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Full text of "Steel traps. Describes the various makes and tells how to use them--also chapters on care of pelts, etc."

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Describes the Various Makes and Tells How 

to Use Them — Also Chapters on 

Care of Pelts, Etc* 





Copyright 1907 
B> A. R. Harding 


Chapter. Page. 

I. Sewell Newhouse 21 

II. Well Made Traps 27 

III. A Few Failures 33 

IV. Some- European Traps 38 

V. Proper Sizes 41 

VI. Newhouse Traps 50 

VII. Double and Webijed Jaw Traps 65 

VIII. Victor and Hawley & Norton Traps 72 

IX. Jump Traps 75 

X. Tree Traps 81 

XI. Stop Thief Traps 8(3 

XII. Wide Spreading Jaws 90 

XIII. Caring For Traps 98 

XIV. Marking Traps 108 

XV. How to Fasten 112 

XVI. How to Set 117 

XVII. Where to Set 133 

XVIII. Looking at Traps 143 

XIX. Mysteriously Sprung Traps 152 

XX. Good Dens 160 



Chapter. Page. 

XXI. The Proper Bait 170 

XXII. Scent and Decoys 178 

XXIII. Hum AX Scent and Sign 191 

XXIV. Hints on Fall Trapping 204 

XXV. Land Trapping 211 

XX\"I. Water Trapping 245 

XXVII. When to Trap 268 

XXVIII. Some Deep Water Sets 273 

XXIX. Skinning and Stretching 281 

XXX. Handling and Grading 308 

XXXI. From Animal to M.vrket 317 

XXXII. ^Iiscellaneous Information 325 



Newhouse Traps — All Sizes Frontispiece 

Air. Sewell Newhouse 22 

The First Shop 24 

Old Newhouse Trap 2(1 

A Well Made Trap 28 

Limb Growing Thru Jaws 31 

"Bob Tail"' Trap 33 

Defective Pan Bearing 34 

The All Steel 34 

The Modified All Steel 35 

Poor Setting Device 35 

Double Jaw Without Dog 36 

The Duplex 37 

The "No Cross" 37 

German Fox Trap 38 

English Rabbit Trap 39 

Awaiting The Trapper 42 

Wisconsin Trapper, Furs and Traps 45 

Mink, Trapped Under An Old Root 48 

No. i>. Newhouse Trap 51 



No. 1 Newhouse Trap 51 

No. 1 h or Mink Trap 52 

No. 2 or Fox Trap 53 

No. 3 or Otter Trap 54 

No. 4 or Wolf Trap 55 

No. 2i or Otter Trap With Teeth 55 

No. 3J or Extra Strong Otter Trap 56 

No. 2U Without Teeth 57 

Offset Jaw Beaver Trap 58 

Detachable Chitch Trap 59 

Newhouse Special Wolf Traj) 59 

Small Bear Trap 60 

Small Bear Trap With Offset Jaws 61 

Standard Bear Trap 61 

Regular Bear Trap With Offset Jaws 62 

Grizzly Bear Trap 62 

Bear Trap Chain Clevis 63 

Steel Trap Setting Clamp 64 

No. 81 or Webbed Jaw- Trap 67 

No. 91 or Double Jaw Trap 68 

A Morning Catch of Skunk 70 

No. 1 Victor Trap 73 

No. 4 Victor Trap 74 

No. 1 Oneida Jump 77 



No. 4 Oneida Jump -jy 

A "Junii)" Trai) TrapiXT 79 

The Tree Trap g2 

Tree Trap Set and Animal Approacliing 84 

Animal Killed in Tree Trap g4 

Stop Thief Trap gy 

Method of Setting Stop Thief Trap 88 

Trapper's Cabin and Pack Horses 91 

Trapper Making Bear Set 95 

Washing and Greasing Traps 99 

Putting the Traps in Order 102 

Traps and Trapper 101 

^Marked and Ready to Set IO9 

The Sliding Pole Hg 

A Staple Fastening H^ 

Shallow Water Set 1 1^ 

Hole Set Before Covering Ug 

Another Hole Set Before Covering joq 

Hole Set After Covering loo 

Wrong Position Set l.)4 

The Three Log Set 1-27 

Marten Shelf Set 128 

Big Game Set I29 

Ring or Loop Fastening I3I 



Caught Within the Limits of Chicago 134 

Fox, Wolf or Coyote Trail 136 

Fox, Wolf or Coyote on the Run 13G 

Musl<rat Tracks 138 

Mink and Opossum Tracks 130 

Wisconsin Trapper — Knows Wlicrc to Set 141 

Profitahle Day's Catch 144 

Snowshoeing Over the Trappin;r Line 145 

Once Over tlie Line — White Weasel * 147 

Caught Ju-t Before a Cold Snap 149 

Bait Stealer — Bird 153 

Northern Trapper With Pack Basket 15G 

Some Northern Furs 157 

Nehraska Trapper's One Niglit Catch 161 

Night's Catch by Colorado Trapj^er 103 

Both Trappers — Father and Daughter 166 

Part of Connecticut Trapper's C '.tch 171 

Eastern Trapper's Catch 175 

Caught Where Scent Is Much Used 179 

Young Trappers Discussing See .t 182 

Teaching The Boy Art Of Trapping 184 

Trapper's Home In Colorado 188 

A Few Days' Catch 192 

The Inside Of Northern Trapper's Cahin 195 



Coyote Trapping on the Cattle Ranches 20-2 

Eastern Mink — November Caught 2<i.") 

Musk-rat House 207 

Wolf Caught at "Bank Set" 214 

Lynx Caught in Steel Trap 219 

Marten Caught in Shelf Set 221 

Shelf Set and Fastening 223 

Squirrel Caught on Stump 225 

Raccoon Caught in Oneida Jum;i 229 

Red Fox Caught at Dry Land Set 232 

Opossum Caught in No. 1 Newhouse 235 

Black Skunk in No. 1^, Victor 237 

Baited and Caught at Cubby Set 239 

There To Stay-in A Newhousc- 242 

Mountain Lion Securely Caught 243 

Beaver, Trap and Trapper 247 

Large Otter Caught in No. '■] N.uhou e 251 

Muskrat Caught in Double Jaw 255 

A INIorning's Catch Of "Rats 260 

The Black Water Marsh 26(5 

Just After the Season Opens 27() 

!">eep Water Set Trap b'astening 27ti 

Skinning a Bob Cat 27!) 

Single and Three Board Stretcher 282 



Some Stretching Patterns '2M'i 

Dakota Trapper's Method 288 

Holder For Skinning 2.''^ 

Wire Coon Method . . . . > "201 

Wire and Twig Coon Me'.ho:! 203 

Size of Stretching Boar:!s 200 

Pole Stretchers 30 ! 

Fleshing Board 3:,^^ 

Stretching Frame 31'l 

Skin on Stretcher 321 

Hoop Stretcher 323 

The Home Shanty 328 

A Line Shanty 332 

^ ^^^^^^»^, 



O those that have fol- 
k)wecl the settinu of 
Steel Trap.s there is 
a fascination or 
"f eve r'' w h i c h 
comes over them every fall about 
the time of the first frosts. The 
only remedy seems to be a few 
weeks on the trap line. 

While some look upon trapping- 
as an nnprofital)]e l)usiness, yet the 
number is l)ecoming rapidly less, 
for more and more people are 
yearly derivino- pleasure, profit and 
health from out-door life such as 
trapping-, hunting-, etc. There are 
thousands of trappers scattered 
over America who are reaping a 
harvest of fur each year from their 
Steel Traps valued at hundreds of 
dollars in addition to the healthful 
sport they enjoy. 

In some parts of Canada and the 


18 Introduction. 

Xoitlnvest a trapper iu a year 
eatclies fur the value of which to- 
,i>ether with the bouutv brings him 
• 11,000.00 to 12,000.00. Tt is said on 
pretty good authority tliat a trap- 
per in British Columbia a few years 
ago caught upwards of |(),000 worth 
of fur, principally marten, in one 

There are many thousands of 
trappers scattered from the Gulf 
of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean and 
from the Pacific to tlie Atlantic 
that make hundreds of dollars each 
year with Steel Traps. 

There is also a vast number who 
trap only a few weeks each season. 
This includes boys and faruu^rs 
after the busy season. 

The actual number engaged in 
trapping is not known. Neither is 
the actual value of the raw fur 
catch, but it is thought to exceed 
110,000,000 yearly. Is it any won- 
der then that so njany want to 
know more about Steel Traps and 

Considerable of the information 
herein in regard to traps, scent, de- 


coy, etc., is j^atluM-ctl fi-om old and 
experienced ti'ai)])ei's from all parts 
of America as well as from tlu^ 
i»reat tra]) manufacturers, Oneida 
Conimunity Ltd., so that readers 
can rely upon tlie information im- 
l)arted in this hook as heinii' trnst- 
worthy. Some hooks, pnri)ortinii; 
to he of yalne to hunters and trap- 
l)ers, are written l)y men who haye 
neyer followed a line of traps or 
heen in close touch with trappers. 

The author of this work has heen 
engaged for many years in trap- 
ping and collecting furs and has 
come into close contact with many 
of the leading trappers of the coun- 

Steel Traps are far superior to 
Snares or Deadfalls from the fact 
that they can he used for hoth land 
and water trapping while Snai-es 
and Deadfalls are adapted to Land 
TrapjDing only. 

A. I\. Harding. 




inventor of tlie Newhonse Trap 
<ire\v \i\) surrounded by the Iro- 
quois Indians of the Oneida 
Tribe; that tribe which alone 
of all the Ked men cast in their 
lot with the Americans in our great struggle for 

At an early age he learned the gunsmith's 
trade. In those days guns were all made by 
hand, and in small shops. Mr. Xewhouse soon 
became very skillful both in making and shoot- 
ing the rifle. At that time "Turkey Shoots" 
Avere very popular, and Mr. Xewhouse was al- 
Avays sure of his bird at sixty to eighty rods. 
It was a puzzle to many of the old hands how 
he managed to shoot so accurately, even when 
the wind was blowing "half a gale" till it was 
finally discovered that he had fitted his rifle 
Avitli an adjustable wind sight. This Avas one 
of his early inventions that has now come into 
common use in target shooting. 

The Indians Avere very fond of shooting at 
a mark both Avith the rifle and the bow and ar- 



Steel Tuaps. 

row, but they would seldom try conclusions with 
"Sewell" — as they all called him — for he could 
always out shoot them with the rifle, and very 


few of the tribe were as skillful as hv with the 
bow and arrow. In wrestlinii too, a favorite 
game of the day, Mr. Newhouse was morc^ than 

Si':wi:i>i. Nkwiiousk. 23 

ii iiiut<-li for the Ix'st men of liis tiiiic Itotli wliite 
and led. 

Some time before the year 1840, ^Ir. New- 
honse undertook the maniifaetiire of traps and 
so popiihir had his traps become that in 1842 
they were well known to all the tribes of the 
state, so that about this year, when a larf?e part 
of the Oneidas moved to (ireen Bay, ^Viseonsin 
Territory, an essential part of this outfit was a 
stock of Newhouse's traps. Thus their fame 
si)read to the West. 

It is related that a delegation of chiefs from 
one of the Algompiin tribes of the (Ireat Lake 
region once called at Mr. Newhouse's Shop. 
They had used some traps from a rival manufac- 
turer but were much disgusted with them for in 
the intense cold of their country the springs 
wouUl break. "As breaks the pipe of peace in 
war time." They looked over his stock of Traps, 
pr^'ssed down the springs with their moccasined 
fecc, grunted and shook their heads in disap- 
proval. Then Sewell went out to the frozen 
creek nearby, the savages watching in silence. 
He chopped out a huge piece of ice, and bringing 
it to the shop broke it into pieces which he 
threw into a large tub of water, then setting 
half a dozen of the Traps he plunged them into 
the water, and in sight of the astonished and 
pleased Red Men he sprung them all off. 


Steel Traps. 

This sc^-vere test was ciioiiiili for tlie visitors, 
and at his own \)vive 3Ir. Xewhonso sold them 
his entire stock of traps. The affair "reatly 
pleased the neiohborinp: Oneidas for well thej 
knew when their ''SewelF' made and tempered 
a trap spring- hy his secret and "magical" pro- 


cess it wonld stand n}) to its work nnder any 
and all circnmstances. 

Early in the fifties ^Ir. Xewhouse removed 
from his home at The Oneida Castle np the Val- 
ley to a spot now known as Kenwood. Here 
close by the bank of the rnshin,i> Oneida he es- 
tablished himself in a little smithey and began to 
make his famons traps on a larger scale. He 

Skwkm. Xkwhoi'si:. 25 

was s<HUi after assislcd l»y some of tlir iiiccliaiii's 
of the Oiu'ida Association -- as the old Oneida 
Conuininity was then called — of which Mr. New- 
house had heconie a member. In a few years it 
became evident from the increasing demand tliat 
the business must be enlarued and a small fac- 
tory was built for tlie i»urpose. 

Still the demand continued to increase as the 
Community beuan to send out an aii'ent to solicit 
orders in the Went. The great Hudson Bay 
Company sent in some large orders a custom ])y 
the way, which they have continued annually 
from that early time until the present day. 

^ifore shops were erected, water power and 
special machinery were intrwluced but still the 
demand outgrew the supply, till finally the Com- 
munity was obliged to build on a much larger 
scale at the present site of its factory, where 
the waters of Sconondoa Creek furnished for a 
long time ample power for the business. 

Here 3Ir. Newhouse for many years after he 
ceased to work at the bench and forge, spent his 
time in perfecting the manufacture and in the 
general oversight and inspection of the work. 
With the eye of a lynx he was ever alert to see 
that no trap bearing his name went out of th(^ 
factory except in perfect condition. Here be- 
fore he left this world for his long, long rest he 
carefullv educated and trained a number of men 


SStkel TiLvrs. 

to coutiuiie the Itiisiiicss Avith tlio same pains- 
takhijLi' sjnrit lie had so long' maintaiued. 

Tlie Trap illustrated here is one of the earli- 
est made by S. Xewhoiise after the business was; 
established in the Oneida roinmnnitv Shops 
abont the vear 1853. 


Every piece was hand fori>ed from wrought 
iron or steel. It-^^as roughly but strongly made 
and has endured for oyer half a eentur3\ This 
trap belonged to one of the pioneers of Wiscon- 
sin who had used it for many years. It is still 
in good working order, the spring being as liyelj 
as on the day Mr, Newhouse so carefully and 
skillfully forged and tempered it. 



^ MOXG the first requisites and 
of the utmost impoi'taiiee to 
snccessfnl tra])])in<i' is the 
possession of au outfit of 
irrlJ iikkIc >S7f'r/ Trnpsi. 

That tlie young trappers 
may understand what arc 
ihe re(piisites of a good trap y\e \\\\\ descril)e in 
detail one ihhi lidz held its own in the estimation 
of the professional trappers for sixty years, an<l 
then we ^vill endeayor to point out ^\herem the 
many so-called ''improyements," that haye been 
put on the market, haye uniformly failed of sur-- 

Whai the main spring is to a watch, a tra]) 
spring is to a trap, and unless the spring is made 
of a i)roperly compounded steel and is of the 
right form and ])roportion and correctly tem- 
])ered it will surely fail and make the whole trn]> 
worse than useless. 

Certain mixtures of pig iron are use<l in 
making spring steel and if these mixtures are 
varied from in any particular or if the steel has 
a surplus of carbon, or is deficient in that ele- 



Sti:ki> Tkai's. 

iiicMit, it will not t;ik(^ a i)rop('i- tiMiipcr and con- 
se(inently is of no valne. A proper niani])nlation 
in the rollin"' mill is also necessar}', or the steel 
may he entirely mined in rollinji'. 

A j[>()od spring when set should show a near'v 
nniforni curve throu^hont. This indicates thai 
it is ])i'operly tai)ered so as to hrinu a nniforni 
strain on the steid. The lastinu (pialities of a 

A w i:i.i. ;\i.\i)i: ikai'. 

sprini;' are i>reatly de})endent on the coi-rectness 
of this point. 

The "hows" or holes in the sprinji' ninst he 
of a ]n*oportion to properly tit the jaws and have 
such u "twist" as will allow them to He fiat when 
set, and the temper must he so moderated as n')t 
to he brittle or "hii'h", otherwise tlu'y may hreak 
if S])rnn;Li- without anythjnii between the jaws. 
Foi- it is well known that it is a mu<-h haider 
strain on any tra]> to l>e sjji-nn.ii thus than to snap 
on to the leii <»f an animal. 

Well Madi: Traps. 29 

Anotlior very iiuportant tliini>- is to have the 
.streui>th of the .si)i'ini;- pioijortioiicd to the size of 
the tiaj), for an exeessiv(^Iy stilV spi-inj;- is iiio^'e 
ai^^t tp hreak the leg bone of the animal and in- 
crease the liability of "legging'' as the trappers 
call it, while a very weak spring may allow a 
vigorous animal to draw its foot out, especially 
if caught low down. 

And last but more important than anything 
else, the s])ring must have just the right temper, 
for a bad tempered trap spring is like a bad tem- 
pered wife, a worse than useless incumbrance. 
And do not let the tyro imagine that it is easy 
to temper a trap spring, for it reipiires a long 
experience and very expensive and carefully 
studied conditions and apparatus to produce 
anything like uniform results. 

Few persons realize the unusually trying 
conditions under which a trap spring has to do 
its work, and it is safe to say that no mechanical 
contrivance performs its functions with greater 
precision than a well made and tempered trap 

A No. 1 spring Aveighs less than three ounces 
and will exert a force of between 70 and 80 lbs., 
and one of these has been known to remain un- 
der strain for over thirty years and then spring 
as promptly as though just set. 

The jaw of a trap should haA-e a good Avide 

30 Steel Traps. 

beariiii;' surface, otherwise it will be apt to break 
the aniiiiars leii' bone, a calamity always to be 
avoided, esi^ecially in dry land trapping, for as 
before remarked "legging;" is thus likely to fol- 
low. Anything like a sharp cutting edge or a 
saw tooth is especially objectionable, for our ob- 
ject in catching an animal is to obtain its fur 
and not to amputate its limbs. As a prevention 
of "legging" the Nos. 81, 91, 91^ traps, described 
elsewhere, are especially designed. The pintle 
or end bearings of the jaws should tit loosely in 
the holes to allow for rusting and a little freez- 
ing, and there should also be a slight end play 
for the same reason. 

Tlie weight and strength of a jaw should be 
sufficient to jirevent it from being sprung or bent 
enough to throw it out of its bearing when it is 
set or when sprung by the animal. 

Much diversity of opinion obtains regarding 
the proportionate sizei of the pan or treadle. 
Some trappers like a large pan similar to that 
used in the Jump trap, but it is safe to say that 
the greater majority, especially among the old 
and experienced trappers, prefer the smaller 
sizes, and for obvious reasons. When an animal 
ste])s on a suiall pan he is caught to stay, but 
with a largo one he may he "nipped" or his foot 
may be thrown out altogether. At any rate his 
education lias been immense! v advanced and it 

W'kij, Madi; Tu.M's. 

^ 1 

will take a trajJixM- willi a "loin; licad" to i^ct 
him into a trap iioxt time. 

The pan shonld fit loosely in its bearinjx foi' 
as is well known, i-nstinii- increases the size of a 
pieee of iion and as there are fonr surfaces to 
rnst in a ]>an hearing, ample room must be left. 

This trap was 
made about 1875 
and no part had 
given way from 
the t r e mendous 


a good 



The dog or latch shonld be thick and narrow 
rather than wide, as presenting less surface for 
the animal to step on. It should be curved and 
pointed in such a way as to hold up the pan but 
so as to "go ol¥" "easy" or "hard" in proportion 
to the size of the animal trapped for. This is a 
nice point for each trapper to decide for him- 
self and it is this susceptibility to adjustment 

32 Steel Tuai's. 

by ciirviug or straigliteuing the dog- that makes 
this old "trigger arrangement'' superior to any 
other that has been invented. Of course, the 
cross and bottom pieces must be made in propor- 
tion to the other parts of the trap and the ex- 
perienced trapper or ins])ector knows how to so 
bend them as to iiiakc^ them conform correctly 

The cliain shouhl be strong enough to hold 
any aninuil for which the trap is designed. 

It goes without saying that a good swivel is 
indis])ensable, as well as a reliable ring and 
wedge for fastening, and the "S'" Hook some- 
times furnished will be found very convenient; as 
a means for attaching the trap to a drag. 



E present herewith a few pho- 
tos taken from a collection of 
experimental traps aiid will 
endeavor to point out wherein 
these failed to prove them- 
selves of practical vahie. 
This trap was sometimes 
called the "Bob Tail" on account of its lack of a 
dog, and this feature was thought to be a valu- 
able one as there was nothino- to throw the ani- 


mal's foot out, but it was found to lie deficient 
in that it was not sensitive enough and it lacked 
any adjustability in its setting device. 

This model was put on the market and sold 
for some time and seemed to be a very good 

3 83 


Stekl Tkai's. 

Imp. It was discovered, however, that the bear- 
ing of the pan was too h)w down for a delicate 


set and also sometimes cansed tronble by freez- 
ing in mud. 

This trap was at one time thought to be good 
and Avas tried by man\ tra])pers. It was found. 


however, to be very faulty in many respects. The 
bearing of the pan lay flat in the mud and would 
freeze. The setting device lacked anv kind of 

A Few Fau.uues. 35 

adjustability and niij^lit either go off so hard that 
nothiiiii' could spriuj;' it or so easily that it would 
not stay set at all. The jaws which were made 
of thin sheet steel were not durable. 

In this trap the method of attachin*;- the pan 
was changed and the jaws were rendered more 


durable, but as the holding edges were made 
much thinner they were more liable to cut the 
animal's legs and on the whole the trap was not 

This trap was invented to do away with the 


36 Steel Traps. 

throwini>- out motion of the dog. It accomplished 
it, however, at such a sacrifice of other valuabk' 
features as to render it a useless invention. Its 
pan like others mentioned was liable to freeze up 
and it also lacked in easy adjustability and sensi- 
tiveness. Few of them were sold as they did not 
meet the approval of trapi)ers of experience. 

A Double Jaw Trap was made Avithout a dog- 
as shown by the setting device, although inge- 


nious in construction, was not sensitive. The 
holding power of the double jaw was good, es- 
pecialy in a dry land set, as all know who have 
tried the Xewhouse No. 91 or 91^. 

This trap was designed by ;i man who thought 
it desirable to fasten the l;ait to the pan. Only 
a novice at irapping would think of doing such 
a thing as that, as drawing the animal's atten- 
tion to the trap is sure to excite his suspicion 
and to catch him by the head is not desirable, 
even if possible. A couimon trap is quite certain 

A VvAV I'\mh:uks. 


to only uip liiin and sli]) olf. The trap as will 
be seen could be used also like a common one, 


but presented a very a\vkA\ard appearance. A 
few exi)erienced trappers gave it a trial but none 
of tliem seemed to fayor it. 

This style was never put on the marker. 
There have been invented quite a number of 


traps that have no cross piece but we do not 
know that any of them have been sold. 


SOME ki'koim:ax traps. 

German Fo.r Trap. 

HE tilt beknv iTpiesents a Ger- 
iiiaii Trap, as made at the pre- 
sent time, and there are several 
German makers of simihir tra])s. 
Thev are mostly liaiid made and 
vary slij^htly in style of construction from one 
anotlier. The sizes cover all tlio different fnr- 


bearing animals, but the traps are ciumsily 
made and much more expensive than those of 
American Manufacture. 


Some Eluui'kax Tkai's. 


It Avill be observed lliat the Pan is very lar<;e, 
in fact, it so neai-iy tills tlie sjtace between the 
jaws, that there is quite a i^ood cliance that an 
animal would be thrown clear of the jaws when 
si)rin,iiin|Li' it. The setting- devise has no delicacy 
of adjustment and the fnlcrnm of the i)an is so 
low down it would be very likcdy to fi-ee/,e solid 
in the mud. 

These traps are all provided with many lar<ie 
sharp teeth, and if the animal is cauoht hioh 
up they may do i>Teat injury to a valuable pelt. 

English Rabbit Trap. 
This, remarkably clumsy lookinj;- concern is 
made in Enj'land and is used mostly in Austra- 
lia and New Zealand for catching rabbits, which 
have become such a pest in those far away ''Is- 
lands of the Sea." 


40 Steel Traps. 

The Australian rabbit trappers are mostly of 
English descent and like their forefathers are 
very conservative in their ideas, so in spite of 
its many defects, they stick to tlie nse of this 
antiqnated machine. 

Notice the size of the pan almost filling the 
opening- in the jaw, width of the dog both tend- 
ing to throw ont the animal's foot. The sharp 
toothed jaws with tliin cutting edges so apt to 
brealv the bone and lielp the rabbit to free itself. 

Note also the. short half spring which the 
tra])pers say will not endure more than one or 
two years use and which is stationary and sets 
high up, thus making it hard to conceal. 

That there is need of something better than 
this to keep down these pests, may be believed, 
for it is stated that in. spite of the fact that over 
two million dollars worth of their pelts and flesh 
are shipped to Europe annually, they are still 
on the increase. 

They have lately made their appearance in 
regions hitherto free from them. Owing to the 
enormous fecundity, they soon take nearly com- 
plete possession of a place as it is calculated 
that one pair may increase to about two million 
in a couple of years. Until the trappers adopt 
some more efficient trap it is difiQcult to see how 
they are to make much headway against this 
scourge of the land. 



11 A V 1» E It 8 have done 
uiiicli, by pusluii«>' into 
the wilderness after fnr- 
bearing animals and 
game, to advance civi- 
lization. Had the slower 
piirsnits of logging, 
farming, etc., been depended upon the United 
States and Canada today would not be nearly so 
far advanced as they are. While in sections, 
the larger game is gone j^et there is in parts of 
the North, ATest and South, much good trapping 
territory that will pay the hardy trapper for 
years to come. Even in the more thickly settled 
districts, trapping can be made a good paying 
business if the correct sizes are used and trap- 
pers pay attention to the proper season to trap. 
It seems that red fox, skunk and muskrat 
remain about as numerous in most sections as 
ever. In fact, the red fox in certain sections 
has only made its appearance of late years — 
since the country has become more thickly 
settled. Trappers in most sections can rest as- 
sured that they will have game to trap for years 
to come. 



Steei. Tkai's. 

In the rapid development of tlie country 
steel traps have ])layed a wonderful i)art. They 
have subdued the monster bear and have caught 
millions of the small fur-bearing animals, add- 
ing largely to the annual income of the trapper. 


Steel traps have been in use for more than one 
hundred years but for many years after invented 
they were so expensive that they were not gen- 
erally used. 

Of late years they have become cheaper, ow- 
ing to the increased facilities of those great trap 

Proper Sizes. 43 

inaniifactniri's, the Oneida ('oiiiininiitv, who 
nic always lookiiiii' to trapi)er,s' interest by add- 
ing new and improved methods of maniifaetnre 
as well as new traps to the extensive line already 
mannfactni'ed so that now their nse has become 
general; in fact, the price is now so reasonable 
that the trapper, on his first expedition, can have 
a fnll snpply. The ])rofessionaI trajjper, who in 
the North, spends from seven to nine months 
in the woods has a snpply of these traps, rang- 
ino from the smallest to the largest. His needs 
are snch too that all of them are in nse dnring 
the trap])ing season. A trapper can nse from 
50 to 250 traps. 

Trappers, as a rule, know what game they 
are going to trap and consequently the number 
of each kind or size required. If he is after 
bear, otter or beaver, etc., he can not use and 
tend as many as if he were trapping smaller 
game, such as skunk, mink, opossum, raccoon 
and muskrat. 

Traps are made in various sizes. The small- 
est, No. 0, is used for catching rats principally, 
while the largest. No. 6, is for the grizzly bear. 
Other sizes and the game to which they are 
adapted are :No. 1, known as the muskrat trap, 
but will hold mink, skunk, marten, etc. The 
jaws spread 4 inches. No. 81, size of No. 1 with 
web jaws for muskrat, mink and skunk. No. 

44 Steel Traps. 

91, size No. 1 with double jaws for muslvi'at and 
skimlv. No. 1| mink rat, but will hold stronger 
game. The jaws spread 4| inches. No. 91-J, 
size of No. 1^ with double jaws for mink and 
skunk. No. 2 fox trap, also used for coon. No, 
2^2 otter with teeth ; No. 24^ same as No. 2^ with- 
out teeth; No. 3 for otter and coyote; No. 3^ 
extra large single spring otter Avith teeth; No. 
31^ same as No. 3^ without teeth; No. 23 otter 
with clutch; No. 4 wolf and beaver; No. 14 
beavers with offset jaw and teeth ; No. 24 beaves 
with clutch; No. 4^ timber wolves and moun- 
tain lion ; No. 50 small bear ; No. 150 small bear 
with offset jaw; No. 5 black bear; No. 6 grizzly 
bear. These are the well known Newhouse 
brand being by far the best trap made. This 
brand is put out in twenty-five different sizes. 

The weight per dozen of Newhouse traps 
given below will give a better idea of the rela- 
tive sizes of these traps : No. weighs 6^ pounds; 
No. 1, 9:^ pounds; No. 1^, 13 pounds; No. 2, 17 
pounds ; No. 3, 23 pounds ; No. 4, 33 pounds ; No. 
2^, 23f pounds; No. 4^, 98 pounds; No. 50, 132 
pounds; No. 5, 135 pounds; No. 6, 504 pounds. 
A single trap of the No. 6 weighs 42 pounds 
and it can be readily seen that they are very 

The Newhouse is the strongest trap made 
and in fact the best for all fur-bearing animals. 


46 Steel Traps. 

A No. 1 Xewhoiise is equal in holding power to a 
No. 1} of other brands. 

The followin.i;- lettei's, from trappers of ex- 
perience will be found of interest as bearing on 
the subject of proper sizes : 

"In buying your traps, do not get too large 
a ti-ap for tlie animal von wish to catch. I know 
an old ti-ap])('r that has tra])p('(l for forty years 
and all he uses for muskrat is a No. Newhouse 

''A i-at does not gnaw the foot oft as many 
tra]»])ers will tell you, but the forefoot is very 
tender and as a rat always struggles very hard 
when caught, it does not take very long to twist 
the foot off if the tra]) is not set so the rat 
will di-own. Different trappers have different 
ways of fastening the traps v\hen trapping for 

"T use a No. 1 Newhouse traj) for mink and 
a No. H for skunk. T notice that the Newhouse 
p(M)ple have a new tra]) called the ''We1>bed Jaw 
Trap''. I think this an excellent trap to use in 
very cold weather." 

''Yes, these otter trajxs are ipiite heavy. No. 
o^ Newhouse, but are sure to hold," \\rites a 
New England tra])]H'r who is being accompanied 
by a yonng trap])er. "'You asked me what the 
raise plate was for; it is for the otter to hit as 
he passes over, as you see he is very short legged, 

PitorER SizKs. 47 

Mild the plate sets liijiher lliaii the teeth on jaws 
of Irap, and it will answer other jjiirposes, as 
yon will see Avhen yon set them. These otter 
and hear tra]»s are allrijiht and the animal that 
steps on the pan Avill stay or leave a foot. We 
hav(» 9 otter and 4 bear traps. Let ns look at 
fox traps. We have 25 "jnmpers", No. 2-^ ; these 
are riiiht for dry sets. Here are 25 No. 3 New- 
lionse for water sets. No. 2 Newhouse is jnst 
rii^ht for eoon and fisher." 

Trappers in statin^- the size traps that they 
use for a certain animal show quite a difference. 
Some use a No. 1 Newhouse for coon while 
others use the No. 2 and as this is a double 
spring', the holdinci: power is fully three times 
as much as the No. 1. 

In the Northern states where the coon urows 
much larger than in the South and Southwest, 
the No. 2 Newhouse is the trap. In the South 
the No. 1| Newhouse is a i>ood mink trap as is 
also the No. 1^ Victor and No. 2 Oneidi Jump. 

The proper size trap to use for a certain ani- 
mal, varies under different conditions. If the 
trapper is reasonably certain that no other spe- 
cies of animal than the one trapped for frequents 
the place then the best size for the animal be- 
in£>- set for is the trap to use. 

On the other hand, should the tra])per have 
cut some traps for skunk, which need not be 


Steei. Trats. 

larger than No. 1 of the best or Newhoiise va- 
riety, and any of the dens are visited by fox a 
hirger trap shoidd be used. If trapping for rats 
and vou come to "rat signs" and also where 


there are coon and mink signs, a trap large 
enough to hold either should be set. 

If blind or trail sets ate made, it is well to 
have the trap sufficiently strong for the largest 

Proper Sizes. 49 

animal using- it. Often different animals use the 
same trail or path leading fi'om one den to an- 
other or to a. log across a stream, etc. 

Elsewhere a complete description of the var- 
ious makes and sizes of traps to use is given and 
also full instructions about setting, fastening, 
etc. This embraces the view of the manufac- 
ture, the trapper and of the author who has 
had years of experience and should be of great 
value to inexperienced users of Steel Traps. 



N or about 1823 tlie first Newlionse 
trajjs were made. At that early 
date only a few of the smaller 
sizes were mainifactiired but 
these have been adde<l to until 
now the famous Newhouse trap 
is manufactured in twenty-five 
different sizes. The smallest, No. 0, for rats 
and the largest, No. G, for grizzly bear. These 
with the various intermediate sizes are adapted 
to catching all varieties of the fur-bearing and 
game animals of the world. In fact, it is said 
that the No. G will hold any living animal ex- 
cei)ting the elephant. 

Under this heading the various makes of this 
tra]) are described; excepting the Double and 
Webbed Jaw, which are described in another 

Considerable of the description as given here 
is from the trap catalog of the Oneida Commu- 
nity, Oneida, N. Y., manufacturers of the New- 
house trap. For we believe that inasmuch as 
they have for more than half a century manu- 
factured traps (during which time they have 
kept up a large correspondence with trappers 


Newhousi: Tuai's. 


in all parts of North America) much weight 
should he liiveii their views. 

This, the No. 0, is tlic smallest size made. 
Spread of Jaws, 3^ inches. It is used largely 


for catching gophers and house rats. It has a 
sharp grip and will hold larger game, but should 
not be overtaxed. 

This, the No. 1, has a spread of jaws of 4 
inches. This trap is used for catching musk- 
rat and other small animals and sold in greater 



Steel Tuaps. 

numbers thau any other size. Its use is well 
understood by professional tcappers and it is 
the most serviceable size for catehinc; skunks, 
weasels, rats and sueh other animals as visit 
poultry houses and Itariis. 

This trai) is one that ean be used to good 
advanta<ie for other small fur-bearinji' animals. 
Trappers use lar<>e numbers of this size for 
muskrat, mink, o])ossum, civet and marten. 
Fox, coon, lynx and wihl cat are often caui[>ht 
in this trap but we do not advise its use for 
these lariie animals. 

This trap, No. H, has a S]>read of jaws of 
4| inches. This size is called the "^link Trap" 


but it is, however, suitable for catching wood- 
chucks, skunks, coon, etc. Professional trap- 

Newhotsi: Tua rs. 


pers often use it for catch iii.u,- foxes. It is very 
convenieut in form and is stronj? and reliable. 

In some states where sknnks "row very lar.^e, 
snch j'.s in parts of Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, 
:\rinnesota and the Dakotiis, as vrell as other 
Northwestern sections this trap is much used. 

One advantai»e in using a trap of this size 
for mink is that they are caught high up and 
if by one of the front legs they are pretty sure 
to be dead before the arrival of the trapper. 
If used for mink at a water set, the animal gen- 
erally soon drowns. 

This trap, the No. 2, has a spread of jaws 
of 4| inches, being the same as No. 1^, but hav- 



ing two springs, it is, of course, much stronger. 
This size is commonly known as the "Fox Trap."' 
This trap is often used for taking badger, fisher 
and CO vote. 


