Categories: STEEL TRAPS AND THE ART OF TRAPPING.
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 da
gerous 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.
Their inroads upon herds and sheep folds are sometimes horrifying,
and a single wolf has been known to kill as many as forty sheep
in a single night, seemingly from mere blood-thirsty desire.
In the early colonization of America, wolves ran wild over the
country in immense numbers, and were a source of great danger;
but now, owing to wide-spread civilization, they have disappeared
from the more settled localities and are chiefly found in Western
wilds and prairie lands.
The Grey Wolf is the largest and most formidable representative of
the Dog tribe on this continent. Its general appearance is truthfully
given in our drawing. Its length, exclusive of the tail, is about
four feet, the length of the tail being about a foot and a half.
Its color varies from yellowish grey to almost
white in the northern countries, in which latitude the animal is
sometimes found of an enormous size, measuring nearly seven feet in
length. The fur is coarse and shaggy about the neck and haunches,
and the tail is bushy. They abound in the region east of the Rocky
Mountains and northward, and travel in packs of hundreds in search
of prey. Bisons, wild horses, deer and even bears fall victims
to their united fierceness, and human beings, too, often fall a
prey to their ferocious attacks.
The Coyote, or Common Prairie Wolf, also known as the Burrowing
Wolf, as its name implies inhabits the Western plains and prairies.
They are much smaller than the Grey Wolf, and not so dangerous. They
travel in bands and unitedly attack whatever animal they desire
to kill. Their homes are made in burrows which they excavate in the
ground. The Texan Wolf inhabits the latitude of Texas and southward.
It is of a tawny red color and nearly as large as the grey species,
possessing the same savage nature.
In April or May the female wolf retires to her burrow or den, and
her young, from six to ten in number, are brought forth.
The wolf is almost as sly and cunning as the fox, and the same
caution is required in trapping the animal. They are extremely keen
scented, and the mere touch of a human hand on the trap is often
enough to preclude the possibility of capture. A mere footprint,
or the scent of tobacco juice, they look upon with great suspicion,
and the presence of either will often prevent success.
The same directions given in regard to trapping the fox are equally
adapted for the wolf. The trap (size No, 4, page 141) should be
smoked or smeared with beeswax or blood, and set in a bed of ashes
or other material as therein described, covering with moss, chaff,
leaves or some other light substance. The clog should be fully
twice as heavy as that used for the fox. Some trappers rub the
traps with brake leaves, sweet fern, or even skunk's cabbage.
Gloves should always be worn in handling the traps, and all tracks
should be obliterated as much as if a fox were the object sought
to be secured.
A common way of securing the wolf consists in setting the trap
in a spring or puddle of water, throwing the dead body of some
large animal in the water beyond the trap in such a position that
the wolf will be obliged to tread upon the trap, in order to reach
the bait. This method is described both under the head of the Fox
and the Bear.
Another plan is to fasten the bait between two trees which are
very close together, setting a trap on each side and carefully
concealing them as already directed, and securing each to a clog
of about twenty pounds in weight. The enclosure described on page
144 is also successful.
There are various scent or trail baits used in trapping the wolf.
Oil of Assafoetida is by many trappers considered the best, but
Oil of Rhodium, powdered fennel, fenugreek and Cummin Oil are also
much used. It is well to smear a little of the first mentioned oil
near the traps, using any one of the other substances, or indeed a
mixture of them all, for the trail. This may be made by smearing the
preparation on the sole of the boots and walking in the direction
of the traps, or by dragging from one trap to another a piece of
meat scented with the substance, as described under the head of
The wolf is an adept at feigning death, playing 'possum with a
skill which would do credit to that veritable animal itself.
A large dead-fall, constructed of logs, page 17, when skilfully
scented and baited, will often allure a wolf into its clutches,
and a very strong twitch-up, with a noose formed of heavy wire, or
a strip of stout calf hide, will successfully capture the crafty
In skinning the wolf the hide may be removed either by, first ripping
up the belly, or in a circular piece, as described connection with
the fox, both methods being much used. The board and hoop stretchers
used in preparing the skin are described on pages 273 and 275.