The route of the professional trapper often extends over fifty miles, and the number and weight of traps and provisions which these rough-and-ready individuals often carry as personal luggage is most astounding. Fifty or sixty pounds apiece is considered a fair burden, and they deem no one a fit physical subject for a campaign who cannot at least manage thirty pounds with comparative ease. The number of the trapping party generally consists of from two to four. A few days prior to the opening of the trapping season, the party start out, laden with their burden of traps and provisions, and deposit them at intervals along the line, the provisions being mainly kept in the “home shanty.” Several trips may be necessary to complete these preparations, unless the trapping ground is readily accessible by wagon or boat, in which case the transportation is much easier.
The “home shanty” is generally built only when the trapping grounds are far in the wilderness, miles away from civilization. If the line extends from the outskirts of some town or village, such a hut may be dispensed with. It is used principally as a storehouse for furs, provisions, ammunition, tools, and other valuables, and also serves as a point of rendezvous, or a home, for the trappers, one of the number being generally left in charge to “keep shanty” while his companions are on their tramps in search of game. If desired, a boy may be taken [Page 227] along for this especial purpose. In every case, some such guardian is very necessary, and particularly in wild districts, abounding in wolves and bears, as these animals have an odd trick of breaking into unguarded shanties, and often make sad havoc with its stores. Steel traps are almost exclusively used by the professional trapper, and the supply for a single campaign will often exceed one hundred and fifty. Many of the traps described in the early part of this work are also used, and for the amateur who has not the ready cash to layout in steel traps, are decidedly to be recommended and will be found very efficient. From thirty to fifty traps would be a fair number for an ordinary amateur trapping season, and the probable cost of such a lot would be from $15 to $25. The sizes of the traps will depend upon the game sought, No. 2-1/2 being a good average. With this supply, relying somewhat on dead-falls, twitch-ups, and the various other devices described in our early pages, we can guarantee lively sport, of course, presuming that good judgment has been used in the selection of a trapping ground. In later articles, under the proper headings, we give full details concerning food and cooking utensils, shelter and bedding, as well as many other requisites for the trapper’s comfort. To complete the list he should provide himself with a good sharp axe, and hatchet, and if the log canoe is in anticipation he will also require the other tools mentioned on page 259 an oilstone being carried in order to keep the various tools in good repair; an auger, saw, and