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54   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

Piastre Bay, 20; Wyoming, Ont., 12; Carcross, Yukon, 18. In the United States there is a silver fox ranch at Dover, Me., and another in New Hampshire. One was reported from Copper River, Alaska. In Russia there are none.

 

 

Since, under present ranching conditions, silver foxes The Increase increase in numbers approximately 100 per cent. each in Numbers year, it seems evident that the present prices for foundation stock must decline to near the pelt value before many years. The price of the scrub stock and of specimens with the poorer grade of skins will decline first. It is likely that this inferior stock will be used for mating with red and cross foxes which, by the year 1916, should be producing a large number of silvers, mostly of poor quality, however.

 

 

With regard to statements frequently made that silver

Final Value of fox will be as cheap as rabbit if produced as numerously, Silver Fox

the point is not worth discussing, since production will

not increase beyond the point where a profit can be made. The Lon-don importation of rabbits is now over 80,000,000 skins annually and Australia uses thousands more weekly in her great felting industries. An attempt was made to secure expert opinions from qualified furriers as to the final value of silver fox pelts when they are produced in as large numbers as those of red foxes are now. The consensus of opinion was that because of its greater beauty and more favoured colour, silver fox fur would be three times as valuable as red fox, natural black furs not occurring commonly in nature. In this connection it must be remembered that all ranch silver foxes are killed when the fur is prime and no injury whatever is done to the pelt, so that their pelts would be worth from $40 to $80 each for No. 1 skins at the present valuation of the pelts of red foxes from Northeast Canada. But it will be a long time before the production of silver foxes will approach to the number of even high-grade red foxes marketed yearly. The total number of skins, according to the estimates of E. Brass is 1,337,000 yearly for the common fox. Even if the pelts fell to $30, foxes could be raised profit-ably by a farmer who maintained other live stock. In many districts the annual cash outlay per fox for food need not exceed $5, and attending to twenty foxes would not involve as much labour as attending to ten cattle. If fox ranch fences cost more, the land and houses cost much less. The fox, moreover, reproduces rapidly and comes to maturity in eight months.

 

 

Because the silver fox has never been produced in considerable numbers, it has been impossible for furriers to carry a stock large enough to warrant advertising it and featuring its sale. It has been


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