If possible a rubber blanket should be used for this purpose. These consist of thick Canton flannel, coated on one side with Indian rubber, and are used with the rubber side down. They are warm and comfortable, and a valuable acquisition to the trapper’s outfit. There is a thinner and cheaper variety, having equal water-proof qualities but which does not possess the warmth of the former. Either will be found useful.
So much for beds and bedding. If the reader will now turn [Page 251] his attention to the following section, “The Trapper’s Miscellany,” he will find much in detail of what has only been alluded to in the present chapter, besides other hints of great value in reference to a trapping campaign.
[Page 253] [Illustration: THE TRAPPERS’ MISCELLANY]
[Page 255] BOOK VIII.
THE TRAPPER’S MISCELLANY.
[Illustration: O]ur enthusiastic novice, as he starts out into the wilderness, should not be unmindful of the swarms of blood-thirsty flies, gnats and mosquitoes, which infest the woods in the summer and early autumn, and are there lying in wait for him. These often become a source of great annoyance to the woodsman, and more often a source of positive bodily suffering.
Although trapping is not generally carried on during this season, the preparations for the coming campaign, including the building of shanties, transporting of traps, etc., are generally made at this time, and unless some preventive is used, the persecutions of the mosquitoes and other winged vermin, become almost unbearable.
These insects seem to have a special aversion for the scent of pennyroyal—an herb growing commonly in sandy localities—and a single plant rubbed upon the face and hands will often greatly check their attacks.
The oil of pennyroyal is better, however, and an ointment made by straining one ounce of the oil into two or three ounces of pure melted lard, or mutton tallow, forms an excellent antidote. This may be carried in a little box or bottle, in the pocket, and applied as occasion requires. Plain mutton tallow is also a most excellent ointment for general use, and in the case of bruises or slight wounds, will give great relief.
Another preparation in very common use amongst hunters and woodsmen, although not quite as agreeable in odor, consists of a mixture of common tar and sweet oil, in equal parts. By some this liniment is considered superior to the other, inasmuch as it also prevents tanning, and is beneficial to the complexion.