ESCANABA — When fur market prices dropped in the late 1980s, Mike Nowak of Channing started making his own fur hats and mittens. His business took off when he received media attention including former Discovery television host Buck LaVasser who nicknamed Nowak, Mountain Man Mike.
Mountain Man Furs is one of the many vendors at the National Trappers Association Convention and Sport Show being held this week at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba. Nowak says the response has been great.
“So far it’s been a booming day today. I have an excellent spot in the Ruth Butler Building. I mean, everyone who walks into the door sees me and if they trip they will fall right into my booth with me so that helps. Location is very important at the this show and reputation. They know who I am and where I’m at,” Nowak said.
Nowak says people like his fur hats and gloves because of the price and quality of work. But the show stoppers are the Beaver Balls that he developed in 1993. The name makes people ask.
“Beaver Balls are an accessory that attaches to the bow and they help quiet your bow,” Nowak said. “It’s two strips of fur that you intertwine with the string and when the bow goes off that deadens the sound. The deer doesn’t hear the sound of the bow going off.”
The business has gotten to the point where he has to buy furs to meet the demand of his products. Although Nowak says he still is able to trap but not as often as he would like.
The show started Thursday and continues from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.