Previous Fur Farming in Canada (1913) Next



"Since that time all seal meat on St. George, not used by the natives, has been salted within two or three days of the killing, and fed to the foxes during the succeeding winter. When taken from the silo it is half rotten, most of the brine having escaped, but the foxes prefer it to fresh beef, mutton, or fish of any kind, as has been learned by experiment. With the exception of three seasons, the catch of seals has been under 2,500 and, as fully half the meat is required by the natives, it has been necessary to supplement the amount allowed the foxes with other food.

"In the spring and summer thousands of sea birds make the islands their home. This is the time the foxes enjoy life to the utmost. The birds are very numerous and, in the early part of the season, many meet death or injury accidentally and, of course, fall a ready prey to the foxes. During the month of May, hundreds of small auklets or `choochkies' in flying to and from the sea, strike the telephone wire and are killed or injured. No sooner do they reach the ground, however, than the foxes are there to pick them up. For the first few days, reynard will eat the entire bird, but later on as he becomes surfeited, he eats only the head and leaves the body untouched. The eggs of birds are a delicacy enjoyed by the foxes. The `arrie' or murre and other large birds lay their eggs on shelving rocks on the cliffs; and it is astonishing to see a fox climb around an almost inaccessible place, secure an egg and carry it away for its young, to return shortly and repeat the operation.

"By September 1, the birds, their breeding season being over, have mostly left the island, the deaths among seals on the rookeries are few, and marine food is not abundant, so it behooves the foxes to seek food in other quarters.

"One season a mush of either corn-meal or middlings was used; but while readily eaten by the foxes, it was not good for them. Dried fish was tried and found excellent food, and during the last two years salt fish has been in use. Salt itself is deadly to the foxes, so that in feeding salted food, care must be taken to thoroughly freshen it.

"Seal killing begins in June and, as the carcasses are left on the ground, a good supply of food becomes available. It appears, however, that at that season, the eggs and meat of birds are preferred to seal meat, as the latter is seldom touched, while bird feathers and egg shells are to be found along the trails and at the mouth of every fox warren. With the departure of the birds in the fall the foxes follow the shore line in search of food thrown up by the sea, and pay particular attention to seal rookeries, on the lookout for dead pups, which seem to be relished, and are dragged off for the young.

Previous Fur Farming in Canada (1913) Next