Steel Traps. 

Ti'a])i)ors sometimes remove one spring and 
use it for large coon, Avoodclnick and even for 
fox as some think with two springs the trap is 
too strong. 

This, the No. o, has a spread of jaws of 54 
inches. It is designated as the "Otter Trap." 


It is a very powerful tra]) and will liold almost 
any game smaller than a bear. 

This trap is used for taking beaver and also 
to some extent for small wolves and coyotes. 

This, the No. 4, has a spread of jaws of 6| 
inches. This is the regular form of Wolf Trap. 
It is longer than the No. 3 and has one inch 
greater spread of jaws. It is a favorite with 
those who trap and hunt for a living in the 
Northwest and Canada. It is extensivelv used 

Ni:wiioi'SK Tkai's. 


for trapping- tlie wolves and coyotes in the west- 
ern stock raising regions. 


This, the No. 2^, has a spread of jaws of 
G| inches. This is a single spring trap as 
shown. In some localities the otter grows to 
an unusual size, with great propoi'tional 



Steel Traps. 

strength, so that the manufacturers have been 
led to produce an especially large and strong 
pattern. The parts are heavier than the No. 
3, the spread of jaws is greater and tlie spring 

Tlie jaws are equipped with teeth to keep 
the otter from getting free when once caught. 
The pan is also furnished with a raised plate 
which can be taken off if desired. 

This, the No. 3^, has a spread of jaws of 
5 inches. This trap is for otter, but is used 
more especialh^ for catching them on their 

NO. M. ()1 


"slides." For this purpose a thin raised plate 
of steel is adjusted to the pan so that when 
the trap is set tlie plate will be a trifle higher 
than the teeth on the jaws. The spring is very 
powerful, being the same as used on the No. 4 
Xewhouse Trap. If desired, the raised plate 
can be detached, making the trap one of gen- 
eral utility. 

Newhouse Tu.vrs. 


Single Sprino No. 21^ has a spread of jaws 
of 5^ inches. This trap is tl>e same as No. 2| 


hut is without teeth or IJaised Plate as some 
trappers i)refer it in this style. 

No. 31^ Newhouse Trap is also a single 
spring being same as No. 34 but without Teeth 
or KaisiHl Plate. Spread of jaws 6| inches. 

These traps, Nos. 21^ and 31|, are the largest 
smooth jaw, single spring sizes that are made. 
Professional trappers will find them especially 
valuable when on a long trapping line, as they 
are more compact and easier to secrete than 
double spring traps. The springs on these traps 
are made extra heavy. 

The No. 21^ is practically a single spring 
No. 3 and the No. 31| a single spring No. 4. 


Steel Traps. 

These traps are used for such animals as otter, 
beaver, wolf, wolverine, fisher and have been 
known to catch and hold ^fountain Lion. 

This trap is known as No. 14 and has a 
spread of jaws of 6^ inches. This trap is the 
same in size as No. 4 Wolf but has heavier and 


stiffer springs and offset jaws, which allow the 
springs to raise higher when the animal's leg- 
is in the trap, and it is furnished with teeth 
sutticieutly clOvSe to i)revent the animal from 
pulling its foot out. The weight of this style 
is about 3^ pounds each. 

This trap is known as "Detachable Clutch 
Trap." The trap can be used with or without it. 
It is made in two sizes Nos. 23 and 24. No. 23 
known as the "Otter Clutch" has a spread of 
jaws of 5^ inches; No. 24 known as the "Beaver 
Clutch'' has a spread of jaws of Q^ inches. 

Newhousk Tuats. 



This trap is kDOwn as the No. 4| or ^'New- 
lioiise Si)ecial Wolf Tra])/' It was put on the 
niarlvet to liieet the demands of trappers for 


a new model of the Newhonse Ti-ap especiali}' 
designed for eai)tnrinii the hirge tindiei- wolves 
and mountain lions of the stock raising sec- 
tions of the West. 


Steel Traps. 

This trap lias a spread of jaws of 8 iiiclies. 
It is substantially made tliruout and is provided 
with a pronged ''drag," a heavy snap, an extra 
heavy steel swivel and a chain, five feet long, 
warranted to hold 2,00.) pounds. Th!s traj) 
complete with cliain and "drag" weighs about 
9 pounds. 

This trap is known as No. 50, spread of jaws 
9 inches. It is intended for catching suuill sized 
bears. In design it is exactlv like the stand- 


ard No. 5 Bear Trap, only that the parts are 
all somewhat smaller. Weight, 11 1 pounds 
each. This trap is also used for catching Moun- 
tain Lion. 

This trap is known as No. 1.50, spread of 
jaws, 9 inches. It is similar to No. .50, ex- 
cepting that the jaws are offset, making a space 
five-eights inch between them. This allows the 
springs to come up higher when the bear's foot 
is in the trap and thus secure a better grip. 
The chance of breaking the bones in the foot 
are also lessened. Weight, 11] pounds each. 




This trap is Imown as No. 5 or Black Bear. 
The spread of jaws is llf inches. Weight of 


trap 19 pounds. It is furnished with a very 
heavy and strong cable chain. 

Bear trappers whether in the Canadian 
Wilds, the Swamps of the Southern States or 
among the Rocky or Appalachian :\rountains, 
speak of the Ko. 5 as the Standard Trap. They 
are used principally for catching the Black 

This trap is known as No. 15, spread of jaws 
llf inches. To meet the views of certain trap- 
pers whose judgment is respected, the manu- 


Steel Traps. 

factiii-ers designed a style of jaw for the No. 5 
trap, making an offset of f of an inch so as to 


allow the springs to come up higher when the 
bear's leg is in the trap. This gives the spring 
a better grip. This trap weighs about 19 

This is known as the No. 6 or Grizzly Bear 
Trap and has a spread of jaws of IG inches. 


It weighs complete, 42 pounds. This is the 
strongest trap made. The manufacturers say 

Newhousk TkaI'S. 


they' have never heard of ajiythinjij gcttin*'' out 
of it when onee eauglit. It is often ealh^l the 
"Great Bear TaiiKM-." 

This traj) is also nsed in Asia and Africa 
for catchinjj;- lions and tigers. In fact the trap 
will hold any animal with the exception of the 
elephant and it will hold even that animal ex- 
cepting possibly the larger ones. 

This cnt illustrates Bear Trap Chain Clevis 
and Bolt, intended as a substitute for the ring 
on the end of the trap chain, when desired. 


With this clevis a loop can be made around 
any small log or tree without the trouble of 
cutting to fit the ring. The chain is made five 
feet long suitable for any clog and the prices 
of bear traps fitted with it are the same as 
with the regular short chain and ring. 


Steel Traps. 

There is danger attached to setting the large 
traps when alone in addition to its being rather 
diflficiilt, especially in cold weather, when the 
fingers are stiff. Should the trapper be in a 
boat the setting is still more difficult, 

A clamp (as shown) applied to each spring 
will, by a few turns of the thumb-screws, bend 
the springs to their places, so that the pan may 


be adjusted without difficulty. No. 4 clamp can 
be used on any trap smaller than No. 4|. No. 
5 and 6 are strong clamps, carefully made and 
especially adapted to setting the large traps Nos. 
4^, 50, 150, 5, 15 and 6. They do away with 
the inconvenience and dangerous use of levers. 
With clamps a trapper can easily and safely set 
these powerful traps. These clamps also come 
handy about the camp for other purposes. 



'O trapper should go into the woods 
without providing himself with an 
outfit of traps to meet any of the 
varying emergencies that are likely 
to arise. For instance, along a deep 
stream it is generally easy to arrange 
a common trap so that by drowning the animal 
it will answer every purpose, but in a very small 
or shallow stream this is sometimes a difficult 
thing to accomplish. In such a case if the trapper 
has provided himself with a Webbed or Double 
Jawed Trap his chances of finding the game 
awaiting him on his return will be greatly in- 

For a dry land set, especially on skunk, the 
Double Jaw will be found very effective. The 
fact that it catches ver\^ high up and also en- 
tirely prevents self-amputation is greatly in its 

For foxes, which are often taken by the dry 
land method, the Double Jawed of a size corre- 
sponding to the regular No. 1^ is getting to be 
a very popular trap. 
5 65 

G() Sti;i:l Tkai's. 

So, as we said before, each trapper, tlio re- 
lying mainly on the old and well tried lines, 
should provide himself with a few of these odd 
styles and thus add greatly to his versatility of 
resources, that he may compete successfully with 
the ever increasing cunning of the many four- 
footed fur bearers of stream and forest. 

Trappers for years have contended that cer- 
tain animals would gnaw out of traps, especiallj' 
where the bone was broken by the jaws and the 
flesh had become numb from the pressure or from 

It is known that skunks especially will gnaw 
at that portion of the foot or leg below jaws of 
trap. Where trappers have a long line of traps 
and cannot visit them every day they thus lose 
a number of animals. 

The Webbed and Double Jaw prevent the 
gnawing out from the fact that the animal can 
only gnaw to the lower jaw or web and is not 
able to get at the flesh between the jaws or un- 
der the web. - 

Another animal that these traps are especi- 
ally adapted for is the muskrat. This animaFs 
legs especially the front ones, are very tender 
(both bone and flesh). A trap that breaks the 
bone, (unless the animal is soon drowned) may 
escape by the flesh of the leg twisting off in its 

Double and AA'eb Jaw Tuaps. 


endeavors to c^ot free. iNIuskrats do not gna^v 
oft" tlieir feet as some suppose. 

This, the Webbed Jaw, known as Xo. 81 has 
spread of Jaws of fonr inelies. This is one of the 


Newhouse makes and corresponds in size to the 
regular No. 1. Newhouse. 

If trappers will observe the cross section of 
the jaws, as illustrated at the left, it is plain the 
animal can onlv gnaw oft' its leg at a point tjuite 
a distance below tlie meeting edges of the jaws. 
The flesh above the jaws as well as below will 
swell making it impossible for the animal to pull 
the leg stump out of the trap. 


Steel Traps. 

This, the Double Jaw, is manufactured in 
two sizes ; namely, 91 Avith spread of jaws of 5^ 
inches; Xo. dl^ with spread of jnws of 6| 


inches. The No. 91 correspondent in size to the 
regular No. 1 Newhouse, while the No. 91| cor- 
responds to the regular No. 1| Newhouse with 
the exception of the jaws. 

The Doubie Jaw traps are so constructed that 
they catch the animal high up on the leg. It is 
no uncommon occurrence for the trapper to find 
mink and other small animals dead when caught 
in this trap by the fore foot. It is supposed that 
the circulation of blood thus retarded stops the 
action of the heart. 

Double and ^^l■A', Jaw Tkaps. 69 

These traps are set the same as other steel 
traps, and directions given elsewhere apply to 
these as well. 

While the Webbed and Double Jaw traps 
were little known prior to 1905, trappers have 
been quick to see the advantage derived from 
using them. The Double Jaw has taken even 
better than the Webbed Jaw. 

The manufacturers had expected skunk trap- 
pers largely to be the buyers and this would in- 
clude roughly speaking the section east of the 
Rocky Mountains, south of Manitoba and Quebec 
and north of the States bordering on the Gulf of 
Mexico. But the demand sprung up from all 
parts of America. This shows that trappers are 
finding these traps good ones for other animals 
than skunks and muskrats for which they were 
especially designed. 

The fact that trappers found out about these 
traps so quickly is due largely to that up-to-date 
trappers' magazine — Hunter-Trader-Trapper, 
published at Columbus, Ohio, and which reaches 
trappers in all parts of America. The Oneida 
Community, Ltd., Oneida, X. Y., manufacturers 
of these traps were and are liberal users of ad- 
vertising space in the Hunter-Trader-Trapper to 
let trappers know of improvements in the trap 
line that are of value to them. 


Steel Traps. 

Double and Web Jaw Traps. 71 

If yon have never tried any of the No. 81, 
wliich is the Webbed Jaw, or Nos. 91 or 91i-, the 
Double Jaw, we feel sure that you are not famil- 
iar with traps that will increase your catch. We 
believe that all trappers should have at least a 
few of these traps. 



N the Victor is a good trap cousi ti- 
ering the cheap price at which it i;> 
sold and as the nianufactnrers say: 
"Is the most popular trap in the 

While professional trappers ms 
^^" largely the Xewhouse, yet in thickly 
settled sections and where trappers are con- 
stantly bothered by trap "lifters," the Victor is 
much used. While the trap is sold at a A^ery 
low price, yet it is the best trap manufactured 
in the regular or long spring trap, with the ex- 
ception of Newhouse, or H. & N. 

The Victor is manufactured in six sizes and 
each is adapted to the following use : No. 0, rat 
or gopher; No. 1, muskrat; No. 1^, mink; No. 
2, fox ; No. 3, otter ; No. 4, beaver. The Nos. 0, 
1 and 1| are single spring; Nos. 2, 3 and 4, 
double. The illustration showing No. 1 repre- 
sents also Nos. and 1| as they are different 
only in size. The illustration showing No. 4 rej)- 
resents Nos. 2 and 3 also as they are different 
only in size. 

These traps are not so strong in any part as 


Victor and Hawley & Norton Traps. 73 

the Xewlioiise and trappers f-lioiild bear this iu 
mind when settinu- for the various animals. 


The Xo, 1| known as the mink trap is also a 
splendid mnskrat trap, having greater spread of 
jaws than the X'o. 1 and being- heavier than the 
Xo. 1 is just right to catch and drown rats. 

The X'os. 2, 3 and 4 are all double spring and 
made for fox, otter and beaver and while trap- 
pers catch large numbers of these animals in 
Victor traps, yet the more experienced ones 
prefer the Xewhouse traps even at the advanced 

The Victor is used largely for taking the 
smaller fur bearers. It is sold in large quanti- 
ties in all parts of the United States and Can- 

The Hawley & Xorton is made only in six 


Steel Traps. 

sizes: Nos. 0, 1 and 1| single spring; Nos. 2, 3. 
and 4, double spring. 


A lighter grade of stock is used in manufac- 
turing these traps so that they can be made 
somewhat cheaper than the Xewhouse and altho 
not as strong, thev are a good reliable trap. 



HIJ.E the Jump Trap has been 
ill use iu the Eastern part of 
the United States for upwards 
of fifty years, principalh^ in 
the New Enghind and Sea 
Coast States, the use of these 
traps in all parts of the coun- 
try did not become general until a few j^ears ago. 
The trap derives its name "•Jump" from the 
fact that the spring is so arranged that when the 
trap is touched off or sprung by an animal or 
otherwise, it "Jumps", thus catching the animal 
high up on the leg. Trappers that have not 
used these traps express doubts of their "Jump- 
ing" and catching high on the animal's leg, 
but hundreds of letters received by the manu- 
facturers from trappers and also published in 
the Hunter-Trader-Trapper prove that they do 

The manufacturers claim these points in 
their favor. They are somewhat lighter than the 
regular form of double spring traps and the trap- 
per going far into the woods can carry a greater 
number; they set much flatter; can be set in 


76 Steel Traps. 

smaller space; springs are out of the way as no 
spring extends beyond the jaws; pans are large 
so that no animal .can step between the jaAVS 
without springing the tra]). The traps are set 
much the same as other steel traps. 

The B. & L, trap is manufactured in six sizes, 
viz; Nos, 0, 1 and 2, single spring; Nos. 2^, 3 
and 4 double spring. 

Some 3'ears ago the Oneida Community, Ltd.^ 
Oneida, N. Y., began manufacturing a "Jump'' 
trap which is known as the "Oneida Jump''. 
This trap has a new stjde of jaws. The old style 
was made of thin steel whereas these have full, 
wide-faced jaws, so that the chances of breaking 
the bone in the leg are lessened. 

This trap has a chain attachment, fastening 
at the end of the jaw opposite the spring, so that 
when the animal is caught and struggles to get 
free the foot is only gripped the tighter. The 
trapper, however, can fasten the chain on the 
end of the crossbar, opposite dog, as there is a 
hole drilled there for that purpose. 

The "Oneida Jump" is manufactured in nim 
sizes. This illustration shows a No. 1. It is a 
single spring as are also No. and 2 ; the other 
sizes have double springs. 

These sizes, No. to No. 4, are adapted to 
catching the various animals with the exception 

Jump Traps. 




78 Steel Traps. 

of timber wolves and bears, altho the larsjer sizes 
are used for taking the coyote and small wolf. 

The sizes adapted for the various animals 
are: No, 0, rat and gopher; No. 1, muskrat; Xo, 
2, mink; Xo. 2^, coon or skunk; No. 12^, same 
as 2^, with teeth; X^o. 3, fox or otter; No. 13, 
same as Xo. 3, with teeth; X'o. 4, otter or wild 
eat ; Xo. 14, same as Xo. 4, with teeth. 

The X'o. 2 is a splendid mink trap from the 
fact that it takes little room and can be set in 
many places where the end spring cannot be 
]>laced to advantage. The Xo. 2 for mink and the 
Xo. 2^ for coon are much used at log sets as 
they lie so flat that but little cutting is re- 

The Xo. 2 is also coming into use as a marten 
trajj especially for log and notched tree sets. 

The arrangement of the springs is such that 
the ends only extend about an inch beyond the 
jaws so that the double spring sizes even, do not 
take nearly as much room to set as the regular 
or end spring trap. 

It makes no- difference what kind of a set is 
to be made — water, land or snow, the fact that 
this make of trap takes but little room and lies 
very flat, should not be lost sight of. This some- 
times is quite an advantage. 

The most successful trappers are those who 
use some of the various styles of traps for there 

Jump Traps. 



80 Steel Traps. 

are certain sets where each can be used to the 
best advantage. 

The "Jump Traps" are moderate priced and 
being- light and strong for their size, trappers are 
taking to them, finding that for certain sets they 
have no equal. No trapper should start out for 
the season without some "Jumps." 



XPEKIENCED trappers fully ap- 
preciate the importance of having 
a trap that when the animal is 
caught, it is caught to stay, and 
instantly killed instead of being held 
a captiye hj the foot or leg. 

Many fully realize the importance 
of a human trap that will accomplish this, and 
haye found many good points in the Tree Trap, 
^lost practical trappers know that one of the 
most successful ways to set steel traps for many 
kinds of animals, is to suspend the bait about 
two feet oyer the trap, compelling the animal to 
step on the pan of the trap in order to get at it. 
This may be yery good, but in case of a heayy 
snow fall, a set of this kind means that your trap 
is snowed under, and you not only experience 
great difficultj^ in locating your trap, but often 
are unable to do so at all until spring, or when 
the snow disappears. 

In order that readers may fully understand 
how the Tree Trap is used, two sketches are 
shown. One showing the trap set, with a mink 
approaching; the other one having caught Mr. 
Coon, and killed him instantly, not damaging the 
6 81 


Stkkl Tuaps. 

fur. This trap can be securely nailed to a tree, 
stump or stake, and should he at least two feet 
from the ground, though always in sight and 


easy to get to. In ease of deep snow all you have 
to do is to bend the nails around, loosening the 
trap and renail it a few feet higher up. 

/ Hoir to ^cf. 

If possible find a suitable tree over a den or 
close to a runway. Leave the trap set with the 
safety hook holding it (don't spring the trap un- 
less nailed securely), place against the tree, two 
or three feet from the ground ; mark the distance 
between the lower notches in the base of trap 
on the tree. Then drive two nails (six or eight- 

Tree Traps. 83 

penny will do) leaving enough of the nail head 
so the two bottom notches will hook over the 
nail heads tightly, then drive the nails in the 
two upper notches as far as they will go. This 
will fasten the base of the trap tightly to the 
tree, which is important. 

Next bait the hook; seeing that the bait is 
secure; some tie it on with a string or thread. 
Now release the safety hook and your trap is 
ready. Some trappers prefer to throw some 
dead grass, leaves or boughs on top of the trap, 
which help to conceal it, this is a good idea. A 
piece of a rabbit, squirrel, bird or chicken makes 
a splendid bait. Fish is good for mink. 

One great advantage of Tree Trap over many 
other traps is that when it catches the animal, 
it not only holds, but kills it. While traps sliould 
be looked after every other day in good trapping 
weather; with the Tree Trap twice a week will 
do without the game escaping, as is often the 
case with common steel traps, but you cannot 
afford to take chances. Of course, in very warnv 
weather, traps should be looked at more fre- 
quently. On the other hand, during very severe 
weather, the trapper need not make the rounds 
more than once a week. This is important to 
the trapper who has a long line of traps out. 
Trappers should by all means have some Tree 


Steel Traps. 

Traps among tlieir outfit, iu fact, as alreadj^ men.- 
tioucd, the most successful trappers have a sup- 
ply of all kinds of traps. 



The Tree Trap does not weigh as much as a 
steel trap required to catch the same size ani- 
mals, and when set secured by safety hook, they 
are compact ; occupying very little space. These 

TREE Traps. 85 

traps are made by the Auiinal Traj) Co., Lititz, 
Pa., and are liii'lily recommended for marten. 

Tree Traps are manufaetnred in four sizes 
adapted to eatcliing the foHowing animals: No. 
the smallest size, for weazel; No. 1, for mink, 
marten, and civet; No. 2, for sknnk and opos- 
sum ; No. 3, for coon, fisher and wild cat. 

This trap can be used to splendid advantage 
durinii' deep snows as it can easily be set against 
the side of a tree at any height the trapper de- 
sires, thus proving what has been said before, 
that the most successful trapper has some of all 
kinds of traps. 

The greatest field for the Tree Trap is the 
North, yet trappers in the Central and Southern 
States are already using them to a considerable 
extent for coon and opossum; also for skunk 
and mink. 



TOP THIEF TRAPS are manu- 
factured by the Animal Trap Co. 
A great deal has been said for 
and against this trap, but like all 
trai)s, one must know how to use 
lem. Trappers that have taken the 
ouble to learn how to set them rc- 
l)ort good results. A great manv 
that were (]nick to condemn them at first now 
praise them highly. 

The manufacturers say the No. 1 is for squir- 
rels; No. 2, for mink and marten; No. 3, for 
skunk and opossum ; No. 3^ for fox and raccoon : 
No. 4, for wolves. But we think the larger sizes 
sh<Mild be used for mink and skunk. 

In trapping for mink, fish, bird or muskrat 
is the best bait but a hungry mink Avill eat al- 
most any kind of fresh meat. When convenient, 
scatter dry grass or leaves over the trap but do 
not cover the hole. If no hole is found, make 
one or two in earth or snow. 

Fasten the trap with a chain or piece of wire 
to a stake or drag of some kind, when near the 


St()1> TiiiKF. 87 

water. No fastoniiii; is needed if there is no 
Avater near. I'ind where tlie raccoon, skunk, 
civet cat, oppossiim, etc., frequent and set the 
trap in the same way as for mink. Bait with 


bird, chicken and the like. Oil the working 
parts of trap to prevent rust. 

The Stop Thief Trap is thought very highly 
of by some trappers for use in a peculiar situa- 
tion and like the New Tree Trap, tho not as yet 
well known, it is likely to prove a very effective 
machine in the hands of men who know how to 
use it. 

I procure a crotched stick, writes a Pennsyl- 
vania trapper, the prongs of which are about 1^ 
to 1-|- inches in diameter and of sufficient spread 
to fit the trap with which they are to be used. 
I send a drawing which will make it plainer 
than a page of description. The best way of set- 


Steel Traps. 

ting a trap thus equipped will readily suggest 
itself according to the place selected. 


When setting at a hole which the animal is 
known to be in, the wood part or crotch may be 
placed next the hole or ground and there will not 
be much of the iron of the trap exposed to the 
animal as it comes out. Or, if setting where the 
animal is expected to come and enter the hole, 
the trap would be best placed with the wood out. 
With the latter set one would have to be careful 
to place the trap so that nothing would interfere 
with the working. 

Traps thus rigged will, of course, weigh more 
than the bare trap and are more bulky and cum- 
bersome, but where one is trapping in a timbered 
country the crotch need not be cut until upon 

Stop Thief. 89 

the grouud where it is to be used, or if in a sec- 
tion where timber is scarce, could be placed be- 
forehand where it is to be used, just as one would 
do with stakes, rocks, drags, or clogs, spring 
poles and the like, when setting steel jaw traps. 
Dry timber could be used instead of green which 
would lighten materially. However, I prefer the 
heavier, as I think it holds the trap more firmly 
in place, thus requiring less fastening. Small 
v.'ire is best to fasten the trap to the crotch as 
mice and squirrels will cut twine. 

While I feel that the Stop Thief will never 
begin to equal any steel jaw trap, I think there 
are times when it may be used to advantage, and 
I expect to try mine again the coming season 
and expect to do better with them than last sea- 



trappers advocating a large 
sin-eading trap, writes an ex- 
l)erieneed Canadian trapper, 
and some even go so far as to invit<^ 
tlie trap mannfactnrers to make still 
wider ones than are now on the 
market. My experience in trapping, which was 
vai-ied and extended over a number of years, is 
that it's a mistake to have a trap that catclies 
the animals too high up. 

The best and most enduring hold a trap can 
have on an animal is the paw or just above 
where it joins the bottom of the leg. I have 
found this with beaAcr, foxes, marten, lynx, bear, 
and in fact all aniuuds I have caught. Just above 
and the paw itself is a mass of sinews and mus- 
cle enveloped with a stronger skin than any part 
of the leg, and therefore must give more resist- 
ance. I have found a fox that Avas caught in 
a No. 2 Xewhouse after three nights' struggle 
as secure as if newly seized. The jaws having 
closed securely across the thick part of the fore- 


Wide Spueauixg Ja\v«. 


.*: ';' '^ 



% "^ 

92 Steel Traps. 

Again from a shortness of a proper sized trap 
I once set a No. 4, for a fox. The fox was caught 
between midnight and daylight, and when I vis- 
ited the trap at the hitter limit (six o'clock), 
it was high time, for another half hour of strug- 
gling and the fox would have been clear and 
away. The jaws had caught him half way up the 
foreleg and sna]>ped the bone like a pipe shank. 
AVith his twisting and leaping there only re- 
mained a strip of skin and one tendon that kept 
him prisoner. 

For mink I have found a No. trap, if care- 
fully set with proper precaution, is as good and 
lucky as a No. 1 or 1| trap, as some trappers 
advocate. I used a bunch on a considerable sized 
lake last fall. The lake had numerous small 
creeks and rivers falling into it. At the junc- 
tion of these with the lake I set my traps. 
They were all No. selected on account of their 
lightness. As there was a long carry to get to 
the lake from a traveled route and added to the 
canoe, my gun, blanket and provisions, the traps 
were somewhat of a consideration, and I there- 
fore took the one of less weight. I made two 
visits to the lake before it froze and got twenty 
mink, one marten and a female fisher. 

When I made a Avater set I saw that the bank 
outside went down pretty bold and I always tied 
a stone to the trap and thus insured the animal 

Wide Spreading Jaws. 93 

(Irowniiif;-, AVliere I set oil laud without fail I 
attached the chain to a tossing pole, thereby iire- 
venting the fur being damaged by mice or tlie 
animal being eaten by some other. Some may 
(|uestion the possibility of such small traps ])eiug 
for any length of time in order as a water set, 
but I must explain. The lake was of considerable 
size and the season the latter part of October. 
Such a lake at that season of the year is- not sub- 
ject to any fluctuations in the height of water. 

I may say in conclusion about this particular 
sized trai3 that on that trapping tour I only lost 
one mink, I found the traj) sprung with a single 
toe in the jaws. Tlie trap had been a dry set 
one, and by reading the signs I found some snow 
had melted and dripped from an overhanging 
branch on to the junctions of the jaws. This 
had frozen (the trap being in the Siiade) and 
prevented its usual activity. As a consequence 
it only caught on as the mink was in the act of 
lifting his foot, so I was satisfied it was the cir- 
cumstances and not the fault of the trap that 
caused the missing of this mink. 

Another undesirable point about any trap is 
to have the springs too powerful for its intended 
use. One only wants a trap's jaws to close up 
sudden enough and to hold what it catches se- 
cure against any possibility of the animal with- 
drawing its foot. Once you have this it's all 

94 Steel Traps. 

that's required or necessary. A trap with 
springs with a strength out of reason is awk- 
ward and vexatious to open, and when the ani- 
mal is caught goes on with its continued pressure 
until the jaws of their own action almost sever 
the paw or leg, and the animal with very little 
struggling finishing the ami)utati<>n. 

I knew an Indian once who had a bear trap 
which was not much larger in spread than a 
Xo. 4 trap. An ordinary man by placing a foot 
on each spring could set it, and yet that trap 
was his most reliable one. He had others too, 
but he took his "Davy" on that. It acted like 
that celebrated motto, "What we have, we hold." 

This trap was made from liis own directions, 
and he had the jaws at their inner edge three- 
quarters of an inch thick and bevelled off to a 
quarter of an inch at the outer sides. As he 
aptly put it — "I want the trap to hold the bear 
until I go there and shoot it, not to chop off its 

Another point about a bear trap that I con- 
sider could be^remedied with advantage to the 
trapper, is to have the ordinary chains length- 
ened by a few links. It is not always possible to 
place the drag stick close up to the open trap, 
but where the chain is longer no difficulty would 
be found. A few more links would add very 
little to the weight or cost. 

'^^■ll)l•: Jaws. 


96 Steel Traps. 

To a lone trapper setting bear traps miles 
away from any human beings, it's a tricky and 
dangerous job. I consider a man so situated 
should, as a precaution, carry one of those patent 
clamps for depressing tlie springs, in his pocket. 
I am aware some do not use them, as they con- 
sider them too slow, preferring a couple of short 
levers jammed under a root and pressed down 
with the knees while the hands open the jaws 
and j)lace the trigger. Otliers use a piece of 
stout cord to tie down one spring, while with 
their weight on the other the jaws fall apart. 

But accidents will happen to the most care- 
ful persons; by some iuadvertance he might get 
caught by the hand or thoughtlessly step into it, 
and if he did not perish would have considerable 
difficulty in getting out, while with a cool head 
and a clamp within reach he could promptly 
free himself. I knew one man who lost his life 
in a bear trap and another who had almost suc- 
cumbed to his suffering when found and released. 
Thee are three things with a trapper's life that 
I was always extremely polite and careful with 
— a bark canoe, a bear trap, and a gun. I 
handled these for forty years but never fooled 
with them. 

Had the Indian mentioned used the cele- 
brated Newhouse traps, we feel sure that he 
would have found no cause to complain. While 

Wide Spreading Jaws. 97 

to some trappers the springs iray sometimes ap- 
pear to be too stiff, yet the face of the jaws are 
wide and as the manufacturers are always in 
correspondence with bear and other trappers, 
there is no question but that they know and are 
now manufacturing what meets the views of the 
majority of trappers. 

We believe that of some sizes they are making 
the face of the jaws even wider than formerly. 

The Newhouse bear traps are furnished with 
bear chain, clevis and bolt, illustrated and de- 
scribed under Newhouse Traps, but briefly de- 
scribed here. This chain is five feet long and 
with clevis can be fastened around any log which 
the trapper will want to use. 

One thing must be born in mind, viz : That 
when traps are set, they are covered, and should 
severe weather follow, freezing this covering, it 
requires a stiff spring to throw the jaws to- 
gether quickly. Our belief is that more large 
animals escape from traps too weak than from 
the too strong ones. Yet there are times, no 
doubt, when had the spring been weaker and the 
face of the jaws wider, the results would have 
been fully as satisfactory. 



»OTE that traps should be 
examined carefully just be- 
fore being set to see if they, 
will work properly. New 
traps should be thoroughly 
greased with almost any 
kind of grease that has no 
salt in it. Salt Avill rust 
traps. It is to guard 
against rust as much as anything else that you 
should grease your traps, for in that condition 
they are not so apt to give good service. 

If you have a supply of traps that are badly^ 
rusted, kerosene poured over them and let stand 
for a few hours will tend to remove the rust. 
After you have cleaned all of the r:ist o"" possi- 
ble, grease, the trap carefully and thoroughly 
with some good fresh grease, such as lard or 
the fat of some animal. Good oil will answer if 
you can not get the animal fat. Trappers cnn 
usually get an animal or two and fry the fat 
from it. This is an easy task and with this 
grease your traps. If this is done with old traps 
at the close of the season it will help preserve 


Caring for Traps 

100 Steel Traps. 

tbem. It is a good idea, also just before trap- 
ping begins. 

With new traps it is much more important 
that thev be greased before setting as they will 
badly rust if not tliiis treated; old traps that 
have been greased a number of times can be 
neglected rather than the new ones. If possi- 
ble it is best to attend to this several days be- 
fore the traps are set, so that a part of the 
grease will be dried in, or evaporated so that 
in setting there will not be so much to get on 
your hands, clothes, etc. 

In this connection it will not be amiss to 
say that traps should be carefully gone over 
before they are set, to see that every part is 
in working order. There may be broken links 
in the chain, or other defects. The swivel may 
be rusty and will not turn and the first animal 
caught is apt to break the chain. Many times 
have trappers gone to their traps only to find a 
part of the chain remaining as some animal had 
broken it and escaped. All traps should be 
very carefully gone over and mended, otherwise 
you may not only loose the trap but a valuable 
pelt as well. 

What is best to apply to prevent their rust- 
ing? writes a number of trappers. 

Almost any oil will answer, but perhaps ani- 
mal fat is best and can be obtained by trappers 

Caring fok Traps. 101 

easily. Mai^y trai)i)ers jn-efer to liave their 
traps somewliat rnsty, or at least want the new- 
ness worn off. It is not a bad idea to smear 
traps in the blood of rabbits or birds. 

To clean your traps, boil thciii in ashes and 
water, rinse clean in hot water, then dip in hot 
water with melted beeswax floating?. Kaise them 
slowly out of this so as to coat every part. 
Hang uj) to drain and dry and your traps are 

In what condition are your traps for begin- 
ning a vigorous campaign ; have jou boiled them 
in soft maple bark or the husks of walnuts, to 
stain and eliminate the coating of rust, so that 
they will Avork well and be free of the ^<nimal 
scent from last season? All second hand traps 
should have this attention before trapping is 
begun. New traps will not take the stain until 
they have been used and rusted. 

If it is hard for you to get soft maple bark 
or black walnut husks, you can get a pound of 
logwood chips at the drug store which will be 
sufficient for a five-gallon kettle of water. After 
a good dye is made put in what traps the liquid 
will cover and boil 15 or 20 minutes for each 
lot. If the water gets low put on a pailful or 
so as it boils awa^^ If you only have a few 
traps use less coloring material and less water. 
Logwood makes a jet black. 


Steel Traps. 

Caring for Traps. 108 

When the fall trapping is over, the trajis 
will be somewhat rusty again. Not many will 
go to the trouble to color them again in the 
same season, but now that the weather is cold 
and the rusting process is slow and you can 
renovate them and lubricate in the following 
manner : Smear all the rusty and working parts 
with fresh lard; also, the chain and swivel, and 
then with a wire hook or iron rod hold the trap 
over a small fire until the grease is melted and 
smokes. The heat will not hurt the trap so long 
as you do not heat the spring too hot. When 
the trap is cool enough to handle, rub it well 
with old paper to remove loose grease and you 
will have a trap that will not play you false. 
A good greasing like this Avill last all winter. 

This article will not appeal to the many, 
but to the few trappers who are so situated that 
their mode of trapping prevents them in bring- 
ing home their traps when the season is over. 
A man who has a long line of traps set out is 
often at loss as to their disjjosal for the sum- 
mer months. To pack out on one's back a 
weight of iron at a season when walking in the 
bush is at its worst, especially if the trapper 
is to return and set up the same line the next 
season, is a useless labor and a heart and back 
breaking job. 

To avoid this the best wav is to "cache" them 

"J- :■ 


CAKiN(i FOR Traps. 105 

in bimeliew where they are to be used again. 
This I know is a risky plan where Jolm Sneakuni 
prowls the bush, jot it can be done in safety if 
one takes proper precaution to rub out his trail. 
The "caching" of them is not the only question 
to be considered but also to leave them hidden in 
such a wnj that Avhen next re(|uired they may 
be at once serviceable for immediate use. 

