The last few years have generally not been good for Canadian trappers.

Mild winters have tended to put fur prices on a downward trend.

However, the marten continues to be a popular animal to trap in northern Saskatchewan and prices have remained stable.

“I believe they should hold their own. It’s kind of a luxurious fur,” Mary Schellenberg, general manager of the Canada West division at North American Fur Auction, says. “It still seems to be moving along okay.”

Marten fur usually maintains a price of $60 to $80 because of the popularity of the product.

Russia, Turkey and China are some of the biggest buyers with the greatest demand coming out of South Korea.

Ideal conditions for trapping is a blast of cold weather before the snow hits, allowing the muskegs to freeze and trappers to access those areas.

“What is really critical for the trappers themselves is the conditions they work in and if the muskeg isn’t frozen, then it is very difficult to get around,” Schellenberg says. “They can only trap off of the roadways, and they can’t get into the bush.”

Daylight hours are more important than cold conditions for the animals.

“As far as the animals are concerned, it really does not seem to make too much difference as to how well they prime up and become the best quality they can become. That is a little bit more dependent on daylight hours,” she says.

Martens are small animals with bushy tails and retractable claws.

The colour of their silky fur varies from dark brown to a tawny shade of yellow.

(PHOTO: Spring North American Fur Auction. Photo courtesy of