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The Wild Goose Trap


In our northern cold regions, where the wild geese and ptarmigan

flock in immense numbers, this trap is commonly utilized. It consists

merely of a large net fifty feet in length, and fifteen in width,

arranged on a framework, and propped in a slanting position by

two poles, after the manner of the sieve trap. It is generally

set on the ice; and the trapper, after attaching his strings to

the props, and sprinkling his b
it at the foot of the net, retires

to a distance to await his chances. Tame geese are often used as

decoys, and sometimes the bird whistle already described is used

for the same purpose. For the capture of the ptarmigan, the bait

consists of a heap of gravel. It is hard to imagine a less tempting

allurement, but as the food of the birds during the winter is sapless

and hard, it becomes necessary for them to swallow a considerable

amount of gravel to promote digestion. The great depth of the snow

renders this commodity very scarce during the winter season; and

the Indians, taking advantage of this fact, succeed in capturing

immense numbers of the game in nets by the use of that simple

allurement. The gravel is packed on the surface of a pile of snow,

placed under the centre of the net, and the draw-string is carried

to some neighboring shrubbery or place of concealment, where the

trapper can always get at it without being seen by the birds under

the net.

When everything is thus prepared, the hunters start out into the

adjacent woods and willows, and drive their game toward the nets.

This is generally an easy matter, and, no sooner do the birds come

in sight of the heap of gravel, than they fly towards it en masse,

and the ground beneath the net is soon covered with the hungry game.

The hunter then goes to the end of the line, and, with a sudden pull,

hauls down the stakes: the net fans over the birds, and they are


Hundreds of ptarmigan are often thus caught by a single sweep of

the net. The trap is simply arranged, and may be constructed on

a reduced scale for smaller birds, if desired.