[Illustration: I]t has been the author’s object in the preparation of this book not simply to content the reader with a mere superficial knowledge of so-called “Amateur trapping,” but to carry him further into the art professionally considered, and for this reason we present in the following chapter a full catalogue of the trapper’s outfit, containing detailed descriptions of all the necessaries for a most thorough campaign, including boats and canoes, log cabins, shanties and tents, snow shoes and camp furniture of all kinds, together with numerous and valuable hints on trapper’s food.
PLAN OF CAMPAIGN.
The first thing to be considered in reference to a campaign is the selection of a trapping ground, and it is always desirable to choose a locality where travel by water can be resorted to as much as possible. Otter, mink, beaver and muskrat are among the most desirable game for the trapper, and as these are all amphibious animals, a watered district is therefore the best on all accounts. Lakes, ponds, and streams, bordered by wild woods, form the best possible grounds for general trapping, and the mountain lakes of the Adirondacks and Alleghenies, and all similar regions are especially desirable on this account. Almost any wild country, intersected with streams, lakes, and rivers, is apt to abound with game, and some trappers confine their labors to the borders of a single lake, and adjoining forest. This plan is especially to be recommended to the amateur, as much of the travelling to and fro can be done by boat, [Page 226] the labor being thus much lightened. Having decided upon the seat of operations, the young trappers should immediately set to work at building their shanties and boats. The home shanty is of the greatest importance, and should be constructed first. Select some flat bit of land near the water and clear it of brush wood, or other rubbish and proceed to work as described on page 242. A good axe is the only tool required by an experienced trapper in the construction of such a shanty. Should the trapping lines be very extensive, additional bark shanties, page 245, will require to be made at intervals along the line, for sleeping stations and shelters in case of storm. The professional trapper generally attends to the building of his shanties and boats before the trapping season commences, and thus has everything in readiness for his campaign. If in a birch bark country the Indian canoe, page 260, is the most desirable craft, on account of its lightness and portability. The dug-out, or bateau, described on page 259, will also do good service.
The trapping season begins in October, and everything should be in readiness at this time, so that the trappers may devote all their time strictly to business.