Other Means of Capturing Game. 263
should be thrown on the ground, and the trap placed on the way to it; then the animal's mind, being fixed on the meat, takes less heed of the footpath. Or a pitfall should be made near the main path ; this being subsequently stopped by boughs, causes the animal to walk in the bushes, and to tumble into the covered hole. The slightest thing diverts an animal's step : watch a wild beast's path across a forestlittle twigs and tufts of grass will be seen to have changed its course, and caused it to curve. It is in trifles of this sort that the trapper should look for auxiliaries. After setting traps, Mr. St. John recommends the use of a small branch of a tree ; first, to smooth the ground, and then, having dipped it in water, to sprinkle the place : this entirely obliterates all foot-marks.
Springes.-General Remarks.-Harden the wood of which the mechanism has to be made, by means of fire ; either baking it in hot sand or ashes, or otherwise applying heat to a degree just short of charring its surface. The mechanism will then retain the sharpness of its edges under a continuance of pressure, and during many hours of wet weather. The slighter the strain on the springe, the more delicately can its mechanism be set.
1Vnoses.-Catgut (which see) makes better nooses than string, because it is stiff enough to keep in shape when set : brass wire that has been heated red-hot, is excellent ; for it has no tendency whatever to twist, and yet is perfectly pliable. Fish-hooks are sometimes attached to springes ; sometimes a tree is bent down and a strong cord is used for the noose, by which large animals are strangled up in the air, as leopards are in Abyssinia. A noose may be set in any place where there is a run ; it can be kept spread out, by thin rushes or twigs set crosswise in it. If the animal it is set for can gnaw, a heavy stone should be loosely propped up, which the animal in its struggles may set free, and by the weight of which it may be hung up and strangled. It is a very convenient plan for a traveller who has not time to look for runs, to make little hedges across a creek, or at right angles to a clump of trees, and to set his snares in gaps left in these artificial hedges. On the same principle, artificial islands of piles and faggots