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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   97

full-brother. Some kinds of animals, as, for example, the beaver and the otter, have overhair which is not always considered as beautiful as the underfur alone. Thus, they are put through a process of pulling and the manufactured skins are usually plucked.

 

 

Usually animals intended for slaughter are fed well and are Killing   carefully housed so that no injury can be done the overhair,

such as from rubbing, the attachment of burrs or from lying in dirt. The killing presents no difficulty except that it must be done so as not to alarm the breeding animals. Therefore, in most cases, the animals to be slaughtered should be removed to the finishing pens in the autumn. The fox is usually killed by crushing the chest with the foot, a man's weight applied just back of the foreleg being sufficient, or the head may be forced back until the neck is broken.* Skunk, on account of its liability to scent, presents the greatest problem. It can be removed from its regular pen, however, by a wire snare placed on the end of a long pole. It is then dispatched outside its pen by the usual method of clubbing. If scenting is feared, it may be drowned in a tub of water.

 

 

There are two distinct methods of removing the skin. Some

Skinning   animals are opened down the belly, as in skinning a sheep, and Curing

and the skins are stretched flat or 'open'. Others are

slit up the hind legs to the vent and the skin is stripped off the rest of the body. These are stretched by a board wedged inside and are said to be `cased'. The methods of skinning in use for common Canadian fur-bearers are as follows:

 

 

Cased—Fox, marten, fisher, weasel, otter, skunk, lynx, cat, muskrat.

Either Cased or Open--Raccoon, wildcat.

()pen—Wolverene, badger, beaver, wolf, bear.

The process of removing a cased skin is well described by the Fur News Magazine as follows:

"Slit skin on both hind legs on the under side of animal from the heel to the vent; skin out the legs to the feet, and in the case of mink, skin out the toes and leave them and the claws on the skin. Skin around the tail, leaving the tail on the back of the skin, and after loosening the tail bone at the base, take hold of it with your forefinger and pull it out of the tail. If the tail bone is hard to remove, split a stock, insert the tail bone in split, and with this to grip the bone, you should have no trouble to pull it out.

*See page 47.

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