in MY out door fridge. Fleshing and stretching after school. It was fun even when the hide price was off but I don't think I ever recovered all my investment. Luckily most of my hardware was gotten in trade for yard work etc...
Brent
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Old December 3, 2008, 11:36 PM   #8
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+1 Daryl, I'm with you. If it was just about the money we make for the time we spend, we would be crazy to hunt, fish, or go after any of the natural treasures that God has given us. It would just be so much easier to go to the store and buy what we want, and work a little overtime to pay for it.
I'm not going to say that people who don't take care of an animals pelt should never kill these animals, but that's pretty close to how I feel.
I kind of like the "Country boy can survive" philosophy, and am proud to take care of my meat, pelts, mushrooms, fruits, and other etc.s that we are blessed with where I live. It's all part of the hobby, and way of life that we live.
By the way, good skinning tutorial. Sounds like we learned from the same guy. We need to pass this stuff along to kids who might be the same kind of crazy that we are. Might save the human race after the apocalypse. jd
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Old December 4, 2008, 08:51 AM   #9
Daryl
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jd said:

Quote:
I'm not going to say that people who don't take care of an animals pelt should never kill these animals, but that's pretty close to how I feel.
I agree, whole heartedly. I can't dictate what others do, but I sure wish they'd utilize and appreciate what they have.

Besides, buying what we need in a store, and doing things the easy way can make us old and lazy in a hurry.

I'm not that old (42), but I often feel like I grew up in a different world than many folks today. It was a good place, too.

Daryl
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Old December 4, 2008, 10:07 AM   #10
L_Killkenny
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There is absolutely no damn reason that someone should not sell green pelts. Here in Iowa 99.9% of hunters and trappers sell their furs green. 99% of those guys are definitely not slob hunters and could very well be better and more ethical than you. It's not like the furs are sitting and rotting out in the field.

You also don't get bottom $$ for green furs. The buyers have the equipment and the buildings required to properly handle the furs the way they WANT them done. Their fleshing machines do a better,quicker job of handling the fur than you can and at most they dock the price by a couple of bucks for "properly handled" green fur.

You can think that we are slobs for not putting up our fur but I'll be in the field working my dogs why you are spending many extra hours finishing your furs for a couple extra bucks.

Don't take this as I'm opposed to a person finishing their furs and shipping to auction. I've though about it myself. But for the few coon the original poster was talking about he'd be money ahead to leave em lay.

BTW, because of the current fur market I'd leave all small coon/ugly coon ALIVE unless you are killing them for ADC purposes or population control.

LK
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Old December 4, 2008, 07:06 PM   #11
Daryl
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Quote:
There is absolutely no damn reason that someone should not sell green pelts. Here in Iowa 99.9% of hunters and trappers sell their furs green. 99% of those guys are definitely not slob hunters and could very well be better and more ethical than you. It's not like the furs are sitting and rotting out in the field.
That's all good and fine, Lance (yeah, I read Louis L'Amour too), but here no one will buy them. Never in my life have a sold a green hide.

In cold country, it might be the way it's done, but you still won't get top dollar. Real fur buyers want to be able to see the quality of the fur (like how thick, and how deep it is). It's pretty hard to do with a folded up and frozen hide.

Do it your way though, and I'll keep doing it mine. No need to get in a huff.

Daryl
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Old December 4, 2008, 09:24 PM   #12
jdscholer
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Quote:
You can think that we are slobs for not putting up our fur but I'll be in the field working my dogs why you are spending many extra hours finishing your furs for a couple extra bucks
.

I sure wasn't accusing anyone of being a slob for selling green furs. If ya have a good buyer, and the money isn't an issue, go for it. Theres been times when I did. Main thing is that the pelts are getting used not wasted.
As I said, for me putting them up is part of the hobby, much as reloading is. I sure wouldn't say that all shooters must reload their own ammo, or quit shooting. Knowing at least how to skin your critters is pretty important however, and doesn't do anyone any harm even if they do stink.:barf: When it comes to gutting anything---they all stink; and ya don't have to gut something to skin it. jd
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Old December 4, 2008, 09:25 PM   #13
L_Killkenny
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I don't know what "cold country" has to do with things (you boys don't have freezers down there?) but you are right, they generally don't like to buy rolled up, frozen hides. That's why most guys thaw, clean and brush the coon out before selling.

We changed things up about 5 years ago. We freeze our coon flat in the freezer and use pieces of old dog food bags to keep em separated. We don't thaw them out before we sell. Our buyer liked this so much he actually started issuing directions for sellers to do this in his pre-season flyer. When he shows up with his truck, lots of guys bring in hides that are too thawed and starting to rot. Our frozen hides stay nice and cool even after a ride back to his shop in his meat wagon. It also helps that we never bring him bad hides that are shot to chit or torn up by the dogs. We do get top dollar. Much better than the lame excuse for fer coon you southern boys have.

LK
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Old December 4, 2008, 09:54 PM   #14
hogdogs
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When I was selling hides, I never had a fur buyer that bought "green". We went in with dried and stretched or we were not selling. As for freezers in the south... yeah we had one but my momma wasn't about to let me fill it up. I went once a month to the buyer and that was a gob of hides.
Brent
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Old December 4, 2008, 11:00 PM   #15
Daryl
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Again, I've never seen a green hide sold here.

