CAMP LIFE IN THE WOODS
TRICKS OF TRAPPING
COMPREHENSIVE HINTS ON CAMP SHELTER, LOG HUTS, BARK SHANTIES, WOODLAND BEDS AND BEDDING, BOAT AND CANOE BUILDING, AND VALUABLE SUGGESTIONS ON TRAPPERS' FOOD, ETC. WITH EXTENDED CHAPTERS ON THE TRAPPER'S ART, CONTAINING ALL THE "TRICKS" AND VALUABLE BAIT RECIPES OF THE PROFESSION; FULL DIRECTIONS FOR THE USE OF THE STEEL TRAP, AND FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF TRAPS OF ALL KINDS; DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CAPTURE OF ALL FUR-BEARING ANIMALS; VALUABLE RECIPES FOR THE CURING AND TANNING OF FUR SKINS, ETC., ETC.
AUTHOR OF "PASTORAL DAYS"
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR
MY BELOVED FRIENDS
MR. AND MRS. F. W. GUNN,
KIND INSTRUCTORS, AND PARTICIPANTS
IN THE BRIGHTEST JOYS OF MY YOUTH,
THIS BOOK IS
AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED BY
f all the various subjects in the catalogue of sports and pastimes, there is none more sure of arousing the enthusiasm of our American boys generally, than that which forms the title of this book. Traps and Trapping, together with its kindred branches, always have been and always will be subjects of great interest among boys, and particularly so to those who live in the country.
It is a fact to be regretted that we have so few examples of "Boys' Books" published in this country. There are a few English works of this character, that are very excellent as far as they go, but are nevertheless incomplete and unsatisfactory to the wants of American boys, dwelling largely on sports which are essentially English, and merely touching upon or utterly excluding other topics which are of the utmost interest to boys of this country. In no one of these books, so far as the author of the present volume knows, is the subject of Traps considered to any fair extent, and those examples which are given, represent only the most common and universal varieties already known to the general public.
With these facts in mind, the author has entered with zealous enthusiasm upon the preparation of a work which shall fill this odd and neglected corner in literature, and judging from the reminiscences of his own boyish experiences, he feels certain that in placing such a volume within reach of the public, he supplies a long felt want in the hearts of his boy-friends throughout the land.
Far be it from us in the publication of this volume, to be understood as encouraging the wanton destruction of poor innocent animals. Like all kindred sports, hunting and fishing for example, the sport of Trapping may be perverted and carried to a point where it becomes simple cruelty, as is always the case when pursued for the mere excitement it brings. If the poor victims are to serve no use after their capture, either as food, or in the furnishing of their plumage or skins for useful purposes, the sport becomes heartless cruelty, and we do not wish to be understood as encouraging it under any such circumstances. In its right sense trapping is a delightful, healthful, and legitimate sport, and we commend it to all our boy-readers.
It shall be the object of the author to produce a thoroughly practical volume, presenting as far as possible such examples of the trap kind as any boy, with a moderate degree of ingenuity, could easily construct, and furthermore to illustrate each variety with the utmost plainness, supplemented with the most detailed description.
With the exception of all "clap-trap," our volume will embrace nearly every known example of the various devices used for the capture of Bird, Beast, or Fowl, in all countries, simplifying such as are impracticable on account of their complicated structure, and modifying others to the peculiar adaptation of the American Trapper.
Devices, which inflict cruelty and prolonged suffering, shall, as far as possible, be excluded, as this is not a necessary qualification in any trap, and should be guarded against wherever possible. Following out the suggestion conveyed under the title of "The Trapper," we shall present full and ample directions for baiting traps, selections of ground for setting, and other hints concerning the trapping of all our principal game and wild animals, valuable either as food or for their fur. In short, our book shall form a complete trapper's guide, embracing all necessary information on the subject, anticipating every want, and furnishing the most complete and fully illustrated volume on this subject ever presented to the public. In vain did the author of this work, in his younger days, search the book stores and libraries in the hopes of finding such a book, and many are the traps and snares which necessity forced him to invent and construct for himself, for want of just such a volume. Several of these original inventions will appear in the present work for the first time in book form, and the author can vouch for their excellence, and he might almost say, their infallibility, for in their perfect state he has never yet found them to "miss" in a single instance.
As the writer's mind wanders back to his boyish days, there is one autumn in particular which shines out above all the rest; and that was when his traps were first set and were the chief source of his enjoyment. The adventurous excitement which sped him on in those daily tramps through the woods, and the buoyant, exhilarating effect of the exercise can be realized only by those who have had the same experience. The hope of success, the fears of disappointment, the continual suspense and wonder which fill the mind of the young trapper, all combine to invest this sport with a charm known to no other. Trapping does not consist merely in the manufacture and setting of the various traps. The study of the habits and peculiarities of the different game—here becomes a matter of great importance; and the study of natural history under these circumstances affords a continual source of pleasure and profit.
Among the most useful, although the most cruel, of inventions used by the professional trapper are the steel traps; so much so that the author would gladly omit them. But as they are of such unfailing action, of such universal efficacy, and in many cases are the only ones that can be used, any book on trapping would certainly be incomplete without them. The scope of our volume not only embraces the arts of trapping and trap-making, but extends further into the subject of the wild life of a trapping campaign,—containing full directions for building log cabins, and shanties; boats and canoes; hints on food and cooking utensils; also full directions for the curing and tanning of fur skins,—in short, a complete repository of all useful information pertaining to the life and wants of a professional trapper.
In the preparation of the work no pains have been spared to insure clearness in general directions, and every point which would be likely to