My first venture at leaving- them in the bush 
says a Northern trapper was in this way. I 
began at the furthest end of my line and gath- 
ered them till I had twenty. These I tied se- 
curely together with a jjiece of twisted bale 
wire through the rings. I then stepped off the 
main line to a clump of evergreens and bending 
a sapling down bow fashion, secured the bunch 
to the top and let the tree fly back to its place. 

Regaining the main line I took a memoran- 
dum in my note book as to the cache something 
like the following : Cache No. 1 — ''Bunch of 
twenty No. 1 traps, left opposite rotten stump 
on left hand side of road in thicket of ever- 
greens, about thirty paces away," and so on 
with each deposit always mentioning some land 
mark as a guide to my finding them the next 

Well, this mode was not a success. It was 
alright as far as the safety of the traps were 
concerned, but I found them in a frightful state 

106 Steel Traps. 

of rust from the action of the rain and atmo- 
sphere, and it took an hour of my time at each 
"cache" to rub them into a semblance of clean- 
liness. ^Moreover, there Avas a remote ])(»ssibil- 
ity of a bush fire running over that territorj^, 
which, while it miiL^ht not consume the traps, 
the action of the flames would liave drawn the 
the temper from the springs to a degree that 
would have made them useless. 

The accidental leaving of an otter trap set 
all summer led me to "caching" my traps un- 
der water, that is those that I could conveni- 
ently carry to a lake or river. This otter trap 
when I came to it the following fall was cov- 
ered with a light fluffy rust the color of yellow 
ochre. It stained my hands like paint, but was 
readily washed off. I held the chain in my hand 
and by sousing the trap up and down several 
times in the water, was surprised to see the metal 
come as clear as when first the trap left the shop. 

I therefore, ever afterwards hid those traps 
that were near a lake or river in the water. 
There were traps, however, which were too far 
from water to be easily transported and as the 
tree tops were voted bad, I set to considering 
other modes of storing them. The atmosphere 
being too corroding I decided to bury them 
underground. The result was that the next 
autumn I found those that were in clay or heavy 

Caring for Traps. 107 

soil came out inistv, while those in sandy soil 
were very little acted upon but the best con- 
ditioned were those hidden under rotten leaves 
or vegetable matter, so ever afterwards I kept 
my trai)s either in the water or hidden under 
the last conditions. 

When leaving' a bunch in the water I simply 
tied the l)uncli together, Avcnt a little to one side 
of the direct canoe route and dropped them over- 
board in about three or four feet of water, be- 
ing careful to have some noticeable object ashore 
in direct line. 

When next required I merely lashed a large 
cod hook to a short pole, fished them up, took 
them aboard n\v canoe and washed the bunch 
clean at a portage. In any case I do not think 
it is adding to the luck of a trap to have tliem 
greased and hung up in or about the house. 
The smell imparted to them is worse than the 
odor of clean iron. If I found a trap slow in 
snapping I usually rubbed a little odorless polish 
into the joints of the jaws and carried a rabbit's 
foot to use as a brush. 



VERY trapper, like all other 
classes, have many things to con- 
tend Avith, One of the worst, per- 
haps, is the trap stealer, who hav- 
ing once found one of your traps will 
follow up Your line and take them all. 
If he can not find them bv your 
tracks, he is apt to hide close by and wait until 
you go the round, then follow up and take your 
entire outfit of traps. To be sure that they are 
your property you should mark each and eyery 
trap before the trapping season or just as soon 
as they are bought, at any rate before they are 

There are several ways to mark traps. One 
of the easiest and best ways is with a file. Se- 
lect your mark or marks and file on each trap. 
Several notches filed on the under side of the 
trap will not injure the trap and will be a good 
means of identifying your property, should you 
ever happen upon them again. Place all the 
notches in the same position and at the same 
place on each trap and you have a good mark. 
The notches may be filed almost any place, ex- 
cepting on the spring, and they should be filed on 



110 Steel Traps. 

two or three different parts of the trap. Should 
the person who stole the traps attempt to file 
out the notches, you can tell from the places filed 
if thej are your tj'aps, as all have been marked 
exactly alike. 

The trap stealer, if he knows that they are 
marked with the owner's priyate mark, is not so 
apt to take them, for he knows that the owner, 
should he find them in his possession, can easily 
proye property. Whereas if there was no mark 
on the trap, the thief could not be conyicted un- 
less seen taking- them. The thief also knows that 
if he is discovered, his trapping grounds will be 
watched. So haying all traps marked in some 
way it lessens the chances of their being stolen 
as well as helps to identify them after they are 
taken. By all means mark all your traps — you 
may happen on some of them unexpectedly that 
have been missing for years. After you have 
marked a trap never trade or sell it, as you 
would then not be able, should you happen upon 
traps bearing your mark, to tell whether they 
had been sold or stolen. 

Many trappers Avho lose traps by "Sneakum" 
each year do not have them marked. Often 
your traps are stolen by some one in your own 
vicinity as they know they can set them. 

How about this if your traps are stamped 
with your own initials? The thief Avill know 

Makkixg Traps. lH 

that you can identify jonr property, and will not 
I)e so apt to steal as he will be afraid to set them. 
When yon mark your traps, never sell them, 
so that you know every trap bearing- your initial 
is your property, making no difference where 



EFORE a trapper has much ex- 
perience he loses much of his game, 
after it has been caught, by not 

having- his traps properly fastened. 

Having his traps so securely staked 
that anything caught can get a dead pull is usu- 
ally the wny the trapjier with little experience 

How many of you are still driving stakes 
into the ground and otherwise fastening your 
traps so that when an animal is caught, it pulls 
on the chain? In trapping for muskrat, the 
stake may be used, but for an^' other animal, 
ne^er. Even in the case of the muskrat the slid- 
ing pole is much better. This device is made as 
follows: Cut a pole or bush, say six or eight feet 
long, trimming off the branches so that the ring 
will readily slide nearly the length of the pole. 
On the end leave a few branches or short twigs 
so the ring will not slide off. The other end can 
be stuck into^tlie bank or tied with the small 
end extending out into deep water. When a rat 
is caught, it ma^es for deep water and is 
drowned. If you use stakes to fasten your traps 
for muskrat, set them out into the water as far 


How TO Fasten. 


as possible so that your game --^anDot get to the 
land and will soon drown. 


The proper way to secure yonr trap, when 
trapping for other animals than muskrat, is to 
drive the staple into a small bush as shown in 
illustration, or the chain can be looped around 
the bush near the end, with a branch or two left 
on to keep the chain from slipping off. The size 
of the bush can be determined from the sized 
animals tou are trapping. If there are no bushes 
convient, a piece of fence rail or chunk will an- 
swer, altlio these will not give so readily as the 
bush, which will move easily with each and 


Steel Traps. 

every lunge of the animal caught so that its 
chanres of getting out of the trap are lessened. 

When your trap is thus fastened, the game 
will often get several feet or perhaps rods away 
from the den, but it is an easy matter to find 
the trap and game. If in an open field, a glance 


aiound will, usually find the bush and game, 
while if in the woods, a trail will be left that 
can easily be followed. 

The important fact that traps thus fastened 
give with each and every pull and struggle of 
the animal should not be overlooked; in fact, if 
the trap has not a firm hold, the bush gives so 
easilv that there is no chance for the animal to 

How TO Fasten. 115 

i»et a dead iJiill — ^that is, a solid one. See that 
all traps are fastened as above described and one 
of the principal causes of failure will have been 
remedied to a great extent and your game will 
not get away after once being caught. 

In case a trapper cannot visit his traps very 
often, or he is annoyed by the presence of those 
animals that are liable to destroy his catch, the 
use of the spring pole for dr^' land trajjping will 
be found very efficient in preventing the loss of 

This contrivance is designed to lift the 
trapped animal high in the air and thus both 
hamper it in its efforts to escape and prevent 
other animals from devouring it. It is made as 
follows: If possible, select a standing sapling 
for the purpose. If this cannot be done, then cut 
a pole from some elastic wood, trim and drive it 
firmly in the ground, then fasten the trap chain 
to the uppen end. Now bend down and catch 
the small end under a notched i^eg or root in 
such a way that the least struggle of an animal 
in the trap will release the pole and lift him high 
in the air. Of course the trapper will propor- 
tion the strength of his pole to the size of his 
intended victim. 

All trappers have experienced a feeling of 
regret when visiting traps where game has been 
caught and escaped. The ones who properly fas- 

116 Steel Traps. 

ten traps seldom have their game escape, altho 
occasionally, when not securely caught and the 
trapper does not make his rounds often, an ani- 
mat will get away. 


For a shallow water set we commend the one 
shown above. Place a second stake eight or ten 
inches from the fastening stake having short 
stubs on both and the animal will soon wind 
himself up around the two and drown. 




ERE is a very difficult question, 
How to Set? yet by carefully 
noting the illustrations in this 
chapter we believe that many 
will be benefited, especially inexperi- 
enced trappers. Some trappers have 
continued to set their traps, after 
years of experience with springs sticking straight 
out, that is, so that the animal will step upon 
the spring first. This often warns them of the 
danger. Others set traps without a sign of cov- 
ering. In each instance they may catch a few 
rabbits and perhaps a skunk or two, but they are 
not trappers and will not catch much game. 

Having decided where you are going to set, 
if at a den, make an excavation the size of the 
trap and about an incli deep, place the trap in 
the position (just at the entrance of den) and 
so that an animal in going in or coming out will 
not step on the spring but on the pan of the 

The trap should be in such a position that 
the animal will approach if preferably from the 
end opposite the spring. If the whereabouts of 
the animal cannot be determined, then the next 



How TO Skt. 119 

best way for liiiii to approach is from the spring 
end of the jaws, the spring- always beinu" thrown 
around towards the cross piece, out of the way. 

If set-ting in a path in a run beside a h)g or a 
similar situation, set the jaws endways, not 
across the path and bring the pan a little to 
one side of the center, as near as you can judge 
where the animal will place his foot as he steps 
over the stick, stone or other object you have 
prepared for the purpose. 

Many trappers place traps well back in the 
den, but our experience has taught us not to do 
this. A trapper who has followed the tracks of 
an animal, in the snow, has undoubtedly noticed 
that he went to scores of dens but turned away 
after going to the mouth of most of them. From 
this it will readily be seen that a trap set well 
back in the den would not be disturbed, Avhile 
set as shown would perhaps have caught the 

After the trap is set, leaves, moss, grass, etc., 
should be carefully placed over the trap and 
chain, so that everything Avill appear as natural 
as possible. In covering traps, use whatever 
kind of material that was in mouth of den, that 
is, if the den was filled with leaves, cover the 
trap with leaves, etc. In this illustration the 
trap is purposely left uncovered so that trappers 
can see the position the trap should be in. 



How TO Set. 121 

If there are other entrances to the den they 
should all be closed, with the exception of the 
one where the trap is set. The only time that 
it is advisable to close all entrances is when you 
are sure that an animal is within. You are only 
sure of this when your dog has holed an animal, 
or you have tracked one in the snow into the 
den. There may be times, however, when you 
have your traps baited and the bait has been 
taken from the inside. In such cases you feel 
confident that the game is within. At such times 
it may be the best policy to close up the entrance 
and set your trap within, yet, if properly set, 
you are reasonably sure to make a catch when 
the animal ventures out and also have a chance 
to make a catch, should an animal happen along 
on the outside. 

Traps should be set carefully and everything 
around the den left as natural as before setting. 
Dig a hole for your trap and carefully cover trap 
and chain with dirt, leaves or grass. Be care- 
ful that nothing gets under treddle of trap. 
After once setting traps, go only near enough 
to see that they are not sprung or containing 

When setting trap in wet earth, place paper, 
cat tail, dry leaves, grass or some substance un- 
der trap so that during freezing weather the 
earth will not freeze to spring and jaws, thus 


How TO Set. 123 

preventinj>- its springing when an animal steps 
on the treadle. A little wool or cotton placed 
under treadle often keeps the dirt from getting 
under. It pays to set traps well — in fact too 
much pains cannot be taken. 

I often read of the disappointments of a 
trapper when visiting his line of marten traps 
to find ermine, squirrels, blue-jays and even mice 
caught in place of the animal he intended to 

Now this is very vexatious, as the marten has 
departed for a district quite distant and is thus 
lost forever to him. An Indian or a regular 
trapper that knows his business always puts a 
spring twig under the pallet of his trap of suf- 
ficient strength to bear up the weight of these 
small fry and yet not too strong to prevent the 
larger animals from setting it off. In trapping 
for beaver and otter in open water we always 
use the spring to prevent mink and musquash 
from getting caught. Of course these are fur- 
bearers and proportionately valuable, yet there 
are times one does not wish to have them in the 

Even in setting bear traps a spring under 
the pallet is used to prevent foxes, lynx, fishers 
and marten from springing it. This is doubly 
necessary in setting bear traps for the reason 
that when one has bear traps set the foregoing 


Steel Tuaps. 

animals are iiiiprime and consequently of next 
to no value. The spring for a No. 1 or a No. 1^ 
trap is made from a lower small branch of a 
balsam or tamarack tree. Why I say lower 
branches is because it is not so full of gum and 
sup])leness as the top branches, while not actu- 
ally dry, it is sufficiently so to impart a spring- 
effect. ' 

WRONG posrnox set. 

It is broken off about four inches in length 
and freed of needles. One end is introduced into 
the eye of the spring and the other end is de- 
flected over and under the trap pan. By moving- 
it out towards the outer part of the pan a greater 
strength and resistance can be obtained — les- 
sening by pushing it the contrary way. For 

How TO Set. 125 

beaver or otter traps wo usaally take the root of 
a small spruce or tamarack, and for a bear tra]), 
instead of putting one end into the eve of the 
spring, we cut a shorter and stouter piece and 
bend it over like this and it is placed under the 
pan; the two ejids are carefully flattened and 
squared off to prevent slipping. 

After a little practice a man becomes quite 
an expert as to the proper tension required and 
it is very rarely a real trapper catches anything 
but what the trap was set for. This article is 
written for the benefit of beginners in the pro- 
fession of trapping and not as a reflection on the 
knowledge of "Old Pards." 

A splendid all around covering for trajjs 
wherever available (and I speak from experi- 
ence) is hemlock fanlike tips, writes a New York 
state trapper. Use only the flat spreading ends 
with thin stems to blanket trap — a single layer 
is enough for all practical purposes. This is the 
general purpose covering, suitable for all kinds 
of weather. The strong natural scent of the 
hemlock seems to inspire confidence, overcoming 
animal fear and caution. It neutralizes and 
makes harmless all unnatural scents so obnox- 
ious to wild animals and prevents under pan ob- 

During the snowj^ weather, roof over the trap 
with brush, hemlock boughs, bark or such, with 

126 Steel Traps. 

opeuings on all sides. Build the roof high and 
wide enough to sufficiently protect the traj) and 
covering from snow and sleet. A good trapi)er 
uses only good traps. 

. I will describe a few of my sets and hope they 
Avill be of value, writes a Rocky Mountain trap- 
per. The first will be a mink set and, like the 
rest, is best prepared during the summer, then 
by fhe time trapping begins the newsness is all 

Set No. 1 is easily uiade by bending a few 
green willows in the shape of the letter TI; stick 
ihem in a row six inches apart so the top of the 
bow will be four or five inches from the level. 
Cut some brush and pile on top and a stake or 
two driven in will keep it from going away in a 
freshet. This can be made in the Avater at a 
riffle or on the bank of the stream and you will 
be surprised to note the fine runway you have 

Set No. 2 is on the same principle, but is 
made of logs 8 inches in diameter and 5 or 6 feet 
long. It can be cut on the dotted lines for con- 
venience in placing l)ait. Set a No. 1^ or 2 trap 
at each end. This is as good as a hollow log. 

No. 3 is a marten shelf. Like cut, make by 
uailing a 2-incli stick thi-ee (»r three and a half 
feet long on each side of a tree and cover th<^ 
projecting ends with bark — use a weight on 


How 'I'o Set, 


bark to keep it from blowiji^' eway; nail bait 
Ojid place trap as shown. Use a sprin*? pole of 
some description. 

No. 4 is my favorite for bear, mountain lion 
and in fact all larger game. Choose two trees 
neai' together and place a pole from one to the 
other on which to hang the bait; 1 is bait tlie 


height of which should be varied according to 
the game sought and 2 is the pole on which bait is 
hung; it can be nailed on or laid in forks. 

In setting steel traps the beginner is gener- 
ally very careless. He simply sets his trap on 
the bare ground, brushes a few leaves over it and 
stakes it fast, or staples it fast to a stump or 


Steel Traps. 

tree. As a rule he finds that the wind has blown 
the leaves off his trap, leaving it l)are, or it has 
frozen fast to the ground, or if it has made a 
catch the game has escaped. 


. In setting a steel trap, dig a hole an inch 
deep and the size and shape of the trap when 
set. Line this hole with drv leaves and set the 
trap in it, filling in between the jaws with dry 

How TO Set. 


moss and covering with dry, light substance in 
keeping with the surroundings. 

For trapping the sliyer animals the smell of 
iron should be destroyed, which may be done by 


boiling the trap in cedar or hemlock tips. The 
trap should be covered with these tips so that 
trap and bed all smell alike. Do not make any 
tracks or have the bushes or grass trampled down 

•HO Steel Traps. 

around the trap. Animals are more afraid of 
human signs than they are of liuman scent, at 
least I have found it so. 

In setting the trap, be sure that the jaws lie 
down solid or the animal may tip the trap oyer 
by stepping on a jaw and you will think that you 
haye a yery cunning animal to deal with. 

If the trap is set at a den or enclosure, turn 
the spring to one side so the animal will not step 
on the si)ring. I prefer the Blake pattern trap 
as the trap may be set with the spring pointing 
straight out from the enclosure and the aninml 
steps between the jaws, not oyer them. Be sure, 
when setting at a den or coyered enclosure that 
the opening oyer the trap is large enough to 
allow the animal to walk oyer the trap, for if 
they must crawl oyer it they are apt to snap the 
trap by pressing against it and all the trapper 
finds is a little bunch of fur. In setting traps 
on dry land do not stake it down as the game 
will often escape by pulling its foot out of the 
trap. It is much better to fasten the trap to a 
brush drag. I leaye a good stout prong near the 
big end of the brush. Bend this prong down and 
slip the ring oyer it. 

When making a water set I stake the trap 
into the water full length of the chain. If the 
water is deep use the sliding pole. If vou are 
trapping muskrats, clean out all snags and brush 

liow TO Set. 


from around flic ti-a]) Qr the rat may cut its skin 
in its stnig;i;les, wliic]? v- i'l lesson its value. 

Here is a method of drowninij; the beaver and 
otter which was told me hj an old trapjx-r. Take 
a jj^ood stout wire about eight or ten feet lon^' and 
fasten it to the end of the trap chain. A heavy 
stone is tied to the chain of the trap and after 


the trap is set the wire is stretched up or down 
stream and fastened to a stake driven in the 
bank under water. When the game is caught it 
plunges into the water and the weight of the 
stone and trap puHs it down to the bottom. The 
trap and game are secured by pulling up on the 
wire. I have never used this method, but think 
it would be all ritrht. 

132 Steel Traps. 

If the trap is a "bolt" double spring, place 
the trap on the knee and press do^^ n spring and 
insert a nail — six or eight penny Mill do — un- 
der the jaw on the opposite side from the trigger 
or trip, being careful to insert far enough to hold 
and not slip out. Then set same as a single 
spring trap. 

If the trap has the slip in jaws, drill a small 
hole in the bottom piece just below the holes 
which the jaws are in for a nail. One spring- 
will hold the pan up. When set, press the other 
spring down and pull out the nail. One trial 
will convince anyone that this is an easy and 
quick way to set a doul)le spring ti'ap. I have 
never tried this on anything larger than No. 4 
wolf trap. Hundreds of times have I said things 
that I would not say in Church or iSunday School 
while setting one of these traps in the snow. 
Trapper language will come forth Avhen one 
pinches his fingers on a cold, frosty morning. 



NOWING exactly where to set 
in all cases can not be told 
unless the trapping region is 
seen as well as each den, but 
in a general way some points 
be given that will prove of 
value. Favorable places to set 
can be made to include a number 
of situations. By this we mean that many take 
a good part of their catch each season at places 
away from the dens or homes of animals. Time 
and again have we seen traps set along creeks, 
in the woods, at drift piles and other places 
where there were no dens. Yet these trappers 
knew that fur-bearing animals frequented such 

A trapper always should be on the outlook 
for signs of game. These include dung at dens, 
tracks at dens and along creek^s and low wet 
places, feathers and bones at dens, etc. A close 
inspection of dens, will also show long hairs, if 
the same is used much by animals just before the 
fur begins to <yet good, as they then shed many 
of the long hairs. The experienced trapper 
knows from these just what kind of an animal 



Steel Traps. 

WiiKUK TO Sirr. VSb 

is usin<»" a certain den, and of course lie l^nows 
wliat sized trap to use and liow to proceed to 
set tlie same for tlie capture of tlie game. 

An important thing for all trappers to learn 
is to distinguish dens used by fur-bearing ani- 
nmls from those of rabbits, etc. This can ])e 
done in several ways: Long hairs of skunk, ()])(»s- 
sum, coon, etc., are frequently found in the en- 
trance to dens; tracks of these and other ani- 
mals should be watched for; pieces of bones and 
feathers near dens is also a good indication thac 
game is in the near yicinity — at least it may 
be known that it has been there quite recently. 

There is as much in knowing the locality that 
game frequents as there is in how to set traps. 
The person who has made a study of the habits 
of fur-bearing animals knows pretty well the 
locality that each animal frequents. By this we 
mean that he knows that skunks, in the fall, are 
often found in open fields, in sink holes, etc., 
while later in the season they are found on 
higher land. This applies to the hilly sections 
in particular. Opossum and coon he knows are 
apt to be found in the dense woods, and mink 
along streams and swamps. 

Trappers who haye long lines of traps will 
find that it saves time and walking to have their 
traps bunched ; that is, where they set one trap, 
should there be many dens, they should set two 

136 Steel Traps. 

or three more. After doing this they can travel 
some distance before setting others, unless extra 
good dens are found, or other dens directly on 
their route. We have known three traps, within 
100 feet of each other all to contain game, but 
this is an exception. More often, to be sure, 
they are all empty when the trapper makes his 
round. Yet it often pays to have traps bunched 

^ ^ •^ 


as an animal may go to several dens and turn 
away but enter another only a few feet distant. 
The trapper Avho has only a few traps will do 
best by scattering them and baiting each trap. 

Along some bluff there may be a score or 
perhaps a hundred dens, and to set a trap at 


each is out of the question, with tlie trapper who 
has an abundance of traps, as well as the one 
who has only a few. At such places it is best 
to set your traps where there are the most signs. 
Traps set here should be baited and the bait 
placed biack in the den, beyond the trap. 

Wheue to Set. ]'4~ 

It is not necessary to set traps in the dens 
to catch yonr ••anie, altlio that is considered one 
of the hest places, for some animals have no cer- 
tain dens, hut hole up for the day, wherever day- 
light finds them. By this we mean they enter 
the first den they find. This being the case, trap- 
pers who know the locality, that is the feeding 
grounds of game, are most successful. Should 
you set your trap in the entrance to some den 
and no animal live there or pass that way there 
is no chance of being rewarded for the trouble. 

As is well known, most fur-bearing animals 
are carnivorous, feeding on flesli, and the tra])- 
per who can locate the place, that is the hunting 
grounds of the game he is trapping, is usually 
successful. Along creeks in the mud and sand, 
look for mink and coon tracks. If they are 
found often, their dens are not far off. Both of 
these aninmls are much given to traveling along 
creeks and low swampy land and we have seen 
at such a place bait nailed to a tree, some two 
feet from the ground, and a trap nicely set just 
beneath it. The trap too, was set in the right 
place, for game was caught. It may be that in 
your trapping rounds you will come to a den 
Avhere a rabbit or some bird has been devoured. 
Often you find that it has been eaten close to 
the entrance. Here is just the place to set your 

138 Steel Traps. 

trap for if the animal is not now within it is apt 
to return 

The various sets made by trappers may be 
divided into three classes, known as land, water 
and snow sets, altho each can be varied to snit 
different cases. The land set is used for all land 
animals and includes sets made at dens in trails, 
])aths, etc. 

vV-^^/- t4rV^ -^ ,cJ^<r<^3^-,^/< 



Snow sets are largely used for the shyer ani- 
mals such as fox and wolf altho trappers use this 
set for any land animal Avhen they think con- 
ditions right. " Traps when set for foxes and 
wolves are usually set just before a snow fall, if 
the trapper is enough of a weather prophet to do 

M'liKUK TO Sr/r. 139 

Tlic walor set is used mostly for otter, beaver 
and iimskrat. Mink and i-accoou are also canmlit 
in large nnndieis in water sets. Fox trappers in 

^^•^ ^^T _^^^ 




the Northeast catdi man}- foxes in sprinj^s at 
water sets before hard freezing weather sets in. 
I will give an excellent method of trapping" 
animals on land Avrites an Ohio trapper. Fasten 
vour bait to the bodv of a tree about a foot from 

140 . Steel Traps. 

the ground and near a den or other place fre- 
quented 1)T the animals you want to catcli. Dig 
up the ground at the foot of the tree and cover 
the loose earth with leaves, also place your brush 
drag- near the tree and after the animal begins 
to eat the bait, set your trap right under it and 
about six or eight inches from the tree and fas- 
tening the trap to the brush drag. Iveplace the 
leaves over the trap and cover the chain with 
leaves or dead grass. Do not disturb anything 
around the trap but leave the drag, etc., just as 
it was before the trap was set. 

For mink fasten the bait on the side of a log, 
one end of which rests in the water and the other 
on the bank of the stream. Tlie bait should be 
at least ten inches from the ground. Set your 
traps under tlie bait and staple the chain to the 
log. The first mink tliat comes along will pas-s 
under the log and stopping to investigate the 
bait will get his toes pinched. The best covering 
for this set is dead grass, leaves or snow. The 
best bait fop mink is the head of a fov\'l or a 
piece of fish or muskrat. 

Al)out trapping mink in their den; first, if 
you find a den where a mink is living, says a 
trapper, don't by any means mash the brush or 
grass down around the den holes, but approach 
it very carefully with not less than two traps, all 


142 Steel Traps. 

set and reuth' to place at the muiitli or entrance 
of the den. 

Now look sharply to see which hole the mink 
uses most. You can tell by the leaves and the 
grass which are worn to a sort of chatf in the 
mouth or entrance of the den. If you look care- 
fully 3'ou will perhaps see three or five holes. 
You wijl always see two or three holes larger 
tlian any of the rest. The snuiler holes are to 
escape by when any larger animal conies into 
the den. 

If you look sharply you will notice a few 
inches from one of the holes another hole which 
he uses. Well, nuike a bed and place your trap 
deep enough to be covered lightly, just in front 
:^f this hole and so that your trap jaws will close 
lengthwise with the hole or the worn path. Never 
set youi' trap crosswise to a mink hole or run. 
Always drive your stake level, with the ground 
in which your trap is set if possible. Now go to 
the hole in front of the den and set your other 
trap or traps in the same manner, make just as 
little noise as possible while setting the traps 
and when leaving. 



T is known to seen re best results, 
traps should be looked at each 
dav and the earlier in the morn- 
ing the better. A trapper who 
has out from 50 to 150 traps 
scattered for a distance of ten, 
fifteen or twenty miles has a good 
day's work before him, but the trap- 
per who has only a few should make 
his round early in the morning. It 
may be that an animal is not securely 
caught and an early yisit to the trap 
will still find your game fast, whereas had you 
waited till later in the day it would haye escaped. 
Some trappers are inclined to belieye that 
certain animals gnaw their legs off when caught. 
Our belief, after years of experience, is that if 
an animal is caught by the leg after some hours 
the flesh below the jaws of the trap becomes 
numb and the animal begins to gnaw it. If the 
bone is broken by the force of the jaws closing, 
the chances are that the animal may after a day 
or so escape. If the bone is not broken there is 



L()()Ki\(; A'l' TuAi's. 146 

but little (laiiiicr of the /^aiiic -.icttino' away. '\'ho 
animal i^lla\^■s below the jaws, verv seldom above. 
One mistake that many trappers make is that 
on the first stormy or cold ni^ht of a prolonged 
cold spell, they neglect their traps until warm 
weather. Experienced trappers never do this: 













they know that the first night of a cold spell all 
animals are generally much more active than 
usual — they are hunting food and a good den. 
It seems that the fur-bearing animals are fore- 
warned about the weather, or that instinct has 
endowed them with this power. At any rate they 
are on the alert the first night before a prolonged 


146 Steel Traps. 

cold spell, and on just such nights the largest 
catches are usually made. A night that starts 
in only fairly cold and later-turns quite cold — 
the beginning of a severe spell — -is the night 
that the professional likes to see, or at any rate, 
he is out to his traps at the first sign of day. 

In the dead of winter it may be of little use 
to look at traps for most game. Altho some ani- 
mals, such as the mink, fox and weasel, do not 
hole up on account of cold weather. Skunks 
have been known to remain in their dens for 
eight weeks in winter. Several cases are on rec- 
ord where these animals have been tracked to 
their dens, all entrances closed, traps set within 
and no catch made for eight weeks. 

In the Northern sections these animals hole 
up in December and remain there until early in 
February, unless there is a very warm spell. In 
other sections, in the South, they continue active 
throu^ghout the entire season. In the Middle and 
Central States this animal remains in its den 
during severe weather only. At other times 
skunks have been known to remain in their dens 
for a month, but in such cases the animal has 
perhaps gone in on a rabbit, killed it and is liv- 
ing otf its carcass. 

Where the trapper is after otter, beaver, and 
muskrat, and his sets are made with the sliding 
pole or with a wire fastened to end of chain lead- 

Looking at Traps. 


iu^- to deep Avatei' so that the animal is droAvned, 
tlie traps ueed not be looked at daily, for the 
i-anie is dead and nnder water, in which condi- 
tion the fur will not be injured for some days. 
Mink and coon are also cannht in water sets, 


and should be drowned bv using- the same fasten- 
ings as for the water animals. It is a good idea 
to tie a weight to chain near the trap, so that 
when the animal is caught and gets into deep 
water, the additional weight helps to hold it 
down and so of course it drowns sooner. 

148 Steel Traps. 

Spring poles are used in many of the North- 
ern States and Canada, so that wlien an animal 
is caught it is lifted several feet into the air and 
out of reach of other animals, but in other sec- 
tions the spring pole is little used and trappers 
should get over their lines of traps as often as 
possil)le, for there is ahvays more or less danger 
of the animal escaping or being destroyed by 
larger game. 

The most successful trapi)ers are those who 
visit their traps often. In addition to loosing 
little or no fur after once being caught, they keep 
their "sets" in good condition. 

The experienced trapper knows that the first 
night before severe weather each Avinter, his traps 
are much more liable to contain game than on 
almost any other night. AVhy is this? Animal 
instinct tells the animal that winter weather is 
coming, and they travel much more just previous 
to cold snaps hunting food and good warm dens. 
J:t this time, too, they go into most any den to 
explore it. Some trajjpers neglect their traps 
the first cold night. This is a mistake, for the 
animal often travels the first night of a cold spell 
as well as the night previous. Of course they 
do not travel as muclrthe first cold night as the 
night previous, but some animals not suited with 
the den found, stir around another night looking 
for better quarters. 

Looking at Traps. 


150 Steel Traps. 

This rule perhaps does uot hold good for 
such animals as fox, mink, marten and other 
fur-bearers that keep traveling- most nights dur- 
ing the winter, no matter how severe the weather, 
but with such animals as skunk, coon, opossum, 
muskrat, etc., it does. The first night of a cold 
spell early in the season and the first night of a 
warm spell during the winter, trappers should 
have their traps in good order. 

Manv trappers, as soon as the trapping sea- 
son opens, set traps for all kinds of fur-bearing 
animals that are found on their grounds. This 
as a rule is a mistake. Skunk and muskrat 
should be t.iken first, from the fact that skunks 
den up with the first severe weather and uuiskrat 
are hid under the ice. So trap these animals in 
earnest at the first of the season. 

On the other hand, mink and fox travel the 
coldest nights in midwinter as well as the warm 
ones; in fact, these two animals are most suc- 
cessfullv trapped when some of the other fiir- 
bearers are denned up. Coon, however, should 
also be trapped_rather early, as they den up early 
in the season, although they come out ou warm 
nights. By February 15th skunk ai-e usually 
running again. This applies to central sections. 
Of course North and South, the conditions vary. 
In the extreme south the animals keep going all 

L()()ivi.\(; AT TuAi's. J51 

V. iiitci', while in the far North some den up foi- 
many months. 

Trappers must use their juclonieut wliat to 
trap first, dependino' somewhat upon the num- 
ber of trappers in their section. The above is 
lueant for the trapper who is stationed for a full 
season at tlie same place. Of course the trapper 
who is movin"', often takes any and all animals 
he can if the fur is prime. 



N determining the length of time to 
have a trap set depends largely upon 
how many other traps you have in 
the vicinity and what success you are 
having with them. It may be that a 
trap will remain at a den for two 
weeks unsprung and during the next two weeks 
catch two or three animals. Other traps may he 
sprung occasionally and not contain game, but 
if the trapper has followed instructions as pre- 
viously given there should be little difficulty in 
catching each and every animal that comes after 
the bait. The trap should have the animal the 
first time it attempts to steal the bait, but of 
course it cannot be expected to every time. A 
good trapper will get the animal, however, be- 
fore it fools with the bait many times. 

If, on visiting a trap, you find the bait gone, 
replace it and set the trap as before. The 
chances are that on the next visit of the ani- 
mal it will get caught. Should, on the second 
visit, the bait be gone and the trap unsprung, 
the chances are tliat the animal is still in the 
den and is stealing the bait from within, without 
stepping over the trap. In this case, either place 


Mysteriously Sprung Traps. 


the bait on the outside of trap or not use any 
bait for a few nijihts. The animal will most 
likely soon venture out, if you quit feeding it, 
and will get caught. 

The ideas advanced by some that animals 
spring traps after turning them over, with their 


noses or pavrs, is all nonsense. It may be pos- 
sible that they do step over the trap and knock 
it otf with their body, thus not getting caught. 
Such cases are rare, however. You have no 
doubt visited your trap and found a few hairs 
in it. On such occasions it was probably knocked 

154 Steel Traps. 

off by the body of the aiiiimil. It may be possi- 
ble that animals have turned traps over in their 
endeavors to get bait witli their nose or paw, 
but you can rest assured that they did not know 
by so doing- that it lessened the chance of getting 
cauglit. If you can induce an animal to come 
and get the bait there is no doubt but that you 
will catch your game sooner or later. 

In regard to tra])s being sprung, it is possible 
they are set too easy, and go off of their own 
accord, after the trapper has left them. Again 
they may work too hard, not going off easy 
enough. All these things the trapper should 
guard against. If the trap has been properly 
set there will be no trouble from the source just 
named, and traps once set the trapper should 
keep away from, as far as possible when making 
his rounds, unless they are sprung, the bait gone 
or contain game. 

Should traps be sprung morning after morn- 
ing without catching the animal it is possible 
that if you move the trap, or better still leave 
the one as before and set another, you will be 
rewarded. Sometimes an animal will manage to 
get bait without getting caught. At other times 
it may get bait without knocking off the trap. 
At such times the bait is too near the trap most 
likely, the animal reaching it without stepping 
over the trap, or if the trap has not been prop- 

Mysti:ki()u.slv Si'urxc; Tuaps. 155 

I'llv set the animal may lie goiuj^- around the 

Just how lono- a trap should be left at one 
jdace if not bothered is hard to say as so many 
things bear upon the question; if the weather i.^ 
cold and few animals movini;- they should be left 
much longer than if good trappino- weather. If 
the den has been a good one other years, that is, 
if you have caught game there, th;'n leave longer 
than if you never caught anythijig there. If 
other traps are making catches near, leave as 
long as you are trapping there unless you find 
a much better looking den near and have no trap 
with you, then take this one. 

