It’s fur-hunting time

It’s getting to be about that time when we need to break out the winter coats. For the critters that live out in the elements, it’s no different, and that’s good news.

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. It’s the amount of daylight, and not the temperature, that causes wild animals to grow longer, thicker coats. If you’re a predator hunter or a trapper, that’s your cue. The pelts are coming into their prime right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re at the top of their market value.

Hunters and trappers who expect to make money from pelts are out in the field right now. Coyotes and foxes have grown their full winter coats, but some other species, like beaver, bobcat and badger, won’t be fully prime until the middle of next month.

But if you’re hoping to pick up a little holiday cash, now’s the time to get out and do some hunting. Take the smallest caliber rifle you can hit accurately with, and try for head shots. Do what you can to avoid damaging the fur.

As the winter wears on, coyote pelts will probably increase in value. They’re as thick and full as they’re going to be right now, but over time, the sun beating down and bouncing off the snow will bleach out the colors somewhat. Pelts with subdued colors might bring you $10 more than the darker ones you’ll get today.

If you know how to handle your pelts, you’ll get the best price for dried and stretched furs. You can skin the critters and freeze the pelts if you’re not sure how to care for them, but you’ll have to sell them quickly, and you won’t get top dollar.

The biggest problem is finding a fur buyer. Currently, there are no Wyoming residents who are licensed fur buyers. But buyers do come in from other states. Check your local newspaper’s classified ads to find out when the buyers will be coming through.

So get out and do some hunting. Then find a buyer and pick up a little Christmas cash.