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48   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

securely locked up. Strychnine and white arsenic do not kill immediately, and, if another animal ate the flesh of an animal poisoned by them, it would be poisoned in turn.

The cased method of skinning, described elsewhere, is used.* The
only difficulty will be with the forelegs and tail. The forelegs become
stiff and hard in a short time and should be turned fur side out after
a day or two. If the tail bone is not wholly removed in the first at-
tempt, the tail may be slit down the under side. The skins are mar-
keted fur side out and are sewed up in muslin and packed flat in a box.
The condition of the pelt in respect to primeness, proper

judging a   killing, skinning, drying and shipping is important. Silver Fox Skin

Skins may be blue or unprime; springy, when the

hips and shoulders are worn and the hair loose; dirty, shot, chewed, heated, or greasy. In such cases their value is largely decreased.

The skin value of the live animal may be judged from the following standards:

 

 

Colour.—Glossy black on neck, and wherever no silver hairs are found. The black must be of a bluish cast all over the body rather than a reddish. The underfur must also be dark-coloured. The fur of silver and black foxes is a dark slate next to the skin.

Silver hairs.—Pure silver bands—not white nor very prominent. In the costliest skins there are only a few silver hairs, which are well scattered over the pelt. The neck and head should be clear black. Flakiness, which is the appearance of whitish silver hairs placed close together in patches, is objectionable.

Gloss.—The sheen must be evident. It is caused by the perfect health of the animal and the fineness of the hair, as well as by hereditary influences. Woods and humid atmosphere also favour this important quality.

Weight.—A good fox skin will weigh at least one pound, the weight usually varying from ten to nineteen ounces. The thick, long fur makes the weight. This is a very important point, as heavy fur is more durable and handsome.

Size.—The value of silver fox pelts increases with the size. FINANCIAL ASPECTS

The amount of capital required to finance a ranch containing even three or four pairs of foxes, involves the organization of companies or ex-

*See page 97.


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