They should be firmly imbedded in the earth directly at the edge of the pit, and as far as possible trimmed of their branches on the inside. There will thus be a small patch of solid ground for the feet of the fowl, which should be tied by the leg in the enclosure. Our trap is now set, and if there is a puma in the neighborhood he will be sure to pay it a call and probably a visit.
Spying his game, he uses every effort to reach it through the [Page 33] crevices between the stakes. The cries of the frightened fowl arouse and stimulate his appetite, and at last exasperated by his futile efforts to seize his victim, he springs over the fence of stakes and is lodged in the depths of the pit.
The puma is very agile of movement, and unless the pit is at least twelve feet in depth there is danger of his springing out. Any projecting branch on the inside of the stakes affords a grasp for his ready paw, and any such branch, if within the reach of his leap, is sure to effect his escape. For this reason it is advisable to trim smoothly all the projections and leave no stub or knot hole by which he could gain the slightest hold. The construction of a pit-fall is a rather difficult operation on account of the digging which it necessitates. On this account it is not so much used as many other traps which are not only equally effective but much more easily constructed. The following is an example:—
This is commonly set for bears, although a deer or a puma becomes its frequent tenant. As its name implies it consists of a coop of logs, arranged after the principle of the Coop Trap described on page 67. The logs should be about eight feet in length, notched at the ends as described for the Log Cabin, page (244). Lay two of the logs parallel about seven feet apart. Across their ends in the notches, lay two others and continue building up in “cob-house” fashion until the height of about six feet is reached. The corners may be secured as they are laid by spikes, or they may be united afterward in mass by a rope firmly twisted about them from top to bottom. Logs should now be laid across the top of the coop and firmly secured by the spikes or rope knots. There are several ways of setting the trap. A