A common way of securing the wolf consists in setting the trap in a spring or puddle of water, throwing the dead body of some large animal in the water beyond the trap in such a position that the wolf will be obliged to tread upon the trap, in order to reach the bait. This method is described both under the head of the Fox and the Bear.
Another plan is to fasten the bait between two trees which are very close together, setting a trap on each side and carefully concealing them as already directed, and securing each to a clog of about twenty pounds in weight. The enclosure described on page 144 is also successful.
There are various scent or trail baits used in trapping the wolf. Oil of Assafoetida is by many trappers considered the best, but Oil of Rhodium, powdered fennel, fenugreek and Cummin Oil are also much used. It is well to smear a little of the first mentioned oil near the traps, using any one of the other substances, or indeed a mixture of them all, for the trail. This may be made by smearing the preparation on the sole of the boots and walking in the direction of the traps, or by dragging from one trap to another a piece of meat scented with the substance, as described under the head of Mink.
The wolf is an adept at feigning death, playing “’possum” with a skill which would do credit to that veritable animal itself.
A large dead-fall, constructed of logs, page 17, when skilfully scented and baited, will often allure a wolf into its clutches, and a very strong twitch-up, with a noose formed of heavy wire, or a strip of stout calf hide, will successfully capture the crafty creature.
In skinning the wolf the hide may be removed either by, first ripping up the belly, or in a circular piece, as described connection with the fox, both methods being much used. The board and hoop stretchers [Page 161] used in preparing the skin are described on pages 273 and 275.
The puma, commonly known also as the panther or cougar, is the largest American representative of the Cat tribe, and for this reason is often dignified by the name of the “American Lion.” It is found more or less abundantly throughout the United States; and although not generally considered a dangerous foe to mankind, it has often been known in the wild districts to steal upon the traveller unawares, and in many instances human beings have fallen a prey to the powerful claws and teeth of this powerful animal.
The life of the puma is mostly in the trees. Crouching upon the branches it watches for, or steals, cat-like, upon its prey. Should a solitary animal pass within reach, the puma will not hesitate in pouncing upon the unfortunate creature; but if a herd of animals, or party of men, should be travelling together, the caution of the brute asserts itself, and he will often dog their footsteps for a great distance, in hopes