Deep River Fur Farm

Deep River Fur Farm

Please Note:

Deep River Fur Farm ceased operations some 60 years ago.
This web site is a collection of memories and stories from the past.
Please do not submit requests for employment, purchase of
fur animals, or advice on fur farming.
Deep River Fur Farm.
Aerial view of Deep River Fur Farm. Photograph late 1960s - 70s.
Click on the picture to see a video of Deep River Fur Farm.
Click on the images above to see videos of Deep River Fur Farm.

Deep River Fur Farm, was established by Halvor Ausland in 1925. He moved to this location after many Deep River Fur Farm Deep River today. 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 endeavours. Halvor Ausland with four foxes Fox and Coyote pelts. 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 background of the photograph on the right. He also purchased three mink from Harvey 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 1960s. He then sold the ranch to George Williams, an automobile dealer from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Mr Williams operated the mink ranch until the 1970s. 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 webpage 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.

Deep River During 1920s. Mrs Ausland 1920s. First buildings at Deep River.
From humble beginnings (left), First buildings at Deep River 1925-26 (right),
Mrs. Ausland and daughter Marge (centre).
New log house View of house
New log house at Deep River left and right.
Mr. and Mrs. Ausland and children, and Native employee.
Ausland Children
Ausland Girls (L-R) Mary, Irene, Ann, Marge. Mrs Ausland is standing in the doorway.
Photograph was taken in the late - early 1930s.
First mink Building
First mink in 1929 (left). Mink pens in the late 1930s.
Mink Ranch in the early days
Mink and Fox pens, Ann (left) and Marge Ausland in foreground.
Mink Ranch early 1940s. Mink ranch.
Mink ranch in the early and mid 1940s.
Mink Sheds Mink sheds
Mink sheds in the mid 1950s. On the right, in the foreground,
Rene Massery and Celestine McCallum unloading hay for mink bedding.
Mink Mink Ranch
Mink waiting to be fed and a view of Deep River in the 1950s.
Mink Ranch. Mink sheds.
Mink sheds in the late 1950s and Mink sheds in the late 1960s.
Orange Mink Halvor Ausland holding mink.
Orange mink, this strain of mink was developed by Halvor Ausland from this one natural wild mutation mink. This mink was caught by a trapper and sold to Mr. Ausland in the early 1950s.

Halvor Ausland holding the same mink in the 1950s. (right)
Mink Feeding Mink
Orange mink on left - Halvor and Marge Ausland feeding mink on right.
White Mink White Mink Black Cross mink
White and black cross mink.
Silver Fox. Silver Fox.
Silver foxes in pens.
Platinum Fox. Platinum Fox.
Platinum foxes.
Silver fox grading at the New York Fur Auction Sales New York City - 1950s.
Silver fox fur grading at the New York Fur Auction Sales, New York - 1950s.
Platinum Fox. Halvor Ausland Mink
Platinum fox in pen, Halvor Ausland holding mink pelts in the 1940s,
Rene Massery with mink ready for pelting. (right).
Mary and Marge Ausland
Mary (left) and Marge Ausland at
Deep River late 1940s.
(L-R) Mary, Marjorie, Halvor and Ann Ausland.
(left to right) Mary, Marjorie, Halvor and Ann Ausland,
in the garden at Deep River, Circa 1943.
Dawn at Deep River.
Dawn at Deep River.
Deep River today.
Location of Deep River Fur Farm, now overgrown with trees. If you passed within a few feet of the location you would never know it had ever existed. Photograph was taken in July 1996.
View of Deep River.
A view of Deep River as it looked at the end of July of 1996.


Author: Webmaster -
"Date Modified - July 19, 2024."

Links to all Webpages:

| Ausland Lake |
Northern Saskatchewan

| Deep River Fur Farm |

| Deep River Trapping Page |

| Deep River Fishing Page |

| My Norwegian Roots |

| Early Mink of People Canada |
E. Rendle Bowness

| The Manager's Tale |
Hugh McKay Ross

| Sakitawak Bi-Centennial |
200 Year History.

| Lost Land of the Caribou |
Ed Theriau

| A History of Buffalo Narrows |

| Hugh (Lefty) McLeod |
Bush Pilot

| George Greening |
Bush Pilot

| Timber Trails |
A History of Big River

| Joe Anstett, Trapper |

| Bill Windrum, Bush Pilot |

| Face the North Wind |
By Art Karas

| North to Cree Lake |
By Art Karas

| Look at the Past |
A History Dore Lake

| George Abbott |
A Family History

| These Are The Prairies |

| William A. A. Jay, Trapper |

| John Hedlund, Trapper |

| Deep River Photo Gallery |

| Cyril Mahoney, Trapper |

| Saskatchewan |
A Pictorial History

| Who's Who in furs |
1952 to 1956

| A Century in the Making |
A Big River History

| Wings Beyond Road's End |

| The Northern Trapper, 1923 |

| My Various Links Page |

| Ron Clancy, Author |

| Roman Catholic Church |
A History from 1849

| Frontier Characters - Ron Clancy |

| Northern Trader - Ron Clancy |

| Various Deep River Videos |

| How the Indians Used the Birch |

| The Great Fur Land |

| The Death of Albert Johnson |

| A Mink and Fish Story |
Buffalo Narrows

| Gold and Other Stories |
Berry Richards