THEN (September-October 1976; Issue 9-10)

Stalking The Wild Fur – A Bicentennial Special Report

By Thomas Duane Morgan and Ted O’Neil

In the 1600’s, the primary export of the vast Louisiana Territory was fur, recognized by the French as a valuable commodity. They promoted the industry by building fur-trading stations along the Mississippi River at what is now New Orleans and St. Louis. And by the turn of the century, Louisiana was one of the top fur producing states in the Union.

As the turn of the century, Louisiana was one of the top fur producing states in the Union. With the tremendous amount of furs being taken from its lands, the dealers in the New Orleans became very wealthy and influential, and in order to retain their position, they were not receptive to manufacturing plants in the state. This can be classified as one of the major reasons our state is not a fur manufacturer today. In spite of this, Louisiana is by far the top wild fur producer in the nation and can account for nearly 25% of the total trapped furs in the United States and produces more pelts than all of the industry – that is, the taking of the wild fur; while the other 80% – the processing and manufacturing – takes place out of state.

The path of the fur pelt from the trapper to the ultimate consumer is rarely smooth or simple. Normally a year or more is required for the journey, and it will pass through more than a half dozen different hands, namely the trapper, local buyer, dealer, broker or auction house, dresser, manufacturer, jobber and retail outlet.

The local buyer is a vital necessary link from the trapper to the dealer, and in earlier years, transportation means necessitated even more the buyer’s role. He may buy independently from a number of trappers or even other buyers, or he may represent a particular dealer in securing his pelts. At any rate, he starts the chain of money passing, and manages to collect three to five million pelts within a short period of two to three months, from over 8,000 trappers. The trapper, in his zest for running his traps daily and skinning and preparing his pelts, has less time for direct contact with a dealer. The buyer grades the trapper’s pelts and gives him the going price for the different quality of pelts. If the trapper is satisfied, he will usually stay with the same buyer from year to year, because of the assurance of selling his entire catch.

Union. With the tremendous amount of furs being taken from its lands, the dealers in the New Orleans became very wealthy and influential, and in order to retain their position, they were not receptive to manufacturing plants in the state. This can be classified as one of the major reasons our state is not a fur manufacturer today. In spite of this, Louisiana is by far the top wild fur producer in the nation and can account for nearly 25% of the total trapped furs in the United States, and produces more pelts than all of the industry – that is, the taking of the wild fur; while the other 80% – the processing and manufacturing – takes place out of state.

The path of the fur pelt from the trapper to the ultimate consumer is rarely smooth or simple. Normally a year or more is required for the journey, and it will pass through more than a half dozen different hands, namely the trapper, local buyer, dealer, broker or auction house, dresser, manufacturer, jobber and retail outlet.

The local buyer is a vital necessary link from the trapper to the dealer, and in earlier years, transportation means necessitated even more the buyer’s role. He may buy independently from a number of trappers or even other buyers, or he may represent a particular dealer in securing his pelts. At any rate, he starts the chain of money passing, and manages to collect three to five million pelts within a short period of two to three months, from over 8,000 trappers. The trapper, in his zest for running his traps daily and skinning and preparing his pelts, has less time for direct contact with a dealer. The buyer grades the trapper’s pelts and gives him the going price for the different quality of pelts. If the trapper is satisfied, he will usually stay with the same buyer from year to year, because of the assurance of selling his entire catch.

Louisiana should capitalize on the dressing and manufacturing process, especially the nutria pelt, since it is basically a new industry within the United States. If this stronghold could be obtained, the gain could lead Louisiana into a market share of all pelts processed in the state. An attempt ten years ago at dressing furs in the state failed due to lack of capital and other reasons, but we can profit by the mistakes made in the past.

“The nutria was brought into Louisiana in 1937… its introduction was the most significant development in the fur industry to date.”

