Broadway Joe Makes Fur Fly
Joe Namath's Super Bowl coat spurs surge in fur sales
Joe Namath models the coyote and white fox trimmed fur coat he wore at the Super Bowl coin toss. (Courtesy Kaufmanfurs.com)
Credit Joe Namath with boosting the fur industry, which could go a long way for wildlife populations, says Larry Woodward of “ScentBlocker’s Most Wanted.”
Namath wore a fur coat for the coin toss before the Seattle Seahawks dismantled the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Feb. 2.
“Broadway Joe is my hero for wearing that,” Woodward said. “I liked him as a kid, but I like him more now as an outdoorsman. In the last two weeks, sales of fur have skyrocketed.”
Click the image to check out Namath's furs
Time.com ran an article headlined, “The Namath Effect? Interest in Fur Heats Up,” citing instances where fur has surged in demand. Marc Kaufman of Kaufman Furs in Manhattan, where Namath tried on a half dozen furs before deciding on the striking hooded coyote with white fox trim coat, said he was inundated with messages during the game and orders afterward.
A week after the game, the Detroit News ran a story detailing how area furriers experienced an increase in interest and sales. Detroit, which began as a fur trading outpost, is among the cities leading in America’s fur sales that topped $1.27 billion in 2012. Worldwide, fur sales were $16 billion in 2012.
Woodward is happy to see recent reports of celebrities wearing fur, after many shunned it. Alan Herscovici of the Fur Council in Canada has been working with interests in the U.S. on a campaign to inform the public about the fur industry. A web site, truthaboutfur.com, was launched.
“In the past, people have been made to feel a little shy about their love for fur, but people are standing up, speaking out and educating themselves about the industry,” he told the Detroit News.
Woodward said he’s glad to see the positive movement as a down fur trade affected him and hurt wildlife populations as a whole.
“The tree huggers have beat down fur prices,” he said. “The fur market has been way down. In the 80s, we could get $50 for a coyote pelt. Lately it’s been like $5, hardly even worth skinning them out.”
A lower demand for predators have left more in the field to reproduce, and the higher numbers of coyotes, for example, has led to fewer deer and smaller game like rabbits.
“The coyote is such a crafty, adaptable creature,” he said. “There are coyotes in New York’s Central Park. They can hide in ditches and creeks in cities. There are a lot others that have made a living eating peoples’ poodles.”
Woodward, who lives near the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, grew up with few deer in the region, but that population exploded with proper management. In the past decade, he said the herd has lost significant numbers, in part because of the imbalance of predators.
“When I was a kid, there were tons of rabbits. Right now we have a foot of snow, there’s hardly even any rabbit tracks,” he said. “There’s trails of coyote tracks. I would like to have more rabbits and less predators.”
One of his biggest hopes is that prices of coyote fur will rise and more will be taken out because there’s value on their heads.
“Coyotes are wreaking havoc on the deer population,” Woodward said. “More and more people, if they want to have deer hunting back to where it was, they need to shoot them, trap them. Coyotes kill lots of full-grown deer, not just the sick and babies.”
Woodward said he can see a half dozen does in a field with only one or two fawns when each should have at least one.
“When those fawns hit the ground, those coyote are just sweeping the woods,” he said. “So where legal, people should shoot coyotes and bobcat to help the deer population come back.”
European countries and Canada have kept their demand for fur, but in the U.S., anti-fur radicals have hurt the industry and those who trap and hunt.
“You used to be able to pick up a raccoon on the side of the road and get between $25 and $40,” Woodward said, “but since the price of fur went down there’s not as many people going after fur.
“You cross into Canada, those guys are getting $400 for a timberwolf and good money for coyotes, mink, beaver. They’re making big money off those pelts. Do-gooders and anti-fur people have killed our market, which benefits all the wildlife we want, too.”
Even though the increased interest in fur seems to have started before Namath wore his $3,000 coat -- Time cited several late 2013 reports that it hit a 30-year high with demand in China, Russia and Korea – Woodward wants the stylish Namath to get a lot of credit.
“Joe Namath and that coat are all over the Internet and TV,” Woodward said. “He’s my hero for wearing that coat out there for the coin toss.”