Wild Fur Shippers Council
NAFA established the Wild Fur Shippers Council (WFSC) in the Fall of 1996 to enhance the working relationship between the company and our wild fur producers. The Wild Fur Shippers Council gives trappers a strong voice in NAFA’s operations. We’ve described our relationship with trappers as a partnership. The Wild Fur Shippers Council is a meaningful way of making that partnership even stronger.
Read more below and visit the WFSC website at nawfsc.com
On May 2, 2000 the 5,500 founding members of the Wild Fur Shippers Council purchased shares in NAFA. This historic step ensured trappers that they would always have an aggressive, professional marketing agency to sell and promote their fur.
You have the option of joining the NA Wild Fur Shippers Council. For a onetime payment of $100, you can become a Wild Fur Shippers Council member for five years.
The WFSC membership year runs from November 1 to October 31, therefore new memberships will expire on October 31st, four years after the year of joining.
Membership is optional.
The commission rate charged on your fur will be reduced by 2% for five years from the first sale of the season you join. The commission rate for all trappers is 11% but as a member of the WFSC you’ll pay only 9%.
WFSC members using NAFA’s collectors, depots or pick up services will also receive free freight in Canada or handling charges in the USA for five years. Freight to the Depot or collector location is not covered.
Based on these two benefits alone, many trappers save the cost of membership in the first year.
Every shipper is:
- Guaranteed the largest buyer attendance and the most competitive prices
- Guaranteed NAFA’s global promotion efforts will continue and expand
- Guaranteed access to world fur markets
- Guaranteed that your fur becomes part of the most respected wild fur collection in the world
- We believe we can get better prices now—and higher prices in the future—if more trappers join our partnership and send their furs to NAFA.
The WFSC and NAFA believe that the future of wild fur prices should not be left to fate. We are working together to ensure that the auction room is full of buyers when your furs go on sale—now and in the future.
Give us a chance to prove how NAFA can work for you. Ship us some fur. Assess the results and decide for yourself. You will never look back.
Can I Join the NA WFSC later?
You can join the NA WFSC at any time. At the end of each season we analyze our non member accounts. If it appears that you are shipping sufficient fur to financially benefit from membership, we will send you a personalized letter. The letter will outline the savings you would have made as a member on the furs you shipped to our auctions. We will give you the opportunity to join retroactively as long as you notify us prior to the last auction of the year. If you do accept we will charge your account for the membership fee as well as credit you for the retroactive savings. If this results in money owing to you, you will receive payment after the September auction. If there is a debit balance it will be deducted from your next shipment the following season. Our year ends on October 31, so members joining retroactively will be issued a member card expiring four years after the year of joining retroactively.
Memberships cannot be processed retroactively after our September auction.
How to communicate with NAFA
We need to know your state or province in order to answer most questions.
In all emails and phone messages, please include your account number, mailing address and phone number.
For a list of depots where you can drop off your fur and pick-up schedules, visit our Shipping to NAFA pages for your country. Our collectors can answer most shipping related questions.
Shippers can have immediate access to their accounts on the web by providing a receipt number (number on a collector receipt form) or a proceeds cheque number (after CHQ or DEP on an account statement). Please find one of these documents before registering.
Arnold Groehler – Independent Director, Chairman
Arnold Groehler is one of the founding members of the WFSC and a professional trapper with over 40 years experience. Throughout his trapping career, he has trapped primarily raccoons and muskrats in southern Wisconsin.
In addition to serving on the WFSC, Arnold is active with several state and national trapper organizations. He is also a Wisconsin trapping education instructor and a hunter safety instructor. He is a retired Army master sergeant. During the summer months, he works on animal damage control projects and enjoys helping out with his wife’s horses.
Conrad Lanham – Director, United States Region A
Conrad Lanham was born in Kentucky, where he learned to trap at a young age. His first trapping memories are of catching nuisance raccoons on the family farm. Conrad has been shipping to NAFA for over a decade. He has done extensive research on wildlife law and law enforcement and holds a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Eastern Kentucky University. Conrad is employed by the largest municipal police department in Kentucky. He currently works in the Research and Development Unit, where he writes policy and conducts special research projects for the department.
Conrad is involved in local and national trapping organizations and traps many areas of his home state during the trapping season. During the summer months, he enjoys spending his time working on the farm.
