Categories: TRAPS FOR LARGE GAME.
The tiger is the scourge of India and Southern Asia and some sections
of these countries are so terribly infested with
the brutes that the inhabitants are kept in a continual state of
terror by their depredations. Many methods are adopted by the natives
for the destruction of the terrible creatures, some of which have
already been described. The pit-fall is still another device by
which this lurking marauder is
ften captured and destroyed. It
sometimes consists of a mere pit covered and baited in the haunts of
the tiger, or is constructed in a continuous deep ditch surrounding
the habitations of the natives, and thus acting as a secure protection.
The pit is about twelve feet deep and ten feet in width, and its
outside edge is lined with a hedge five or six feet in height.
As the fierce brute steals upon his intended prey, he nears the
hedge and at one spring its highest branch is cleared. He reaches
the earth only to find himself at the bottom of a deep pit, from
which there is no hope of escape, and where he speedily becomes
the merciless victim of a shower of deadly arrows and bullets.
Happily we have no tigers in the United States, but the puma and
the lynx are both fit subjects for the pit-fall. These animals
cannot be said to exist in such numbers as to become a scourge
and a stranger to the inhabitants of any neighborhood, and for
this reason the Moat arrangement of the pit-fall is not required.
The simple pit is often used, and when properly constructed and
baited is a very sure trap. The hole should be about twelve feet
in depth and eight feet across, widening at the bottom. Its opening
should be covered with slicks, earth and leaves, so arranged as
to resemble the surroundings as much as possible, but so lightly
adjusted as that they will easily give way at a slight pressure.
One edge of the opening should now be closely built up with stakes
firmly inserted into the ground, and so constructed as to form a
small pen in the middle, in which to secure the bait, generally
a live turkey, goose, or other fowl. The other three sides should
also be hedged in by a single row of upright stakes three or four
feet in height, and a few inches apart in order that the hungry
puma may whet his appetite by glimpses between them.
They should be firmly imbedded in the earth directly at the edge
of the pit, and as far as possible trimmed of their branches on the
inside. There will thus be a small patch of solid ground for the
feet of the fowl, which should be tied by the leg in the enclosure.
Our trap is now set, and if there is a puma in the neighborhood he
will be sure to pay it a call and probably a visit.
Spying his game, he uses every effort to reach it through the
crevices between the stakes. The cries of the frightened fowl arouse
and stimulate his appetite, and at last exasperated by his futile
efforts to seize his victim, he springs over the fence of stakes
and is lodged in the depths of the pit.
The puma is very agile of movement, and unless the pit is at least
twelve feet in depth there is danger of his springing out. Any
projecting branch on the inside of the stakes affords a grasp for
his ready paw, and any such branch, if within the reach of his
leap, is sure to effect his escape. For this reason it is advisable
to trim smoothly all the projections and leave no stub or knot
hole by which he could gain the slightest hold. The construction
of a pit-fall is a rather difficult operation on account of the
digging which it necessitates. On this account it is not so much
used as many other traps which are not only equally effective but
much more easily constructed. The following is an example:--