Though cunning in many ways, the opossum is singularly simple in others. There is hardly any animal more easily captured; for it will walk into the clumsiest of traps, and permit itself to be ensnared by a device at which an American rat would look with utter contempt.
[Page 203] The dead-fall, garrote, or stout snare may all be employed, being baited with any of the substances already described. The steel trap 2-1/1 or 3 is most commonly used, being set in the haunts of the animal, and slightly scented with musk.
See Fox and Beaver, for directions for skinning, stretching, etc., etc.
The rabbit or “cotton tail,” as he is familiarly termed, is too well-known to need any description here. From Maine to Texas our woods abound with these fleet-footed little creatures, of which there are several American species. They are the swiftest of all American quadrupeds, and have been known to clear over twenty feet in a single leap. They are all natural burrowers, although they often forego the trouble of excavating a home when one can be found already made, and which can be easily modified or adapted to their purposes. The common rabbit of New England often makes its home or “form,” beneath a pile of brush or logs, or in crevices in rocks. Here it brings forth its young, of which there are often three or four litters a year. The creature becomes a parent at a very early age, and by the time that a rabbit is a year old it may have attained the dignity of a grand parent.
The food of the rabbit consists of grasses, bark, leaves, bulbs, young twigs, buds, berries and the like, and of cultivated vegetables of all kinds, when opportunity favors. When surprised in the woods it manifests its alarm by violently striking the ground with its feet, causing the peculiar sound so often noticed at their first jump. The animal is fond of pursuing a beaten path in the woods, and is often snared at such places. Its enemies, beside man, are the lynx, and other carnivorous animals, hawks, owls, and even the domestic cat.
The rabbit is a favorite game with all amateur sportsmen, and the devices used in its capture are multitudinous. It is by no means a difficult animal to trap, and a glance through the second and fourth sections of our book, will reveal many ingenious snares and other contrivances, commonly and successfully used.
The Box trap, page 103, is perhaps the most universal example of rabbit trap, but the Self-setting trap, page 110, and Double-ender, page 109, are also equally effective where the animal is desired to be taken alive. If this is not an object, the snare is to be recommended as simple in construction and sure in its result.
[Page 204] The above constitute the only devices commonly used for the capture of the rabbit, the steel trap being dispensed with. On page 109 will be found additional remarks concerning the rabbit, and many hints no baiting, etc., are also given under the heads of the various traps above alluded to.