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Fur-handling workshop scheduled for Jonesboro and Fort Smith nature centers

BY Randy Zellers

ON 12-17-2019


Dec. 17, 2019

Randy Zellers

Assistant Chief of Communications

JONESBORO — The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro will host a special introduction to fur-handling workshop from 6-9 p.m., Jan. 9, 2020. The workshop will feature Charlie Bass, a longtime trapper and fur provider for national and international markets.  

Bass has been presenting various trapping and fur-handling classes over the years at the nature center and is always requested to come back and teach more.

“Watching Charlie during his classes is the primary reason I got into trapping and fur handling,” said Cody Walker, AGFC Education Program Coordinator for the center. “He’s a great instructor who really breaks down all of the different aspects of trapping and how to get the most out of your furs.”

Walker says profit from furs is rarely the main motivation for fur trappers today. The market is very low compared to centuries and even decades ago, when furs for clothing and accessories were more in demand.

Introduction to fur-handling
“There’s still a market for furs, but the main motivation for most trappers is to have more time outdoors and learn the habits of animals many people rarely even get to set eyes on,” Walker said. “I’m not just trying to see that animal, but trying to get it to step in an exact spot for the trap to work. It’s a huge challenge and a very gratifying reward when you catch your target.”

Walker says anyone who is interested in trapping, whether for profit or for fun, will be able to learn a lot from the workshop.

“When you want to put up fur for trading, you can really increase the amount you get for your work by using a few small tricks to make them look their best,” Walker said. “Charlie can teach people all sorts of small details that make a big difference for each species when your furs are being compared to other fur handlers at a sale. Even working at the AGFC, I didn’t know exactly what traits fur buyers are wanting and why they are wanting things a certain way. Furs primed for market are much different than furs we take around for educational displays.”

The workshop will include hands-on demonstrations of skinning and handling Arkansas furbearers such as mink, beaver and bobcat.

Call Walker at 870-933-6787 to register for the Crowley’s Ridge workshop.

Bass will host the same workshop at Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center in Fort Smith beginning at 1 p.m. Feb. 22 as well. People in the western half of the state who are interested in trapping are encouraged to speak to AGFC Education Program Specialist Danielle Simmons at 479-452-3993 to register for that free class.

Visit for more information about AGFC nature centers throughout the state as well as links to their calendars and Facebook pages.

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