[Page 142] [Illustration: No. 6.]
This is known as the “GREAT BEAR TAMER,” and is a most formidable weapon. The jaws spread sixteen inches, and the weight of the machine is forty-two pounds. It is extensively used in the capture of the moose and grizzly bear, and is the largest and most powerful steel trap made in this or any other country. The springs possess most tremendous power, and require to be set by a lever, as the weight of an ordinary man has not the slightest effect upon them. This lever may be easily applied, as follows: Have at hand four stout straps, supplied with buckles. These should always be carried by the trapper, where the larger double-spring traps are used. To adjust the lever, cut four heavy sticks about three feet long. Take two of them and secure their ends together, side by side, with one of the straps. Now insert the spring of the trap between them, near the strap. Bear down heavily on the other extremity of the lever, and the spring will be found to yield easily, after which the remaining ends of the levers should be secured by a second strap. The other spring should now be treated in the same way, after which the jaws should be spread and the pan adjusted. The removal of the straps and levers is now an easy matter, after which [Page 143] the trap is set. The stoutest spring is easily made to yield by such treatment.
[Illustration: No. 5.]
The SMALL BEAR TRAP. The jaws of this size spread nearly a foot, and the weight of the trap is seventeen pounds. It is used in the capture of the black bear, puma, and animals of similar size.
All of the foregoing are supplied with swivels and chains.
There is a very common and erroneous idea current among amateur sportsmen and others in regard to the baiting of the steel trap; viz., that the pan of the trap is intended for the bait. This was the old custom in the traps of bygone times, but no modern trap is intended to be so misused, and would indeed often defeat its object in such a case, wherein it will be easily [Page 144] seen. The object of the professional trapper is the acquisition of furs; and a prime fur skin should be without break or bruise, from nose to tail. A trap set as above described, would of course catch its victim by the head or neck, and the fur would he more or less injured at the very spot where it should be particularly free from blemish.
The true object of the steel trap is, that it shall take the animal by the leg, thus injuring the skin only in a part where it is totally valueless.
We give, then, this imperative rule—Never bait a steel trap on the pan.
The pan is intended for the foot of the game, and in order to insure capture by this means, the bait should be so placed as that the attention of the animal will be drawn away from the trap; the latter being in such a position as will cause the victim to step in it when reaching for the tempting allurement.