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The Gun Trap


After a Puma has succeeded in capturing his prey, and has satisfied

his appetite by devouring a portion of its carcass, he leaves the

remainder for a second meal, and his early return to a second banquet

is almost a matter of certainty. Where such a remnant of a bygone

feast is found, the capture of the Cougar is an easy matter. Any

carcass left in a neighborhood where Pumas are known to exist is

sure to attract them,
nd day after day its bulk will be found to

decrease until the bones only remain. By thus baiting a certain

place and drawing the Pumas thither, the way is paved for their

most certain destruction. The gun-trap is very simply constructed,

and may be put in working order in a very few moments. The weapon

may be a rifle or shot-gun. In the latter case it should be heavily

loaded with buck-shot. The stock should be first firmly tied to

some tree, or secured in a stout crotch driven into the ground,

the barrel being similarly supported.

The gun should be about three feet from the ground, and should

be aimed at some near tree to avoid possible accident to a chance

passer-by within its range. The gun should then be cocked, but

not capped, due caution being always used, and the cap adjusted

the very last thing after the trap is baited and set. Where a rifle

is used, the cartridge should not be inserted until the last thing.

It is next necessary to cut a small sapling about a foot or two

in length. Its diameter should allow it to fit snugly inside the

guard in front of the trigger, without springing the hammer. Its

other end should now be supported by a very slight crotch, as shown

in our illustration. Another sapling should next be procured, its

length being sufficient to reach from the muzzle of the gun to

the end of the first stick, and having a branch stub or hook on

one end. The other extremity should be attached by a string to

the tip of the first slick.

Now take a portion of the carcass and draw it firmly over the hook

in the long stick. Prop the latter in such a position as that the

bait shall hang directly in front of the muzzle. The crotch supporting

the bait stick should be firmly implanted in the ground in order

to hold the bait from being drawn to either side of the muzzle.

The gun-trap is now set, and its merits may be tested. Before adjusting

the cap the pieces should be tried several times to insure their

perfect working. A slight pull on the bait from the front will

draw the short stick forward. This immediately

acts on the trigger and causes the hammer to snap. By a few trials,

the sticks can be arranged so as to spring the trigger easily,

and where a hair trigger is used, a mere touch on the bait will

suffice to discharge the gun. When all is found to work perfectly,

the trap should be surrounded by a rude pen of sticks and branches,

extending two or three feet beyond the muzzle, in order to insure

an approach directly in the aim of the gun. The cap should now be

placed on the nipple, after which the deadly device may be left

to do its certain work. The remaining portion of the carcass should

be removed, and where the locality is likely to be frequented by

other hunters or trappers, it is well to put up a danger signal

to guard against accident. If desired two or three guns may be

arranged like the spokes of a wheel, all aiming near the bait.

Even with one gun the victim stands but little chance, but where

two or three pour their contents into his body, his death is an

absolute certainty.

By fastening the gun three feet above ground the load is discharged

upward into the mouth of its victim, and thus directly through

the brain. Where two or more guns are used, it is advisable to

aim at least one in such a direction as will send its charge into

the breast of the animal.

The Indian Panther is very commonly taken by the gun trap, and

even Lions are sometimes secured by the same device, only increased

in power by a larger number of guns.

There are several other methods of setting the gun trap. One way

consists in attaching a string to the finger piece of the trigger,

passing it back through a small staple or screw eye inserted in

the under side of the stock for that purpose, and then drawing

the string forward and attaching it to the top of the bait stick.

This latter is stuck in the ground directly in front of the muzzle

and the bait secured to its extremity. When the tempting morsel is

grasped, the bait stick is drawn forward and the string pulled, the

result of course being the discharge of the gun. By still another

method, an elastic is passed through the screw eye in the stock and

over the finger piece of the trigger, thus tending continually to

draw it back and spring the hammer. To set the gun a short stick

is inserted behind the finger piece, thus overcoming the power

of the elastic. It should be very delicately adjusted, so that a

mere touch will dislodge it. Its length should be about six inches,

and to its other end the bait stick should be attached and arranged

as first described. Although a rather dangerous trap to be set at

random it is nevertheless often utilized and has brought many a

dreaded marauder to his doom.

The bear, lynx, and other large animals are sometimes taken by the

gun trap, but it is most generally set for the Puma.