Some trappers employ the following method with good results: The trap is set, in a spring or at the edge of a small shallow brook and attached by a chain to a stake in the bank, the chain being under water. There should be only about an inch and a half of water over the trap, and its distance from the shore should be about a foot and a half, or even less. In order to induce the fox to place his foot in the trap it is necessary to cut a sod of grass, just the size of the inside of the jaws of the trap, and place it over the pan, so that it will project above the water and offer a tempting foot rest for the animal while he reaches for the bait which rests in the water just beyond. To accomplish this device without springing the trap by the weight of the sod, it is necessary to brace up the pan from beneath with a small perpendicular stick, sufficiently to neutralize the pressure from above. The bait may be a dead rabbit or bird thrown on the water outside of the trap and about a foot from it, being secured by a string and peg. If the fox spies the bait he will be almost sure to step upon the sod to reach it, and thus get caught.
If none of these methods are successful, the young trapper may at least content himself with the idea that the particular fox he is after is an old fellow and is “not to be caught with chaff” or any thing else,—for if these devices will not secure him nothing will. If he is a young and comparatively unsophisticated specimen, he will fall an easy victim to any of the foregoing stratagems.
Although steel traps are generally used in the capture of foxes, a cleverly constructed and baited dead-fall such as is described on page 113 will often do capital service in that direction. By [Page 158] arranging and baiting the trap as therein described, even a fox is likely to become its prey.
To skin the fox the pelt should be first ripped down each hind leg to the vent. The skin being cut loose around this point, the bone of the tail should next be removed. This may be done by holding a split stick tightly over the bone after which the latter may be easily pulled out of the skin.
The hide should then be drawn back, and carefully removed, working with caution around the legs, and particularly so about the eyes, ears, and lips when these points are reached. The skin should be stretched as described on page 273.
The United States are blessed with several species of this animal. The Grey Wolf, which is the largest, and the smaller, Prairie Wolf or Coyote, being the most commonly known. There are also the White Wolf, Black Wolf and the Texan or Red Wolf. In outward form they all bear a considerable resemblance to each other, and their habits are generally similar in the different varieties.
Wolves are fierce and dangerous animals, and are very powerful of limb and fleet of foot. They are extremely cowardly in character, and will seldom attack man or animal except when by their greater numbers they would be sure of victory. Wolves are found in almost every quarter of the globe. Mountain and plain, field, jungle and prairie are alike infested with them, and they hunt in united bands, feeding upon almost any animal which by their combined attacks they can overpower.