Now take a portion of the carcass and draw it firmly over the hook in the long stick. Prop the latter in such a position as that the bait shall hang directly in front of the muzzle. The crotch supporting the bait stick should be firmly implanted in the ground in order to hold the bait from being drawn to either side of the muzzle.
The gun-trap is now set, and its merits may be tested. Before adjusting the cap the pieces should be tried several times to insure their perfect working. A slight pull on the bait from the front will draw the short stick forward. This immediately [Page 22] acts on the trigger and causes the hammer to snap. By a few trials, the sticks can be arranged so as to spring the trigger easily, and where a hair trigger is used, a mere touch on the bait will suffice to discharge the gun. When all is found to work perfectly, the trap should be surrounded by a rude pen of sticks and branches, extending two or three feet beyond the muzzle, in order to insure an approach directly in the aim of the gun. The cap should now be placed on the nipple, after which the deadly device may be left to do its certain work. The remaining portion of the carcass should be removed, and where the locality is likely to be frequented by other hunters or trappers, it is well to put up a “danger” signal to guard against accident. If desired two or three guns may be arranged like the spokes of a wheel, all aiming near the bait. Even with one gun the victim stands but little chance, but where two or three pour their contents into his body, his death is an absolute certainty.
By fastening the gun three feet above ground the load is discharged upward into the mouth of its victim, and thus directly through the brain. Where two or more guns are used, it is advisable to aim at least one in such a direction as will send its charge into the breast of the animal.
The Indian Panther is very commonly taken by the gun trap, and even Lions are sometimes secured by the same device, only increased in power by a larger number of guns.
There are several other methods of setting the gun trap. One way consists in attaching a string to the finger piece of the trigger, passing it back through a small staple or screw eye inserted in the under side of the stock for that purpose, and then drawing the string forward and attaching it to the top of the bait stick. This latter is stuck in the ground directly in front of the muzzle and the bait secured to its extremity. When the tempting morsel is grasped, the bait stick is drawn forward and the string pulled, the result of course being the discharge of the gun. By still another method, an elastic is passed through the screw eye in the stock and over the finger piece of the trigger, thus tending continually to draw it back and spring the hammer. To set the gun a short stick is inserted behind the finger piece, thus overcoming the power of the elastic. It should be very delicately adjusted, so that a mere touch will dislodge it. Its length should be about six inches, and to its other end the bait stick should be attached and arranged as first described. Although a rather dangerous trap to be set at random it is nevertheless often utilized and has brought many a [Page 23] dreaded marauder to his doom.