Bill Mackowski
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Fur trapping: An American history

Bill Mackowski has been trapping beaver in Maine for over half a century.

During that time, he has sold beaver pelts at the North American Fur Auction in Toronto for as much as $100 (£65) in the 1980s, and as little $13 (£8) when fur prices plummeted in 2014 soon after hitting a record high the year before.

Mackowski says the fur business has been volatile throughout its history, with trappers flocking into the wilderness when prices are high, and falling back when prices are low. This year, prices could hinge on distant influences like the weather in China and the troubled Russian economy.

After years on the outs, fur is starting to come back into style, as seen at this week's New York Fashion week.

Produced and edited by Colm O'Molloy. Additional footage courtesy of the Archives of Manitoba.

  • 16 Feb 2015