THE COLDEST JANUARY IN B. C. SINCE I88O
THE COLDEST JANUARY IN B. C. SINCE I88O
The thermometer has only been above zero once since December 28, 1915. This morning (January 31) she stood at 40. Been 25 to 42 right along. Birds and squirrels about all frozen, as snow is two feet on level. Deer are down from the mountains. They are all around the sheds and shack just as soon as dusk comes on.
Well, I have a few words to say on handling the beaver, as I have handled around 75 or so this last fall, up to January, 1916. Well, its like this: I sure found out how to lose money on furs and I sold furs from $3 to $5 better than anyone around this part of British Columbia. In fact, I got top prices on them all, even if I did have 35 un-prime hides. Catching the beaver is only child's play if you have been on their line as long as I have, because they just get used to you and walk into the traps without covering, or any dope to use; but just go and try a place where there has never been any body around them, then see how you will fare on the beggars. You have just got to use a whole lot of juggling before you will get one. 1 think that the beaver gets accustomed to a person, knows who he is, gets used to his habits, and vice versa. Last summer I used to set a lot of No. 1 Victor traps in their dams. When I would open them to pass the water through, they would come to shut them up and would be caught by the front toe, or hind toe. Well, I did that to scare them off, knowing they would pull out of a little trap like this. Would put a big clog on the trap. Well, they would pull the trap up and down the stream or the meadow and soon get loose. Sometimes I would find an odd one fast, would take him out and let him go. Well, I caught them over and over again in those little traps and I began to think that they thought that it should be an every night's occurrence. When I would catch one, it would keep them off for about two or three nights; then I would find another one had got in, and so it went on all through the irrigating season, till the fall came. So when 1 laid out the No. 3 and 4 traps it was a dead easy game to get them. I had a fine partner with me on the job, Thomas Bulman. He never saw a trap set in his life, only a mouse trap. Did not know how to set a trap in the jungle, not even to catch a rabbit. He just went around a few times and he would come home at times with a horse load. That was because the beaver had got used to mankind. But to give this a fair trial, I went over to a lake that I knew nobody had ever been to, and I just fooled away a week and only got two, one kit, one medium; built a raft and did all kinds of stunts but no beaver.
Well, boys, I have tried out buying fur on the carcass. By all means keep away from that stunt. I went out on another man's trap line U. see what he had. Well, that morning he had pulled up from under the ice, three beavers, one
big fellow and two mediums, so I bought them. Ten dollars for the big one, six dollars each for the medium. Hung them on the horse and lit out for home, laid them away to dry, started out again to buy up some more, got a few more from another fellow, came home and filled the pipe, thinking how much I would be ahead on that deal. Well, talk about pipe dreams, this was one for sure! Of all the cursed old battle scarred warriors, that big one was it. He had 15 or 20 big scars on him; the hide had grown fast to the carcass and then when I started to stretch the hide it all gave away in the old scars and it looked like a hair colander. I sold that one for $4.50; two of the others I sold for $10; three I got $7 each for. So you see I got off fine buying fur on the hoof, as you might say; paid $51 for fur and sold it for $35. Now that's doing business in the jungle and on the hoof with the hair on. But, just look at the price lists 1 Just take my advice, boys, when you get a price list. I find the best way to get at the price that you will receive for your fur, is to look right across the line, just cut it in the middle and what that says, that will be about what you will get for your No. 1 prime skins. This No. 1 large is all rot of the worst kind. There is no prime beaver anywhere till the holidays, even up in this latitude. Beavers are un-prime by at least eight to three till December 20, or later on. Rats are on the bum as well till along in January and February.
f admire Mr. Moreland's way of expressing himself over the wolf question. He has my whole heart go out to him on all those charitable cattle-men. I have been through the mill a bit myself. And many thanks to Mr. Rowell on his wearing outfits. Oh, how I have cursed those bull's wool and oakum-lincd mittens that wad up and you have to pluck them in a few days and then throw them away. I find the best footwear up here is the hair-seal made into a boot, hair inside, or you can have hair outside but extra large, so that you can wear two pair of good woolen socks and over the socks one pair of sheep hide moccasins, wool inside. Then slip into your seal boot with strap around the top, above calf of leg; that is for weather standing from 10 to 50 or so below zero. It's been 40 and 42 below here all the month of January, 1916. so I have got good foot rigging.
British Columbia, Can.
J. A. Bleecker.
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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