Following will be found two examples of traps in very common use for the capture of wild ducks, and in the region of Chesapeake bay, immense numbers of the game are annually taken by their aid. The first is the well known net trap, so extensively used in nearly all countries, both for the capture of various kinds of fish as well as winged game. Our illustration gives a very clear idea of the construction of the net, and an elaborate description is almost superfluous. It consists of a graduated series of hoops covered by a net work. From each a converging net extends backward ending in a smaller hoop which is held in position by cords extending [Page 95] therefrom to the next larger hoop. The depth of these converging nets should extend backward about three or four feet from the large hoop; and the distance between these latter should be about five feet. The length of the net should be about twenty feet, terminating in a “pound” or netted enclosure, as seen in the illustration. The trap may be set on shore or in the water as seen. “Decoy” birds are generally used, being enclosed in the pound.
When set on land the bait consisting of corn or other grain should be spread about the entrance and through the length of the net.
It is remarkable that a duck which so easily finds its way within the netted enclosure, should be powerless to make its escape, but such seems to be the fact, and even a single hoop with its reflex net, has been known to secure a number of the game.
Our second example is one which we are almost tempted to exclude on account of its cruelty, but as our volume is especially devoted to traps of all kinds and as this is a variety in very common use, we feel bound to give it a passing notice. Our illustration fully conveys its painful mode of capture, and a beach at low water is generally the scene of the slaughter. A long stout cord is first stretched across the sand and secured [Page 96] to a peg at each end. To this shorter lines are attached at intervals, each one being supplied with a fish hook baited with a piece of the tender rootstock of a certain water reed, of which the ducks are very fond. The main cord and lines are then imbedded in the sand, the various baits only appearing on the surface, and the success of the device is equal to its cruelty.