^^lien traps are sprung and pulled back into 
the den as far as the chain will allow them to 
go, the chances are ilmt the animals is still in 
the den. On the other hand, if the trap is 
dragged to the outside the game is liable to have 
gon^ away. In either case it will likely b(> 
around again in a few nights, as having once got 
a meal it will not be slow to make another visit. 
If the animal was caught and only escaped after 
prolonged struggles is mny not return for some 
time and possibly not at all. Yet when a tra}) is 
set and fastened as directed, few anim-ils wh^u 
once caught escape. Here is where projjer fas- 
tening comes into use; if the trap had a fairly 
good hold on the animal and the trap was staked 


Steei. Traps. 




solid the liJiine might luivc escaped hut woiihl ho 
so hadl}^ injiii-ed and friglHeiied tliat it might 
never return. 

smmk x()R'riii:R.\ iru.- 

When fastened properly to a bush or light 
drag, the game rarely escapes even though the 
trap has only a toe hold, unless the trapper is 
da^'S in making the rounds. Should an animal 

158 Steel Traps. 

escape when ouly sli<i,litly injured it is apt to 
soon return. 

In many eases where uanie has escaped after 
once beinji,' caught it is not the fault of the traj) 
but of. the trapi)er. Should the bone in the ani- 
mal's leg be broken and after days of endeavor- 
ing the animal frees itself there should be no 
blame attached to the trap, the fault is with the 
trapper — he should have visited the trap sooner. 

Many trappei-.s believe that animals become 
so sharp that they will turn traps e^er. This 
we hardly believe. At the same lime trappers 
have set trai)s upside down ^nd caught the ani- 
mals. This, perhaps, is accounted for from the 
fact that the animal in reaching for bait would 
turn the trap. It is usually the case that ani- 
mals will go about getting bait in a certain man- 
ner and th:' changing of location of trap may be 
the means of making a catch. 

Some years ago when trapping mink, I vis- 
ited a certain deadfall that was "down'' each 
morning and the bait eaten. The trap was reset 
and rebaited eac4i time for perhaps a weok, even 
after making the pen smaller and the trap easier 
to go off, it continued to be down and bait 
gone. By this time I was anxious, and taking a 
No. 1 steel trap I carefully set it on the inside 
of the pen, covered it well and rebaited the dead- 

Mysteriously Sprttxg Traps. 159 

fall. On my round the next moriiinc; neitlior the 
ti-a]) nor bait were disturbed. 

Tlie second nioi-nin"- the deadfall was down 
and in the steel trap was a small mink — the 
smallest I ever eanjiht. This accounted for the 
animal being able to get inside the pen and eat 
the bait. It was so small that when the log fell 
its body was entirely inside the fall. I hardly 
think that small mink, which was less than a 
year old, knew that it would get caught unless 
it was inside the fall, but its size was such that 
it could easily get out of danger, and each time 
it ate the bait it was in the same position on the 



OME trappers as soon as they liave 
caught one animal remove their 
trap thinking that there is no 

longer any use to leave it at that den. 

While this may sometime hold good 
in case of large game, such as bear, panther, etc., 
it does not with most animals; in fact, there are 
certain dens where trappers each season take 
from two to five or even more animals. In the 
case of the larger game even they seem to scent 
your bait and two bears and occasionally more 
have been caught at the same place within a few 

The fact, as a rule, that you have caught one 
animal in a den, should not cause you to remove 
your trap. The more animals caught at the 
same den the better. There is a reason why cer- 
tain dens are the favorite homes of animals. It 
may be because they are dry and warm, that 
there is a nice bed of leaves, etc. At any rate, 
trappers know that certain dens are valuable — 
that each season there are animals living there 
— it making no difference how many have been 
caught the previous winter. At such dens it will 
pay to leave your traps all the season, that is, 


Good jjens. 



162 Steel TuArs. 

if joii have other traps that are catching game 
in the vicinity. Of course it would not pay to 
leave one trap set if you did not have others 
within a short distance. As a rule where there is 
one good den of this kind there are others in the 
vicinity, so that you do not want to remove from 
that certain section. 

It often happens that two trappers trap dur- 
ing the season on the same ground, one in the 
fall and the other later in the season. The sec- 
ond one has often taken more game than the 
first in the same length of time. Both were con- 
sidered good trappers and of equal experience. 
This-t)nly goes to sliow that you never know when 
all the game is caught; in fact, it never is, for 
if such was the case there would be nothing left 
to catch another season, yet when another season 
arrives the game is apparently about as numer- 
ous as ever. 

This shows that good dens should be looked 
up by trappers, if in new trapping grounds to 
them, before the season opens. The best time 
to look for signs is in the fall, yet many a good 
den has been discovered by tracking animals in 
the snow to their burrow. These extra good 
dens are usually located on high grounds, at 
least not in swamps or very low land. It is true, 
however, that on low land and along sinks and 
damp places there is good trapping early in the 

(looi) I)i;xs. 


164 Steel Tkaps. 

season, but as a rule animals hunt higher and 
drier sections before the extreme cold weather 
comes. This being true the best dens are most 
always found on high and drj- ground. Another 
proof of this is the fact that when large numbers 
of skunk are dug oiit of a den it is nearly al- 
ways on high and dry land. 

That there are many excellent dens along 
rocky bluffs, sandy hill sides, and other like 
places, the experienced trapper knows. He also 
knows that along the low land in early fall is 
good trapi)ing. ^link and coon are, of course, 
to be caught along streams at all times. It is 
not necessary to state even to the amateur if 
muskrat, beaver and otter are what the trapper 
is after, that along streams is the only place 
to make a success. 

Days spent early in the season looking up 
dens where hairs, bones, feathers, dung, etc., 
are to be seen, are days well spent, for many 
times has a trapper set traps at dens where with- 
in a few hundred yards were many better ones, 
but not being_acquainted with the locality, he 
overlooked these until a snow came. Then he 
tracked an animal Avhich led him to the dens, 
otherwise he perhaps would not have discovered 
them at all. Keep your eye open at all times 
for good dens. That a large number of animals 
were caught at a certain den last winter is evi- 

Good Dens. 165 

dence that that certain don is just the kind of a 
burrow they ^^•ant. 

It may be that you caught all the animals 
that lived there the winter before, but others 
have been raised since. These on their wanders 
for food have found the den and have found, like 
their relatives of the winter before, that it was 
just what they wislied, hence they, too, have re- 
turned for the winter. 

At any rate, a den that is good one seasort 
is worth more to the professional trapper than 
one that has never before showed signs. Or in 
other words, if he has only one trap left and 
discovers a new den apparently as good as the 
one Avhere the winter before he made such good 
catches, you may rest assured that he will set 
his trap at the old den. It is possible that not 
a single animal will be caught this season at 
the den where such good catches were made last 
season, but this is an exception rather than the 

Old trappers will tell you that they caught so* 
many animals at this den in a certain season, so 
many the next, etc. Perhaps more skunk have 
been caught at one den in a single season than 
any other animal. The catching of ten or twelve 
at a place is no uncommon occurrence in a sea- 
son. There are a few cases on record where trap- 
pers have caught as high as fifteen, and one in- 


Steel Traps. 


Good Dens. 167 

siaiico tliat wo know of, wliere seventeen Avere 
cani»lit at one den from November to jMareli lOth. 
Tliis was certainly a remarkable cateli. 

Old trappers will also tell you that signs are 
wliat you should look for at all times. These are 
not only found at dens, but by Avatehing every- 
where; signs found in the woods often cause the 
trapper to hunt for dens which are often close 
by. (lood dens are not at all hard to tell by the 
experienced trapper, and if you are a 3'oung 
trapper and can induce some experienced trap- 
per to let you make the rounds with him or pay 
him to spend a day or two with you, it will be 
to your advantage. 

During the summer months when you are 
running around through the fields and woods 
fishing and hunting and . having a good time, 
then is the time to start the foundation for the 
coming season's trapping . Always be on the 
lookout for signs and learn to read Nature's writ- 
ings. Then when the trapping season opens, 
you will know exactly where to set your traps 
and you will be far ahead of the other fellow 
that has waited till the season opens before look- 
ing over the grounds. 

I am glad to see an awakening of the trapper 
for the protection of fur-bearing animals during 
the summer months when the fur is unprime; 
also, the protection of the animal dens. In the 

168 Steel Traps. 

•Time Diimbor of H-T-T, writes an Iowa trapper, 
I called trappers' attention to Johnny Dig-em- 
ont and his destructive method of trapping, and 
I think every trapper that has trapped in a 
thickly settled country' will bear me out when I 
say he has lots to do with the disappearance of 
the fur-bearing animals. I will cite you to the 
buffalo for instance; years ago the plains were 
covered with them, but after the hide hunters 
had gotten in their work for a few years the buf- 
falo was a thing of the past. So, brother, let us 
take heed before it is too late, or the time will 
soon come when trapping in the older settled 
parts of the country will be a very unprofitable 

Ten years ago in this part of the country, 
skunk were very plentiful; it was a very poor 
farm indeed that did not contain at least one 
skunk den, but now they are about as scarce a 
fur-bearer as we have. The Dig-em-outs Avill 
ask, ''Does it pay to trap skunk when you find 
a den?'' I say "Yes." Eight or ten years ago I 
tracked a skunk into a den. I trapped three 
skunks in as many nights from that den, and 
since then I have probably taken twenty-five 
from the same place, and the den is in good con- 
dition yet, and each winter I know where to go 
to get skunk. Brother, did it pay to leave that 
den? Some say it is too slow work to trap out 

( JooD DeiN.s. 169 

a skunk den; I will tell you a quick way that I 
have tried with suceess. Build three or four 
pens near the den, put a bait in each x)en and a 
trap at the entrance of each. I have caught as 
hij^h as three iu a ni<>ht from one den, that way. 
Now trappers, let us strive the coininii- sea- 
son, to protect the homes of our fur-liearers, so 
we can enjoy the j^leasures and profits (►f trap- 
pini> in the years to come. Let us take the fel- 
low that dii>'S out the dens aside and <]jive him 
a little oood advice and show him where he is 
working against his own good. Many of them 
are nice fellows, but simply a little thoughtless 
about the future of these animals. 



>HILE baiting traps is not necessary 
when trapping at dens, yet the 
trapper who baits his traps will 
catch more game than if the traps 
were not baited. To show where a 
baited trap has the advantage, we 
will suppose that an animal passes a den where 
a trap is set but not baited. It is just as a no- 
tion takes the animal — it may pay a visit to 
the den and go in, and again it may not. If a 
trap is baited the chances are that if the animal 
passes within a few feet, it will reach the bait. 
Bait, whether bird, tish, chicken, beef offals 
or rabl)it, should be fresh for most animals. 
When trapping at dens the bait should be stuck 
on a short stick, sj) as to keep it off the ground, 
and placed back in the den, beyond the trap some 
eighteen inches or two feet. Should the bait l)e 
gone morning after morning and the trap un 
sprung, your game is pretty sure to be still in 
the den and living off your bait. In this case 
it will be a good idea to change and place the 
bait on the outside. If the animal is getting the 


The l*i;()ri;u ISait 


172 Steel Tkai\s. 

bait from within, you ar-e pretty sure to make a 
catch within a few nights. 

If trapping- in the woods nn* coon or akmg 
streams, where the}' travel, a piece of bait naih'd 
to a tree, some two feet from the ground, and a 
trap set directly under it is not a. bad set. Foi- 
mink, bait can be suspended from a. branch, tied 
by a string, to within Siiy t\yo feet of tlie ground. 
To set a trap directly beneath the bait if prop 
erly done and near where these animals travel, 
is a good way to take tliem. 

The methods used l)y some trap])ers of plac- 
ing bait on the pan of the trap should never be 
employed. An animal in reaching for the bait 
will spring the trap with its nose, and unless thi' 
trap is a very large one, not get caught. The cor- 
rect place to put bait is where an animal in 
reaching for it, will be apt to ix^t one of its fore 
feet in the trap. The way to do this can be told 
by a little study before setting the trap. If the 
animal you are trap])ing is a small one the bait 
should not be placed so far b(n-on<l the trap as 
for a larger one. 

Should you tind the bait gone wluui visiting 
your traps, replace it at once and see that your 
trap is all right. In nine cases out of ten, the 
animal will be around again in a night or two 
for another meal. Persevere and you will get 

TllK I'UOl'KK J5A1T. 173 

your game sooliei- or later. iSeeiug that your 
traps are kept properly baited is an important 
item ; also, keeping bait as fresh as possible. Af- 
ter the bait has been at a trap for a week if it 
has not been molested, it is best to replace with 
something fresh. Do not throw the old bait 
awa^', either hang it up, out of reach of animals 
or carry it away from the den. If you have 
plenty of fi'esh bait, it will pay to replace oftener 
than once a week. 

If you have a large quantity of fresh bait and 
have more than you can use to advantage, on 
your traps, it can be made use of, by cutting into 
small pitK-es and testing a number of dens. By 
this we mean x>ntting a small piece of bait at 
dens you think are good or show some sign of 
game, but at which you have no traps. In a few 
days, visit these dens again and at all where the 
bait is gone, rebait and set a trap. This is a 
very good method and has helped many a trap- 
per to increase his catch. 

Most trappers do not take into consideration 
the keen scent of the animal they hope to vic- 
timize. To know how to set a trap properly is 
far from all in the line of success. To know 
your "critter" at every turn he may make and 
to entice him from his wonted way by means 
that challenges his cunning through his appe- 

174 Steel Traps. 

tite and vet overcome that suspieiou of place 
and the circumstances of immediate surround- 
ings is the real acme of trai)pers' art. 

To place a bait anywhere above the trap is 
well enough for an animal of less cunning than 
a fox. But to challenge that cunning in a fox. 
better way is to bury the bait. The proper way 
to go about it is to make a trail by dragging 
through the brush or thicket a hare, squirrel or 
bird, and at the proper distances along this blind 
trail, strew the feathers of some bird, or make 
a bed for y<uir bait, no trap being set, until you 
"take the sign" of one of your varmints. 

Notice well the approaches to your intended 
"set." To be sure of your game, you must notice 
the "run" of more than one aninuil at a given 
place but the buried bait must be adhered to 
thruoiit your whole line. A bait, to my experi- 
ence is more attractive when it is out of sight 
but so placed tliat your critter must work to 
reach it. in common phrase "root hog, or die." 
By this means the cunning of your victim is cast 
aside in its endeavor. Much depends on the pa- 
tience of the trapper and his real handiwork. 
Where a set of this kind is made or contem- 
plated, the presence of a feAv feathers are th.e 
prime requisites. Make it appear that a carnivnl 
of flesh has taken place and that the spared rem- 
nants lie buried just beneath. Drawing on your 

The Proper Bait. 


176 Steel Traps. 

game in this belief for some time before making 
a set, is the proper caper. 

If Ton can procnre an ancient egg you have 
the tid bit for any varmint that may hit your 
track. You perhaps have heard much about the 
so-called "scents" or oils. They in a way are 
good to disguise the dreaded human odor, but 
may well be dispensed with and some are en- 
tirely out of place. Time will obliterate any and 
all human odor, providing you use your imple- 
ments with tact and good judgment, your bait 
will keep and it will draw better a day or two 
after the first set. I never could teach any one 
much unless he went along the line with me. 
Trapping is a profession and not every one is by 
nature adapted for it, but some take to it as 
natural as a duck to water. 

I get three or four dead chickens and start 
out. I place them along the bank and usually 
tie them to some small tree so that the head will 
about reach the ground. I never build a pen 
around them. I wait until something get to eat- 
ing them, and-then I take a trap and place it 
directly in front of where it has been eaten, and 
use more traps if necessary. I have caught as 
many as three skunks around one chicken, — 
have caught more that way than any way I have 
tried. Brother trappers try my plan and be con- 

The Proper Bait. 177 

Tlio entrails of miiskrat, rabbit, chicken or 
dnck will make far better bait than the animal 
or bird itself. In very cold weather I use the oil 
of wild dnck which I save in the fall, but even 
in using the baits I speak of I invariably dig up 
the ground, unless it is a water set or a swamp 
set on some log. 

In cold weather, or in fact during the entire 
trapping season, fur-bearing animals are search- 
ing for something to eat and consequently the 
trap that is baited is moi-e lial)le to catch than 
one that is not. Fresh rabbit is an excellent bait 
for most animals. 




T is claimed by trappers that some 
methods are good while others are 
not. I have bought iiearh^ all of the 
methods put on the market and find 
that all are good if properly used, 
says a well known trapper. Experi- 
ence has taught me that you can 
catch any kind of an animal with 
decoj^ Experience has also taught me that you 
can catch any kind of an animal without decoy. 
^Iy belief is that there is one decoy that is of 
great value, especially in the running season, 
and it is that of the famous beaver castor. Few 
animals can pass it without investigating. 

You can, however, use all the decoys put to- 
gether, and if you do not set the trap properly 
you might as well set traps on top of a straw 
stack, back of some barn, to catch a fox, and yon 
will get him just as quick. But if your trap is 
set somewhere near his hauntsf on a knoll or 
under vines, at a hollow stump, tree or hole, and 
baited with a good piece of fresh bait, you will 
catch just as many if not more in the fall, than 
you will with the decoy. 

In winter and spring I prefer decoy, although 


Scent and Dkcoys. 


I have t-auiihl a liood luaiiy foxes without it. 
Dnriii!; Aviiitcr and spring, the main thing is to 
know jnst liow and where to set the trap. The 


best way to find this ont is to stndy the animal 
yon wish to catch, then go after liim. A fox is 
almost as easy to catch as a skunk if yon con- 

180 Steel Traps. 

ceal jour trap, cliaiu aud all, aud leave things 

as you found them around the trap. 

It is well to buy some good methods, for they 

will give you a good idea of your work aud help 

you get a start. Should you try them and fail 

the first time, try again. Keep right at trying 

and after a while you will get to catching foxes. 

There is no man that can use another man's 

methods as well as the discovered himself; at 

least, not until he learns them and finds out 

how to use them. I care not how plainly the one 

selling his method explains it to others, it takes 

practice before the best catches can be made. 
* * * 

About scents, some may be good, but most of 
them are worthless. I sent to an old trapper 
for mink scent and it came in a plain tin can. 
I used it in every way I could and mink would 
turn and go around it, so I stopped using it and 
took to the old Scotch scent. Here is the recipe 
for making it : 

Take two dozen minnows three inches long, 
put in two quact cans filled with water and seal. 
Let stand one month in warm place, then put 
on bait for mink or skunk. I use no scent for 
mink in water sets. 

If a mink is hungry, writes an Iowa trapper, 
and finds bait that has l)een left for him, he will 
pay no attention to human scent, while if he is 

Scent am> Decoys. 181 

not liuugry, he will not take tlie l)ait, be it ever 
so fresh. A mink will sometimes make a trail 
in the fresh snow by passing several times over 
llie same route and then never use that trail 
again. I have also known otter to do the same. 
I caught two mink last winter, in a ditch, set- 
ting my trap in the water. The first night I 
caught a medium-sized mink and the third night 
I caught a small one. I believe that I would 
have caught every mink that went up that ditch 
if it had not froze up, and snowed so much dur- 
ing the time, that I could not keep my traps 
properly set. If a person sets out a line of trajis 
in tliis country while there is snow on the ground, 
l\e is simply going to a great deal of trouble to 
give them to some thief. 

In trapping mink I watch for signs and when 
I locate a mink I consider it mine and it gen- 
erally is. If you bait a trap v\diere you may 
tliink it is a good place to catch a mink, it often 
happens that you may make a good many trips 
to your trap and not succeed. You may say to 
yourself that it is human scent that keeps them 
away, when perhaps there has not been a mink 
near your trap. My advice to young trappers is 
not to set your traps where a mink may go, but 
set it where you know he is going, and you will 
find it no trick to catch mink. 

In writing about ''Mistakes of Trappers," an 


Steel Traps. 

ScEXT AXL) Decoys. ' 1^3 

AUeolianj' Mountain tra])por of fifty years' ex- 
periouce .says: The aycraj^e trappoi"' makes a 
mistake in listening to some one's ideas about 
scents for trapping an animal, instead of going 
to the forests, the fields and the streams and 
there learning its nature, its habits and ways, 
and its favorite food. He also makes a mistake 
bv spending much time in looking after scents, 
rubber gloves to handle traps Avitii, and wooden 
pinchers to handle bait with, instead of spending 
his time in learning the right way and the right 
place to set his trap. For one litUe slip and the 
game is gone, if the trap is not properly set. 

We make mistakes in thinking that the fox 
is more sly in some states than in others. Not 
long ago I received a letter from a friend in 
Maine asking if I did not think that the fox 
was harder to trap in some states than others. 
Now the states in Avhich I have trapped are 
rather limited, but I have trapped in Wisconsin, 
Michigan and Pennsylvania, mostly Pennsylva- 
nia. I have also trapped in one or two other 
states and wherever I found the fox, I found the 
same sly animal and in order to trap it success- 
fully it was necessary to comply with the natural 

The worst mistake of all mistakes is made by 
the one who uses poison to kill foxes witli. Let 
me tell you of an instance that came under my 



tei«W 1^!fl '< HH 

ScKXT A\i) Dkcoys. 185 

observation four years ai-o in (Ik^ sonllicin part 
of tills conntv. Mv road was over ilic divide be- 
tween the waters of the Alleiiliauv and Sns(|r.e- 
hanna. Abont five miles of tlie road lay over a 
monntain that was thickly wooded, with no set- 
tlers. While crossino- this monntain I saw the 
carcasses of fonr foxes lyino- in the road. On 
makiu.o' inqniries I learned tiiat a man living in 
the ueio-hborhood was makin.n- a practice each 
winter of driving over the roads in that section 
and pntting- ont poisoned meat to kill foxes. 

I chanced to meet this man not long ago and 
I said, "Charley, what hick did yon have trap- 
ping last winter?" His reply was, "Not much, 
only tAvo foxes. Old Shaw dogged them ont of 
the conntry." (Referring to a man who hunted 
with dogs.) I said, "Charley, don't yon think 
that poison business had something to do with 
it?" He replied, "Oh, h— 1, there will be foxes 
after I am dead." This man calls himself a 
trapper and is quite an extensive fur buyer. 

For fox decoy, get five or six musk glands 
from rats in the springtime; put enougli^ trout 
or angle worms with them to make a pint, cork 
them tight and leave in the sun thru the sum- 
uier, and add the essence from one skunk 

';^tlii%^^ ^"t the essence, don't put in the bag). 

V ^^^' i^^'^'^'i' '^tnm a better decoy and I have used 

186 Steel Traps. 

iiiniiy. Voii can use either one alone. I h.ive 
cani>lit many foxes with trout oil alone. 

liemeniber the bait and scent is no good what- 
ever as long- as there remains a trace of hnman 
odor; the whole secret is, Be Carefnl. 

The beaver castors or bark sacks and the oil 
stones are fonnd near the vent in four sacks in 
both male and female. In taking them out, cut 
clear around them, and take all out together 
with as little meat as possible. The bark sacks 
contain a yellow substance. To get the contents, 
tie a string around the hole in the sacks and rub 
them between the hands until soft, then cut them 
open and squeeze the contents into a glass jar 
or bottle. To get the oil from the oil stone, cut 
the end off and squeeze it. Keep separate and 
mix as directed : 

1st. Take the castor of one beaver, add 20 
drops oil of cinnamon, 10 drops oil Anise, and 
"wine" of beaver to make the bait thick lik(: 

2nd. Take the castor sacks of one beaver, 
add 7 drops of oil sassafras, 7 drops Anise, 10 
drops oil from the oil stone. 

3rd. Take the castor sacks of one beaver, 
add 10 drops of Jamaica rum, 5 drops oil of 
Anise, 5 drops oil cloves, 5 drops oil sassafras, 5 
drops oil Khodium. 

4th. Take the castor sacks of one beaver, add 

v^CKXT AM) 1)Kc6yS. 187 

10 drops oil from the oil stones, and beaver's 

nriue enough to make the bait like mush. 

* * •«■ 

For beaver bait, get six castors off of beav- 
ers, one nutmeg, 12 cloves, 30 grains or cinnamon 
and mix up with a little whiskey to make in a 
paste or like mixed mustard. Put in a bottle 
and cork. In a few days it will get strong, then 
use as a bait on pan of trap. 

You catch no foxes if there is any human 
scent around, says an Eastern trapper. I will 
tell you how I set a trap for fox in a brook of 
running water. Have your trap free from rust 
(beeswax is good to prevent rust on a trap) ; 
have on a pair of water-proof boots, put the 
bait on a rock about tAvo feet from shore, and 
sfet trap on a rock three inches from shore. 
Cover trap about one inch with moss; have it 
rise above water, and i)lace a rock for reynard 
to step on before he steps onto the trap rock. 
Put a few drops of scent on the bait, of the right 
kind, and be sure the trap is under water; handle 
bait and moss with sharp stick. Now I am sure 
you would catch no fox if you worked from the 
bank. Always walk in water when going to 

I will give a pointer on using decoys or scent 
for making trails, writes a Western trapper. 
Take a piece of* sponge, run stout string thru it. 


^ ^^EEL Traps. 

pour ou your medicine and then place the si)onoe 
in tlie hollow of the sole of your rubber boot, 
brinji' the ends of the strinjj; up oyer the instep, 
cross them and tie on the back side of the boot 
and it Ayill make a trail that a mink or coon Avill 
follo^y a mile or more. 



The slyer animals, such as the fox and mink, 
soon learn to associate all fancy smells \yith dan- 
ger, and then most scents act as Ayarninu iuste:id 
of a lure, writes an Ohio trapper. For mink bnit 
I tliink a fresh muskrat carcassds about the best 

Scent and Decoys. 189 

of anj^thing, because muskrat is their common 
food and therefore tliej are not nearly as liable 
to be suspicious of it as of some strange scent, 
such as amber oil, anise oil, oil of cinnamon or 
oil of lavender, one or more of which is nearly 
always used in combination scents. 

I generall}^ take a hen carcass, smear it with 
the musk of a muskrat, and use it for a drag, 
as it will make a trail that a mink is pretty sure 
to follow to the trap which should be set in a hole 
near an old stump or log if such a hole can be 
found, and then covered with fine dry dirt, rot- 
ten wood or what is better than either, the feath- 
ers from the chicken carcass which has been 
used as a drag. I find it a better way to cut the 
bait into small pieces and use several pieces 
with each trap, but if only one piece is used it 
is best to stake it fast. If an animal only has 
to make one trip into the enclosure to get all 
the bait he will not be as apt to be taken as if 
he made several trips, which he is pretty sure to 
do if the bait is cut into small pieces and scat- 
tered around in the enclosure. 

There seems to be quite a difference of opin- 
ion among trappers as to the "attractive" value 
of Scents and Decoys. Some praise them, while 
others consider them of little value. 

In our years of experience as Editor of the 
H-T-T we have read thousands of trappers' let- 

190 Steel Traps. 

ters from all parts of America, 'svhicli iu addi- 
tion to personal observation Avlien on tlie trap- 
ping line, enables us to say tbat "Scents'' and 
"Decoys/' if rightly made, prepared and used 
are of value. 

There is no question but that the sexual or- 
gans of the female secured "when in heat" and 
preserved in alcohol is a great lure for the males 
of that specie. 



riEIiE is a great deal said just 
now altoiit the Lmnan scent 
theory, writes an Illinois trapper. 
Some claim that you can catch no 
animal if there is any human 
scent around, and they hardly 
take time to set their traps prop- 
erly for fear of leaying scent. I 
ahyays considered that the most 
important thing- in setting traps was to coyer 
them properly, and to disturb things as little as 

When your traps are set eyerything should 
be as natural as before. By that I mean that 
when you are trapping for the shrewdest game, 
such as fox, mink, otter, wolves, etc. For other 
animals such as skunk and muskrat, you need 
not use such caution, for they will blunder into 
a trap no matter how carelessly it is set. Still it 
is always best to coyer your signs properly for 
you can never know what animal may come 
along. If your traps are carefully covered you 
are as liable to get a valuable pelt as a low 
priced one. Use care in setting; study well the 



Steel Traps. 

nature and habits of the i^anie you are trappinji", 
and YOU A^ill he suecessfiil. NeYer begin trap- 
ping- until the fur is prime for one prime skin is 
worth more than Syc or six poor ones. 



Among trappers there is a YarietY of opinion 
as to the dittVrent kind of baits to use, and also 
as to tlie different \YaYS to aYoid the smell of 
iron or steel traps. Some boil their traps in 

Human Scent and Sign. 193 

willow bark; otliois dip their traps in melted 
tallow or beeswax. 

I hav(^ had a fox get into my snowshoe tracks 
and follow a long ways because it was better 
traveling. Now that shows he was not afraid 
of hunmn scent writes a Vermont trapper. Now 
about iron. How often does a fox go through a 
wire fence or go near an old sugar house where 
there are iron grates. That shows he is not 
afraid of scent of iron. 

Once there was an old trapper here, and the 
young men wanted him to show them how to set 
a fox trap, and he told them he would, so he got 
them out to show them how, and this is what he 
told them. "Kemove all suspicion and lay a 
great temptation." Well there it is. Now in 
order to remove all suspicion you must remove 
all things that are not natural. A man's tracks, 
and wheie he has been digging around with a 
spade or with his hands are not natural around 
a spring, are they? No. Well then, there is 
where the human scent question comes in. By 
instinct he is shown that man is his enemy, and 
when a man has pawed the l)ait over he uses his 
sense and knows that danger is there, for it is 
not natural. 

Now I have a question at hand ; in one place 
he is not afraid, and around the trap he is afraid. 
Now, how does he know when to be afraid and 


194 Steel Traps. 

when not? I think because when he sees a piece 
of bait in a new place it is not natural. 

Once last winter I knew where there was a 
dead horse and I used to go by it, and one day 
niY brother was with me, and of course he knew 
that I could get a fox there, so to please him I 
set a trap, and not another fox came near. Well, 
I smoked that trap, boiled it in hemlock and then 
smeared it in tallow, but the fox knew and never 
came within ten feet of it again, when they were 
coming every night before. When I went by 
there before I set the trap I left as much scent 
as after, and how could he tell when there was a 
foot of snow blown there by the wind after I set 
my trap? 

Now they don't appear to be afraid of human 
scent or iron in some places and around a trap 
they are, so now why should they know where 
'to be shy? Well, because it may be in an unnat- 
ural place, but what tells him it is in an unnat- 
ural place unless it is instinct or good sharp 

As for scent, I know that rotten eggs and 
onions are natural, although the matrix of the 
female fox -in the running season is very good 
scent; also skunk or muskrat scent or decayed 
fish, as it gives out a strong smell. 

One word to the novice fox trapper. You 
must make things look and smell natural around 


196 Steel TiiArs. 

the sprino-, and put before them the food Avhich 
(lod has provided for them, and yon will have 
success. Place the trap in the mud of the spring, 
and a sod on the pan of the trap. Use one that 
lias not been handled by the hand of a human 

I will give some facts on human scent and 
human signs in South Carolina. Now I have not 
trapi)ed ''ever since the Civil War" ; I have never 
trapped "all kinds of fur bearers that inhabit 
the Ivocky Mountains", but have trapped every 
fur-bearing animal of upper Carolina from 
muskrat to otter, writes an experienced trapper. 

The mink and fox are the animals most trap- 
pers referred to, we have no foxes here to catch, 
therefore I am unable to say anything about Rey- 
nard, yi'mk in the Carolinas are not afraid of 
human scent any more than any other animals, 
but they are afraid of human signs in an un- 
natural place. It is a common thing to find 
mink tracks in my path where I visit my traps 
every day, they are made late in the afternoon. 
I have set my traps almost at night and have 
had a mink in tlfem next morning. I used no 
scent or bait, and mink are very scarce here, too. 

My favorite set is in cane brakes and run- 
ways, using no bait. When I first began to trap, 
mink were not so scarce as they are now, but 
there are a few left yet. Not many years ago 


nearly every nij>ht I would have a muskrat's hide 

badly torn and sometimes the rat barberonslj 

murdered and half eaten up. 

One writer says, take bait and scent and set 

a trap properly, then q:o a little farther on and 

set a trap without either bait or scent, and see 

which trap you catch a fox in first. 
* * * 

Now we notice that this writer brings in the 
bait every time. V^e are very much in favor of 
bait, and make bait one of our most essential 
points in trapping the fox. This writer says that 
those "no scent" men are the ones that say fox 
are afraid of human scent. For our part we do 
not claim anything of the kind ; on the contrary, 
we claim that it is the signs that we make that 
the fox is shy of. 

I see there are a great many talking about 
mink not being afraid of railroad irons and barb 
wire fences writes a Louisiana trapper. Well, 
I guess they are not, but some of them are afraid 
of human scent under certain conditions, while 
under some other conditions they are not. 

Find a place where they are liable to come, 
and tramp and tread around just like an unex- 
perienced trapper would do, taking an old rusty 
or new trap, handling with naked hands and set 
either concealed or naked, stick a chunk of meat 
up over it on a stick, and then remove sticks and 

198 Steel TiiArs. 

stones making a disturbance. This will make 
mink afiaid of human scent in that place. A 
great many are afraid of a bait stuck up on a 
stick if there is humn scent around it, so I think 
it is a combination of these; namely, disturb- 
ances, human scent and the unnatural place to 
find foc.d that scares them away. Yet they are 
not all that way by any means. 

Now let some of these fellows who think ani- 
mals are not afraid of human scent try to catch 
an otter that has been caught before and got 
away, and they will think differently. I caught 
one last winter, that had his front leg off within 
an inch of the shoulder. I also caught a coon 
that had both front legs off high up, and strange 
to say this coon was fat and in good condition. 
He wasn't a very large one, and his teeth were 
badly worn off. He must have looked funny 
walking around on his hind feet like a bear, that 
is the way he walked for I could tell by the 

I see a great deal of discussion about mink 
being afraid of human scent writes a prairie 
trapper. I think there is a difference between 
mink concerning this: some niink are afraid and 
others are not. 

Last winter I caught a mink in a trap but he 
got away before I got there, and that mink aftev 
getting loose, followed the tracks I had made the 

Human Scent and Sign. 199 

moi'iiiiiii, before for about a quarter of a mile up 
the river before he turued in (•b)se to the bauk. 
Now he didn't seem to be afraid of human scent. 

Again I have walked up to a mink path, care- 
fully set and covered mj trap, and then carefully 
walked away in my old tracks, but never a mink 
would I get, nor would the mink even go along 
that path any more. I have even walked up to a 
path when I had no traps with me and then 
walked away, and altho the path had been used 
every day l)efore, it was not used again for about 
nine or ten days. 

I once set a trap at the bottom of a muskrat 
slide without covering, and although I had 
walked all around there and my trap was not 
covered, I got a mink. 

I wish to say that mink are not afraid of 
human scent and in proof will tell a little ex- 
perience I had with a mink while trapping for 
muskrat, writes a Massachusetts trapper. 

One night I came to one of my traps i^hich 
contained a muskrat that was partly eaten. I 
knew it was the work of a mink. Going on up 
the stream a short .distance I liad a mink, and 
T allowed that this mink would steal no more 
muskrats, but on investigating I discovered that 
this mink was coming down ^stream, while the 
one that had eaten the muskrat was going up, 
and after all I had not caught the thief. 

200 Steel Traps. 

Next night the same trap contained a musk- 
rat partly- eaten and I determined to catch the 
mink. I took the rat out of the trap and fixed 
for Mr. Mink by setting a second trap about 
three feet from the first one. I then started to 
look at other traps and was not gone more than 
an hour, and on returning to these traps I found 
that I had already caught the mink, and it was a 
big one and very dark. If this mink had been 
afraid of human scent he would not have re- 

In regard to human scent it does seem to me 
that after a man has trapped for a number of 
years he ought to know something al)out it, 
writes a trapper of the Great Lake region. 

