In their efforts to escape, they one by one precipitate themselves in the soap suds below, where they speedily perish. The tumbler is soon half-filled with the dead insects, and where a number of the traps are set in a single room, the apartment is soon ridden of the pests.
[Illustration: STEEL TRAPS AND THE ART OF TRAPPING.]
[Page 137] BOOK VI.
STEEL TRAPS AND THE ART OF TRAPPING.
[Illustration: P]assing from our full and extended illustrated list of extempore, or “rough and ready” examples of the trap kind, we will now turn our attention to the consideration of that well-known implement, the trade steel trap. Although the foregoing varieties often serve to good purpose, the Steel Trap is the principal device used by professional trappers, and possesses great advantages over all other traps. It is portable, sets easily and quickly, either on land or beneath the water; can be concealed with ease; secures its victims without injury to their fur, and by the application of the spring or sliding pole (hereafter described) will most effectually prevent the captive from making his escape by self-amputation, besides placing him beyond the reach of destruction by other animals.
The author has known trappers who have plied their vocation largely by the aid of the various hand made traps, described in the earlier pages of this book, and with good success. But in the regular business of systematic trapping, their extensive use is not common. The experience of modern trappers generally, warrants the assertion that for practical utility, from every point of view, the steel trap stands unrivalled.
These traps are made of all sizes, from that suitable for the capture of the house rat, to the immense and wieldy machine adapted to the grizzly, and known as the “bear tamer.”
They may be bought at almost any hardware shop, although a large portion of the traps ordinarily sold are defective. They should be selected with care, and the springs always tested [Page 138] before purchase. Besides the temper of the spring, there are also other necessary qualities in a steel trap, which we subjoin in order that the amateur may know how to judge and select his weapons judiciously.
1. The jaws should not be too thin nor sharp cornered. In the cheaper class of steel traps the jaws approach to the thinness of sheet-iron, and the result is that the thin edges often sever the leg of their would-be captive in a single stroke. At other times the leg is so deeply cut as to easily enable the animal to gnaw or twist it off. This is the common mode of escape, with many animals.