Amassing Fortune Raising of Skunks

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Feb. 14, 1905

Amassing Fortune Raising of Skunks

John Lucas, of Lake City, Has Chosen a Peculiar Business

He Runs a Regular Farm

The Pelts are Valuable And Are Shipped to The Cities For Fur Garments – Has About three Hundred of The Animals in Prime Condition

Lake City, Feb. 14. – John Lucas, who lives a mile west of Lake City, is slowing amassing a small fortune by breeding and selling skunks.For the last three years the business has been thriving and the quality of the hides is first class. Lucas has an option on two acres of rough ground and was first attracted to his novel occupation by observing the numerous holes these animals had dug in the banks. This gave him an idea. He had the lace fence by strong galvanized wire netting five feet above ground and two feet under ground and let the animals breed without disturbance. The nature of the tract of land is naturally a home of these small animals, as it is bluffy, along a small creek and covered with a heavy growth of hazelnut bushes. Long grass is common,a nd it is let grow. Thus the roots of the bushes furnish feed and the grass is the home of many mice and other rodents and numerous insects, on which the fur bearing animals live.

There were some three hundred animals in prime condition for fur this season. The harvest is a matter of small import. Mr. Lucas has arranged an enclosure of wire in the center of the large field and when he wants to sell a few hides he puts some kind of attractive bait in the small enclosure. Peculiar holes in the netting readily admit the skunks but a clever device as readily prevents all exit. The feat of the killing is merely selection and a small club. The pelts are largely shipped to Sioux City and Minneapolis, Mr. Lucas receiving good prices for them.

The proprietor of this novel farm has been able in this time to select prime animals for stock and is now raising but pure black skunks, though occasionally a striped one appears. Artificial feeding has been found to make the quality of the pelts better and so roots of various kinds are raised for the consumption of the detestible (sic) little animals.

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