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´╗┐Title: Wolf and Coyote Trapping - An Up-to-Date Wolf Hunter's Guide, Giving the Most - Successful Methods of Experienced Wolfers for Hunting and - Trapping These Animals, Also Gives Their Habits in Detail.
Author: Harding, A. R. (Arthur Robert), 1871-1930
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wolf and Coyote Trapping - An Up-to-Date Wolf Hunter's Guide, Giving the Most - Successful Methods of Experienced Wolfers for Hunting and - Trapping These Animals, Also Gives Their Habits in Detail." ***

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Wolf and Coyote

An Up-to-Date Wolf Hunter's Guide, Giving the
Most Successful Methods of Experienced
"Wolfers" for Hunting and Trapping
These Animals, Also Gives
Their Habits in Detail.


Published by

Copyright 1909


  I. The Timber Wolf
  II. The Coyote
  III. Killing of Stock and Game by Wolves
  IV. Bounties
  V. Hunting Young Wolves and Coyotes
  VI. Hunting Wolves with Dogs
  VII. Still Hunting Wolves and Coyotes
  VIII. Poisoning Wolves
  IX. Trapping Wolves
  X. Scents and Baits
  XI. Scent Methods
  XII. Bait Methods for Wolves
  XIII. Southern Bait Methods for Coyotes
  XIV. Northern Bait Methods for Coyotes
  XV. Blind Set Methods
  XVI. Snow Set Methods
  XVII. Some Rules and Things to Remember
  XVIII. The Treacherous Grey Wolf
  XIX. Wolf Catching
  XX. With the Coyotes
  XXI. Wolf Trapping an Art


  Map Showing the Range of the Timber Wolf
  Western Grey Wolf in a Trap
  Track of the Grey Wolf
  Coyote and Badger Killed in Texas
  A Trapped Coyote
  Track of the Coyote
  Wolves Killing a Deer
  Remains of Deer Killed by Wolves
  Grey Wolf
  Diagrams showing Difference in Size of Wolves and Coyotes
  A Wyoming Wolf Den
  A Near View of the Den
  Young Wolves at Entrance of Den
  The Hunter's Outfit
  An Oklahoma Hunter with Young Coyotes
  Catch of a Canadian Hunter
  A Still Hunter and His Outfit
  Killed by the Still Hunt
  Method of Preparing Poison Baits
  The Newhouse Wolf Trap
  The Two-Pronged Drag
  Method of Attaching an Oblong Stone
  Method of Attaching a Triangular Stone
  Iron Stakes for Traps
  Trap Set and Ready for Covering
  Wyoming Wolf Trapper
  Caught in a Scent Set
  Trail Bait Set
  The Square Setting
  Coyote Caught at a Bank Set
  Wolf Water Set
  A Trapped Wolf
  A Trapped Texas Coyote
  A Northern Coyote
  An Idaho Coyote
  A Trail Set
  Traps Set at Badger Den
  A Good Catch
  A Snow Set
  A Large Wisconsin Wolf
  Mr. Davis with the Big Wolf Skins
  A Texas Specimen
  Caught at Last
  A Northern Wolf

  [Illustration: A. R. Harding.]


There are certain wild animals which when hard pressed by severe cold
and hunger, will raid the farmers and ranchmen's yards, killing fowls
and stock. There however, are no animals that destroy so much stock
as wolves and coyotes as they largely live upon the property of
farmers, settlers and ranchmen to which they add game as they can get

While these animals are trapped, shot, poisoned, hunted with dogs,
etc., their numbers, in some states, seem to be on the increase
rather than the decrease in face of the fact that heavy bounties are

The fact that wolf and coyote scalps command a bounty, in many
states, and in addition their pelts are valuable, makes the hunting
and trapping of these animals of no little importance.

One thing that has helped to keep the members of these "howlers" so
numerous is the fact that they are among the shrewdest animal in
America. The day of their extermination is, no doubt, far in the

This book contains much of value to those who expect to follow the
business of catching wolves and coyotes. A great deal of the habits
and many of the methods were written by Mr. E. Kreps, who has had
experience with these animals upon the Western Plains, in Canada, and
the South. Additional information has been secured from Government
Bulletins and experienced "wolfers" from various parts of America.

  A. R. Harding.




Wolves of all species belong to that class of animals known as the
dog family, the members of which are considered to be the most
intelligent of brute animals. They are found, in one species or
another, in almost every part of the world. They are strictly
carnivorous and are beyond all doubt the most destructive of all wild

In general appearance the wolf resembles a large dog having erect
ears, elongated muzzle, long heavy fur and bushy tail. The size and
color varies considerably as there are many varieties.

The wolves of North America may be divided into two distinct groups,
namely, the large timber wolves, and the prairie wolves or coyotes
(ki'-yote). Of the timber wolves there are a number of varieties,
perhaps species, for there is considerable difference in size and
color. For instance there is the small black wolf which is still
found in Florida, and the large Arctic wolf which is found in far
Northern Canada and Alaska, the color of which is a pure white with a
black tip to the tail. Then there is that intermediate variety known
as the Grey Wolf, also called "Timber Wolf," "Lobo" and "Wolf," the
latter indefinite name being used throughout the West to distinguish
the animal from the prairie species. It is the most common of the
American wolves, the numbers of this variety being in excess of all
of the others combined. In addition to those mentioned, there are
others such as the Red Wolf of Texas and the Brindled Wolf of Mexico.
All of these, however, belong to the group known to naturalists as
the Timber Wolves. Just how many species and how many distinct
varieties there are is not known.

