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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   25

RANCHING PRACTICE

While it is legal to keep fur-bearers in captivity in those provinces in Canada where there is no close season provided for them, it is unlawful in most provinces to keep protected fur-bearers during the close season. It is also unlawful to catch fur-bearers for ranching purposes in the close season in all provinces except Prince Edward Island. Apparently it is lawful in Saskatchewan and Quebec to hold the animals during the close season, provided they have been caught in the open season, or brought from a point outside the province. In all the other provinces, no ranching can be legally done without a permit from the provincial department charged with the care of game and fur-bearing animals.

The various provincial authorities can encourage fur-farming by amending their game laws so as to allow the issue of permits to residents to catch fur-bearers and hold them in captivity for breeding purposes at any season. Requiring annual returns of production would prevent any abuse of this privilege.

If foundation stock of excellent quality has been secured,

Location of   the next most important question to be considered is the

the Ranch selection of a site for the ranch where the quality of the stock can be maintained from generation to generetion. Climatic influences are largely responsible for the value of the coat of fur. If an abundance of good food can be secured, an animal produces the heaviest coat where the climate is coldest. Humidity of atmosphere must also be considered. Poland says that open water, such as lakes and seas, renders the fur thicker, probably owing to the high percentage of humidity in the atmosphere. Exposed sea coasts and exposed prairies, he says, render fur coarse, while woods and forests cause it to be finer. For instance the timber or forest wolves have finer fur than those living on the exposed prairie. Mr. Wesley Frost, United States consul at Charlottetown, in a report to his government in 1912, says: "The temperature and humidity on the island (Prince Edward) are a happy mean between the intense cold and the moist, dull weather of Newfoundland, Labrador and Alaska, and the warmer, drier weather of regions farther south. The far northern furs are said to be coarse and shaggy, while the furs produced in the northern states of our own country are light and thin." It is also said that the absence of limestone in Prince Edward Island and Westmorland county, New Brunswick, gives a perfect soil for foxes to burrow in and is beneficial to the fur covering. As some excellent foxes never burrow at all, the ranchers carefully stopping up the holes whenever a start is made, there can-not be much ground for this assumption.


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