Devices, which inflict cruelty and prolonged suffering, shall, as far as possible, be excluded, as this is not a necessary qualification in any trap, and should be guarded against wherever possible. Following out the suggestion conveyed under the [Page 5] title of “The Trapper,” we shall present full and ample directions for baiting traps, selections of ground for setting, and other hints concerning the trapping of all our principal game and wild animals, valuable either as food or for their fur. In short, our book shall form a complete trapper’s guide, embracing all necessary information on the subject, anticipating every want, and furnishing the most complete and fully illustrated volume on this subject ever presented to the public. In vain did the author of this work, in his younger days, search the book stores and libraries in the hopes of finding such a book, and many are the traps and snares which necessity forced him to invent and construct for himself, for want of just such a volume. Several of these original inventions will appear in the present work for the first time in book form, and the author can vouch for their excellence, and he might almost say, their infallibility, for in their perfect state he has never yet found them to “miss” in a single instance.
As the writer’s mind wanders back to his boyish days, there is one autumn in particular which shines out above all the rest; and that was when his traps were first set and were the chief source of his enjoyment. The adventurous excitement which sped him on in those daily tramps through the woods, and the buoyant, exhilarating effect of the exercise can be realized only by those who have had the same experience. The hope of success, the fears of disappointment, the continual suspense and wonder which fill the mind of the young trapper, all combine to invest this sport with a charm known to no other. Trapping does not consist merely in the manufacture and setting of the various traps. The study of the habits and peculiarities of the different game—here becomes a matter of great importance; and the study of natural history under these circumstances affords a continual source of pleasure and profit.
Among the most useful, although the most cruel, of inventions used by the professional trapper are the steel traps; so much so that the author would gladly omit them. But as they are of such unfailing [Page 6] action, of such universal efficacy, and in many cases are the only ones that can be used, any book on trapping would certainly be incomplete without them. The scope of our volume not only embraces the arts of trapping and trap-making, but extends further into the subject of the wild life of a trapping campaign,—containing full directions for building log cabins, and shanties; boats and canoes; hints on food and cooking utensils; also full directions for the curing and tanning of fur skins,—in short, a complete repository of all useful information pertaining to the life and wants of a professional trapper.