Greg Spaulding – Director, United States Region B
I have been a trapper, fur buyer, and writer, enforced trapping regulations, instructed youth trappers and been involved with the fur trade for most of my 62 years.
I have a B.S. in wildlife science and a M.A in biology, am a recently retired Minnesota Conservation Officer from Northern Minnesota, a founding member of the WFSC, a proud member of the Minnesota Trappers Association, Colorado Trappers Association and the National Rifle Association. My furs were sold through NAFA and Dominion/Soudack for decades where I received numerous top lot awards. For me, the enjoyment of putting up fur is as rewarding as trapping the furbearers.
I would like to put my experience and education to work for Region B’s fur harvesting constituents.
Bill Mackowski – Director, United States Region C, Treasurer
Bill Mackowski is a founding member of the WFSC and served as its chairman for seven years and is its current treasurer, representing Region C. Bill has also served on the NAFPI and NAFA board of directors. He began trapping muskrats as a boy of seven and this will be his 55th year on the trap line. He graduated from the University of Maine in the early 70’s where he majored in Wildlife Biology and Ecology. Since then he has worked at a variety of crafts including commercial fisherman, farmer, full time trapper, greenhouse grower and bush pilot.
He is active in land conservation and has served in a variety of capacities with the Downeast Lakes Land Trust. Bill lives in Milford, Maine with his wife Francine and seven year old great granddaughter Maddy. He currently earns his living crafting ash packbaskets, fishing creels and snowshoes, growing pumpkins, crafting Christmas wreaths and, of course, trapping.
Andrew Hyde – 2nd Vice-Chairman, Director, United States Region D
Andrew Hyde is a dedicated trapper living in Pennsylvania and, throughout his trapping career has worked hard to promote and teach the fine art of trapping to young people interested in pursuing trapping as a career. He teaches at the Pennsylvania District Trapper’s Training school and is regularly called upon to teach children and adults about trapping, traps and the fur trade.
Andrew is also the owner of a small farm and you can sometimes find him at the NAFA booth conducting demonstrations at trapping conventions throughout the year. He is one of the founding directors of the WFSC.
Jim Gibb – Director Canada Region 1, Director at Large
I started trapping at 14 years old with my best friend, his father and uncle. I have trapped in the Timmins area for the last 35 years – having had a registered trap line since 1983.
I am a past president of the Timmins Fur Council which is one of the most active trapping councils in Ontario. I have been a certified trapping instructor since 1987, teaching courses in North Bay, Timmins, Bracebridge, Chapleau and Gogama. I have been involved with trapper training in Ontario, Yukon, North West Territories and Nunavut, holding numerous fur handling workshops.
I was heavily involved with FHA for twenty years sitting on the Board of Directors and worked as the Director of Public relations for 8 years. I am an active board member of the Fur Institute of Canada, presently 2nd vice chair and an active member of the TRDC (trap research and development committee). I was also the first trapper to chair the TRDC committee.
Pete Wise – Director, Canada Region 2
Pete Wise lives in Coldstream BC. Pete has always had a passion for trapping and has over 50 years of experience in the field. Besides owning and operating a very busy Wildlife Control company Pete owns and runs a large wilderness remote trapline in South Central BC.
Pete is a BC Trapper Education instructor. He was one of the instructors that helped develop and instruct the BCTA Canid (wolf and coyote) trapping program in BC
Pete is very active in the community with over 40 years as a volunteer with the local Search and Rescue group and serves as the local groups President.
Kirby Burtt – Director, Canada Region 3
Kirby Burtt lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick and has been a licensed trapper for over 30 years. He’s been involved with the WFSC since its inception and a supporter of all trapper-related associations locally along with the National Trappers Association.
Kirby is a graduate of the Maritime Forest Ranger School in New Brunswick and recently retired as a Parks Officer with the Provincial Department of Tourism, Parks Branch and the Ministry of Natural Resources. He was also instrumental in developing a trapper’s workshop in conjunction with the New Brunswick Trappers Conventions. He owns and operates a small trapping supply and fur buying business and is a nuisance wildlife control operator.
Yvan Charlebois – Director, Canada Region 4
I have been trapping for more than forty years and make use of NAFA’s services every year; I am also a founding member of the WFSC. Other trappers from my region and I were instrumental in setting up the Association des trappeurs de Montréal, Laval, Montérégie (Montreal, Laval and Montérégie Trappers Association), of which I was Treasurer for several years. I am a member of the Fédération des trappeurs gestionnaires de Québec (F.T.G.Q.) (Trapper-managers federation of Quebec).