I do positively know that human scent will 
drive most animals away. I have been a great 
lover of taking the otter. Brother trappers, how 
many of you that have trapped the ottea', but 
what have found out that he can tell that you 
have been there if you are not very careful, and 
he is not very much sharper than mink or fisher. 

I do think that all animals can scent a human 
being. I have caught almost all kinds of fur- 
bearing animals this side of the Rockies, and I 
don't know it all yet, but I do know the nature 
of all the game I trapped, and that we must all 
know to make trapping pay. 

In regard to scents, will say that undoubtedly 

Human Scent and Skjn. 201 

the most takiii<;- scent for iiiale fur-bearing ani- 
mals is that taken from the female during th<^ 
mating season. Yet there are other things that 
will attract them sometimes. 

I believe there are times when tlie female 
mink can be trapped more easily with the blind 
set, in fact at least one-half the mink I ever 
caught were taken in that manner, without any 
muskrat meat. 

I believe that a party may have and use all 
the scents, baits and methods in existence but 
without some knowledge of the animal sought, 
and also a little practicable common sense, and 
knowledge of setting traps he will meet with in- 
different success. 

Trappers are divided as to their views on 
"Human Scent and Sign". Some of the old and 
experienced ones think there is nothing to either 
for as they say they catch the shrewdest animals 
without any trouble. This is true but the trap- 
per of years of experience knows how to set his 
traps without leaving "sign." 

There is no question but that the shrewdest 
animals "look" with suspicion upon "sign" or 
anything out of the ordinary especially at their 
den or places where they often frequent. 

The hunter knows that deer, bear, fox and 
other animals rely upon their sense of smell as 
one of their wavs to evade them. Is it not as 


Stehf, Traps. 


reasonable that they smell a trapper when on 
his rounds? 

Of course after the trapper has made the set 
and gone, his scent will gradually leave and the 
"sign" is probably the cause of the animal keep- 
ing away, should it continue to do so. 

That human scent is quite noticeable to ani- 
mals is proven from the fact that bloodhounds 
can follow a man's trail or scent even tho it has 
been made hours before. Yet after a day or so 
the scent is lost and the best bloodhound cannot 
follow it. 

Do not the same conditions apply to the scent 
left by the trapper when setting his traps for 
wolves, foxes, mink, otter, beaver and other keen 
scented and shrewd aninmls? It surely does, 
and after a few days, at the farthest, the "human 
scent" is all gone. 

This being true, then it must be the "sign" 
that keeps the animal away. Again, it may be 
that the animal has had no occasion to return. 

Where the trapper has just set traps for 
foxes or wolves and these animals visit them 
within a few hours they perhaps are aware that 
a person has been about as both "scent" and 
"sign" may be there. 

To overcome "human scent" and "sign" the 
trapper must leave no "sign" and as for "human 
scent" it will leave in a short time. In visiting 
the traps do not go near unless disturbed. 



EFOKE the readers of the H-T- 
T receive the Xovemher issue 
the death sentence will have 
beeu passed aud executed upon 
many a luck-less fur-beaier 
whose hides will be "on the fence," 
for in man^' states trapping can be 
done at any time, more is the pity, 
writes a ^lichiiLian trai)per and buyer. In ^lichi- 
gan no trapping is allo^^■ed until November 1st, 
which is plenty soon enough. Last season I saw 
many hundreds of skunk, coon and mink aud 
also opossum skins that had been taken in Oc- 
tober and were only trash. It was a worthless, 
wasteful slaughter. Muskrats are the only ani- 
mals that may, with reason, be taken during the 
first half of October and yet it is better to wait 
until general collections are good. 

I will first ask the amateur if he uses the 
precaution to stake his rat and mink traps at 
water sets with bushes instead of stakes. They 
do not attract the attention of hunters and other 
stragglers and especially boys as does the uew 
whittled wood of a stake ; sometimes it is neces- 
sary to go still farther than this and cut a short 


Hints on 1*\vll Tuaiting. 2u5 


206 Steel Trai's. 

stake aud shove it entirely out of sight under 
water or mud. 

When you find where a rat is working slightly 
in many places along a bank and 3'ou do not 
know just where to place your trap, dig a little 
place in the bank at the water's edge and up 
above it and set your trap in the entrance under 
the water a half inch. This will attract the rat 
and you will most likely get him. It helps to 
pin down a rat's leg or other small portion of 
the caicass in the excavation just mentioned. 
Kats will not eat the meat, but it is sure to draw 
them into the trap; and then by baiting with 
rat flesh you will often get a mink. 

After you have caught a rat at feeding signs 
or in any other inconsi)icuous place and you do 
not get more after tw<) nights, it is well to move 
your trap to a new place. I generally trap three 
nights on one stretch of ground and then take 
up all except now and then one occupying the 
most favored positions; the remaining traps 
will catch the stragglers and the traps you re- 
move and reset will be on guard to a purpose. 

Be careful and do not dry your furs by the 
fire. I saw many lots of rats last fall and into 
the winter that Avould break like glass, the skins 
had been made so brittle by the fire-drying pro- 
cess. It makes the pelt side look dark and un- 
prime as well. 

Hints on Fall Trai'i-lxg. 


In settin*? for mink, foUow walor sotting as 
long as possible and sot undor ovoi-lianging root.^ 
and banks where the tracks are seen or >\^here a 
log lies up so as to permit the mink's passing 
undor and, in short, wlierovor the game is most 


apt to pass thru or under as is the mink's habit. 
Where there is no timber and the banks are lo^r, 
then the main dependence is on making a trench 
as described and pinning down a portion of 

I will also say that I have found rat houses 

208 Steel Traps. 

a capital place to catch mink. Both coon and 
mink visit rat houses that are nearest to shore; 
knowing this, after you have caught off the rats, 
dig a hole in the side of the house and throw in 
a portion of a muskrat. Set your trajj at en- 
trance covered with water or thin mud and if 
there is a mink or coon that visits the house jou 
will get hi^i if things don't go contrary, the trap 
fail to get hold or some other ill luck occur. 

When a coon is expected a long hardwood 
stake should be u.sed. I have had a number 
blunder into rat traps, chew the soft i^opple or 
willow stake all to pieces and go off with the 
trap. And they have never returned one yet. 

A word more on the mink question. When 
I find a place that mink are most sure to pass 
thru or under, I do not use bait. Especially if 
the mink is old and cunning and has been 
trapped, or one that has been nipped by a trap 
and become "bait shy." For these I make blind 
sets only. My trap and chain is under water 
and also my stake. 

The trap is -barely covered by water or mud 
and an old leaf or two that is watersoaked is 
laid on the trap. If I think there is a chance for 
the mink to avoid the trap, I lean up an old 
chunk or dead stick against the bank with the 
lower end just beyond the trap next to deep 
water. It is plain to be seen that if he goes be- 


Hints ox Fall Trapping. 209 

hind that ]ii'op lie will hear soniothing drop. I 
have caught many a mink in this manner that 
have eluded all the trappers in my neighborhood. 

Several years ago an old trapper and myself 
fought a friendly contest in our endeavor to 
catch a sly old dog mink. He traveled on a 
creek Avhich was a mere thread. ^ly competitor 
was a strong believer in bait and before a week 
had passed lie had tried muskrat, fish, birds and 
frogs. The mink passed nightly but ignored all 
these offerings, the main reason being that a 
meadow near by teemed with mice. 

Calling the mink a "bad one," he invited me 
to try my hand. He had about a dozen baited 
traps set. I took one good No. 1 Newhouse and 
selecting a place where the bank was under- 
mined and the mink's track could be seen on a 
shelf, I placed my trap next to the bank, placed 
the leaves of a long soaked weed over the trap 
which was barely submerged. I then took a 
large weed that was full of branches and thrust 
it in the bed of the stream, so close to the trap 
that the mink would be liable to pass between it 
and the bank. The next morning I met the old 
trapper coming back from his round. "Well, 
did you get 'im?" I asked. 

"No, but you did and I killed him for ye and 
he's a whalin* big one,'' he added rather dryly. 
His disappointment was but poorly disguised 


210 Steel Traps. 

and like the "fox and grape fable" lie comforted 
his chagrin by saving: "He probably blundered 
in, with so many traps set, how could he lielp it? 
I'd a ketched 'im in a night or two.-' I did not 
dispute this statement, but kept a deal of think- 

All thru November skunks will be visiting 
old dens looking up winter quarters to suit and 
wandering with their usual lawlessness. By 
placing traps in the entrance of these holes you 
will catcli some of the striped gentry, but your 
catch will be vastly greater if you bait. Many 
skunks only look down a hole and do not enter, 
which they would do if you place a bait of musk- 
rat, rabbit or chicken below the trap at each set- 
ting. The skunk is such a glutton tluit altho 
he may be gorged to repletion he will still try 
to encompass more if it is food to his liking. 

Quite a number of trappers wish to know 
how skunk catcliing can be done Avithout odor. 
Boys, don't be afraid of the odor. Wear old 
clothes and discard them at the close of day. 
The perfume that the first skunk gives off when 
you dispatch him is an advantage to you. It 
draws others. So having caught one, keep your 
trap there. I have had a trap set at a den for 
a long time without its being disturbed, but as 
S(X)n as I caught one several more got fast in 
quick succession. 



OLLOWIXG animals are trapped 
on land and in what is known as 
land sets: Wolf, marten, bear, 
Aveasel, mountain lion, badj»er, 
fisher, lynx, wild cat, civet, 
skimk, rinii-tail cat, and opossum. 
Fox are largely trapped on land, 
but in some sections they are 
taken in water at bait sets; mink 

and coon are trapped on land as well as in the 


Wolves, being one of the shrewdest, methods 

for catching them will be described first. 


Find an old trail that the coyotes use, plant 
your trap in as narrow a part of the trail as 
possible, fasten trap to a good toggle, bury the 
toggle to one side of the trail. Have a blanket 
while doing the work. Place all dirt on the blan- 
ket. After trap, chain and toggle are put in 
place and wool has been put under pan, cover 
all nicely with dirt from the J^lanket. The dirt 
should not be over one-fourth of an inch deep. 


212 Steel Traps. 

Leave everything looking as it did before you 

Now have an old stick (not a fresh cut one) 
the size of your wrist and long enough to reach 
across the trail and lay it about eight inches from 
the trap and crosswise of the trail. A coyote 
won't step on the stick, but will step over it every 
time. Use caution and leave no human signs 
and you will get your coyote. This method is 
used successfully in Texas, says a wolf trapper 
of that state. 

The wolf is a pretty hard animal to trap, 
writes a Minnesota trapper. Whenever he gets 
near a bait he is always shy and that is because 
he can smell iron, but if j^ou put a trap in his 
track and he comes along he will walk right in 
and get caught. That is because he thinks there 
is no danger in his own tracks. There are many 
times that he falls a victim to the trap that way. 
I will describe a set most trappers use here in 
the winter when there is snow on the ground. 

They take some horse manure and haul it out 
on some plowed field and make two heaps not 
very high and in one of them they put the bait 
and in the other the traps. Four traps are most- 
ly used, secured to a log. Care must be taken 
not to cover the traps too much. The best bait, 
I think, is the entrails from a hog. 

Trappers for wolves should not use smaller 

Land Tuapi'ing 2J3 

(hail No. 3 traps. The No. 4 is known as the wolf 
tra]) and will be found snital)le for all sections." 
If wolves have been feasting off the car'-ass of 
a sheep, calf or other animal, set your trap (here. 
If you have plenty of traps a half dozen set 
within eighteen inches of the carcass and care- 
fully covered up, should make a catch. 

The trap and fastening, a weight and clog, 
be it remembered, should be covered. If you 
dig up the ground in order to conceal the clog, 
have a basket or something along to put the 
earth in and carry away some distance. Every- 
thing must be left as natural as possible. 

Another method is to hang up a dead chicken 
and place a trap directly under it. Hang the 
fowl about three feet high. 

The secret, at least one of them, in trapping 
is to leave everything as natural as possible after 
setting your trap. Most animals will regard with 
suspicion if there is much change around their 
den. In the case of skunk it perhaps is not so 
jiarticular, yet the trapper who carefully con- 
ceals his traps will be well repaid for so doing. 
Even when trapping for sk«nk yon never know 
what animal may come along. 

Then to be ready, adopt the rule of always 
carefully covering your traps. We all admit that 
the fox and wolf are shy animals and are rather 
difficult to catch, yet they are frequently caught 


Steel Traps. 

by trappers Avlio are only trappinjjj for opossum 
or skimk. These trappers, of course, had their 
traps carefully hidden. While fox and wolf are 
amono- the smartest animals, yet they can be 


caught, as the thousands of pelts sold annually 
is eyidence. See to it, trappers, that eyery trap 
is set and covered properly and you ^yill be re- 
warded some morning' on yisitiug your trap by 
a fox or wolf if they are many in your section. 

Land Trapping. 216 

Now a word about trapping tliose ciito little 
coyotes, writes a CHlifornia trapper. The best 
way to catch anything- that walks on four legs is 
to make a fool of them. Some people may think 
that is ''hot air,"' but I know bettex\ 

The best way to fool an old coyote is to take a 
fresh sheep skin and drag it, you riding on a 
horse, for a mile or so in the hills near where 
your man is in the habit of going, (now be sure 
you don't touch it with your hands) until you 
find an open hill not too high. Have a stake 
there before hand and your traps set. The traps 
should be left lying in the sheep pen for a week 
before setting. 

AYhen you get to the stake, hang your pelt on 
it, so when the wind blows the pelt will move. 
]\[r. Coyote will be sure to find the trail you have 
made and will follow it until it sees the pelt, 
and then he will walk around it for a night or 
so, bui he will not get too near the first night 
or three or four nights, but he will try to pull 
the skin down and he will forget about the traps 
and everything else and will be taken in just 
like all the other suckers. 

My outfit consists of the following, writes a 
well known Western trapper : Sixty No. 3 New- 
house single spring otter traps (I find they will 
hold any wolf and are easier set than double 
spring traps), an axe, GO stakes 16 or 18 inches 

216 Steel Traps. 

long, 12 or 15 pounds of wool or cotton, wool 
preferred, 20 stakes 10 or 12 inches long, a piece 
of oil cloth or canvas about 3 feet sqnare, a light 
wagon and team, a good rifle and four stag 
hounds. The hounds are trained so stay on the 
wagon until told to go, and will nearly always 
get a coyote when sent after him. 

In setting traps I choose a high knoll or a 
bare spot on the range — often the bed of a dry 
creek — where I see plenty of signs, and then 
proceed as follows : Stick one of the small stakes 
where I want the bait and from 20 to 24 inches 
from it lay a trap and stretch the chain straight 
back, drive stake through chain ring and drive 
down below the surface of the ground an inch 
or more. Then fix two more traps the same way 
at the opposite points of a triangle. Set your 
traps and place a good wad of wool under the 
pan so that rabbits and other small game will 
not spring it, and then proceed to bed the traps 
and chains, placing all. the dirt on the canvas. 

Now place your bait (I always use live bait 
if weather is not too cold, but have had good suc- 
cess with dead bait). Lay an old dead hen or 
othe^' fowl in the center and drive small stakes 
through it into the ground firmly; cover end 
of stake with wing or feathers of bait. 

Now step back and take dirt from the canvas 

Land Trapping. 217 

and cover traps i or § inch (locj) ; also cover ^our 
own tracks, and brush over all with a bush. If 
traps are well set it will be hard to tell where 
the traps lay. All dirt that is left on canvas 
should be taken iiwaj some distance and dropped. 
In using- live bait proceed the same way with 
traps, only bait should be tied by tlie feet with a 
good stout cord and place a can of corn and one 
of water within reach of fowl, both cans to be 
set into the ground level with surface. Do not 
go nearer to traps than to see that they are not 
sprung and do not shoot or club game in the 
traps, but choke to death with a copper wii'e 
on the end of a pole; a good stout cord will 
answer the same purpose. Wipe all blood off 
traps before setting again and brush out your 
tracks as before, and above all, don't spit tobacco 
juice near your traps. 

After catching one wolf or coyote, do not use 
more biiit, as the scent is strong enough to draw 
all that comes near. I do not use any patent 
decoy or scents, as I consider them useless for 
any game. The only scent I use is what I make 
myself, and then only use it from February to 
April. In the summer I gather up four or five 
bitch dogs and as fast as they come in heat I kill 
them and take the organs of generation and 
pickle them in wide mouth bottles with alcohol 

218 Steel Traps. 

enough to cover. I sprinkle a few drops on a 
stone or bush, stick in center between traps, but 
use no other bait. This is also good for fox. 

The above method is the same as I learned it 
from an old Hudson Bay trapper, Peirre Dev- 
eranj, who was born in 1817 and had trapped all 
through the British possessions and the Ilockv 
Mountains, with whom I trapped for several 


Here is tlie method for the capture of a Ijmx. 
Where lynx follow up trails, build a house 
around a tree, of brush, etc., leaving a small door 
fronting the trail. Cut a rabbit or bird and tie 
it to the tree in the house. Place a No. 4 or 14 
Newhouse trap at the entrance, covering with 
f'otton or wool and boughs. Fasten your trap 
chain to a clog; drag a rabbit up and down the 
trail past the house. 

For a fisher build a small house and use No. 
1^ Newhouse trap and bait with rabbit, bits of 
deer meat with the hair and skin left on is also 
a good bait. Use a sliding pole or heavy drag, 
as the fisher sometimes chews the drag to pieces. 

Wild cat are trapped about the same as lynx. 
There are a great many caught by making a 
cubby or enclosure where they cross or frequent 
in search of birds, rabbits, etc. The bait is placed 

Land Trapping. 


back ill llie cubby and may be eiUicr bird, rabbit 
or fish. 

Tlie No. H and No. 2 NeAvhouse are used 
principally, altho the Victor No. 3 and Oneida 
Jump No. 4 are both adapted to wild eat trap- 


The methods given for catching wild cat, lynx 
and fisher can and are used by trappers for each 
of these animals. That is, the set described for 
wild cat can be used for fisher and lynx, the lynx 
set for fisher and wild cat and the fisher set for 

220 Steel Traps. 

lynx and wild cat. In other words, a set for any 
of these animals is good for all three. 


To begin with, when trapping for marten, 
says an Oregon trapper, use only the best traps 
— No. 1 or 14 is plenty large enough — in fact, 
larger traps cannot be used conveniently, for the 
reason that when the ground is covered with 
deep snow and your traps are all fastened high 
u]) on trees you must set them with your hands. 
A\'it]i nothing to rest your trap on except your 
knee and with fingers like icicles it will refpiire 
all the strength in your left hand to mash to- 
gether the spring of a good No. 14, while with 
the right you adjust the pan and latch. 

Do not fool aAvay your time with a few traps, 
but (d' course just how many you can use de- 
l)ends on hoAv thick game is. View out your pro- 
spective line during summer time. Some impor- 
tant essentials are: pick out a line in very heavy 
tind)er, preferably along some high ridge; work 
gradually up or down hill and avoid very steep 
places; a line free from underbrush is desirable 
unless snow gets deep enough to cover it all u^ ; 
run your line as near straight as possible; avoid 
nudviug sharp turns for your blazes will at times 
be very hard to see owing to snow on the bark 



of the tires aud once off the Hue it ma}' be liard 
to find. 

Do not make camps too far apart, eight miles 


is far euoiij»li when the snow is soft and deep. 
Get your traps all strung out before snow comes 
and have everything read}^ so as to lighten your 

222 Steel Tkai-s. 

work when tlie time comes, for, eveu then, it ^\ ill 
be hard euoiijih. 

Now, iu settino' traps, you cannot pick out 
likely places — hollow trees, etc. — do not leave 
the line even for a few feet to set one in thnt 
hollow tree else the trap is apt to be fornotlen 
and lost. Give every tree where a trap is left 
some mark to indicate its presence. 

Use wire staples to fasten traps to the trees 
and they should be fastened three or four feet 
above the ground. Set the trap or bend the 
spring around to fit the curve of the tree. No^^• 
drive a 12 penny nail in the tree an inch or so, 
place the trap so that the cross piece rests Hat 
on the nail and drive two smaller ones between 
the spring and your trap rests same as if set on 
the groniHl. Xail small piece of l)ait (s(iuirrel, 
rabbit, or bird is best) eight or ten inches above 
the trap. 

If you desire to shelter the trap, drive a cou- 
ple of wooden pegs above the bait and lay on a 
piece of bark or some boughs — this is not nec- 
essary if traps are to be looked after regularly, 
for you can keep the snow brushed off. A large 
piece of bait is not necessary, but in rebaiting 
do not remove the old bait, just nail up another. 
Sometimes I have a half dozen baits by each trap. 
It is well to try each trap occasionally to see if 
it will spring with just the right pressure. If 

Lani> Tuapping. 


the bait is scarce, set tlie traps any way and you 
will soon have enough birds and s(}nii-rels. 

In visiting the line, always make your pack 
as lio^lit as possible, four or five pounds of bait, 
a hatchet, a few nails and staples and a small 


■r.j:^<^ ^ 



Stevens 22 cal. pistol is all you will be apt to 
need for one hundred traps. If you are a trapper 
by nature, you will know where to put the traps, 
close together and where there is a probability 

224 Steel Traps. 

of makiiio' a catcli. Some places I put a tra]i 
every fifty yards and some places one-lialf mile 
apart. Keep your traps freshly baited and do 
something" Avitli each trap every three or fonr 
days, if nothing more than to rub a piece of 
bacon rind or rabbit entrails from the top of the 
sno\y to the bait. A drag is good at times and 
in some places. Scent is good if bait is frozen. 


When trapping weasel, writes a Northern 
trapper, I set my traps near small streams or in 
owamps, old ditches, beneath old roots and under 
shelving banks, near running water, and some- 
times thej may be caught in woodchuck holes. 
The white weasel and all other weasel are regu- 
lar dummies, going headlong into a trap, even 
if they are in plain vie^y. You don't need to cover 
up your trap at all unless you want to, as the 
weasel will walk right in to get the bait and click 
bang and you have your weasel hard and fast. 

The best bait for weasel is rabbit heads, 
chicken heads and squirrels. The same sets will 
also catch mink, but the traps must be covered 
in that case unless you are making blind sets. I 
have caught a good many weasel in my mink sets 
and then again, I have caught them in old musk- 
rat holes or dens along the banks of small 

Land Trapping. 225 

streams and also near river banks in deserted 
rat dens. 

White weasel or ermine are found in Canada 


and the New England States as well as all other 
states bordering on Canada, but rarely farther 

226 Steel Traps. 

These animals, like all of the weasel kind, are 
aftive in their search for food and are easily at- 
tracted to bait. They are the smallest of the 
animals now being songht after by American 
trappers for their fnr. The No. is used in tak- 
ing this animal, altho many trappers prefer the 
No. 1 and 1^ as they catch high and the trapper 
usnalh' finds the weasel dead on his arrival. 


My father was a successful mink trapper but 
only trapped when they became b(^thersome says 
an experienced trapper. He made mostly dry 
sets. He would look carefully at a hole in bank 
of stream or pond, then cut out a place for the 
trap, drive a stake in bottom of the trap bed, coil 
trap chain around it and set trap on top, then 
cover with finely cut grass, a big leaf or writing 
paper and lastly with the material he took off 
the top trap bed. Then he cleared all extra dirt 
away and put the bait in the edge of the hole or 
under the edge of a stick or stone, if there was 
one near the hole. 

I went with him once and I said, "Some trap- 
pers stick the bait on a stick." He looked at me 
and said, "You young goose, did you ever know 
a mink to eat part of a muskrat and hang the 
rest on a stick?" He used bird, muskrat and fish 

Land Tuaitixg. 227 

for bait. If bird, he tore some feathers out ami 
luaih^ it ai)pear as if some miiilc had drauiicd 
the bait there and hid it. 

For a mink that is not hiiiiury, 1 find an ohl 
muskrat den or a. runway thi'oiii;Ii a drift ])ih' 
is a j^ood phice. The i^reat tronble witli tliese 
t\vo last sets is, the rabbits are liable to ^et into 
I he trap instead of the mink. There are a iiood 
many ways to catch mink, and there are mink 
that will evade a "ood many well laid plans for 
their captnre. 

My most successfnl plan for catchini;- mink is 
this: I ii'et a hollow loii" — it needn't be a lonuj 
one — and if it is open at both ends I close up 
one end, than a little back of that I pnt my bait. 
Now at the other end if the entrance is not 
slanting so that the mink wonld rnn into it 
easily, I make it so. I then pnt the trap inside, 
abont a foot from the entrance. The mink will 
rnn into the lo<>- becanse he smells the bait, or 
simply becanse it is the natnre of the beast to 
make the rnn of every hollow lo^- he comes to. 
Finding the other end closed he will have to 
come back and he is sure to be caught either 
going or coming. Trailing bait along the ground 
and up to the back of the log makes the results 
surer, as mink are great on the scent. 

About mink. One man said mink would not 
take anything dead unless he was very hungry. 

228 Steel Traps. 

Now Brother Tra})iieis, you all know a mink will 
take aujtliinj^- lie liuds dead and drag it into a 
hole if he can and when you find where a mink 
has dragged something into a hole that is a never 
failing set for if he is not in the hole when you 
find it he will sure come back to it. 


Hollow trees in swamps are the favorite den- 
ning ]»la(es of the raccoon, writes an Eastern 
trai)per of years of ex])erience, Imt in some sec- 
tions he is found nearly as often in holes among 
ledges. If there is a rocky hill or mountain side 
on your line, insjx^ct it thoroughly. The occu- 
pied dens may easily be told by the trodden ap- 
pearance of the ground about the entrance an<l 
an occasional tuft of hair on the projecting edges 
of the stone. Here are the ])laces for your traps. 

Set your tra])s just outside the entrance, 
cover well with leaves and rotten wood, and 
fasten to a clog. We say outside the entrance, 
for if the trap be placed at a point where the 
animal is obliged to assume a crouching posture, 
it will be sprung by the creature's belly, and you 
will find your trap empty save for a fringe of 
hair. Even if the dens show no signs of recent 
occupation, a few traps can hardly be misplaced, 
for the raccoon, like every other animal, fre- 
quently goes on foraging trips long distances 

Lam) Tkai'I'ino 


230 Steel Tuai's. 

from liis actual homo, taking up temporary quar- 
ters iu places like those above described. 

AMienever there is a brook or creek in the 
vicinity of good raccoon ground, look along it 
carefully for signs. The raccoon follows the 
streams almost as persistently as the mink in 
quest of frogs, fish or clams, and his track mny 
be easily found along the muddy borders, the 
print of the hind foot strikingly resembling that 
of a baby's bare foot. He is a far less skillful 
fisher than the mink, usually confining himself 
to such unwary swimmers as venture up into the 
shallow water near the bank. He seldom if ever 
I believe, goes into deep water. 

If you find evidence that a raccoon is patrol- 
ing a stream, place a trap without bait at the 
end of every log affording a crossing i)lace. The 
raccoon seldom wades or swims when he can 
find dry footing. 

If you wish to trap the raccoon by baiting, 
you will find nothing that he likes better than an 
old salt fish skin that has been made odorous by 
being well smoked. It is not a bad idea to do 
the smoking near where you are to set the trap. 
Build up a little stick fire in the woods, hold the 
fish skin impaled on a green stick, over it until 
it is thoroughly heated and smoked through, and 
an odor will be created that will pervade the 
woods for rods around. And of course if this 

Land Tuapping. 231 

scent I'oachos tlic nostrils of any near-by ring- 
tail that is slee])ini;- away tlie day, he will lose 
no time after nij;htfall in tracing' out the source 
of the appetizing smell, and endeavoring to make 
a supper off his favorite food. Mice, squirrel, 
frogs and chickenheads are all good baits, and 
they are equally good for mink. 

'SloHt trappers perfer the No. 1^ Newliouse 
for raccoon although some use the No. 2 double 
spring. The Oneida Jump No. 2 and 2^ are also 
good coon traps as is the H. & N. No. 2. The 
Stop Thief No. 3| is also used for coon. 


Now I will tell you how foxes can be caught 
on land when the ground is frozen, writes a New 
England trapper. Take a large bait, entrails or 
anything that a fox will eat, and put it in some 
field where the foxes travel; put out with this 
bait three bags of buckwheat chaff. Don't set 
any traps until foxes begin to eat bait and walk 
on chaff. Then take a. No. 2 Newhouse trap, 
smoke it over burning green fir boughs, and smear 
it with equal parts of oil of amber and beeswax; 
also, smear the chain and use leather mitts to set 
trap with, for it is no use setting unless you do. 
Bury the trap about a foot from the bait, and 
cover it with chaff. Make everj^thing level and 


Steei. Traps. 

When you catch a fox, take him out with 
mitts on and set aiiain if yon haven't a clean 
trap to put in its phice. Always set a clean trap 
if possible. 

My way of catchino- foxes, writes a Georcjia 





■', 4'. " 

^^b^' '^^' 








trapper is as follows : I get a lot of dry dust, 
put it in the hen house and let it stay until I 
get ready to make my sets; then I take what I 
can carry handily in a sack to where the foxes 
"use", dig a hole deep enough for my trap, place 
a piece of burnt bacon in a hole, cover it up with 

Land Tu-vrrixc. 233 

the (lust, Itiirn iiioi-c l»;U'oii, Irltiiii; the lii'casc 
drop ou and aroimd llic dust. 

I fix a gooil many of those places but I do not 
set my traps the tirst trip. The uext trip I carry 
my traps with me. If the foxes haye found my 
bait tliey will dig it out. I then set my trap in 
the l)ottom of the hole, driying a stake down in 
the hole to fasten tlie trap to. Coyer the trap 
chain and all with dust. I do not put new ])ait 
in the hole, but l)urn more bacon on top. 

Try this, brother trappers, and watch results. 
Do not set traps where the bait has not been dis- 
turl)ed. Carry away all fresh dirt and handle 
your traps with gloyes. In water trapping, form 
a natural surface oyer your traps and you will 
get furs. 

I see different ways to catch the fox. They 
are all right but no i)erson can tell another and 
guarantee success. The man or boy who sets 
right will get the fur but careless ones will not. 
I am going to tell amateurs and boys the secret 
of an old time trapper. He is aliye yet and T 
guess had a few traps set (altho oyer eighty 
years old.) He told me the secret and said at 
that tijne he had neyer told any one l)ut me. 

First put out offal of butchering such as 
beef head; pick out a good place where foxes 
trayel ; at the same time, singe the fur on a ral)- 
bit or two and put near where you want to set 

234 Steel Traps. 

trap; commence baitiuj^ early and go there often. 
Go past close to where von want to set a trap; 
don't tramp around much but go on thru, not 
leaving the end of your trail there; renewing 
bait and singed rabbit fur as needed. 

When ready to set traps, boil them in ashes. 
Then after drying, fasten traps to bottom of a 
barrel and burn slowly a lot of rabbit fur under 
them ; handle as little as possible. Set carefully 
and catch your fox if you can and you can if you 
are careful enough. He said he caught fifteen 
in one place that way in one winter. Fasten 
trap to drag so he can go away and not spoil set. 

^ly best method is to set my trap in an old 
log road or path where there is no traveling 
done, ^ye should set the trap level with the 
ground. The trap should be a No. 2 Newhouse 
which is the best fox trap made. 


The opossum is not a cunning animal and 
takes bait readily. It is found in the Southern 
and Central States principally. This animal 
cannot live in the extreme north as they die from 
the severe weather. 

They are caught principally in No. 1 New- 
house traps, at dens or places they frequent in 
search of food. Almost any fresh meat is good 
bait: rabbit, squirrel, bird, chicken, etc. 

Land TKArrixu. 


The trap can be baited wlicii used at den 
l)iit this is not necessary. Ahjuij;- their tmils and 
in thickets they visit a piece of bait snspc^ndcd 
a foot or so above the ground and trap under, 
carefully covered, Avill catch the opossum. They 
are also caught by building a pen of stakes, or 


chuidcs and stones placing bait in the back ]>art 
and setting trap in front also at hollow logs 
where they frequently live. 

No. 1 Newhouse trap is used a great deal for 
this animal, although the No. 1 Victor will hold 
them; No. 2 Oneida Jump, or No. 2 Tree Trap, 
are proper sizes to catch this animal. 

236 Steel Traps. 

The Tree Trap can be used to advantage in 
catching- opossum as this trap is so made that it 
can be nailed to a tree or stump and baited. 


The badger is a strong animal for its size, 
and also slow in its movements. The No. 2 is as 
small a trap as trappers generally use. The 
traps are set at the entrance to their dens, care- 
fully covered and should be fastened to a move- 
able clog. 

In setting for Inidger the trapper should care- 
fully remove enough earth to l)ed the trap level. 
A piece of jjaper or long grass is then carefully 
placed on trap, and this covered lightly with the 
same material removed in nuiking the excava- 
tion. This set is apt to-reward the trapper. If 
care is taken in nmking this set a fox nmy be 
caught, as they sometimes frequent dens used 
by badger. 


A Skunk is-t)ne of the easiest animals, whose 
fur is valuable that there is to trap. This ani- 
mal is one of the tirst to become prime in the 
fall. Likewise it sheds early in tlie spring. 
Wh('n the weather becomes severe they den ii]), 
coming out only on the warmer nights. In tlie 
North thev are seldom out after real winter be- 

Land Tuaitlnu, 


jiiiis, while iu tlic South, tlicy seek food uioi-e or 
less throiioliout the wiuter. 

The greatest miiiiber are trapped at their 
dens whicl) can be easily told by tlie lon.^- tail 
hairs foinxl in and near the month of den. These 


hairs may be either white or black, but are usu- 
ally both — one end white and the other black. 
These hairs are from three to five inches in 

The dens can also be told by their droppings 
or manure which is usually found a few feet to 

238 Steki. Tuai\s. 

one side of the deu. Skiiuk "di-oppiiij;s'' can be 
told by observiui'' closely as it contains parts of 
bugs, graSvS-lioppers, etc., the skunk being very 
fond of these. 

At such dens place your trap which should 
be a No. 1 Xewhouse, No. 1^ Victor, oi- No. 2 
Jump. While catches may be made without any 
covering it is best to secret the traj) carefully 
for a fox might happen along, or if near watei', 
a mink. 

The best place to put the trap is just at the 
entrance of den so that an animal in coming 
out will get caught also one going near to the 
den, but not entering as they often do. 

Kemove the earth sufficient to bed the trap 
so tliat after it is covered the covering will be on 
a level with the surroundings, ^lake a cover- 
ing with whatever you removed. If there is 
grass in mouth of den, cover with grass, if 
leaves, cover with leaves, etc. 

Another good set is to find where skunk are 
feeding, digging for insects, or their trails kuul 
ing from one den to another, and make a cubby, 
placing bait in it, and setting trap. Bait should 
be rabbit, squirrel, chicken, bird, or in fact, al- 
most anv kind of meat» 

Land 'riUi'i'ixo. 


240 Steel TiiArs. 


Civet or civet oats are caught much the same 
wav as skunk. Tliis is the little spotted animal 
often called p(»le cat, and smaller than the sknnk. 
Skunks have a spot on the head and two stripes 
while the civet has several stripes and these 
sometimes run across the body instead of along 
the back fiom head to tail as on the skunk. 

This animal is caught much the same as the 
skunk, but being much smaller does not require 
as strong a trap and the No. 1 of most any make 
will usually hold this animal. Bait the same 
as for skunk. 


The Ring Tail cat or Basarisk is found prin- 
cipally in Texas, although there are some in 
California, Oregon and Washington. They can 
be trapped by baiting with insects, frogs or mice. 
The No. 1 Newhouse, or No. 1| Victor, or No. 2 
Oneida Jump are correct sizes for this animal. 

