Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tail Count and Righteous Fur

The latest statistics are in for the 2009-2010 nutria hunting season. The state pays trappers a $5 bounty per nutria tail as a means of controlling their population (the nutria, not the trappers) and to protect wetlands from their voracious appetites. A total of 445,963 nutria tails were turned in for a net payout of $2.2 million. This season, there were 306 registered trappers, which was up from 262 for the previous season. The poor economy seems to be driving the increased interest in nutria trapping as resourceful Cajuns look for alternative ways earn a living from the land. Over 40% of those trappers turned in 800 or more tails. That makes a nice little side income.

I have blogged about this invasive species before and have provided recipes for cooking them. There is now a site where you can buy clothing made from their fur - and you can do it guilt free because you will be helping the wetlands and employing a trapper.

There's an opportunity here. Most of the nutria carcasses are left in the swamp. If someone could generate a market for their meat and fur, nutria processing could become a growth business. Of course, if they became too popular, folks might want to start breeding them and that's how this whole problem got started.

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