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Deep River Fur Farm ceased operations some 30 years ago.
This web site is a collection of memories and stories of a time long since passed.
Please do not submit requests for employment, purchase of fur animals, or advice on fur farming.
An aerial view of Deep River Fur Farm. Photograph was taken in the late 1960s.
Deep River Fur Farm, was established by Halvor Ausland in 1925. He moved to this location after many years of trapping on the Mudjatik River, in northern Saskatchewan. The fur farm was located on the north shore of the Churchill River, approximately twenty four miles from the small native community of Ile-A-La-Crosse. The official name for that section of the Churchill River was MacBeth Channel, however, it was known locally as Deep River. At that time, it was an area rich with timber, moose, deer, and various fur bearing animals, a trappers paradise. There was plenty of fish, for both commercial fishing purposes and mink ranching. The mink were fed a mixture of fish, various commercial mink meals, even porridge and goat milk. A herd of some twenty five goats were kept for this purpose. It was a very nutritious, balanced diet and led to the production of very high quality fox and mink pelts. When he first arrived at Deep River, Mr. Ausland lived in a tent and cleared enough timber to build a rudimentary log cabin. Eventually, some ten acres of land was cleared and a large comfortable log house was built. During this time, trapping and commercial fishing were Halvor Ausland's primary occupations. As can be seen in the photographs (left and right), he was quite successful in his trapping endeavors. Then in 1929, he purchased three mink in Manitoba, a male and two females. One of these animals can be seen in the pens in the back-ground of the photograph on the right. He also purchased three mink from Harry McDonald, the local Hudson Bay Company manager. The Hudson Bay's Company would not allow employees such as Mr. McDonald, to raise mink. Mr. Ausland then bought out a mink ranch at Ormeaux, Saskatchewan, this consisted of 16 mink. He also purchased silver foxes, platinum, white faced and blue foxes from Greenland, however he quit raising foxes when prices for fox pelts dropped. Halvor Ausland raised mink at Deep River until the 1960's. He then sold the ranch to George Williams, an automobile dealer from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Mr. Williams operated the mink ranch until the 1970's. However, when fur prices made mink ranching unprofitable, he ceased operations. Today, Deep River Fur Farm is abandoned and is rapidly being overgrown with trees (above right). In a few short years, nature has reclaimed the property that took a lifetime to build. If you passed within a few feet of the place, you would never know it had ever existed. Memories of Deep River are all that are left and fond memories they are. This web-page is dedicated to the memory of Halvor Ausland and Deep River Fur Farm and all of the people who lived and worked in the area. Today, most of the old-timers have passed on and a new generation has taken over. They have very little knowledge of what transpired in the area. As time goes by everything will be completely forgotten. Never again will there be such a group of self reliant individuals in the North.
From humble beginnings (left) Mrs. Ausland and daughter (center) First buildings at Deep River 1925-26 (right0
New log house at Deep River (left)
Mr. and Mrs.Ausland and children, employee
Ausland Girls (L-R) Mary, Irene, Ann, Marge, Mrs Ausland is standing in the doorway
photograph was taken in the late 1920s.
First mink in 1929 (left)
Mink pens in the late 1930s
Mink and Fox pens, Ann (left) and Marge Ausland in foreground
Mink ranch in the early and mid 1940s
Mink sheds in the mid 1950s (left)
Mink sheds in 1943 in the foreground,
Rene Massery and Celestine Mccallum unloading hay for mink bedding (right)
Mink waiting to be fed 1950s (left)
A view of Deep River in the 1950s (right)
Mink sheds in the late 1960s, (right)
Mink sheds in the late 1950s, (left)
This strain of mink was developed by Halvor Ausland from this one natural wild mutation mink
caught by a trapper and sold to Mr Ausland in the early 1950s
Halvor Ausland holding the same mink in the 1950s (right)
Pastel mink (left)
Halvor and Marge Ausland feeding the mink (right)
White and black cross mink
Rene Massery with mink ready for pelting (right)
Platinum fox (left)
Halvor Ausland holding mink pelts in the 1940s (center)
Mary (left) and Marge Ausland at Deep River late 1940s
(L-R) Mary, Marjorie, Halvor and Ann Ausland, in the Garden at Deep River, Circa 1943.
Dawn at Deep River
Location of Deep River Fur Farm, now completely overgrown with trees.
If you passed within a few feet of the place you would never know it had ever existed.
Photograph was taken in July 1996.
A view of Deep River as it looked in July of 1996.
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