A trap which is set for heavy game should never be secured to a stake. Many of the larger and more powerful animals when caught in a trap thus secured, are apt either to pull or twist their legs off, or break both trap and chain to pieces. To guard against this, the chain should be weighted with a pole or small log, of a size proportionate to the dimensions of the game, its weight being merely sufficient to offer a serious incumbrance to the animal, without positively checking its movements. This impediment is called the “clog,” and is usually attached to the ring of the trap chain by its larger end, the ring being slipped over the latter, and secured in place by a wedge. A look at our frontispiece will give a clear idea of both clog and attachment.
[Page 147] THE GRAPPLING IRON.
This answers the same purpose as the above, and is often used instead. It is manufactured in connection with the larger steel traps, and is attached to the chain by a swivel joint. Its general shape is shown in an engraving, and it offers a serious resistance to the victim, who endeavors to run away with it.
The business of trapping for profit must be confined to the season between the first of October and the beginning of May, as furs of all kinds are worthless when taken during the other months of the year. The reason of this is obvious. A “prime fur” must be “thick” and “full,” and as all our fur-bearing animals shed their heavy winter coats as warm weather approaches, it necessarily follows that the capture at this season would be unprofitable. As the autumn approaches the new growth appears, and the fur becomes thick and glossy. By the middle of October most furs are in their prime, but the heart of winter is the best time for general trapping. [Page 148] The furs of the mink, muskrat, fisher, marten and beaver are not in their perfect prime until this season. And all other furs are sure to be in good condition at this time.
From time immemorial, and in every nation of the world, the art of trapping has been more or less practised. By some as a means of supplying their wants in the shape of daily food, and by others for the purpose of merchandise or profit.
To be a clever and successful trapper, much more is required than is generally supposed. The mere fact of a person’s being able to set a trap cleverly and judiciously forms but a small part of his proficiency; and unless he enters deeper into the subject and learns something of the nature and habits of the animals he intends to catch, his traps will be set in vain, or at best meet with but indifferent success. The study of natural history here becomes