I am also an instructor at the P.G.A.F. (furbearer trapping and management courses) and give demonstrations on how to prepare furs and explain trapping techniques. In recent years, I have participated in efforts to control rabies in raccoons in the Montérégie and the Eastern Townships areas.
Serge Lariviere PhD – 1st Vice-Chairman, Independent Director
Serge Lariviere lives in Saint – Apollinaire in Quebec and is a second generation trapper alongside his father. Serge is a trained biologist with a Ph.D. in the ecology, management and conservation of fur-bearing animals. Throughout his career, he has served on various boards dealing with animal care issues, humane trap research and development and furbearer conservation in Canada and the U.S.
As a certified provincial trapping instructor for the province of Quebec and Affiliate Professor in Biology at the University of Quebec in Rimouski, Serge is always striving to teach others about trapping and hunting and fishing. He is the Director –General for the Cree Hunters and Trappers Income Security Board, an organization that helps to ensure that hunting and trapping is a viable way of life for the Cree people of James Bay, Quebec.
Phil Patterson – Independent Director
Phil Patterson lives in Carman, Manitoba and has been involved with NAFA since its early days as the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). He joined HBC in 1958 as a clerk in training. Forty one years later, Phil retired as a ‘Director’ of Fur Marketing of the North West Company, which had bought out Hudson’s Bay Company.
Throughout Phil’s career as a fur grader, buyer and trainer of wild fur grading, he has lived and travelled Canada’s north, the Northwest Territories and Yukon, with side trips into Alaska. Since retiring in 1999, he has remained in the fur industry as a private fur broker.
David Bewick – Executive Director
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba Dave began his career in the fur business with Dominion /Soudack Fur Auctions in 1972. Dave graduated from the University of Manitoba with a degree in science, majoring in mathematics and computer science never dreaming that a forty year career in the fur industry would follow.
Starting as a “grader in training” Dave learned the art of grading for all wild fur species as well as ranch mink. He has travelled throughout Canada and the United States representing NAFA at trapper events. He has also travelled to Italy, Spain, China and Greece visiting old and new markets promoting NAFA’s premier wild fur collection.
Dave finally received his trapping license in 2009 and plans to spend time learning more about one of North America’s oldest occupations. As Executive Director of The Wild Fur Shippers Council Dave hopes to give back to those that have provided his very rewarding career.
The long awaited second DVD on fur handling, produced by the North American Wild Fur Shippers Council, will be available to members early this fall. This DVD, like the inaugural “From the Marsh to Main street” DVD, is free to current members of the WFSC and will be included with the fall issue of the” International Trapper”. The IT will also serve as a companion to the DVD with much of the referenced material available in the magazine
This second in the series focuses on beaver and is titled “From Flowage to Fashion”. It is 3½ hours in length and begins with the relationship of beaver to the very roots of the Fur Trade and the founding of our company North American Fur Auctions.
The DVD starts with pre-handling tips on the field care of your pelts, then takes an in depth look at several different skinning and fleshing techniques with an emphasis on helpful hints, proper equipment, their care and sharpening. It also covers drumming, proper boarding, sizing and drying. With a little side trip, it ventures into several value added techniques from beaver tails to correct handling and grading of castors to beaver as the newest gourmet interest.
The grading of beaver is often a confusing series of pelt breakdowns. The DVD follows each step in a simplified manner, and is designed for even the first time shipper to understand. It looks in detail at the mistakes trappers make in handling their pelts and imperfections that occur beyond the control of the fur handler. Buyers give a different perspective on the needs for their clients and the garments they create. The auction process is demystified and explained.
And finally a look at the end result:
- What drives the fur business?
- What is our part as harvesters in the final product?
- How can we relate to and understand all that goes into creating a piece of fur magic that captivates the consumer? After all, the interest and demand by the fashion conscious public is what keeps us on the flowages.
The DVD is by far the most extensive and detailed look at the entire chain of beaver in the fur industry. Its goal is to increase the fur handlers understanding of the process, his handling skills and the value of his product for everyone involved.
Reminder: As a benefit of membership, the DVD will be mailed, late this fall, to all paid members with their IT magazine subscription. Please make sure that your membership and IT subscription are up to date.
Distribution to members without an IT subscription and expiring members who have not yet renewed will be communicated later.