The traps can be set about as for skunk or 
may be placed on logs and baited or the bait can 
be nailed to a tree that they frequent, the trap 
placed beneath and carefully covered. 

Land Tuai'1'in(;. 241 


Bear are eani>lit after findino- a place that 
they visit in search of food, by biiildinji;' a 
"cubbA", made by driyiug- old dry stakes in the 
oTound so as to form a V-shaped pen. Then 
coyer all except the entrance with ji'reen brush. 
This should be three feet high, about two wide, 
and about three or four feet long. 

If a rock or old log is laying where the cubby- 
is to be built it can be used for one side. The 
"cubby" must be built strong or the bear is apt 
to teai' it down and secure the bait without get- 
ting caught. 

The bait can be a piece of dead horse, hog, 
sheep, or most any aninuil, and the more it 
stinks, tlie better. P'ish is also good bait. 

Stake the bait back in the cubl)y, and set the 
trap at the entrance. Coyer carefully. The trap 
should l)e fastened to a clog weighing thirty 
pounds or more. This clog should be several feet 
long and if a few knots are left on so much the 

The Nos. 5, 15, and 150, are all adapted for 
black bear, while the Xo. G is especially designed 
for grizzly bear. It is the largest trap made. 

In setting bear traps the Newhouse clamp, 
described elsewhere, is much used. It is not 
yery safe for a lone trapper in the forest to un- 


Lam) Tkaim-ixc;. 


(Ici'take tlio 8ottini>- of a ])o\v('i'ful steel trap 
without flaiiips. 


^louiitain lion are powerful auiinals yet they 
are snceessfiilly caiijiiht in No. 4|- Newhonse 


If yon find where mountain lions have killed 
an animal and left part of it there is the place 
to set a trap for they are almost sure to return 
in a niiiht or two. 

This animal is also frecjuently caught l)y set- 
ting a trap where deer or other game has been 

244 Steel Traps. 

killed. The cliauces are good if there is a lion 
near it will .smell the blood and be attracted to 
the spot as many hunters know that have killed 
jianie, dressed and left it until the next day, to 
tind on returning that a lion had been there and 
helped itself. 

In setting for this aninuil the trap should be 
fastened to a clog — never solid — as they are 
quite strong. 



EKE is where the steel trap re- 
veals its superiority over all 
other traps, for the home- 
made ones canuot be used for 
water sets. Strictly speaking, 
all the "water animals" that are 
valuable for fur are the otter, 
beaver and muskrat, althouiih large 
numbers of both coon and mink are 
caught at water- sets, as they frequent the 
streams, i)onds and lakes, a great deal in search 
of food. 

In the Xew England states, as well as some 
other sections, foxes are caught in vrater sets 
mostly at springs. They are generally trapped 
this way in the fall and early winter before freez- 
ing weather. 


The beaver, as I know him, is a very shy and 
cunning animal, always on guard against danger, 
which makes it pretty hard to trap, unless the 
trapper thoroughly knows his ways and habits. 
My experience has been wholly confined to the 


246 Sti-:i:i. Traps. 

liocky Moimtaius of British Columbia aud State 
of Washington, writes a trapper of experience. 

The beaver lives along streams or lakes. On 
streams he bulls dams, thus making a reservoir 
or lake. Sometimes he builds a dam at the out- 
let of a natural lake, thus raising the height of 
the water. After he has prepared his dam and 
built his home, he commences to gather food, 
which consists of l)ranches of trees, buslies, and 
even small trees themselves. lie always chooses 
tender, green ones. These he puts in the bottom 
of the lake or stream in his hut or lodge. If he 
be disturbed at any time he will stop work for 
several days and live off the boughs already 
gathered and sunken, aud it is almost im])ossible 
to get him until he commences to gather again. 

He usually does his work among young 
sprouts which grow along the bank of his lake 
or stream. Sometimes he will go a short ways 
up the stream and float the boughs down to his 
dam or hut, and then sink them to the bottom, 
so when the ice gets thick he has sufficient food 
sunk in the water to last him. 

There are several different ways to traj* him, 
but I only know of two or three, and will attempt 
to give them. The first thing is a No. 3 or 4 
Newhouse trap with a long chain and big ring. 
Then the best way is to take some bait, (described 
elseAvhere), cut some small twigs, one for each 

WATKU 'i RAl'l'ING. 



248 8TEKL Traps. 

trap, and liaviiii;' found tlie dam of a family of 
beavers, put on a pair of rnbber l)oots, or remove 
your boots, and Avade up stream along- the shore, 
or go in a boat to where they have been at work 
gathering the sprouts. Be very careful, and 
don't step out of the water on the land so they 
can see your tracks or scent you, for should his 
suspicion become aroused by any human smell 
the beaver will stay in his home for several days, 
thus making it tedious work to trap him. When 
you have a place scdected where the bank is steep, 
fasten your trap chain to a strong stake beneath 
the water. Then fasten a heavy rock to your 
trap and dig a flat place in the bank a few inches 
beneath the water, placing your trap thereon. 
Then dip the twig into the "madcin" and stick 
the upper end in the ground, just out of the 
water, and leaning over the trap. Now your 
trap is ready. 

The beaver comes out of his hut as it grows 
dark and starts toward the ground where he has 
his feeding place. As he swims along up the 
stream, his nose comes in contact with a familiar 
smell, and he will swim right up to the twig to 
investigate. As his foot touches the ground the 
trap springs and he at once plunges for deep 
water. The stone rolls down to the bottom and 
pulls him under and he drowns in a short time. 
He makes no noise to scare the rest, and before 

Water Tuai'i-ixc. 249 

ho has lime to j-iunv olf liis fool he is (Ii'owihmI. 
In this way you can catch the wliole family. 

Another way is to cut a hok^ in the top of 
dam and set the trap just below the top of water 
just under the hole. Just as soon as he comes 
out his eyes tell him his dam needs fixin,u'. He 
o-oes at it at once, and all the rest help hiiu. He 
gets into the trap often before the eyes of the 
rest, and they will leave the place at once never 
to return. 

Another way is to cover the trap carefully in 
the path where the beaver goes from the water 
to his feeding grounds, but doing this it is lia- 
ble to scare the rest of them entirely away. 


The otter is a pretty hard animal to catch. 
When I set a trap in an otter hole, I cut a chunk 
of snow with an axe a short distance away and 
set over the hole, covering it all over with loose 
snow. That prevents it from freezing up for 
some time. 

The best time to catch otter is in March when 
the first thaw comes. I have kept traps set all 
winter fm- an otter and then got him in the' 
spring. The trap should be set a little to one side 
of the hole in ten inches of water. I caught an 
otter once in an otter hole so deep that I had to 
put in an armful of cedar brush, so as to make it 

250 Steel Traps. 

the right depth, and when he came to slide 
iiroiiiid there he got a surprise, writes a Colorado 


* * * 

To trap otter cut a log about 18 inches in 
diameter and about 7 or 8 feet in length, then 
cut half off five or six inches of one end of the 
log. Now fl*at TOur log with the cut end down. 
Fasten your trap chain to the side of the log. 
Float Your log to just below the point of a stream 
or a little above an otter slide. 

See that the log end on which the trap rests 
is l)e]ow the water so as to give the otter a chance 
to climb onto the log to investigate the scent 
which should be "Oil of Anise" smeared on to 
a stick and set upright on the log. If you use 
good judgment in placing your log-float, you 
can count the "balls" on the otter's feet at every 

I find where the otter comes out of the water, 
writes an Arkansas trapper, to dung, or slide, 
as some term it, and I take a No. 4 steel ti-ap and 
set it where he comes out of the water and about 
two inches under. Great care should be taken 
in setting a trap for an otter, not to go too close 
to the slides. Have a pair of rubber boots and 
wade in the stream along the edge to where the 
slide is. Set your trap so as to leave everything 

Wateii Tkai'I'im;. 


252 Steel Tkaps. 

just as you foimd it, as near as possible; if 
handy, set from boat. No bait is required. 

Fasten your chain to a pole, say 6 or 8 feet 
l()n<i', leaving some limbs on one end to prevent 
ring of chain from coming off and wire the other 
end to a bush or something of that sort as far 
out in the water as you' can so the otter can get 
into deep water and drown. Have a pole driven 
in the ground out in the water so the otter will 
get tangled around the pole. This will prevent 
him from getting loose, because he has no pur- 
chase to pull as he would have if out on the bauk. 

I "hung up" three one night last fall. When 
I went to my traps I fpund one otter that meas- 
ured (I feet from tip of nose to tip of tail. I 
found an otter toe in one trap, another trap be- 
ing taken off by an otter, as the chain pullecV 
loose at the spring. I was fortunate in finding 
the otter that got away with the trap four days 
later, tangled up in some vines about tAvo hun- 
dred yards from where he was caught; he meas- 
ured 5 feet and 11 inches. 


An excellent way to catch mink is to take a 
fisli, cut it in piec(^s and tie all of them except one 
or two onto a large stick and fasten it out about 
Uvo feet from the shore in shallow water. Set 

W'atku Tkai'I'inc;. 253 

Toiir trap about liall"-\v;:y hclwecn tiic slioi-o and 
the stick and have it fix((l so tliat the (•ov<'i'inj4- 
will make a little mound Jibove the water. Thi-ow 
the other pieces of fish down on tl>e shore and 
you will get every mink that comes alon.^. T'e 
sure that your trap is staked in as dee]) watei' 
as is possible, so they will not get awav. 

In setting- any trap it is a very good thing to 
have rubber boots and stand in the water while 
setting. Some trappers say it is foolislmess be- 
cause they are not afraid an^^ way. ^Vell, I have 
caught mink in an uncovered trap that was in 
plain sight and then again I couldn't get them 
to come near with tlie trap under water. Some 
mink are more careful than others and if you set 
for the wisest ones you will be sure to get them 

I will give you a good mink set, writes a .Aliu- 
nesota trapper. Here is a trail along the edge 
of the water. Let us follow it until it takes to 
the water. In order to i)ass around a projection 
in the bank where the bank is so straight up 
that it is necessary for the animal to go into the 
edge of the water to pass around this obstruc- 
tion, and in the edge of the water not more than 
two inches deep, level a place for the trap and 
press it down into the ground until the jaws are 
level with the surface, being careful to remove 
all mud from under the pan, giving it room for 

254 Steel Traps. 

free action. Stake the chain back into the water 
fnll lenji'th and press it down into the mnd. 

After doing- this get a handfnl of dr^ dirt, 
])nlvei-ize it and let it fall gently over the trap, 
tlioroHghly covering it at least for a <piarter of 
an inch, even and smooth in all places. Now 
abont eight inches on each side of the trap place 
a small weed stalk an inch or two above the 
ground and directly over the path and if yon 
will put a few spots of mud on it just where it 
crosses the path to give it the ai)pearance of 
being rubbed against, you will catch every mink 
that runs this trail from either direction, and 
without bait or scent. 


When setting traps stake well out in the 
water, so that when the animal is caught he can- 
not get to land, and nine times out of ten Avhen 
you visit the trap your gauu' will be drowned. 
The trap should be in about three inches of water 
where rats frequent. If set 3 inches or deeper 
the trap is more apt to catch by the hind leg, 
which, being large, the bone is not broken so 
easily. For bait use white corn, apples, pars- 
nips or turnips. 

The idea advanced that the muskrat gnaws 
off his foot when caught is erroneous. There are 
times, however, when the trap has broken the 

I afa aSJlMtfaJ I ■• ' -i7k">— -— *-™aaiMaa<fl^i ■?{> i ■ ■ iliMai 

256 Steel Trap.s. 

bone in the leg and if the trap is a strong one, 
the animal frees himself by plunging about until 
the pressure of the jaws have cut thru the tiesh. 
The flesh of the muskrat is not strong and when 
the jaws spring together, if they break the bone 
in the leg, which frequently happens, then the 
rat often frees himself before the arrival of the 

It is a good plan when making the round of 
3'our traps to carry a stout club with which to 
tap game over the head, killing it, should it be 
yet alive when you arrive. The entrance of the 
muskrat's den is usually undc^r water, unless the 
streams are very low, then yon can often find 

In the mouth of these dens is an excellent 
place to set traps, as game is passing in and out 
quite often and if traps are baited you are pretty 
sure to catch game in a day or two. Where rats 
have made a path from the water up the bank 
is another good ])lace to set a trap. The trap 
should be set just at the edge of the water. 

It is a good idea to cover up your trap, even 
when trapping for muskrat, for with continued 
trapping they ])econie sly and learn to shun traps. 
Along the bank of most all streams green grass 
can be secured and this placed over your tra]»s 
will enable you to catch game that otherwise 
would shun your trap. The trap should be 

^VATl•:I{ TuAi'i'ixc;. 257 

bailed, but the covcriiiiLi iMt of Ira]) aii<l cliaiii 
will <j;Teath' liel]) in catching iiaiii«\ The earlier 
traps are visite<l in tlie niorninp; the belter, for 
slionld the oame still be alive there will be less 
chanee of it getting free. 


Xow jnst a word abont trapping coon in 

water. Set trap in water and bait with fish. 

Xow the right way to nse fish is to cut it np in 

very small pieces, drop some on the ground and 

some in the water and when ^Fr. Coon comes 

along he will find that fish on the ground and 

then go to feeling in the water and the first thing 

he knows he is in the trap. 

* «• * 

Here is mv most successful set for coon. Find 
a log with one end out of water, and one end 
running into the water. Place a trap on the 
log an inch or so under water. Cover it with wet 
leaves all but the treadle. Then place a few 
grains of white corn on treadle pan. ]Mr. Coon 
will as sure put a foot down to investigate as he 
runs the log. 


I go around every fall in August and look for 
places to catch sly reynard, says an p]astern fox 
trapper. I look up all the warm springs back 


268 Steel Traps. 

ill tlio hills and diin- tlieiii out aud leave a stick 
or rail there for a clog. I leave it just where I 
want it, so that thej will get used to it. 

About the middle of October I go and bait 
everj^ place, using a piece of chicken or muskrat 
about as large as a butternut. I place it on a 
rock in the middle of the spring or about a foot 
from the bank and put a stone half-way between 
that and the bank just under water. Then I 
take a stone, the thinner the better. You can 
find enough of them around a ledge where the 
frost has scaled them off. I lay it on the rock 
that is just under the water so it will stick out 
of water. It ought to be 2 inches across each 

I use the scent of the skunk on the sole of my 
boots so as to kill the scent and handle the bait 
with a "knife and fork,-' never with my hands. 
It won't be long before the bait it gone when I 
am ready to set my traps, then I move the middle 
stone and put the thin one on the pan of the trap 
so it will just stick out of the water. Try this and 
you will get your fox. Scatter three or four 
drops of fish oil around trap. 


When setting traps for beaver and otter in 
the early open water, writes a Canadian of ex- 
perience, the greatest difficulty and annoyance 

^Vatek TuAri'iNG. 259 

the trapper has to couteD'l ajiainst is tlie vary- 
ing depths of the water caused by the melting of 
the snows during the dav and the running down 
of the hovels during tlie frosty nights. This, of 
course, applies more to rivers than to lakes, but 
as the rivers open so much earlier than the 
lakes it is on them the earlv trapping is prose- 
cuted. It is most exasperating to visit one's trap 
in the morning and find bj the signs that the 
beaver or otter had paid his visit and that the 
trap was out of order bv being a couple of feet 
under water, or high and dry up the bank. 

To avoid this close observation of the work- 
ing of the water must be taken note of by the 
trapper. Weather conditions is a factor to be 
reckoned with. A rainy night and a cold frosty 
one have, of course, ditferent effects, and must 
be considered with all their bearings by the 
would-be successful trapper. The best time to 
make a set or tinal adjustment of one's trap is 
as late in the afternoon as possible. Then one 
sees how much the stream has risen since morn- 
ing, and calculate by his judgment how much it 
will recede during the coming frosty night. Or 
if rain has set in or is imminent before morning, 
how much further the rise will be. 

With these daily and nightly variations of 
the water, of course, traps must be visited each 
morning and evening. It is therefore good poll- 


Steel Trapis. 

>Vatek Tkaiting. 261 

cy at eyei'v early visit to make a level mark near 
each set, a\ hereby iu the evening when the trap 
is to be properly adjusted, the day's changes can 
be noticed with accnracy. Small streams, of 
course, fluctuate more than large rivers, the lat- 
ter generally showing a steady increase in vol- 
ume from the beginning of the break-up until the 
lake ice is all melted. There are many tributaries 
of large streams that one can easily jump across 
early in the morning, after a sharp frosty night, 
which are positively raging torrents at sun- 
down. On streams with such wide variances in 
depth, trai)ping is almost impossible. At all 
events, a good deal rests on chance. One has to 
manage his trap with a large amount of guess 
work. Streams with a breadth of an acre or so 
move up and down with a greater degree of uni- 
formity, and the trapper who pays close atten- 
tion to the movements of the water and weather 
conditions can set his trap prett}' accurately for 
business. A river such as I have mentioned last, 
whose feeders are a considerable distance uj) 
stream, generally falls a third of what it rose 
during the daytime. Thus, if you find that since 
morning the level has risen nine inches it will 
be safe to set your trap six inches under water. 
By this calculation there would be three inches 
over the jaws at the lowest ebb next morning, the 
night before being cold and dry. 

262 Steel TiiArs. 

I have ean<],lit ))otli otter and beaver in traps 
set on a half submerged log, a place which makes 
an ideal set on waters that are liable to vary in 
height, as the log moves with the change of height 
and the trap is always in order. Another good 
place for a trap is on a floating island when such 
can be found, but these favorable places are not 
always obtainable. A beaver or otter will be 
caught in deeper water in the spring than in 
the fall. In the spring they swim about with 
more vigor and consequently displace more water 
in front of their breasts, their feet thereby, set- 
ting off the pan in what Avould at other seasons 
be too deep water. 

A i)iece of castorum is the general lure used 
by most trai)pers for the animals I am treating 
of. In fact castorum is used foo^^lmost any ani- 
mal. But a stronger "draw" for beaver or otter 
is a drop or two from the scent bag of the aniuml. 
The contents of this sac can be emptied into a 
small vial and carried about in the trapper's 
pocket to be used when required. 

A small twig dipped in this and stuck in tlie 
bank back of the trap will cause any otter or 
beaver swimming past to come straight for the 
trap, regardless of consequences. 

In setting a trap for these animals care must 
always be taken to douce all about the trap be- 
fore leaving. This can be done from the canoe 

>\'ater Trapping. 263 

or boat bj flipping Avater with the flat of the 
paddle. A difficulty in settinc: spring traps is 
the planting of a picket to hold the trap. The 
banks are generally frozen even for considerable 
distance nnder water, and driving a picket or 
stake is impossible. One good way to overcome 
this condition Avhen procnrable is to fasten the 
trap chain to a good sized flat stone. Have a 
wire from this to the shore tied to some willow 
or root, and if anything is caught, with the wire 
you can drag everything ashore. 

When stones are not to be procured a young 
spruce can be cut ten or twelve feet long of a 
size at the butt that the trap chain ring will 
pass over. Leave a good tuft of the head 
l)ranclies, removing all the rest down to the butt. 
Tlie ring thus being assured of a clear run down 
to the tuft, the trap is set and the end of the pole 
made secure to the bank either by a piece of wire 
or by a cord. If the latter, care must be used to tie 
close down to the prong and the cord carefully 
covered with mud or something else to hide it 
from ra])bits or other animals that would surely 
gnaw, thereby endangering the loss of your trap 
and animal. 

Trapping, like everything else, to make it a 
success, must have proper attention. A man who 
sets a. trap haphazard and visits it only occa- 
sionally cannot expect to be very successful. 

264 Steel Traps. 


I use both the bait and blind set; the water 
set I think is the best, that is, in bitter cohl 
weather when the ice is thick. My way of mak- 
ing, I call it the ice set, writes an interested 
trapper, is to take a piece of oil cloth or an old 
buggy top cover will do, and pnt about 5 jjounds 
of salt in same and sew it up, having it about 2 
inches thick. Don't make it too solid, leave it 
loose enough so jou can work the most of the 
salt around the edges to bed the trap in. 

Now puncture with a needle to let the fumes 
of salt through ; cut a hole through the ice at 
edge of the water, scrape out hole to bed salt in ; 
but first put a stone in the hole and bottom and 
side it up with stones to keep the mud from 
clogging the needle holes. Xow you will wonder 
Avhat the salt is for; simply to keep the ice from 
freezing the hole shut. I had nine of that kind 
of sets last winter and trapped 7 mink. The 
hole will never freeze shut. Always set trap un- 
der water. 

Last winter i told my better half that I had 
better take my traps out of the run where I trap, 
as I couldn't make a water set, because they 
froze up over night. She said, "Why don't you 
put salt around your traps?" That put me to 
thinking so I got an old piece of oil cloth and 

Water Tuai'I'INm;. 


oot lior t() make four baj^s for iiic on tlic scwiii.u' 
machine; I put a sack of salt, 5 pounds iu each 
one, and used them as I have described. 


Tlie Diarshv lauds that are tributai-y to the 
Atlantic extend for hundreds of miles alonji tbe 
:^raryland shore of Chesapeake Bay. These lau<ls 
are sometimes entirely covered with a biackisli 
water forced up by the tides from the sea, while 
at other times they are covered by the fresh 
water brought down by the flooded rivers fi'om 
the higher lands of the back country. 

Upon these vast extents of boggy wastes large 
numbers of fur bearing animals, mostly musk- 
rats are annually caught, and many trappers 
make a good living from the fur and the meat 
which as ''Marsh Rabbit" is served at the Bon 
Ton restaurants of the neighboring cities. 

The water of these marshes varies much in 
its component parts at difPereut places on the 
coast, caused by the varying quality of :h<' 
streams which flow through them. This is 
plainly shown by its effect upon the traps used 
by the trappers of the different localities. AMiile 
in some places the springs will stand apparently 
as well as in fresh water streams, in others they 
break very badly. 


^^'ATl:K Tkai'i-ixc. 267 

F(ii-i!i(*i-!_v at (»iH' ])<)iiit known as the "l>lack 
Water" res^iou the trappers often lost nearly 
one-lialf their si)rin.iis in a f(^\v days trappinji;, 
owinu to the action of this pecnliai- water. Just 
vi'hat tlie canse of this action is has not yet been 
fiillv tletermiueiL 



HE proper season to begin trap- 
ping is when cold weather comes. 
The old saying that fur is good 
any niontli that has an "11" in 
does not hold good except in the 
North. Even there September is 
too early to begin, yet muskrat 
and skunk are worth something as well as other 
furs. In the spring April is the last month with 
an "K." In most sections muskrat, bear, beaver, 
badger and otter are good all thru April, but 
other animals began shedding weeks before. 

The rule for trappers to follow is to put off 
trapping in the fall until nights are frostly and 
the ground freezes. 

Generally speaking in Canada and the more 
Northern States trappers can begin about No- 
vember 1 and should cease March 1, with the ex- 
ception of water animals, bear and badger, 
which may be trapped a month later. In the 
Central and Southern States trappers should 
not begin so early and should leave off in the 
spring from one to four weeks sooner — depend- 
ing upon how far South they are located. 


A\'11EX TO 'rUAP. 200 

At the interior Hudson Bay posts, where 
their word is law, October 25 is appointed to 
begin and May 25th to quit hunting and trap- 
ping with the exception of bear, which are con- 
sidered prime up to June 10. Remember that 
the above dates are for tlie interior or Northern 
n. B. Posts, which are located hundreds of 
miles north of the boundary between the United 
States and Canada. 

The skunk is the first animal to become 
prime, then tlie coon, mai-ten, fisher, mink and 
fox, but the latter does not l)ecome strictly prime 
until after a few days of snow, says an old 
Elaine trapper. Eats and beaver are late in 
priming up as Avell as otter and mink, and tho 
the mink is not strictly a land animal, it be- 
comes prime a])out with the later land animals. 
The bear, which is strictly a land animal, is not 
in good fur until snoAv comes and not strictly 
prime until February or March. 

With the first frosts and cool days many 
trappers begin setting and baiting their traps. 
That it is easier to catch certain kinds of fur- 
bearing animals early in the season is known to 
most trappers and for this reason trapping in 
most localities is done too early in the season. 

Some years ago when trapping was done even 

.. ^"-tWIWiicif. f I 


When tu Tiiw. 271 

earlier than now, we examined mink skins that 
were classed as No. 4 and worth 10 or 15 cents, 
that, had thej been allowed to live a few weeks 
longer, their hides would Imve been No. 1 and 
worth, according to locality, from $1.50 to $3.50 
each. This early trapping is a loss to the trap- 
per if they will only pause and think. There are 
only so many animals in a locality to be caught 
each winter and why catch them before their 
fur is prime? 

In the latitude of Southern Oliio, Indiana, 
Illinois, etc., skunk caught in the month of Oc- 
tober are graded back from one to three grades 
(and even sometimes into trash), where if they 
were not caught until November 15th how dif- 
ferent would be the classification. The same is 
true of opossum, mink, muskrat, coon, fox, etc. 

Skunk are one of the animals that become 
prime first each fall. The date that they become 
prime depends much on tlie weatlier. Fifteen 
years ago, when trapping in Southern Ohio, tlie 
writer has sold skunk at winter prices cauglit as 
early as October 16, while other seasons those 
caught the 7th of November, or three weeks 
later, blued and were graded back. Am glad to 
say that years ago I learned not to put out traps 
until November. 

272 Steel Traps. 

That the weather has much to do with the 
priming of furs and pelts there is no question. 
If the fall is colder than usual the furs will be- 
come prime sooner, while if the freezing weather 
is later the pelts will be later in "priming up." 

In the sections where weasel turn white 
(then called ermine by many), trappers have a 
good guide. When they become white they are 
prime and so are most other land animals. In 
fact, some are fairly good a week or two before. 

When a pelt is put ou the stretcher and be- 
comes blue in a few days it is far from prime 
and will grade no better than No. 2. If the pelt 
turns black the chances are that the pelt will 
grade No. 3 or 4. In the case of mink, when 
dark spots only appear on the pelt, it is not quite 

Trappers and hunters should remember that 
no pelt is prime or No. 1 when it turns the least 
blue. Opossum skins seldom turn blue even if 
caught earlv — most other skins do. 



HEN the rivers and lakes are 
fast bound witli the grip of 
v»inter, it is not always con- 
venient to find a suitable 
place to set a beaver or ot- 
ter trap under the ice, savs 
Martin Hunter in the H-T-T. The shore line 
may drop away into too deep water to set at the 
bank, or, it may be uneven rocks which proclude 
the possibility of making a safe and sure set. 

When such conditions confront the trapper, 
it is good to know how to set a trap in deep 
water. It was a Mic-Mac Indian who showed 
me how and on several occasions I have found 
the knowledge very useful and profitable. In 
fact, more than once had I not known this, the 
conditions were such that it would have been 
utterly impossible for me to have set in the usual 
way. In after years, during my sojourn amongst 
3Iontagnais, Algonquins and Ojbway Indians, I 
never came across any trapper of these tribes 
who knew how to set a trap in deep water. 

For beaver especially, what better place than 
in the proximity of their lodge? And Avhat more 
successful time than in January or February, 
18 273 

274 Steel Traps. 

when their winter supply of wood has become 
sodden and slimy from months of submersion. 

Then cut an opening in the ice, off from the 
lodge entrance, and introduce a birch or popple 
sapling into the hole, cover the opening up with 
snow and come back in a couple of days, chisel 
about the protruding sticks and pull them out. 
Oh! where are they? You will find only the 
stumps in your hand. The beaver has come and 
cut the succulent young trees off close to the 
under surface of the ice and towed them away 
to his lodge. Now^, if you could only set a trap 
there and place more flesh food 3'ou would most 
likely get that beaver, but the water is deep. 
Your baiting hole is away from the shore thirty 
or forty feet and you measure the depth and 
find six or seven feet of water. Again you scratch 
your head and are sore perplexed. 

But, my fellow trappers, it is right here where 
I step in and show you the w^ay to overcome the 
difficulty. Had I not caught beaver under such 
conditions I would not presume to teach others, 
but I have trapped them this w^ay and always 
with success. And as for otter, setting in deep 
water is much surer than at an opening in a dam 
or other place which is likely to freeze up and 
put the trap out of order. 

Now if you will follow me I will describe a 
"deep water set" in as clear a way as possible, 

Some Deep \\'atek Sets. 275 

so that any ordinary trapper ought to be able to 
use it successfully. Cut a trench in the ice thru 
to clear water, fourteen to eighteen inches broad 
by four feet long; clear this hole free from any 
floating particles of ice, cut (dry if possible) a 
young spruce or tamarac, twelve to fifteen feet 
long. Have it three or four inches in diameter 
at the butt end, branch it off from end to end 
and rub off with axe blade all loose bark. 

Introduce the small end into the water 
obliquely, shoving it down in the mud or sand 
of the bottom, with the butt end resting on the 
ice at one end of the opening. If the pole is too 
long to get the proper angle, take it out and cut 
off the surplus. This dry pole is to set the trap 
on and has to be at the proper incline so that 
when the beaver is swimming while cutting the 
bait sticks, he sets off the trap. When the pole is 
in the proper position, mark with your axe or 
chisel about twelve or fifteen inches under the 
level of the water. 

Xow take out the pole and hew a flat surface, 
at the spot previously marked, about a foot long. 
Slant 3 our pole sideways and drive in the corner 
of your axe half an inch under the hewed flat 
surface, drive the axe until the pole is almost 
split in twain. If the opening wants to close 
ba<k too tight, introduce a small sliver of wood. 
Now set your No. 4 trap; run the ring up the 


Steel Traps. 

pole above where the trap is to rest and secure it 
there with a piece of wire or a small staple. 
Force the spear part of the bottom of the trap 
into the split, chuck up to the main bottom part 
that enji,a<ies the ends of the jaw. The trap is 
now in place. 


When there is a mudd3' or sandy bottom, the 
better way is to allow enough length of pole 
to bury a foot or so into the bottom. This will 
hold the i)ole secure and prevent rolling. Now 
take tAvo nice, young, juicy popple or young 
birch, branch them off clear to the small end and 

Some Deep >Vater Sets. 277 

have them six to nine feet long-; put them in 
small end first and place one on each side of 
trap, five inches from it and ahont the same 
above. These pieces of food wood can be kej^t 
in proper place by packing the butt ends down 
on the solid ice and putting snow and water on 

If it is at all cold it will get solid in a few 
moments. Xext process is to cut fifteen or twen- 
ty young spruce trees a couple of inches in diam- 
eter and about five feet long ; place these straight 
up and down outside the popple wood. This 
will form a fence at each side with spaces four 
inches apart. Right up at the end where all 
your work centers, a few dry branches can be 
forced in and down to prevent the animal from 
cutting away the food from the back. With a 
little practice you can have all this fixed to a 
nicety. , 

The beaver entering from the lower slope 
of the wood and swimming up to gnaw the sticks 
close to' the ice, sets off the trap and in his strug- 
gles he pulls it clear from the cleft and in a few 
moments is drowned. After all is in shape the 
opening in the ice is dusted over with snow and 
left to freeze. 

In visiting the trap at the end of two or three 
days, it is only necessary to chisel a very small 
hole to see if the trap or bait are displaced. This 

278 Steiol Traps. 

can be readily ascertained bv lying flat on the 
ice, partly cover yonr head with your coat or 
blanket and with your face close to the hole all 
objects in a few moments will become clear. 

For otter set, the trap pole is made in the 
same way, but instead of i)oi)ple or birch, a small 
fish is used for bait. Skewer it from the dorsal 
fin thru to the stomach and suspend it above 
and back of the trap at the proper distance. As 
it appears in its natural position in the water 
and the skewer is hardly visible, an otter swim- 
ming past takes it for a live fish and in dashing, 
for his meal gets caught. 

I have found this set very successful in creeks 
and small rivers, even in setting out from the 

Otters, like mink, have their feeding grounds 
on lakes and connecting rivers and are sure to 
skirt the shores in swimming down or up stream. 
If the stream is very broad it will be as well to 
have a trap on each shore and thus enchance the 
certainty of getting his fnr. 

The best fish for an otter set is white fish or 
trout a pound and a half to two pounds. By 
changing the bait once a week your trap can be 
kept set all winter without getting out of order. 

Back of this article I mentioned "chisel." A 
chisel is almost a necessity to a trapper, especi- 
.ally if the ice is thick. With only an axe the 

{Some Deep Water Sets. 


trapper gets splashed all over and when this 
freezes he is in a most uncomfortable state. A 


good strong ice chisel can be had in the ordinary 
one and a half-inch carpenter's mortising chisel. 
Have a hole drilled thru both sides of the socket 

280 Steel Traps. . 

about three-quarters of an inch from tlie rim, 
carry a stout screw in your poclvct and the chisel 
in your bag or bundle. 

When necessary to use the chisel for ice 
trenching', cut a dry sound young sapling, six 
feet long, take off most of the bark and point the 
end the required length and shape off the socket 
by knocking the end of the handle against a near- 
by tree or rock. The chisel becomes firmly fixed. 
Now introduce the screw into one of the holes 
and with your axe bang it clear thru and out 
on the other side. The screw used for this pur- 
pose should be one and three-quarters inches 

AVhen finished with your chisel, if not likely 
to be required again at that place, it may be 
chopped off the handle and at your first fire the 
socket part can be placed in hot ashes or close 
to the blaze until the wood stump is so charred 
that it will readily scrape out, securing the screw 
for another time. Ice chisels are indispensible 
to any one trapping beaver, otter or mink, and 
iio Indian would consider his outfit complete 
without one. I have seen them made out of the 
prong of a deer antler. This was before the im- 
ported article was introduced into the far back 
country. The horn was sharpened to a cutting 
edge at the business end and the shank lashed 
to the handle with deer skin thongs. 



XTCH importauee should be at- 
tached to the skinuiiii*' and 
stretching- of all kinds of skins 
so as to command the highest 
commercial value. The fisher, 
otter, foxes, lynx, marten, mink, 
ermine, civet, cats and skunk should be cased, 
that is, taken off whole. 

Commence with the knife in the center of one 
hind foot and slit up the inside of the leg, up to 
and around the vent and down the other leg in 
a like manner. Cut around the vent, taking 
care not to cut the lumps or glands in which 
the musk of certain animals is secreted, then 
strip the skin from the bone of the tail with 
the aid of a split stick gripped firmly in the 
hand while the thumb of the other hand presses 
against the animal's back just above. JNIake no 
other slits in the skin except in the case of the 
skunk and otter, whose tails require to be split, 
spread, and tacked on a board. 

Turn the skin back over the body, leaving 
the pelt side out and the fur side inward, and 
by cutting a few ligaments, it will peel off very 
readily. Care should be taken to cut closely 



Steel Traps. 

iiround the nose, ears and lips, so as not to tear 
the skin. Have a board made about the size 
and shape of the tliree-board stretcher, only not 
split in halves. This board is to put the skin 
over in order to hold it better while removing 
particles of fat and flesh which adheres to it 

Single Board 

Thl*ce Board Stretcher* 


while skinning, which can be done with a blunt- 
edged knife, by scraping the skin from the tail 
down toward the nose — the direction in which 
the hair roots grow — never scrape up the other 
way or you will injure the fiber of the skin, and 
care should be taken not to scrape too hard, for 
if the skin fiber is injured its value is decreased. 


Now, having been thoroughly "fleshed," as 
the above process is called, the skin is read}^ for 
stretching, which is done by inserting the two 
liah^s of the three-board stretcher and drawing 
the skin over the boards to its fullest extent, 
v,ith the back on one side and the belly on the 
other, and tacking it fast by driving in a small 
nail an inch or so from each side of the tail near 
tlie edges of the skin; also, in like manner the 
other side. Now insert the wedge and drive it 
between the halves almost its entire length. 
Care should be taken, however, to not stretch 
the skin so much as to make the fur appear thin 
and thus injure its value. Now put a nail in the 
root of the tail a,nd fasten it to the wedge; also, 
draw up all slack parts and fasten. Care should 
be taken to have both sides of the skin of e(iual 
length, which can be done by lapping the leg 
flippers over each other. Now draw up the 
under lip and fasten, and pull the nose down 
until it meets the lip and tack it fast, and then 
the skin is ready to hang away to cure. 

