What is a Fur Buyer by R. L. Akins
Here is the article written by Dick Atkins. He lives near Lancaster, Pa.
The article appeared in The Pennsylvania Trapper's Bulletin Fall Issue, 1968.
WHAT IS A FUR BUYER
First off, he is a man who is in business - large or small, he is in business. He is the man who exchanges money for your furs. If he pays you 5 cents more than the other guy, he is a good Joe. However, if he is a nickel lower, he is called a cheat, and out to beat you. If he doesn't pay top dollar for every skin in your shed after he drives 15 miles to get there on icy roads and finds that you only have 20 rats, you just know that he's trying to make a real bundle. Probably all the way to twenty cents a skin! When, on the other hand, you have several hundred well handled pelts and you are satisfied with the price, you still think he is trying to skin you when he opens up his checkbook rather than pay out $400-$500 in cash. Now there is such a thing as an "Honest Buyer"> Fact is, he is probably the same poor guy who is a nickel short, but is giving a better grade - He may be the man who gives a check because he doesn't like the idea of being known for carrying large amounts of cash. As for the guy who wants to make 20 cents a pelt, I wouldn't even ask a man to come to me to buy 20 rats if I did, I would be ashamed of myself!
The thing that I am getting to is, that in the eyes of the average trapper, the man that you need to end up your season, is generally thought of as a Con-Man who is going to make a big profit on your furs. The fur buying today is a highly competitive profession and I don't believe that any fur buyer can make much over 15 cents on a pelt. Most are happy to make a dime. Some are lucky to make that much. So stop and think, fellows. Would you be willing to beat your head against every hard nose trapper in the County and invest about $10,000 to try to make a thin dime?I tried it, and many others have too. It was a regarding experience, not from a dollar made standpoint, but from a point of view that I had the opportunity to meet some very fine people as well as some real stinkers. It also gave me the opportunity to handle many thousands of skins from many sections and have been able to understand why some dealers can pay more for their section furs than other sections are, and always will be cheaper not because the local buyer is a fraud, but because he knows his furs and is not a fool. As an example of this, a few seasons ago I discovered that about 80 miles away, I could buy rats some 60-70 cents cheaper, so I thought that I would pay 50 cents more than the local buyer and really clean up. As it turned out, he knew what he was doing, and I had a PROBLEM.
So goes the skin game boys, you should try it sometime. Meanwhile I will go out and trap the 50 cent rat in spite of what the buyer gets for it. If he can make $2.00 on her, more power to him. Just don't ever get the idea that he is a cheat.
Well, enough for now, I got trap tags to stamp out. This should be the best fur season in years as the animals are very plentiful and we had a good feed supply this year. The low price will wee out the would be toe pinchers and open up some new areas for the real trapper. Last year I took 63 rats the first night. This year I am trying for the 100 mark. I have set a limit though, on 250 rats. Wish me luck.