For example, manufacturers at present are paying an average of $15 for No. 1 dressed nutria pelts from Italy and Germany. The Louisiana trapper is getting an average of $5 for the raw pelt. From our past catch records, a conservative estimate for the future would probably be two to three million pelts per year. Since the value-added aspect of the pelt before it reaches the manufacturer is $10 to $13, Louisiana could add substantially to its economy each year on dressing alone. However, it must be mentioned that it would be a tremendous undertaking to harness the many facets of this industry.

From an ecological standpoint, it is more environmentally sound to strive now toward a better position of managing our renewable fur resources, rather than wait for the inevitable, dependence on our non-renewable resources.

Back-breaking labor and sweat in the dead of winter makes the trapper a special breed. Without him, there would be no harvest, no processing, and no industry.

Article from: http://laconservationist.wlf.la.gov/past_issues/1976-vol-28-no-9-10/

NOW (Fall 2018)

National Hunting and Fishing Day – A Perfect Way To Introduce Someone To Louisiana’s Sportsman’s Paradise

by TREY ILES, LDWF Public Information

Don’t be misled by the name. National Hunting and Fishing Day isn’t just for those who regularly hunt and fish. Certainly, veteran anglers and hunters are welcome and will enjoy the festivities.

National Hunting and Fishing Day is a great way to be introduced to outdoor pursuits as well as being a gateway for children who have expressed an interest in finding out all our Sportsman’s Paradise has to offer. Really, it’s for anyone and there is something for everyone.

Created by Congress in1971, National Hunting and Fishing Day is an event observed in all 50 states every fourth Saturday in September. It was developed to commemorate the conservation contributions of the nation’s hunters and anglers.

Through license sales and excise taxes on equipment, hunters and anglers pay for most fish and wildlife conservation programs. On average, hunters spend $1,638 every year on the sport. Portions of these funds are allocated to support conservation.

Led by sportsman President Theodore Roosevelt, early conservationists urged sustainable use of fish and game, created hunting and fishing licenses and lobbied for taxes on sporting equipment to provide funds for state conservation agencies. These actions were the foundation of the North American wildlife conservation model, a science-based, user-pay system that would foster the most dramatic conservation successes of all time. Each year sportsmen and women are funding more projects that enable more public access areas to be open.

Former NASCAR racing legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. will serve as this year’s honorary chair. Earnhardt Jr. began his racing career in 1999 and amassed 26 victories, including two Daytona 500 crowns and two championships, before retiring from driving last year. He is the latest in a long list of celebrities to be named honorary chair.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as honorary chair for National Hunting and Fishing Day,” said Earnhardt Jr., himself an avid outdoorsman. “It’s our duty as outdoorsmen and women to introduce someone to the outdoors so they too understand how our activities help fund and drive conservation. I encourage anyone who goes outdoors to take someone with them on National Hunting and Fishing Day.”

The first National Hunting and Fishing Day in Louisiana was held in 1982 at the Monroe district office. In the following years, Baton Rouge, Minden and Woodworth were added. More than 10,000 people statewide attend the events.

The number and types of displays vary at each location, but all include exhibits on LDWF management programs, shooting and fishing demonstrations, exhibits from local chapters of Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club and CCA, and supporting businesses from the local communities. Those attending have the chance to try their skills at the shooting ranges, fishing ponds and boating activities, as well as learn about wildlife with live animals.

Hunting and fishing are important parts of Louisiana’s rich heritage. We encourage all of the sportsmen and women of our state to take someone into the outdoors, especially someone who would not have the opportunity otherwise. We want to help build the tradition of hunting and fishing in our state. National Hunting and Fishing Day is a perfect way to get started.

National Hunting and Fishing Day 2018 is almost here. It will be held September 22, 2018. The event is traditionally held in four locations around the state, including Monroe, Woodworth, Minden and Baton Rouge. It’s a daylong affair with many hands-on exhibits and programs.

For more information on the 2018 Louisiana National Hunting and Fishing Day, visit our website at http://www.wlf.la.gov/nhfd2018