Do not dry skins at a fire or in the sun, or in 
smoke. It often burns them when they will not 
dress and are of no value. Dry in a well-cov- 
ered shed or tent where there is a free circula- 
tion of air, and never use any preparation, such 
iis aiuui and salt, as it only injures them for 
market. Never stretch the noses 0"t long, as 

284 Steel Tiurs. 

some trappers are inclined to do, but treat them 
as above described, and thej will command bet- 
ter values. Fur buvers are inclined to class 
long-nosed skins as ''southern" and pay a small 
])riee for them, as Southern skins are much 
lighter in fur than those of the North. 

The badger, beaver, bear, raccoon and wolf 
must always be skinned "open ;'' that is, ripped 
up the belly from vent to chin after the follow- 
ing manner : Cut aci-oss the hind legs as if to 
be "cased'' and then rip up the belly. The skin 
can then be removed by flaying as in skinning n 


* * * 

Another experienced trapper says: The ani- 
mals which should be skinned open are bear, 
beaver, raccoon, badger, timber wolf and wolver- 
ines. The way to do this is to rip the skin open 
from the point of the lower jaw, in a straight 
line, to the vent. Tlien rip it open on the back 
of the hind legs, and the inside of the front 
legs, and peel the skin carefully off the body. 
Beaver, however, should not have the front legs 
split open and the tail, having no fur, is of 
course cut off. If the skin is a fine one, and 
especially in the case of bear, the feet should 
not be cut ofl', but should be skinned, leaving 
the claws on. I would also advise saving the 
skull, and the oroper way to clean it is to scrape 

Skinning and Stuktciiing. 285 

the flesh ofif with a knife. When the animal is 
skinned, roll the skin up with the fur side out 
and put it in your pack. 

See that there are no burrs or lumps of mud 
in the fur, before you do any fleshing. My way 
of fleshing furs — there may be better ways—. 
is to draw the skin over a smooth board,' made 
for the purpose and scraping, or peeling, with a 
blunt edged knife. Commence at the tail, and 
scrape towards the head, otherwise you may in- 
jure the fibre of the hide. Over the back and 
shmilders of most animals is a thin layer of 
flesh. This should be removed, and when done, 
there should be nothing remaining but the skin 
and fur. Raccoon and muskrat are easily fleshed 
by pinching the flesh between the edge of the 
knife and the thumb. 

For stretching boards, I prefer a three board 
stretcher, but a plain board will answer. For 
muskrats, use a single board. Open skins are 
best stretched in frames or hoops, but it is all 
right to stretch them on the wall on the inside 
of a building. The boards shown in the cut are, 
to my notion, the proper shapes, and I would 
advise making a good supply of them before 
the season commences. 

To use these three board stretchers, insert 
the two halves of the board in the skin, draw 
the skin down and fasten the hind legs, with 

jfie-c^C' hoetrd with crosi strips 


SKiNM.\(i AM) S'i'Ki:i'(iiix(;. 287 

tacks, to tlie e(li;es of the boa'-ds. Tliis stretcliea 
the hide loug-. Tlieii insert the wedge between 
the two boards, which will stretch the skin out 
to its fullest extent, and give it the ijroper shape. 
Finish by fastening with tacks, pulling the nose 
over the point of the board, and drawing the 
skin of the lower jaw up against tlie nose. Hang 
the furs in a cool, dry place and as soon as they 
are dry, remove them from the boards. Fox 
skins should be turned with the fur side out, 
after removing from the board. 

In using the hoop stretcher, the hide is laced 
inside the hoop, with twine, the skin of the coon 
being stretched square and the beaver round. 
All other furs should be stretched so as not to 
draw them out of their natural shape. If the 
Aveather is warm and the furs are likely to taint, 
salt them. A salted skin is better than a tainted 
one. Put salt in the tail, and j>unch a hole in 
the end of the tail, with a pointed wire, to let the 
water drain out, or split the tail up about one- 
half inch from tip. 

The skin of the bear is, perhaps, more likely 
to spoil than any other, and the ears especially, 
are likely to taint and slip the fur. To prevent 
this, slit the ears open on the inside, skin them 
back almost to the edge and fill them with salt, 
also salt the base of the ears, on the flesh side 
of the hide. 


Steel Traps. 

In stretching, says a North Dakota trapper, 
we use a one board stretcher as follows : Put 
on the fur after you have fleshed it, the four 
feet on one side and the tail on the other. Tack 


down the hind feet and the tail, then take a 
piece of board about 1 x | inches ( this would be 
about the correct size for a mink) rounded off 
except on one side. Put it below the fur on the 

Skixxi.\(; a.\i» S'l'itirrciiixc. 


side where the feet are, tie the front feet. When 
you are going to take off tlie fur, pull out the 
small board and the fur will come off easy. 

A contrivance which I have found useful in 
skinning is made of a piece of stiff wire 18 


inches long. Bend this at the middle until it has 
the shape of V with the ends about 8 inches 
apart. Bend up an inch at each end to form 
a hook and when skinning, after cutting around 
the hind feet, hook into the large tendons, hang 
on a nail or over limb, etc., and go ahead with 


21)0 Stekl TuAi's. 

both hands. The wire must be nearly as large 
as a slate pencil and wiU work all right from 
foxes down to mink. Trappers will find this a 
great help in skinning animals after they have 
become cold. Young trappers should use this 
simple device as they will be less liable to cut 
holes in the skin. It paj^s to be careful in skin- 
ning animals properl^^ as well as to stretch them 
correctly, for both add to their market value. 

How many trappers save the skulls of their 
larger game? All the skulls of bear, puma or 
mountain lion, wolves, foxes and sometimes 
those of lynx and wild cat are of ready sale if 
they contain good sets of teeth. Several jjarties 
buy these skulls for cash. 

To prepare them the bulk of the flesh should 
be removed and the brain and eyes also. Prob- 
ably the easiest way to accomplish this is to boil 
the skull with flesh on in an old pot until the 
meat begins to get tender. Then, while hot, it 
may easily be cut away, and by enlarging the 
hole at the back of the skull the brain may be 
scooped out. They should be watched carefully 
as if boiled too long the teeth drop out, bones 
separate and render the skull worthless. It is 
safe, but more tedious to clean them with a sharp 
knife without boiling. 

The dealers pay from 50c for a bear skull to 
15c for a fox, tho taxidermists and furriers often 

Skinning and Stuetching. 


pay mnch more^ The British Columbia Govern- 
ment pays bounties upon the skulls, only I think 
this is a good idea as the skins are not mutilated 
and depreciated by scalping, punching or cut- 
ting as usual. Save a few good skulls and add 
dollars to the value of your catch. 
* * * 

Take two pieces of No. 9 fence wire about 30 
inches long, writes an Ohio coon hunter and 


trapper, file one end sharp, then commence at 
each hind foot and punch the wire thru close to 

292 Steel Traps. 

the edge as in sewing, taking stitches an inch or 
so long until you get to the front foot, then pull 
the hide along the wire just far enough so the 
top and bottom will stretch out to make it 
square, or a few inches longer than the width is 

Put 3 or 4 nails in each side, then commence 
at the top and tack all but the head, then pull 
the bottom down even with the sides, not tacking 
the head, which lets it draw down into the hide, 
then tack the head. This is an easy and good 
way to handle coon skins making them nearly 
square when stretched. 

Many inexperienced trappers stretch coon 
skins too long and draw out the head and neck. 
This can be avoided by following instructions 
given here. Coon can be cased but most dealers 
prefer to have them stretched open. 

Get a lot of steel wire, says, a Missouri trap- 
per who uses old umbrella wires, the round solid 
ones. Sharpen one end, take your coon skin and 
run one wire up each side and one across each 

In putting these wires in do it like the old 
woman knits, that is, wrap the hide around the 
wire and stick it thru about every inch. Now 
cut six small twigs, make them the proper length 

Skixnlxg and Stui:tciiix(;. 


and notch the ends, and you will soon have your 
hide stretched expert trapper style. 

The advantage of this is yon can carry 
stretchers enough for twenty-five skins in one 
hand and don't have to hunt up a barn door and 



box of tacks and hammer every time you want to 
stretch one. You can stretch in one-fourth the 
time it would take to tack up on a board, and 
you will have it in first class style the first time 
and not have to pull out a tack here and stretch 
a little more there. 

294 Steel Traps. 

I have always used the whole board (not split 
into two pieces and a wedged shape j)iece as some 
do), writes a Massachusetts trapper, and made 
as follows : 

For mink I use a f inch board about 40 inches 
in length, 4 inches wide at the large end, taper- 
ing to about 24 inches at the small end with the 
edges planed down from near the middle of the 
board to the edge, leaving a thin edge and sand- 
papered down smooth. I make the board of this 
length for the reason that it sometimes happens 
that a mink may have laid in a trap for several 
days before being taken out, and if under water 
it is not always easy to determine the exact 
length of time it has been in the trap, and there 
may be a possibility that if put on the board to 
dry that having laid so long it will taint before 
it will get thoroughly dry. I have seen them in 
a case of this kind where several and perhaps 
nearly all the hairs on the end of the tail would 
shed or pull out thereby damaging the skin to a 
greater or less extent. 

Now when I get a mink in this condition af- 
ter pulling on the board and tacking all around, 
I split the tail open after which I lay it open and 
tack all around the same way 3^ou would with an 
otter skin. By employing this means you will 
often save the loss of the tail by thus tainting 
and a corresponding loss on the value of the skin. 

Skinning and Siuktciiini;. 21)5 

The value of the mink skin is in no way damaged 
by this process. Some dealers prefer to have all 
the skins they buy cured in this manner. 

For stretching the muskrat skin I also use a 
board of the same thickness as for mink, about 
20 inches in length, 6^ or 7 inches at the large 
end with a slightly rounding taper to a width of 
about 3 inches at small end, the sides planed 
down to a thin edge the same as for the mink 
boards; in fact, I prefer the same manner of 
stretching all cased skins, using care not to have 
the boards so wide as to stretch the skins to a 
width much exceeding the natural width before 
it was placed over the board, but giving them all 
the strain they will stand with reason, length- 
wise. If stretched too wide it tends to make the 
fur thinner and lessens the value of it. 

I usually pull the skins, especially muskrats, 
onto the boards far enough so that the smaller 
end will extend through the mouth of the skin 
for perhaps | inch, and when the skins are suffi- 
ciently dry to remove, all that is required is to 
take hold of them with a hand on either edge of 
the skin and give it a sharp tap on the small end, 
when the skin will come off at once. By stretch- 
ing the skins on the boards with the back on one 
side, belly on the opposite side, they come off 
the boards looking smooth and uniform in width, 
and command a great deal better price than if 

296 Stkkl Traps. 

thrown on in a liapliazaid way on a shingle or 
an inch board badly shaped, as a great many be- 
ginners do. I have seen some shameful work 
done in this respect. 

It is always necessary to remove all surplus 
grease and fat which can readily be done imme- 
diately after the skin is stretched, otherwise they 
will heat, sweat and mold to a certain extent af- 
ter they are removed from the boards, which in- 
jures both the appearance and sale of them. It 
is well to look after all these little details. 
These descriptions are given with the desire to 
help some of the beginners. If they will start in 
by using a little care in stretching and having 
pride in their work they will find the business 
both more pleasant and profitable. 

If convenient when going into camp, writes 
an old successful trapper who has pursued the 
fur bearers in many states, you should tqke sev- 
eral stretching boards for your different kinds 
of fur with you. If not, jo\i can generally find 
a tree that will split good and you can split some 
out. It is usually hard to find widths that are 
long and straight enough to bend so as to form a 
good shaped stretcher. You should always aim 
to stretch and cure furs you catch in the best 

Ski.\.\i.\(; and Stuk'I'ciiinc. 297 

In skiniiino- you sliould i-ip tlie animal 
straight from one lieol across to tlie other and 
close to the roots of the tail on the under side. 
Work the skin loose around the hone at the base 
until you can grasp the bone of the tail with the 
first two fingers of the right hand Avhile you 
place the bone between the first two fingers of 
the left hand. Then, by pulling you will draw 
the entire bone from the tail which you should 
always do. 

Sometimes when the animal has been dead 
for some time the bone will not readily draw 
from the tail. In this case cut a stick the size 
of your finger about eight inches long. Cut it 
away in the center until it will readily bend so 
that the two ends will come together. Then cut 
a notch in each part of stick just large enough 
to let the bone of the tail in and squeeze it out. 
It is necessary to whittle one side of the stick 
at the notch so as to form a square shoulder. 

You should have about three sizes of stretch- 
ing boards for mink and fox. For mink they 
should be from 4^ inches down to 3 inches and 
for fox from 6i inches down to 5 inches wide, 
and in length tlie fox boards may be four feet 
long, and the mink boards three feet long. 

The boards should taper slightly down to 
within S inches of the end for fox, and then 
rounded up to a round point. The mink boards 

298 Steel Traps. 

should be rounded at 4 or 5 inches from this 
point. You will \arj the shape of the board in 
proportion to the width. Stretching boards 
should not be more than f inch thick. A belly 
strip the length or nearly the length of the 
boards 1;^ inches at the wide end, tapering to 
a point at the other end and about i to f inch- 
thick. Have the boards smooth and even on the 
edges. Other stretching boards should be made 
in proportion to the size and shape of the animal 
whose skin is to be stretched. 

You should not fail to remove all the fat and 
flesh from the skin immediately after the skin is 
on the board. If a skin is wet when taken from 
the animal it should be drawn lightly on a board 
until the fur is quite dry. Then turn the skin 
flesh side out and stretch. 

Beginning at the left, dimensions and skins 
stretched on the various boards are given : 

No. 1. Mink board, length 28 inches and 4 

No. 2. Mink board, length 28 inches and 3^ 

No. 3. Weasel board length 20 inches and 
2^ wide. 

No. 4. Muskrat board, length 21 inches and 
6 inches wide. 

SkLXMNG AM) !^rui:T('iii\G. 


No. 5. Opossum board, (small), length 20 
iuclies and Gi inches wide. 

No. 6. Skunk or opossnm, (medium), length 
28 inches and 7 inches wide. 

No. 7. Skunk and opossnm, (large), length 
28 inches and 8 inches wide. 


Old and experienced hunters and trappers 
know about the shape and size to make the vari- 
ous stretching boards for the fur bearers, but 
for the guidance of beginners and those who are 
careless about stretching pelts, the above de- 
scription is especially meant. 

300 Stekl Traps. 

Trappers in Southern sections will no doubt 
find the boards as described 'here too large for 
most of their skunk. In the Kortheast the mink 
boards will also be too large, but for this section 
(Ohio), they are about correct. The general 
shape of the boards can be seen from the illus- 

* * «■ 

One of the best ways, writes a Minnesota 
trapper, to take off the skin of an animal is by 
cutting the skin around the hind legs or feet, and 
then slitting the skin down inside the hind legs 
to the body the two slits between the hind 
legs, then remove the skin on the tail by push- 
ing up the thumb nail, or a thin flat piece of 
wood against the bone of the tail and draw off 
the skin. 

Now commence to draw the body of the ani- 
mal through the slit already made without en- 
larging it, drawing the skin over itself, the fur 
side within. When the forefeet are reached, cut 
the skin away from them at the wrists, and then 
skin over the head until the mouth is reached 
when the skin should be finally removed at the 

One thing to be borne in mind when stretch- 
ing a skin to dry, is that it must be drawn tight ; 
another, that it must be stretched in a place 
where neither the heat of a fire or that of the sun 

Skinning and Stretching. 301 

will retich it too strongly, and it should not be 
washed. Large skins may be nailed on a wall 
of a shed or barn. 

The board stretcher should be made of some 
thin material. Prepare a board of bass wood or 
some other light material, two feet three inches 
long, three inches and a half wide at one end, 
and two inches and an eighth at the other, and 
three-eighths of an inch thick. Chamfer it from 
the center to the sides almost to an edge. 
Round and chamfer the small end about an inch 
upon the sides. Split the board through the 
center with a knife or saw, finally prepare a 
wedge of the same length and thickness, one inch 
wide at the large end, and taper to a blunt point. 
This is a stretcher suitable for a mink, or a 

Two large sizes with similar proportions are 
required for the large animals, the largest size 
suitable for the full gTown otter and wolf, 
should be five feet and a half long, seven inches 
wide at the large end when fully spread by the 
wedge, and six inches at the small end. An in- 
termediate size is required for the fisher, rac- 
coon, fox and some other animals, the propor- 
tions of which can be easily figured out. 

These stretchers recpiire that the skiu of the 
animal should not be ripped through the belly, 
but should be stripped off whole. Peel the skin 

3U2 Steel Tkai's. 

from the body by drawing it over itself, leaving 
the fur inward. In this condition the skin 
should be drawn on to the split board (with the 
back on one side and the belh' on the other), to 
its utmost length, and fastened with tacks, and 
then the wedge should be driven between the two 
halves. Finally, make all fast by a tack at the 
root of the tail, and another on the opposite side. 
The skin is then stretched to its utmost capacity 
and it may be hung away to dry. 

Not alone the skulls of the larger animals, 
but the skulls of any game, the skeleton of any 
bird, or fish, has a ready market, provided such 
specimens are properly cleaned, and in perfect 
condition. However, the hunter or trapper must 
bear in mind the fact that it is the perfect speci- 
men that is in demand, and that a bruise on the 
bone literally spoils it for the curator. 

If you will look carefully at any skull, you 
will notice that some of the bones are very thin 
and frail, almost like a spider web. These fine 
bones must be preserved if they are to be of any 
value to the Comparative Anatomist, and boiling 
or scraping simply ruins them. So much for 
the explanation. Now tlie method of cleaning, 
is by "rotting'' rather than scraping or boiling. 
Take the skull (or whole head) and fix it solid in 

HiviNMNc; AM) Stui:tciii.\(;. 303 

some can or jar, then fill it, or cover Avitli water 
and put away for three or four weeks. At the 
end of that time, pour off the water and the bulk 
of the flesh will go too. Fill in with clear water 
again, and repeat as often as necessary. I have 
found that twice will do the work, and leaA^e the 
bone in good condition. 

There is a market for most animal skulls, if 
not damaged, and it may pay to preserve all. In 
the Hunter-Trader-Trapper, published at Colum- 
bus, Ohio, usually will be found advertisements 
of parties who buy them. 

I have never had much luck with two-piece 
stretchers, but use thin board stretchers in one 
piece with a "sword stick" on each side to full^ 
stretch and admit the air to botli sides of the 
skin. This cures the skin faster and better thai 
when only one side is exposed to the air, says a 
Maryland trapper. 

When off from home, I use stretchers made 
from saplings, as boards suitable are not to be 
had everywhere, and cannot be bothered with 
when going light. To make these, cut osier, wil- 
low or hickory switches, straight and thick as 
the finger, about four feet long; cut two short 
pieces for rats 4 and 6 inches long and carefully 
bending the long piece. Nail these in with a 


Steel Traps. 


Skinning and Strktciiing. 305 

small wire nail at eacli end. A handful of shin- 
gle or lath nails and a eluinp of osier sprouts 
will make a full outfit of stretchers for a tem- 
porary camp. 

I know it is as much value in stretching your 
furs and preparing them for market as it is in 
trapping, writes a trapper. If you have no 
boards, go to your grocer or dry goods store and 
you can get all the boxes you want for 5 or 10 
cents apiece. They must not be over § of an 
inch thick; if they -are, plane them down smooth 
on both sides. 

I make what I call the two piece stretcher 
with a wedge for muskrats. Take a board 20 
inches long, f inch thick, 6 inches wide large 
end, 2^ inches small end. Taper back 5 inches 
from small end. Now take block plane and chaf- 
fer off each side an inch or more up and round it 
off. Round and chaffer small end the same, 
almost to an edge. Now draw a line thru the 
center of the board and saw it thru. 

Make a wedge the same length and thick- 
ness, f of an inch wide and tapering down to 
I/IO of an inch. If a large skin, push it in be- 
tween the halves. Bore a hole in large end and 
hang up in a cool ventilated place to dry. After 
three days pull out wedge, and your fur will 


306 Steel Traps. 

slip right off without tearing. If the boards 
should warp over, tack a strip across the large 

The minlv stretchers are made on the same 
phm. A board the same thickness, 30 inches 
long, 3| inches wide, taper down 2| small end 
round chaffer. For large mink insert wedge 
made one inch wide. Taper down to 2/8. For 
skunk and coon they are also good, only they 
are made on a larger scale. 

Now a word about casing. Pull your hide on 
so the back is on one side and the belly on 
the other. Pull nose over small end ^ inch. Put 
two tacks on each side, now pull down tight to 
large end and put two tacks each side, lay board 
on bench and take an old case knife, scrape off 
all meat and fat and be careful not to scrape 
too thin, so as not to cut the fibre of the skin. 
After you liave scraped the flesh off, insert the 
wedge and your skin will be tight. Do not 
stretch your hide so it will make your fur look 


•» * * 

This is my way of stretching coon hide; use 
four-penny nails and use either the inside or 
outside of some old building, inside is the best. 
Drive the first nail thru nose. This holds the 
hide for starting. Pull each forward leg up (not 
out) on a level with nose and about seven or 

Skinning and Stretching. 307 

eight inches from nose according to size of the 
coon. Drive next nail at root of tail, and pull 
down, moderately tight. 

Now pull each hind leg out about one inch 
wider than the fore legs and a little below the 
tail nail. Now use a nail every inch and pull 
the hide up between the forward legs and nose, 
until it comes straight across. Next, treat the 
bottom of the hide the same as the top. Use 
plenty of nails. To finish down the sides, drive 
a nail first on one side and then on the other 
until finished. You will find when done that the 
hide is nearly square with no legs sticking out 
the sides and no notches in the skin. 



INK should be eased fur side in aud 
stretched on boards for several 
days or until dry. 

Skunk should be cased fur 
side in aud stretched on boards 
for several days. Tht^ white stripe cut out black- 
ened, etc., reduces the value. 

Raccoon should be stretched open (ripped 
up the belly) and nailed on boards or the inside 
of a building-. Some dealers allow as much for 
coon cased, from any section, while others prefer 
that onl}^ Southern coon be cased. 

Foxes of the various kinds should be cased 
and put on boards fur side in for a few days, or 
until dry. As the pelt is thin they soon dry, 
when they must be taken off and should be 
turned fur side out. In shipping see that they 
are not packed against furs flesh side out. 

Lynx should be cased and after drying prop- 
erly are turned fur side out, same as foxes. 

Otter are cased and stretched fur side in. 
The pelt being thick and heavy, takes several 
days to dry properly. They are shipped flesh 
side out. Sea otter are handled the same as fox, 
lynx and marten, that is, fur side out. 


Handling and (Juaiunu. 309 

Beaver are split but stretched round and 
should be left in the hoop or stretcher for sev- 
eral days. 

Bear should be handled open and stretched 
carefully. In skinning be careful and leave 
nose, claws and ears on the hide. 

Wolves can be handled same as bear, also 

Fisher should be cased and stretched flesh 
side out, but may be sent to market same as 
foxes or fur out. 

Marten should be stretched and dried on 
boards, fur side in, but turned as soon as dried. 

Opossum are stretched on boards fur side in 
and are left in that condition after removing the 
boards. Cut the tails ofe when skinning — they 
have no value. 

MusKRAT should be stretched fur side in and 
a few days on the boards is sufficient. They are 
left as taken off, that is, fur side in. Cut the 
tails off when skinning — they are worthless. 

Weasel should be cased, fur side in. The 
pelts are thin and soon dry. Leave fur side in 
after taking off boards. 

Badger are split and should be nailed to the 
inside of a building to dry. 

Civet Cat should be cased and stretched on 
boards fur side in. When 'dry remove boards 
and leave fur side in. 

310 Steel Traps. 

Ring Tail Cats should be cased and after 
removing boards are generally left fur side in 
for market. 

Wild Cat are cased and stretched on boards. 
They may be turned fur out or left as taken from 
the stretchers, fur side in. 

House Cat are cased and stretched on 
boards fur side in. They are sent to market 
usually fur side in. 

Rabbits are cased fur in and, as the pelt is 
thin, soon dry. They are shipped fur side in. 

Panther are treated much the same as bear. 
Care should be taken in skinning to leave claws, 
ears, nose, etc., on the skin for mounting pur- 

My experience has been that the house which 
makes only four grades of prime goods is the 
house that you will receive the largest checks 
from for your collection, writes a Michigan col- 
lector of 50 years' experience. So many grades 
quoted makes it possible for a firm to success- 
fully squelch you a little every time you ship 
and yet you can have no reasonable excuse to 
complain for when you ship, you know that in 
some houses there is a grade for nearly every 
skin you send. So I, for one, would rather risk 
the fewer grades. 

A trapper from Wisconsin says : For sample. 

llAXDi.ixc AM) Grading. 311 

say mink are worth from 25 cents to |3.00. 
There would be 275 prices between the extremes. 
Now if he is a fur buyer I certainly pity the 
trappers that would have to take those 275 dif- 
ferent prices for their mink. A man should l)e 
able to know the difference between grades No. 
1, 2, 3 and 4, and when he does he is then able to 
give a fair and honest price for every skin he 
buys. If he doesn't know the difference then, 
he had better get a job clerking in a hotel or 
sawing wood. 

Many have requested that the difference in 
the various grades of skins be explained and 
for their benefit, as well as others of little ex- 
perience, the following may prove instructive. 

Raw furs are assorted into four grades, viz : 
No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4. With the excep- 
tion uf skunk and muskrat most houses sub- 
divide the No. 1 skins into large, medium and 
small. In addition to this many firms quote a 
range of prices about as follows: Mink, North- 
ern New York, large |6.00 to |8.00. Would it 
not be more satisfactory to quote one j)rice only? 

It is generally known that Minnesota mink 
are large. From that state a No. 1 medium mink 
is as large as a No. 1 large from iNIaine, where 
mink are rather small. But as the dealers on 

312 Stkkl Trains. 

their price lists quote the various states and 
sections, why not quote one price only as follows : 

Mink, Northern New York, No. 1. 

Large, Medium, Small, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, 
$7.00. 15.00. 13.00. 11.50. |0.75. |0.20. 

These figures, of course, are only given for 
illustration and are not meant to show value. 

Furs from the various parts of North Ameri- 
ca have their peculiar characteristics and it is 
easy for the man of experience to tell in what 
part of the country a pelt was caught. It may 
be shipped by a collector hundreds of miles from 
where caught, but if there are many in the col- 
lection the expert will soon detect it. This 
knowledge, however, only comes with years of 

Prime skins are those caught during cold 
weather and the pelt after drying a few days 
is bright and healthy appearing. 

TJnprime skins are those that turn blue or 
black after being stretched for a time. Usually 
the darker the pelt the poorer the fur. If only 
slightly blued the pelt may go back only one 
grade, while if black it is apt to be no better 
than No. 3 or No. 4 and may be trash of no 

Springy skins, as the name indicates, are 

1Ia\i>mx(; AM) (iitAi>i.\(;. 313 

those taken toward the last of the season or in 
the sprinj^- and tho often pi-inie pelted, have be- 
gun to shed. The bei" inner is often deceived, for 
he thinks if the pelt is prime, the fur is. Foxes 
and other animals are often "rubbed" toward 
spring, which of course lessens their value. 

A No. 1 skin must be not only average in 
size but free from cuts, etc. No unprime skin 
will grade better than No. 2. 

Skunk, to be No. 1 or black, must be prime 
in pelt, fair size and stripe not extending be- 
yond the shoulders. The day that only "star 
black" were taken for No. 1 is passed, for most 
trappers and shippers know better now. 

A No. 2, or short striped skunk, is prime and 
the stripes, if narrow, may extend nearly to the 
tail. A small No. 1 or a blued No. 1 is graded 
No. 2. 

A No. 3 or long stripe has two stripes extend- 
ing the entire length, but there must be as much 
black betAveen the stripes as either of the white 

In some of the states, such as Minnesota, 
Iowa, the Dakotas, etc., skunk are large and are 
nearly all striped the same — long narrow stripes 
— but owing to their size they are worth about 
the same as the eastern short stripe or No. 2. 

A No. 4, broad or white skunk, is prime but 
has two broad stripes extending down the back. 

314 Steel Tuai'S. 

Most dealers class skunk as No. 4 if either 
white stripe contains more white than there is 
black between the two stripes. 

All unprime skunk are graded down to No. 2, 
3 and 4 according to depth of fur and stripe. A 
No. 1 skunk in stripe, but blue, becomes a No. 
2, or if badl^^ blued No. 3 or 4; a No. 2 skunk 
in stripe but blue becomes a No. 3; a No. 3 in 
stripe but blue, a No. 4; a No. 4 in stripe but 
blue generally goes into trash. In fact, if badly 
blued, any of tlie grades may be thrown to trash. 

Muskrat are assorted into four grades — 
spring, winter, fall and kitts. Spring rats are 
known as No. 1; winter. No. 2; fall. No. 3; 
Kitts, No. 4. 

No. 1 or spring rats are those taken in March 
and April. The pelt is then of a reddish color 
and is entirely free from dark spots. A few 
spring rats may be caught earlier than March, 
but so long as they show dark spots they are 
not No. 1. 

No. 2, or winter rats, are pretty well furred, 
but there are dark streaks and spots in the hide 
usually on the back. 

No. 3 or fall are not full furred and the pelt 
is far from prime. The dark streaks show much 
more than later in the season. 

No. 4, or kitts, are only partly grown or if 
larger are badly damaged. 


Opossum is the only animal that may have a 
"prime" pelt hut an "unprime'' coat of fur. This 
makes opossum rather difacult to assort unless 
turned fur side out. 

If opossum have heen properly skinned and 
stretched they will, when unprime, show a dark 
blue spot on the under side at the throat. The 
plainer this spot the poorer the fur. 

Good unprime skins are No. 2 ; poor unprime 
skins, No. 3 ; the very poor and stagey, no fur, 
are No. 4, generally known as trash and of no 

The other fur-bearers, such as mink, otter, 
beaver, fox, wolves, lynx, wild cat, fisher, rac- 
coon, bear, badger, civet cat, weasel, etc., are 
graded much the same that is, all skins to be No. 
1 must be caught in season, when the fur is 
prime, at which time the "pelt" is healthy ap- 
pearing — never blue or black — must be of 
average size, correctly skinned, handled and free 
of cuts or shot holes. 

Skins may be unprime from several causes, 
viz.: caught too early, improperly handled, 
under size, etc. Unprime skins are graded No. 
2, 3 and 4 according to how inferior tliey are. 
The fairly well furred unprime skins are graded 
No. 2; the low furred unprime skins are thrown 
to No. 3; the poorly furred are thrown to No. 4, 
while low stagey skins go to trash. 

316 Steel Tuai's. 

Some skins altho j)rime are so small that 
they grade No. 3. This, however, is the excep- 
tion rather than the rule. Usually if prime, the 
under size will only put the skin down one 


^ * * * 

I have bought some for a number of years, 
writes a collector, and know that some trappers 
are like some farmers, they want as much money 
for a bushel of dirty wheat as their neighbor gets 
for a bushel of clean wheat. I have had skunl-: 
and opossum hides offered me that had a pound 
or two of tainted fat on them, and skins that 
were taken out of season, for which they expect 
to get No. 1 prices. 

There are some who stretch their skins in 
the shape of an oblong triangle and leave flesh 
enough on to make their dinner. Stretch your 
hides as near the shape of the animal as pos- 
sible; don't try to make a muskrat hide as long 
as a mink, or a mink as wide as a muskrat. 
Catch in season, flesh carefully, stretch in good 
shape, always take bone out of tails, keep in an 
airy building until dry and then you will not 
have to grumble so much at the buyer in regard 
to prices. 



NDElt this title, aajs an exiu'riciiccd 
Westei-u trapper, I shall eudeavor 
to show my brother trappers how 
to handle pelts: 
As soon as I get in from my traps 
(I use a team and wagon), I feed 
team, dogs and self, then I proceed to skin the 
game in the usual manner; when game is all 
skinned I put on my fleshing suit, made of rub- 
ber cloth like that buggy curtains are made of, 
get out my fleshing boards, of which I have three 
sizes — large, medium and small — for each kind 
of cased skins except rat, which I flesh Avith 
thumb and knife. The fleshing boards are like 
I'ig. 1 on enclosed diagram, made of 1 inch pine 
free from knots and dressed on both sides, 3 feet 
r> inches long, and for skunk f in. and 10 in. wide, 
tapered up to a blunt point, edges rounded and 
sandpapered smooth. These boards ca^be made 
of other sizes so as to fit larger or smaller pelts 
of other kind. 

For a flesher I have tried nearly everything 
imaginable, dull knives, hardwood scrapers, etc., 
but have abandoned them all for the hatchet. I 




use an old lath hatcliet bead and use it tolerably 
sharp; I proceed as follows: Pnt pelt on board 
but do^ot fasten, grip lower edge with left hand, 

pull down hard, place point of board against 
breast and use hatchet with right, pushing down 
and holding hatchet nearly flat; use plenty of 

V\u>M Animal to Markkt. 


elbow orenso; as fast as you iiict a strip cleaued 
off tnru hide a little but do not flosli on edge of 



8PE.NNY NAIL . -^ 









B 1 ""• 

















board. It may not work good at first and you 
may cut one or two hides, but you will soon get 
tlie knack. 

320 Steel Traps. 

If possible take a bitch skniik for the first as 
they flesli easier, and be sure there are no burrs 
or chunks of mud in the fur, or you will cut a 
hole the size of the burr. Now for the stretch- 
ers. In Fig. 2 is what I use; it is something of 
my own invention, and there is no patent on it. 
It is made of any wood that will split straight, 
and the dimensions are as follows : Pieces are 4 
ft. long by If in. dressed smooth; pieces are 
1^ X f in. ; will say for large skunks here they 
would be 10 in. and 4^ in. To frame you must 
soak or steam the long pieces; mitre the ends 
and fasten with 3d finishing nails clinched. 
Then place in position 1 in. from ends and fasten 
with two 6d finishing nails; place in position and 
pull up to 8 in. from nose and fasten : now cham- 
fer off edges and sandpaper smooth. 

I like this stretcher, as it airs both sides of 
pelt and will dry them in half the time. Fig 3 
shows manner of fastening pelt; on belly side it 
can be drawn down and fastened to tail pieces 
with sack needle and twine ; it is made of two or 
more poles fastened in the shape of a hoop. 

In shipping furs, bale tight; do not ship loose 
in sack ; place mink and rat inside of skunk and 
other fur, and always place the toughest pelts on 
outside. By bailing tight you will avoid crink- 
ling and they will not look mussy and will bring 
from 5 to 10 per cent. more. Now, brother trap- 

1"'k().m Aximat> to .Makkkt. 


pers, fleshinp: pelts, as I understand it, is not 
merely takini-- the fat off, but in going deeper 


FiG. 3 




and taking the flesh clean from the pelt so that if 
skunk, the stripe will show clear the full length 
and reducing the weight by half. On February 


322 Steel Traps. 

2nd I sliipped 15 skunk, all large; the lot only 
weighed 9 pounds including sack. 

When stretching skunk and otter skins, if 
the weather is warm, split the tails, open and 
tack flat. Split open half way all others that 
have fur tails. Open pelts can be stretched in 
hoops made of one or more poles an inch or so in 
diameter, and sewed in with a sack needle and 
heavy twine. 

In stretching do not get the pelt so wide that 
the fur looks thin, or so long and narrow that it 
looks as if a horse had been hitched to each end. 
Keep the natural shape of the animal as much as 
possible, dry in a cool, airy place inside, or on 
the north side of a building and away from fire. 

