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William Hamilton Gibson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 313 pages of information about Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making.
rope may be removed.  It will be noticed that the weight of the harpoon and accompaniments rests on the short arm of the lever which passes over the limb of the tree, and the tension on the string from the long arm is thus very slight.  This precaution is necessary for the perfect working of the trap.  To complete the contrivance, a small peg with a rounded notch should be cut, and driven into the ground directly plumb beneath the long end of the lever.  It should be inserted into the earth only sufficiently to hold the string without pulling out, and the side of the notch should face the path; its height should be about a foot.  Into the notch the string should be passed, being afterwards drawn across the path and secured on the opposite side at the same height.  The trap is now set; and woe to the unlucky quadruped that dares make too free with that string!  A very slight pressure from either side is equally liable to slip the string from the notch, or loosen the peg from the ground; and the result is the same in either case,—­down comes the weighted harpoon, carrying death and destruction to its victim.

For large animals, this made of setting will be found to work perfectly.  When constructed on a smaller scale, it may be slightly modified.  It will be noticed that, when the string is approached from one side, it is merely slipped out of the notch,—­a slight pressure being sufficient to dislodge it,—­while the pressure [Page 29] from the opposite direction must be strong enough to lift the peg out of the ground bodily.  This is easily done when the peg is lightly inserted; but, to insure success, even with light pressure from either side, an additional precaution may be used, if desired.  Instead of fastening the end of the string securely to some object on the further side of the path, it is well to provide the end of the cord with a ring or loop, which should be passed over a nail or short peg driven in some tree or branch, or fastened into an upright stake, firmly embedded into the ground.  The nail should point in the opposite direction from the notch in the peg, and its angle should incline slightly toward the path.  It will thus be seen that an approach from one side forces the string from the notch in the peg, while an opposite pressure slides the ring from the nail.

This mode of setting is especially desirable for small animals, on account of its being more sensitive.

Such a trap may be successfully used for the puma, bear, and the lynx.  When constructed for smaller animals, the harpoon may be dispensed with, a large stone being equally effective in its death-dealing qualities


This trap is constructed after the idea of the old-fashioned box or rabbit trap, and has been the means of securing many a hungry bear, or even puma, whose voracity has exceeded its cunning.  The lynx and wild-cat are also among its occasional victims; and inasmuch as its prisoners are taken alive great sport is often realized before the captive is brought under control.

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