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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   45

In 1912, vague reports were circulated among the

Dangerous Fox breeders of Prince Edward Island that a contagious Diseases

parasitic disease was being introduced by blue foxes

imported from Alaska. A definite warning was furnished the Commission of Conservation by an eminent United States authority that such a dangerous disease exists and would prove fatal to the fox industry if introduced; but few details of the disease were presented. A letter of inquiry was sent to Mr. George M, Bowers, Commissioner of Fisheries, Department of Commerce and Labour, who has charge of the conservation of foxes and seals at certain points in Alaska. The reply under date of November 25, 1912, is as follows:

 

 

"The Bureau has not been informed of any particular para-
sitic disease as existing among the foxes of Alaska. So far as
known, fatal disease has been so rare as to be negligible in the con-
sideration of fox raising. Improper feeding, accidental poisoning
and tuberculosis have been known to cause the death of individual
foxes, but nothing in the nature of an epidemic has been reported."
Capturing As already stated, the capturing of escaped foxes presents

Escaped   little difficulty provided they do not get outside the exterior

Foxes fence. They will often, of their own accord, return through the open door after a few hours. Or, in the cases where escape has been over snow banks, they will usually return when hungry. They may be driven into the alleys from the outer enclosure when a temporary fence of meshed wire is stretched across from the pen to the outer fence. They can also be caught in the box traps, or in steel traps which have the jaws wrapped with muslin so that the limbs will not be injured. A live hen or rabbit makes excellent bait. The latter method will often prove effective when the fox has escaped to the woods, as they are likely, especially if ranch-bred, to remain in the vicinity of the ranch.

 

 

The ownership of an escaped fox is a disputed point. Many people contend that a fox roaming at large is game for anyone, but, if the ranchman can identify the live fox or the skin, he can recover it as his personal property.

 

 

Ranchmen have given serious study to the question of

Marking for marking for identification. A numbered aluminum tag, Indentification

which may be seen at a considerable distance, is often

fastened into the ear. In some way, however, the fox manages to get it off. Marking the teeth by filing or tattooing them is also resorted to, and has, at least, proved practicable. But the disadvantage of not marking the skin is obvious. A possible method, not yet attempted, is to tattoo the skin with the owner's number or brand, which could be


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