Baling — here is where the expert trapper 
shows his craft, and in baling you will see him 
wipe off all surplus fat and dirt and place the 
heavy pelts on the outside of his pack. The light- 
er furs, such as mink, marten, cat, etc., will be 
placed inside of the skins that are heavier. For 
instance: From four to eight rats or mink, in- 
side of a fox or skunk. He will place the head 
of one to the tail of another, the tails folded in. 
He now ties a cord tightly around each end, 
placing them on a square of burlap, and with 
sack needle and twine draws up the sides as tight 
as he can ; then he folds in the ends and sews up 
snug. Furs thus packed reach the market in 

Fkom Animal to Mauki:t. 


good shape, and not sncli as tliej would if 
crammed promiscuously into a sack. 

In conclusion, boys, let me suggest a maxim 


or two for your guidance: "Prime caught and 
well handled furs always bring top prices." 
"Take pride in your catch, no matter how small." 

324 Steel Traps. 

While tlie heading of this chapter is "From 
Animal to Market" it is well Avhen shipping to 
request the dealer to grade and send value. If 
satisfactory, write to send on check. If not sat- 
isfactory, have dealer return furs. 

When shipping furs under these conditions 
see that no green skins are sent — only properly 
cured ones. 

While some dealers offer to pay expressage 
'>oth ways we hardly think this fair and if no 
deal is made the dealer should pay the express- 
age one way and the shipper the other. 

The Hunter-Trader-Trapper, published a. 
Columbus, Ohio, in the interests of hunters, 
trappers and dealers in raw furs contains a great 
deal of information that will be of value along 
the line of shipping furs as well as trapping 
methods, etc. 



How to Tan Hkiiis. 

GIVE below several success- 
ful receipts for tauuiiij*- 
ski us and furs of all kinds, 
but if 3-0U have never tanned 
skins before I would advise 
vou to make your first 
attempt on some skin oi' 
small value, writes an oia 
hunter and trapper. Ke- 
move all tiesh from a skin before 
putting- thru the tanning process 
bv laying it over what is called a fleshing beam 
and scraping with a dull knife; the fleshing 
beam is nothing more than a l)eam with edges 
rounded and a log peeled of the bark will an- 
swer the purpose very well. 

First remove the liair from the hide by put- 
ting in 5 gallons of water, 2 gallons of slacked 
lime, 2 quarts of wood ashes and 3 ounces of 
soda. After the hair has bet-ome loose, try soak- 
ing in this mixture, remove it by scraping it off 
with a stick (be careful not to let it get on the 
hands, as it is very irritating to the skin) . This 


326 Steel Traps. 

receipt can be altered according to the number of 
hides Tou have to tan. The amount given here 
is enough for 2 or 3 hides ( such as goat, dog and 
animals of that size.) 

Next draw the lime from the skin by putting 
it in a bath composed of 5 gallons of water, 2 
quarts of wheat bran, 4 ounces of acetic acid 
and 4 pound of salt. Finally put the skins in a 
mixture of 5 gallons of water, 1 pound of salt, 
1^ pounds of gambia, and 5 ounces of acetic acid. 
Leave the skins in each process about three days, 
take them out often and pull and work them. 

When you think the skin is done, take it and 
put it on a stretcher like a coon stretcher, but of 
course altered to fit the skin you are tanning; 
stretch the skin tight but not too tight and put 
in the sun; at intervals of half an hour apply 
with a brush or rag mixtures number three until 
the skin will soak up no more. 

Do this about three times and then put tl:e 
skin in the shade or some cool place where there 
is a free circulation of air to dry. Lastly, when 
dry, oil flesh side of the skin lightly. This leather 
if tanned right is the best you can get, but the 
objections is that a trapper in the woods does 
not always have a drug store near to purchase 
the tanning material which is rather expensive, 
so I will give a few cheap methods also. 

]\risci;f,LA\i:<»rs Inkokmatiox. 827 

The way llie Indians (an skins in the woods 
is to take the brains of the animal and rub the 
flesh side of the skin Avith them until it is rubbed 
in good; they then let them dry, working and 
pulling them until thoroughly dry. To tan mole, 
sfjuirrel and sueh skins, draw the skin over a 
corn cob or board and place it in the sun, then 
a])j)ly sweet oil every 24 hours. xVfter doing this 
about tive times rub over with fine alum. 

To tan for lashes, first remove hair, then put 
in 1^ handfuls of alum and 3 handfuls of salt in 
2 gallons of water ; this leather is all right until 
it gets wet, then it is ruined. 

To tan for furs, rub flesh side of the skin 
with two parts saltpeter and one part alum, roll 
and let it dry, then work soft. To dry the hair 
side of skins, take two parts wheat bran and 
one part clean sand, heat it and rub it in the hair 
side of skin till dry. 

To tan light deer skins and such skins as 
slieep, dog, etc., put in three quarts of rain water, 
one ounce of sulphuric acid and a handful ol 
salt; jmt in the skin, stir around for about five 
minutes, take it out and work dry, then it can be 
smoked and is ready for use. I think that by 
following the above directions closely you can 
tan any skin that can be tanned. 


Steel Traps. 

Camps and How To Build The in. 

The traf>per who spends the eutire trapping 
season far from civilization must know how to 
make a comfortable camp or he is likely to pay 
dearly for his lack of knowledge. Especially is 
this the case if his trapping is done in the far 
North where the winters are lona' and severe. 


The trapper should have one good "home 
shanty" to be used as a base of supplies for stor- 
ing furs, etc. He should also have small camps 
located along his lines at convenient distances so 
that he can spend the night with some comfort 
if he has gone too far to return to the home 

The home camp is generally a substantial log 


shack. 1( sluMild he Icx-aU'd in a slieUcrcd spot, 
if possible, on sonic little knoll or slightly ele- 
vated s})ot of ground and as close to good fire 
wood and good drinking water as possible. The 
])roi)er size of canii) depends on the number of 
l)ersons in the party. A shanty 10 x 12 feet inside 
is lai'ge enough for two persons. If it is larger it 
will b(^ harder to keep warm. For a camp of 
this size the logs should be cut 12 and 14 feet 
long so as to allow for the notching of the cor- 
ners. Of course the logs should be straight and 
they should be as near the same thickness as pos- 

Having selected a spot for the camp and 
cleaned away the brush, etc., commence by lay- 
ing two of the 14 foot logs parallel with each 
other and about ten feet apart. Cut notches in 
the ends of these logs, cutting down about half 
the thickness of the logs and lay two of the 12 
foot logs in the notches. The next step is the 
floor which should be made of straight poles 
about five or six inches thick and 11 or 12 feet 
long. They should be fitted down solidly on the 
two long logs and may be flattened on top with 
an axe, or with an adz after the camp is finished. 
Then fit in two more 14 foot logs which will hold 
the floor poles down solid. 

The door frame or boxing should be cut off 
square at the ends and butted up against the 

330 Steel Traps. 

(l<)<»r frame and li«d<l tlici-c by driving' spikes thru 
tlie frame into the k)os. Use all the large logs 
on one side so as to be ready for the roof. The 
simplest, as well as one of the best, kind of roofs 
is made of poles, chinked with moss and covered 
with tar paper or birch bark. The bark roof is 
the most lasting but requires more work. The 
door may be made of split cedar, or, if cedar is 
not to be found, if may be hewn out of almost 
an^^ kind of wood. For windows, a couple of 
small panes of glass may be fitted in openings, 
cut between the logs, and all the cracks should 
be chinked with moss to make it warm. 

There are a number of good stoves in the 
uuirket, but I prefer to make my own stoves. A 
good stove may be made of sheet iron by bending 
it so as to form the top and two sides, riveting 
an end in behind and hinging a door in front. 
It has no bottom, being set in a box of earth, but 
be sure that there is enough dirt or it will burn 
thru into the floor. Holes should be cut in top 
for pipe and cooking j^ots and strips of hoop iron 
should be riveted on inside to stiffen top. 

For stopping camps along the trap lines, the 
Indian tepee or wigwam is as good as any. They 
may be made of birch bark or tar paper and if 
they are covered thickly with boughs and banked 
with snow it will only require a small fire to 
keep them warm. If you are fortunate enough 

Misci:i-lam;<)i s Imou.mation. 33 J 

to possess a rabl)it skin l>laiik(4 such as iwo. 
made by the Chippewa Indians you will not uwd 
to keep a fire at night. 

Trappers SlicHcr. 

I noticed unch'i- tlie head of Short Letters in 
January nundxvr of II-T-T where one I>a(ellus 
of New York wishes to know somethinu luoic 
about eanips in the Avoods, or how to keep dry 
and Avarm in cold and wet weather, writes a 
Michigan trapper. This is how I build a camp 
along a trapper's trail : 

I cut the logs about D feet long, cut them 
small enough so one man would be able to han- 
dle them. If cut from dry cedar or other light 
Avood, they can be of good size. I lay the logs 
up on three sides until the Avails are about 5^ 
feet high, then I procure two stakes about 8 or 
9 feet long with a crotch on one end; the otlu^- 
end I sharpen so it can be driAen in the ground 
outside the open end of the camp. There are also 
tAvo shorter stakes placed inside of the camp just 
opposite the outside ones and tied together at 
top with a withe, AAire or piece of roi)e — these 
stakes are intended to hold the ends of the logs 
together, and also act as a support for the roof, 
Avhich is made shanty fashion. I next place a 
pole about 5 inches thick by 10 feet long across 
from one crotched stake to the other. Noav from 


Steel Traps. 

the back wall to the top hole I place scoops made 
out of split logs hollowed out with axe. They 
are placed split side up aud another scoop placed 


over the first two. Short pieces of logs are put 
in under the last outside scoops and every crack 
is mossed up tight, and a bunk placed across the 


('11(1 about a foot from the grouiid, and fire built 
ill the center of open side. By phiciuii' 2 crotehed 
stakes in the ground like the first pair about 5 
feet from them, and placing a pole across the 
tops and then two short brace pieces between 
these two top poles. After this, straight poles 
ten feet long, about what one man can handle^ 
are taken and placed all around the outside or 
open end of camp. This prevents the smoke 
from whirling 'round the camp, and it goes up 

Bee Hunting 

HUNTERS. Tells How to I/lne Bees to Trees, Etc. 

The following is taken from, the Author''s 
Introduction to BEE HUNTING 

MANY books on sports of various 
kinds have been written, but 
outside of an occasional article 
in periodicals devoted to bee litera- 
ture, but little has been written on 
the subject of Bee Hunting. There- 
fore, I have tried In this volume — 
Bee Hunting for Pleasure and Profit 
— to give • work in compact form, 
the product of what I have learned 
along this line during the forty 
years in nature's school room. 

Brother, if in reading these pages, 
you find something that will be of 
value to you, something that will 
inculcate a desire for manly pastime 
and make your life brighter, then 
my aim will hare been reached: 

The book contains 13 chapters as follows : 

I. Bee Hnnting. 

II. Early Spring Hunting. 

III. Bee Watering— How to Find Them. 

IV. Hunting Bces from Sumac. 

V. Hunting Bees from Buckwheat. 

VI. Fall Hunting:. 

VII. Improved Mode of Burning. 

VIII. Facts About I,ine of Flight. 

IX. Baits and Scents. 

X. Cutting the Tree and Transferring. 

XI. Customs and Ownership of "Wild B««s. 

XII. Benefactors and Their Inventions. 

XIII. Bee Keeping for Profit. 

This book contains 80 pages, paper cover. 
Price, postpaid, only as cents. 

A. R. HARDING, 75 N. Ohio Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 


A Book of Practiaal Instruction on Breeding, Raiting; 
Handlins and Selling; Alio Their Uie and Fur Value 

ALTIIOL'GH the ferret imlustry is still in its infancy there is 
a town in Northern Ohio that has raised and sold more 

than a million dollars worth of ferrets during the past fifteen 

years. This village is often called "Ferretville" and an entire 
chapter is devoted to it, telling of the 
first raiser in America as well as those 
who are raising them there now. The 
ferret is a domesticated wild animal used 
to e.xterminate rats and for rabbit hunt- 
ing. For rats they are much used in 
houses, barns, outbuildings, levees, 
walls, ships, boats, grain elevators, 
mills, stores or any place where there 
are rats. If riglitly used and handled 
there is no better or quicker way to rid 
a place of the pests. Where rabbits are 
doing an injury to fruit trees, etc., fer- 
rets can be used to advantage. They are 
also used to some extent on the large 
western ground squirrel, gopher and 
prairie dogs. Success has also been had 
when using on mink, skunk, coon and 

other fur-bearing animals. 

This book tells how to raise, train and use ferrets. Book 

contains 214 pages and 45 illustrations. There are 21 chapters, 

as follows: 

History and Descrip- XII 

"Ferretville" XIII 

Hutches and Nests 
Barns and Sheds XIV 

Feeding and Manage- XV 

ment XVI 

Bree 'ing 
VII Handling and Train- XVII 

Rats — Common Brown X\TII 

Ferrets and Rats XIX 

Ferrets and Rabbits XX 

Ferrets and Ground XXI 

Squirrels, Gophers, 

Prairie Dogs 





Ferrets and Mink, 

Skunk, Etc. 
Ferret Contrivances, 

(Muzzles, etc.) 
Letters From Raisers 
The Ferret in Belgium 
Ferret Raising in a 

Small Way 
Ferret Raising as a 

How to Sell Ferrets 
Ferrets as Fur Bearers 
Ferrets — A to Z 
Diseases of Ferrets 

This book, FERRET FACTS AND FANCIES, shows some 
of the largest and most up-to-date ferret farms in America as 
well as hutches and pens of the small raisers from photographs. 

This book bound in cloth will be ssnt fi(\f» 
postpaid to any address for v»V»C 




Describes in a Practical Manner the Training, Handling, 

Treatment, Breeds, etc.. Best Adapted for Night 

Hunting, as well as Gun Dogs for 

Daylight Sport. 

.g iMpjiiij.] ijji i-jn^'t wia^ /mmm H I S book contains 253 pages, .') x 7 

J, '^^ , . € .inches. 45 illustrations showing the 

p''' various breeds, hunting scenes, etc. 

''H ' The author in his introduction says: 

, j "As if hunting for profit, night hunt- 

1 ing for either pleasure or gain and 

! ' professional hunting generally had no 

I importance, writers of books have 

I contented themselves with dwelling 

I 1 on the study and presentation of mat- 

' j ^ ters relating solely to the men who 

\ , \ ^ i -M hunt for sport only. Even then the 

[.j "" 1 Fox Chase and Bird Hunting has 

•■•■■■■iBSBssssaBdi been the burden of the greater per 

cent, of such books." 
Part One — Hunting Dogs. 
Chapter 6. Wolf and Coyote Hunting 

1. Night Hunting 7. Training — For Squirrels 

2. The Night Hunting Dog and Rabbits 

— His .Ancestry 8. Training the Deer Hound 

3. Training the Hunting Dog 9. Training — Specific Things 

4. Training the Coon Dog to Teach 

5. Training for Skunk, Opos- 10. Training — Random Sugges- 

sum and Mink tions from Many Sources 

Part II — Breeding and Care of Dogs. 
Chapter 14. fireeding (Continued) 

11. Selecting the Dog 15. I'eculiarities of Dogs and 

12. Care and Breeding Practical Hints 

13. Breeding. 16. .Ailments of the Dog. 

Part III — Dog Lore. 
17. Still Trailers vs. Tonguers. 18. The Dog on the Trap Line 
Music. 19. Sledge Dogs of the North 

Part IV — The Hunting Dog Family. 

20. .American Fo.x Hound 24. Scotch Collies, House and 

21. The Beagle Dachshund Watch Dogs 

and Basset Hound 25. .\ Farmer Hunter — His 

22. Pointers and Setters — Views 

Spaniels 2G. Descriptive Table of Tech- 

23. Terriers — Airedales nical Terms 

The contents show the scope of this book and if you are at 
all interested in hunting dogs, you should have this work. The 
book is made up not only from the author's observation and 
experience, but that of scores of successful night as well as 
daylight hunters. This book will not interest the field trial 
dog men but is for the real dog men who delight in chases 
that are genuine. Price, cloth-bound, postpaid, 60c. 

A. R. HARDING, 7.5 N. Ohio Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 


Describes the Fur Bearing Anima's, Their Nature, Habits 
and Distribution, with Practical Methods of Their CapturCc 

This book contains 245 pages, 5x7 inches, with more than 
40 illustrations, many of which are full page of the various fur 

, , bearing animals, also several 

J ' — j pages of tracks. 

The author, Mr. E. Kreps, in 
his introduction says: "In order 
to be successful, one must know 
the wild animals as a mother 
knows her child. He must also 
know and use the most practical 
methods of trapping, and it is 
my object to give in this work, 
the most successful trapping meth- 
ods known. These modes of trap- 
ping the fur bearing animals have 
for the most part been learned 
from actual experience in various 
parts of the country, but I also 
give the methods of other success- 
ful trappers, knowing them to be 
as good as my own. I am per- 
sonally acquainted with some of 

{J .;^__^ the most expert trappers in North 

'"" "' America, and have also followed 
the Indians over their trap lines, and in this way have learned 
many things which to the white man are not generally known." 
This book contains twenty-four chapters, as follows: 

1. The Trapper's Art. 13. The Raccoon. 

2. The Skunk. 14. The Badger. 
The Mink. 15. The Opossum. 

16. The Lynx. 

17. The Bay Lynx or Wild Cat. 

18. The Cougar. 

The Weasel. 

The Marten. 

The Fisher. 

The Otter. 

The Beaver. 

The Muskrat. 

The Fox. 

The Wolf. 

The Bear. 

The Wolverine. 
The Pocket Gopher. 
The Rabbit. 
Tracks and Signs. 
Handling Furs. 
Steel Traps. 

The chapter on TRACKS AND SIGNS contains sixteen 
pages — eleven of description and five of illustrations. 

The author goes into detail, telling where the tracks and 
signs of the various animals are most apt to be found. This 
with an accurate drawing of the footprints, makes the chapter 
on TRACKS AND SIGNS alone worth dollars to the young 
and inexperienced trapper, while the distribution, nature, hab- 
its, etc., will prove interesting to all. This book is rightly 
named — Science of Trapping. 

Price, postpaid. Cloth Bound, 60 Cents 

A. R. HARDING, 75 N. Ohio Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 

Wolf and Coyote Trapping 

An Up-to-date Wolf Hunter's Guide, Containing Success- 
ful Methods of Experienced "Wolfers" 


THIS book gives careful and accur- 
ate descriptions of the wolf anil 
coyote, tells of the various spec 
ies and varieties, where they are found 
and their halaits, how hunted and trap- 
ped, etc. It also describes and illus- 
trates the tracks of these animals and 
tells of the lounties iti the various 
states of the Union and the provinces 
of Canada, tells how to obtain bounty. 
.Size of book, 5x7 inches, 252 pages, 
21 chapters: 




The Timb 

er Wolf 


The Coyote 


Killing of Stock and 





Northern Bait Meth- 


Blind Set Methods 


Snow Set Methods 


Some Rules & Things 
to Remember 


The Tre acherous 
Grey Wolf 


Wolf Catching 


With the Coyotes 


Wolf Trapping an Art 

Hunting Young 
Wolves and Coy 
Hunting with Dogs 
Still Hunting 
VIII. Poisoning Wolves 
IX. Trapping 

X. Scents 
XI. Scent Methods 
XII. Bait Methods 
XIII. Southern Bait Meth- 

The book is profusely illustrated with photographs of wolves 
and coyotes, hunting scenes, dens, etc., also with pen drawings 
showing the various sets. The methods of hunting and trapping 
are so complete and easily understood that there is no reason 
why one should not become an expert "wolfer" by following the 
instructions given. It should be remembered that the trapping 
methods given are not those of one trapper alone, but of many 
of the successful ones from all portions of the wolf country of 
Canada and the United States. 

In many parts of the country some species of fur bearing ani- 
mals are liecoming scarcer each year. It is interesting to learn, 
however, that the government, after a very careful investigation 
covering several years, has found that the number of wolves is 
increasing from year to year. Beyond all doubt, wolf hunting and 
trapping will continue to be a lucrative occupation for years to 

Price, postpaid, Clothbound, 60 Cents. 

A. R. Harding, 75 N. Ohio Ave., Columbus, 0. 


Tells about the Hudson Bay Company, Northern Indians 
and their Modes of Hunting, Trapping, Etc. 

THIS book- is 
from the pen 
of a Hudson Bay 
Officer, (Martin 
Hunter), who has 
had 40 years' ex- 
perience with the 
H u d s o n 's Bay 
Company — 1863 to 

Price, postpaid 


60 Cents 

This book contains '277 pages, size 
5x7 inches, is printed on good quality 
heavy paper and contains thirty-seven 

The Hudson's Bay Company 
The "Free Trader" 
Outfitting Indians 
'Trackers of the North. 
Provisions for the Wilder- 
Forts and Posts 
About Indians 
Wholesome Foods 
Officer's Allowances 
Inland Packs 
Indian Mode of Hunting 

Indian Mode of Hunting 

Lynx and Marten 
Indian Mode of Hunting 

Indian Mode of Hunting 

Otter and Musquasli 
Remarkable Success 
Things to Avoid 
Anticosti and its Furs 
Chiseling and Shooting 

The Indian Devil 
,.,.. A Tame Seal 
XXI. The Care of Blistered Feet 
XXII. Deer Sickness 

..\ Case of Nerve. 

Amphibious Combats 

Art of Pulling Hearts 

Dark Furs 

Indians are Poor Shots 

A Bear in the Water 

Voracious Pike 

The Brass Eyed Duck 

Good Wages Trapping 

A Pard Necessary 

A Heroic Adventure 

Wild Oxen. 

Long Lake Indians 

Den Bears 

The Mishap of Ralson 

































A. R. HARDING, 75 N. Ohio Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 


THIS book gives the experiences 
and incidents on the trail and 
trap-line by Mr. E. N. Wood- 
cock, who for fifty years has hunted 
and trapped bears, fox, marten, otter, 
and other fur bearers in Pennsylvania. 
He relates interesting accounts and 
happenings on trips through the South ; 
also of woods life in earlier days. He 
tells how he built bear_ deadfalls and 
how he caught them in steel traps, 
perils he had encountered, some days 
of extra good luck, some cases of "buck 
fever," etc. The book is interestingly 
and instructively written from cover 
to cover. 

It contains 21 illustrations, 318 pages, 
with 36 chapters as follows; 

1. Autobiography of E. N. 18. 


2. Early Experiences. 10. 

3. My First Real Trapping 20. 


4. Some Early Experiences. 21. 

5. Some early Experiences. 22. 

(Concluded). ^ 23. 

6. A Hunt on the Kinzua. 24. 

7. My Last Hunt on the 

Kinzua. 25. 

8. Fred and the Old Trap- 26. 


9. Bears in 1870— Today. 27. 

10. Incidents Connected With 

Bear Trapping. 28. 

11. Pacific Coast Trip. 

12. Some Michigan Trips. 29. 

13. Hunting and Trapping in 

Pennsylvania in 18G9. _ 30. 

14. Hunting and Trapping in 

Pennsylvania (Con- 31. 

15. Trapping and Bee Hunt- 32. 

ing. 33. 

IG. Hits and Misses on the 34. 

Trail. 35. 

17. Lost in the Woods. 36. 

Traps and Hints for Trap- 
Camps and Camping. 
Deer Hunt Turned Into a 

Bear Hunt. 
Dog on the Trap Line. 
Two Cases of Buck Fever. 
Partner a Necessity. 
A Few Words on Dead- 
Advice From a Veteran. 
The Screech of the Pan- 
Handling Raw Furs and 

Other Notes. 
The Passing of the Fur 

Destruction of Game and 

Game Birds. 
Southern Experiences on 

the Trap Line. 
On the Trap and Trot 

Line in the South. 
Trapping in Alabama. 
Some Early Experiences. 
The White Deer. 
A Day of Luck. 
A Mixed Bag. 

This book is bound in cloth, Sx7 inches, price 
or giTen free to our subscribers for 2 new subscribers 


A. R. HARDING, Publisher, Columbus, Ohio 


A Guide for those who wish to prepare and mount animals, reptiles, 
etc., for home, den or office decoration. 



THE author, ^Ir. Albert B. Farnham, in the 
Introductioi. among other things says: 
"This vohime of the Pleasure and Profit 
Library is offered to the hunter, trapiier, fisher, 
vacationist and out of door people in general. In 
the study and practice of taxidermy for several 
years I have failed to find any work written pri- 
marily for these evtry day nature lovers, though 
they probably handle a greater number of inter- 
esting specimens of wild anima! life than all other 
classes of people. Thoroughness, patience and 
some love for nature are qualities highly desirable 
in this art. Work prepared by one possessing 
these qualities need not be ashamed and practice 
~ will bring skill and perfection. 

As a handicraft in which the workman has not been displaced or 
made secondary by a machine taxidermy is noticeable also, and for 
many reasons is v.orthy of its corner in the home work-shop. In this 
work the ladies can take a very effective hand, and nuinliers have done 
so ; for there is no doubt that a woman's taste and lightness of touch 
enables her in some liranches of taxidermy to far excell the average 
man. Especially in the manipulation of frail skins and delicate feath- 
ers, in bird taxidermy is this so." 

This practical book contains 246 pages, 107 illustrations, 31 chap- 
ters, and is by far the best way to learn taxidermy and at a cost 
trifling compared to Correspondence .Schools and much less than any 
reliable book on the subject. Read the chapter headings and note how 
thorough the book is : 

I. History of the Art. 
II. Outfit — Tools and Ma- 
III. Preservative Prepara- 
tions, Formulas, etc. 
IV. Panels, Shields and Na- 
t u r a 1 and Artificial 
V. Field Work, Collecting. 
VI. Skinning and Preserving 
VII. Making Scientific Skins. 
V'lII. Preparing Skins for 
IX. Mounting Small and 
Medium Birds. 
X. Mounting Large Birds. 
XI. Tanning, Cleaning and 
Poisoning Skins. 
XII. Making Animal Fur 

XIII. Fur Robes and How to 

Make Them. 

XIV. Mounting Entire Small 

XV. Mounting Large Animals 
XVI. Mounting Heads of 
Small Animals, Birds 
and Fish. 
XVII. Mounting Heads of 
Large Game. 
XVIII. Mounting Horns and 
XIX. Mounting Feet and Hcofs 

X-\. Mounting Fish. 
XXI. Mounting Fish — Baum- 
gartel Method. 
Mounting Reptiles, Frogs 

and Toads. 
Skulls and Skeletons. 
Sportsmen's Trophies. 
Odds and Ends, Taxi- 
dermy Novelties. 
XXyi. Groups and Grouping. 
XXVII. Animal Anatomy. 

Casting and Modelling. 
Market Trophy Hunting. 
Collecting and Mounting 
for Sale. 
XXXI. Prices for Work. 








Taxidermy is a pleasant and profitable business and can be learned 
at home from simply reading and following instruction given in my 
This book is iust as reliable and practical as others of Harding's 
Pleasure and Profit Books, for the author knows taxidermy from 
A to Z. 

Price, postpaid, cloth bound, to any address, $1.00. 
A. R. HARDING 75 N. Ohio Ave. COLUMBUS, O. 


Home Manufacture of Furs and Skins 

A book of practical instructions telling how to tan, dress, color and manu- 
facture or make into articles of ornament; use or wear. 

THE author, who has been in close touch with 
trappers, hunters and other outdoor people 
for more than twenty years as a practical 
tanner, furrier and taxidermist in the introduction 
says: "Probably one of the oldest human indus- 
tries is Home Dressing and Manufacturing of 
Furs and Skins, as this method of clothing the 
body has persisted from the early days (even back 
to the stone age) to the present time. As a happy 
combination of dress and ornament furs will al- 
ways continue to lead. At the present time tlie 
manufacture of furs has been highly developed, 
with the aid of machinery and specialized work- 
men it is conducted on a scale which compares 
favorably with any business activity. However, 
the principals remain the same, and good results can still be attained 
by hand labor. To the average outdoor njan it is a positive pleasure to 
see the stiff, dirty, raw skin develop into the soft, clean, flexible ma- 
terial, and later to shape it into a protection from the cold and an 
ornament combined." 

This new, practical and only hook on the subject contains 285 pages, 
91 illustrations, 34 chapters, and offers at a small cost a way for you 
to learn a pleasant and profitable business enabling you to tan, dye, 
dress and manufacture not only your own catch but to engage in the 
business if you wish. Read the chapter headings, which will show you 
hov/ complete the book is : 

I. Some Facts and General 

XVIII. Fur Dyeing, Uses and 
XIX. Dyeing Material and 
XX. Colors and Formulas. 
XXI. Furriers' Tools and Sup- 
XXII. Making Up Furs and 

XXIII. Fur Robes. 

XXIV. Fur Rugs, With and 
Without Mounted 

XXV. Trimmings and Natural 
Heads and Tails. 
Cellars, Cuffs and Odd 

Coats pnd Capes. 
Caps, Mittens. Gloves. 
XXIX. Muffs and Neckpieces. 

XXX. Moccasins and Pacs. 
XXXI. Utilizing Fur Waste. 
XXXII. Cleaning, Repairing and 
XXXIII. Prices for Tanning and 

Other Fur Work. 
XXXT\^. App-ndix. 
If vou like to handle furs, skins and hides HOME MANUFAC- 
TURE OF FUR.S AND SKINS will show you how to make more 
money out of your catch or buy by tanning, dyeing and manufacturinsj 
into articles for which there is usually a ready market at prices much 
higher than the raw skins will bring. This book like others on hunt- 
ing. traf)ping. etc., that I publish is practical and written so that it is 
easily unclt-rstoo<i. 

Price, postpaid, cloth bound, to any address, $1.00. 

Principles for Fur and 
Skin Workers. 
II. Correct Modes of Skin- 
ning Fur Animals. 
III. Stretching and Curing. 
I\'. Handling Other Skins 
and Hides. 
V. Storing and Shipping 

— Raw Furs. 
VT. Indian Skin Dressing. 
VII. Indian Fur Robes. 
VIII. Tools and Appliances. 
IX. Tanning Materials and 
X. Tanning Formulas and 
XT. Preliminary Work, Soak- 
ing, Fleshing, De- 
XIT. Sijftening, Cli'aning Skins 
XIII. Small or Light Furs. 
XIV. Heavy Furs. 

XV. Deer Skins, Buckskin. 
XVT. Sheep and Goat Skins. 
XVII. M i s c e 1 1 aneous Skins, 
Gator, Snake, Birds. 



Fur Buyers' 


Contains Complete Instructions about Builiig, Handling and Grading Furs, Including Size, Color. Quilty 
as well as How, When and Where to Sill. 

Tlic chapter heaiiinK> him- .'i \<iy k""'1 i'l^a of tin's vahiaMc book 
yet to further explain take tlic chapte' on Mink (XJII.) which goes 
into detail as follows: Sizes of Stretching Hoards; Shape of Cured 
Skins; Shades of Color and Degrees of Prime- 
nes^; Selling at Home; Preparing and Ship- 
I ping to Market. Each of the fur animals are 
described much the same as mink. The various 
I shades of black, silver and cross fox are de- 
scribed and illustrated as well as the mark- 
ings on skunk shown and ea)ch of the four 
grades illustrated and fully described. Weasel 
(ermine) are shown in the white stage also 
I when turning. Raccoon, muskrat, opossuin, 
red and grey foxes, wolves, otter, beaver, bear, 
badger, marten, lynx, fisher, wild cat, civet 
cat, house |cat are all illustrated and fully ue- 
I scribed as well as a chapter on Sheep Pelts, 
Beef Hides, and Deer Skins and another on 
Ginseng and Golden Seal. 

Much attention is given to GRADE, 
COLOR, QU.VLITY as well as sizes— L.KRGE, 
MEDIUM, SM.-XLL. More than 160 illustra- 
tions are used showing raw furs from all 
parts of North America with measurements 
and grade. It also tells WHEN to BUY and WHERE, WHEN and 
HOW to SELL. This information is of much value to all whether a. 
trapiier who sells a few skins only or buyer, collector, dealer. 
This valuable book contains Thirty-five chapters as follows: 

I. "Wild" and "Tame" Furs. XXI. Beaver and How to Grade. 

II. Size, Color, Quality. XXII. Bears— Black, Grizzly, Po- 

III. Methods of Grading. lar and How to Grade. 

I\'. The Inspection Room. XXIII. Marten and How to Grade. 

\'. Why Trappers Sell at 
\'I. Buyers and Collectors. 
NT I. Buying and Selling. 
VI 11. Speculation. 
IX. Prices of Long Ago. 

XXI\'. Fisher and How to Grade. 

XXV. Lynx and How to Grade. 

XXVI. Wild Cat or Bay Lynx 

and How to Grade. 

XXVII. Cats — House and Ring 

Tail and How to Grade. 

X. Miscellaneous Information. XX\'III. Badger and How to Grade. 

XI. Foxes — Black, Silver, 

Cross, and How to Grade. 

XII. Foxes — Red, Gray, Kitt or 

Swift and How to Grade. 

XIII. Mink and How to Grade. 

XIV. Muskrat — How to Grade. 
X\'. Skunk and How to Grade. 

XVI. Civet Cat — How to Grade. 

XN'II. Raccoon and How to Grade. 

XN'III. Opossum — How to Grade. 

XIX. Wolves and Coyotes and 

How to Grade. 

XXIX. Wolverine — How to Grade 

XXX. White Weasel (ermine) 

and How to Grade. 

XXXI. Sea Otter— How to Grade. 

XXXII. Mountain Lion and How 

to Grade. 

XXXIII. Seals — Fur and Hair — and 
How to Grade. 

XXXIV. Pelts, Hides, Skins and 
How to Grade. 

XXXV. Roots — Ginseng and Gold- 
en Seal — How to Classify. 

XX. Otter and How to Grade. 

If you handle Raw Furs, Hides, Pfelts or Roots it will be to your 
advantage (cash in your pocket) to order at once for FUR BUYERS' 
GUIDE contains many valuable suggestions learned from long ex- 
perience, that the "other fellow" may get onto before you so better 
send today. This book weighs nearly 3 pounds, contains .370 pages, 
160 illustrations and cost me thousands of dollars to print. 

Price, postpaid, cloth bound, to any address, $2.(»(». 

A. R. HARDING. 75 N. Ohio Ave., Columbus. Ohio 


, I f 

■ 1/ f 




Science of Trapping, 24 F pages 
Fur Farming, 278 patjcs 
HuDling Dogt, 2S5 images , 
Ferret Facti and Faocies, 214 pp 
Fox Trapping, IS'' p;iges .. 
Mink Trapping, ISSpa^jes 
Deadfalli and Snare», 232 pages 
WoU and Coyote Trappisg, 252 pp 

• pastr 

Land Cniiiing & ProtpecliDg, 176 pp 
Camp and Trail Methods, 2"4 pp 
Science of Fiihing, 245 padres .60 

ranadian Wildt. 2"7 pa^^ts 60 

A Trip 00 (he Great Lakes. 212 pp 60 
CiDjeog and Other Medtcioal Plaoti 

367 paf^'S 1 00 

Fifty Yeari a Hunter and Trapper 

318 pap-'s 1 00 

The Caliin Boat Primer, 276 pi^cs 1 00 
3001 Queationi and ADSweri.jV^p}) 1 GO 

These books have been written \ y 
tho.-e who from lon^ exptrience know 
che Fore&t, Field and Stream. Books 
:ire well printed, cloth bound and all 
Illustrated excepting Canadian Wilds. 

Prices. If two or more books arc 
ordered together there is a reduction 
of ten cents on 60 cent books and 2S 
cents on $1 00 books. 

Booklet fully describing these and 
' liters on Fur Buying, Taxidermy, 
Tanning, Coloring and Home Manu- 
facture of Furs and Skins mailed to 
an^ address free. 


Buoit Publisher COLUMBUS, OHIO 





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University of Toronto