It builds its habitation in hollow trees, and in burrows, which it excavates in the banks of rivers or streams, and its young (generally twins) are produced in early spring. The trapping season for the fisher commences at about the middle of October, and extends to the middle of May, after which time the fur decreases in value.
In trapping the fisher, the same plans may be used as for the marten and mink, as these animals much resemble each other in general habits. The steel trap arranged in an artificial or [Page 195] natural enclosure, or otherwise so set as that the animal will be obliged to step on it in order to reach the bait, will be successful and the use of composition “scent bait,” described on page 153 will be found to enhance success. In every case where the steel trap is used the spring pole, page 144, should always be employed, for the reasons already described.
Dead-falls, garrotes, box-traps, twitch-ups, or pit-falls, may all be employed to good advantage. Bait with a fish or bird, or fresh meat of any kind, and connect the various traps by a trail, as described for the mink and marten.
Remove the skin as directed for the fox, and stretch as described on page 273.
This disgusting animal has won the unenviable but deserving reputation of being the most foul-smelling creature on the face of the globe. He belongs to the weasel tribe, and all these animals are noted for certain odors which they possess, but the skunk is pre-eminent in the utter noisomeness of the horrid effluvium which it exhales.
This scent proceeds from a liquid secretion which collects in a gland beneath the insertion of the tail, and the animal has the power to eject or retain it at will.
It must have been given to the creature as a means of defence, for there seems to be no animal that can withstand the influence of its fetid stench. Dogs are trained to hunt the animal, but until they have learned from experience the right method of attacking the fetid game, and have discovered the whereabouts of the animal’s magazine of ammunition, they are of little use to the hunter, and are only too glad to plunge into some neighboring brook, or roll in some near earth, in hopes of ridding themselves of the stench which almost distracts them. The offensive propensities of the skunk are only exercised when the animal is alarmed or frightened. There are generally certain “premonitory symptoms” of attack which the creature usually exhibits, and it is well to retire from his “shooting range” as soon as they are observed.
When the animal is ready to discharge his battery, he suddenly elevates his large bushy tail, over his body, and turns his back on his enemy. The result of the discharge fills the air for a great distance around, and man and beast fly from the neighborhood of the indescribable and fetid effluvium, which fairly makes one’s nostrils ache.