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William Hamilton Gibson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 313 pages of information about Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making.
Another reason for the cleanliness of the fur is the strong, though membranous muscle beneath the skin.  While the mole is engaged in travelling, particularly in loose earth, the soil for a time clings to the fur; but at tolerably regular intervals the creature gives the skin a sharp and powerful shake, which throws off at once the whole of the mould that has collected upon the fur.  Some amount of dust still remains, for, however clean the fur of a mole may seem to be, if the creature be placed for an hour in water, a considerable quantity of earth will be dissolved away and fall to the bottom of the vessel.  The improvement in the fur after being well washed with soft tepid water and soap, is almost incredible.  Many persons have been struck with such admiration for the fur of the mole, that they have been desirous of having a number of the skins collected and made into a waist-coat.  This certainly can be done, but the garment thus made is so very hot that it can only be worn in winter.  Such garments are very expensive, and owing to the tender quality of the skin, possess but little lasting powers.  There is also a wonderfully strong smell about the mole; so strong, indeed, that dogs will sometimes point at moles instead of game, to the great disgust of their masters.  This odor adheres obstinately to the skin, and even in furs which have been dried for more than ten years, this peculiar savor has been noticed.

We have given much space to the mole, not particularly on account of its particular usefulness to the trapper, but because of its many claims to our notice.  If the creature were a rare and costly inhabitant of some distant land, how deep would be the interest which it would incite.  But because it is a creature of our country, and to be found in every field, there are but few who care to examine a creature so common, or who experience any feelings save those of disgust when they see a mole making its way over the ground in search of a soft spot in which to burrow.

In many localities this interesting animal exists in such numbers as to become a positive nuisance, and the invention of a trap which would effectually curtail their depredations has been a problem to many a vexed and puzzled farmer.

Mole traps of various kinds have found their way into our agricultural papers, but none has proved more effectual than the one we describe on page 119.  An arrangement of the figure four, page 107, is also sometimes employed with good success.  In this case the bait stick crosses the upright stick close to the ground, and rests over [Page 211] the burrow of the mole, the earth being previously pressed down to the surrounding level.  The stone should be narrow and very heavy, and of course no bait is required.

The pieces should be set carefully, and so adjusted that the lifting of the soil beneath the stick as the mole forces its way through the compressed earth will dislodge the bait stick and let down the stone with its crushing weight.

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