For the cougar, or puma, the best bait is a live lamb or a young pig, encaged in a small pen erected at the end of the trap. A fowl is also excellent. When thus baited, the setting of the trap is varied. The upright post at the top of the trap is inserted nearer the front, and the cross pole is stouter. The auger hole is bored in the top of the trap, through the centre of one of the logs, and about twenty inches from the back end of the trap. The spindle is dispensed with and the end of the string is provided with a large knot, which is lowered through the auger hole, and is prevented from slipping back by the insertion of a stick beneath. This stick should be about three feet in length, and of such a size at the end as will snugly fit into the auger hole. It should be inserted delicately, merely enough to hold the knot from slipping back, and so as to be easily released by a slight movement in any direction.
This mode of setting is more fully detailed on page 52. As the puma steals in upon his prey he dislodges the stick, the lid falls, and he finds himself imprisoned with his intended victim. This trap is much used in India and Asia for the capture of the tiger, and the jaguar of South America is frequently entrapped by the same devices.
The tiger is the scourge of India and Southern Asia and some sections of these countries are so terribly infested with [Page 32] the brutes that the inhabitants are kept in a continual state of terror by their depredations. Many methods are adopted by the natives for the destruction of the terrible creatures, some of which have already been described. The pit-fall is still another device by which this lurking marauder is often captured and destroyed. It sometimes consists of a mere pit covered and baited in the haunts of the tiger, or is constructed in a continuous deep ditch surrounding the habitations of the natives, and thus acting as a secure protection. The pit is about twelve feet deep and ten feet in width, and its outside edge is lined with a hedge five or six feet in height. As the fierce brute steals upon his intended prey, he nears the hedge and at one spring its highest branch is cleared. He reaches the earth only to find himself at the bottom of a deep pit, from which there is no hope of escape, and where he speedily becomes the merciless victim of a shower of deadly arrows and bullets.
Happily we have no tigers in the United States, but the puma and the lynx are both fit subjects for the pit-fall. These animals cannot be said to exist in such numbers as to become a scourge and a stranger to the inhabitants of any neighborhood, and for this reason the “Moat” arrangement of the pit-fall is not required. The simple pit is often used, and when properly constructed and baited is a very sure trap. The hole should be about twelve feet in depth and eight feet across, widening at the