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28   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

grapes about the paddocks and will train them over his pens. The predilection of the fox for grapes is well known since the time of lEsop, but life in a vineyard may not be more beneficial to reynard's health than life elsewhere. The grapes provide a dense shade in summer, no shelter in winter, fresh fruit in season, and exercise in securing food. The whole ranch is surrounded by a concrete wall. Such a ranch is impossible in a district where there is a heavier snowfall, the lack of ventilation through the pens is objectionable and the cost is consider-able. It shows, however, what can be done by an experienced breeder to establish an industry on city lots in a populous neighbourhood.

Sometimes an orchard serves as a suitable situation for a ranch. T. L. Burrowman, of Wyoming, Ont., for instance, has placed his pens in a four-acre orchard, the foxes being kept out of the trees by trunk shields.

Barnyards, open fields about the houses, hill-tops where snow drifts off and many other situations are frequently chosen, but the ranchmen, as a rule, regard such sites as temporary only. They usually contemplate larger ranching operations on better sites when sufficient capital can be raised.

Sometimes a small island has been chosen as a site for An Island a ranch. When such is the case, visitors can be kept out as a site of the vicinity more easily. Also a fox that has escaped is not apt to swim to the mainland away from the place where he has been fed. Prince Edward Island has an advantage over mainland areas as a ranching centre because a fox that has escaped can usually be traced and captured, whereas on the mainland, he could roam for hundreds of miles and get into uninhabited territory.

 

When the site of the ranch is chosen, the bush surround-

Fences and   ing the selected area is cleared for a width of four feet

Fencing and the ground levelled for the erection of an exterior fence. The trees are trimmed or cut so that foxes may not climb over the fence by mens of them. Post-holes about three feet deep are dug from 10 to 16 feet apart, cedar posts being used if it is possible to secure them. If cedar, locust or other durable wood cannot be obtained, the ground end of the post may be charred or treated with hot petroleum or creosote to render it more lasting. Posts from 10 to 15 feet long are used according to the usual snowfall of the locality and should be sharpened at the end to prevent heaving by the frost. A post four inches in diameter at the small end and 12 feet long will cost from 30 cents in some districts, up to 75 cents in others.


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