Yeah, I have a freezer. It's mostly full of buffalo meat, but I have a few hides being held in there 'till I get around to fleshing/stretching them.

What we lack here in coon fur, we make up for with bobcats.

By all means use what works for you and your buyer.

I'll still stretch 'em, with no market here for green hides.

Daryl
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Old December 5, 2008, 09:46 AM   #16
L_Killkenny
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Ya got that right about the cats there Daryl!!! I'll trade a coon for a cat anyday. Now I'm getting jealous!!

Wish we had more up here,
LK
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Old December 5, 2008, 12:14 PM   #17
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Here in my neck of the woods, we've got tons of coons but they mostly thrive in the roadside ditches and irrigation canals. Usually too close to homes for safe trapping, too much traffic for safe doggin, and generally illegal for shootin. The pelts are great, probably brcause of all the vitamins in the catfood that they eat.
I pick up a few by way of road kill every year. Coons are just about the right size to receive a knock on the head without getting squarshed. Hell of a way to harvest them eh. jd
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Old December 5, 2008, 01:05 PM   #18
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Hide preparation for raccoon pelts/hides (pelt is the proper term) should be kept to a minimum if you have little or no experience. The most important task is the skinning and Daryl has a good response on how to skin. No need to ‘flesh’ a raccoon hide as there is very little if any flesh that sticks to the skin. What flesh remains is better removed by those with experience – more pelts are damaged by attempts at fleshing than anything else, scrape to thin or cut a hole and the value goes way down if it doesn't become worthless. After skinning simply turn the hide inside out and put on a stretcher. Simple stretchers can be made from ½ or ¾ plywood if you sand them very smooth (no splinters!). Or you can make one from heavy welding rod bent into shape (see wooden stretcher). Stretchers made from metal rods would be painted but work best because they can be shaped to apply moderate tension/stretch. Once dry you can remove them and box them and take or send them to a furrier.

Here is a stretcher I’ve used for coyote. The stretcher should be slightly larger that the pelt so that when you slide the pelt on it stretches just a little. Pelt shrink some when they dry so don’t make the stretcher too big.
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File Type: jpg Hide Stretcher.JPG (33.7 KB, 438 views)
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Old December 5, 2008, 06:44 PM   #19
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I always wanted to trap!! I have 2 great books on it...someday, someday...

Noobie question: Been a long time since I read them...do you stretch them flesh side out, or fur side out?
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Old December 5, 2008, 09:02 PM   #20
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As I think Daryl said above, dry them flesh out for awhile, but when they are still pliable, carefully turn them hair-out to finish. Sponge with a wet rag if necessary, to limber the skin a little to help turn it. Drying temperature might be up to some debate, but air circulation is important no matter what temp. jd
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Old December 6, 2008, 08:48 AM   #21
Daryl
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Scrap500,

The vast majority of furs are dried and sold fur side out, after letting them dry for an hour or two and then turning them as JD said above.

There are a few types of furs that are sold fur side in. I can't recall off-hand which ones they are now.

Each type can vary just a bit in how they're cared for. I think badgers are typically skinned flat, stretched out on a board and allowed to dry. Coyotes, bobcats, fox, and most others I've dealt with are case skinned.

It'll pay to thumb through your books again, and the NTA (national trapper's association) handbook is a good resource for how to skin, make stretchers, and such.

Also, go read at trapperman.com. It's a good site with a lot of info.

Daryl

Last edited by Daryl; December 6, 2008 at 07:31 PM.
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Old December 6, 2008, 12:27 PM   #22
jdscholer
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Muskrat is the main one that is sold skin out that I know of, and I used to sell a lot of them green or raw.
When I started trapping, about three dogs ages ago, we had a very good - and honest trapper/furbuyer right in our town. His fur shed was a truely magical place for a kid to hang out and learn about a way of life that is almost gone. People these days would hardly believe the amount of work and dedication a man like this devoted to this occupation; or the amount of money at stake. Fur prices were at an all time high, and market fluctuations were often pretty big.
Ah heck, I'm getting way off track, and have a gun show to go to. Later. jd
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Old December 7, 2008, 10:59 AM   #23
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I guess things have changed from when I used to sell hides(the 80's). My buyer wanted them inside out and green- fresh or frozen. He wanted them like this so he could tell if they where "blue". Blue means they have not got there winter coat yet. Also to tell if they have been shot with birdshot. He would not buy them then. They could only have two .22 size hole in them. That was here in FL. When we lived in SC, I remember Daddy having to stretch and tag every hide. We go $10 for a small coon and $12 to $15 for a large one. I also had local families that wanted the meat, but you had to leave a foot attached so they knew it was not a cat.
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Old December 7, 2008, 11:10 AM   #24
hogdogs
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SS, My fur buyer was the same way. Inside out. He would randomly run a hand inside the hides to feel the pelt quality. He liked my hides as they had NO HOLES as I was a "clubber"...
Brent
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Old December 7, 2008, 08:17 PM   #25
L_Killkenny
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Coon, muskrat, oppossum, mink are dried skin out/fur in. You start drying Fox and Yote fur in and turn them after a while. This may be a couple hours or a couple days depending on the drying conditions. The trickiest part is when. Do it tooo soon and it will rot the hide. Do it too late and you risk spliting the hide because it's too dry.

LK
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