As a rule, the largest wolves are found in the North; the Gray Wolves
of the western plains being slightly smaller than the white and Dusky
Wolves of Northern Canada and Alaska, specimens of which, it is said,
sometimes weigh as much as one hundred and fifty pounds. Again the
wolves of the southern part of the United States and of Mexico are
smaller than the gray variety.

  [Illustration: The Range of the Timber Wolf.]

The average full grown wolf will measure about five feet in length,
from the end of the nose to the tip of the tail, and will weigh from
eighty to one hundred pounds, but specimens have been killed which
far exceeded these figures. The prevailing color is gray, being
darkest on the back and dusky on the shoulders and hips. The tail is
very bushy and the fur of the body is long and shaggy. The ears are
erect and pointed, the muzzle long and heavy, the eyes brown and
considering the fierce, bloodthirsty nature of the animal, have a
very gentle expression.

In early days wolves were found in all parts of the country but they
have been exterminated or driven out of the thickly settled portions
and their present distribution in the United States is shown by the
accompanying map. As will be noted they are found in only a small
portion of Nevada and none are found in California, but they are to
be met with in all other states west of the Missouri and the lower
Mississippi, also all of the most southern tier of states, as well as
those parts bordering on Lake Superior. A few are yet found in the
Smokey Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. They are probably
most abundant in Northern Michigan and Northern Minnesota, Western
Wyoming, Montana and New Mexico.

Wyoming is the center of the wolf infested country and they are found
in greatest numbers in that state, on the headwaters of the Green
River. As to the numbers still found the report of the Biological
Survey for the years 1895 to 1906, inclusive, but not including the
year 1898, shows that bounties were paid on 20,819 wolves in that

In Northern Michigan they are also abundant. In the year 1907,
thirty-four wolves were killed in Ontonagon County; in Luce County
fifty-four were killed up to November 10th, '07, and in Schoolcraft
Co., thirty were killed from October 1st, '07 to April 29th, '08.
This gives a total of one hundred and eighteen wolves killed in three
out of the sixteen counties of the Upper Peninsula. These statistics
are from a pamphlet issued by the Department of Agriculture.

The breeding season of the timber wolves is not as definite as that
of many of the furbearing animals, for the young make their
appearance from early in March until in May, and an occasional litter
will be born during the summer, even as late as August. The mating
season of course varies, but is mainly in January and February, the
period of gestation being nine weeks. The number in a litter varies
from five to thirteen, the usual number being eight or ten.

In early days the wolves of the western plains followed the great
buffalo herds and preyed on the young animals, also the old and
feeble. After the extermination of that animal they turned their
attention to the herds of cattle which soon covered the great western
range and their depredations have become a positive nuisance. In the
Northern States and throughout Canada they subsist almost entirely on
wild game.

  [Illustration: Western Grey Wolf in a Trap.]

Wolves den in the ground or rocks in natural dens if such can be
found, but in case natural excavations are rare as in northern
portions of the country, they appropriate and enlarge the homes of
other animals. In the heavily timbered country they sometimes den in
hollow logs.

The wolf is both cowardly and courageous, depending on circumstances.
When found singly, and especially in daylight the animal is as much
of a coward as any creature could possibly be, and especially does it
fear man. But when suffering from the pangs of hunger and when
traveling in bands as they usually do, they are bold, fierce and
bloodthirsty creatures. In such cases they have been known to attack

When hunting large game, wolves always go in bands, usually of three
to five but often a larger number. They invariably kill animals by
springing on from behind and hamstringing the victim. Small game is
hunted by lone animals.

The great losses suffered by stockmen in the West led the Biological
Survey, in connection with the Forest Service of the Department of
Agriculture, to make a special investigation, and later a general
campaign against the wolves of the National Forests began. During the
year 1907 a large number of wolves and coyotes were captured in and
near the forest reserves: the number from the various states being as

  STATE.        WOLVES.     COYOTES.

  Wyoming        1,009        1,983
  Montana          261        2.629
  Idaho             14        3,881
  Washington        10          675
  Colorado          65        2,362
  Oklahoma           3           15
  New Mexico       232          544
  Arizona          127        1,424
  Utah                        5,001
  Nevada                        500
  California                    224
  Oregon             2        3,290
                ------       ------
  Total          1,723       22,528

Many of these animals were captured by the forest guards but in
addition the government employed a number of expert trappers.

On the Gila National Forest 36 wolves and 30 coyotes were killed by
one forest guard, who sent the skulls to the Biological Survey for
identification, as well as the skulls of 9 bears, 7 mountain lions,
17 bobcats, and 46 grey foxes. One den of 8 very young wolf pups was
taken March 13. These statistics are from Circular 63, issued by the
U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Wolves are great ramblers, traveling over a large section of country.
Like almost all other animals of rambling habits, they have their
regular routes of travel. By this, we mean they follow the same
valleys, passes, water courses, etc., but when in pursuit of game
they sometimes stray quite a long distance out of their course.

  [Illustration: Track of the Grey Wolf, Compared With That of a

The track of the wolf resembles that of a dog, but is a trifle
narrower in proportion to its length. The difference is in the two
middle toes, which are somewhat longer on the wolf, however, the
difference is so slight that it could easily pass unnoticed. When the
wolf is running these toes are spread well apart. The length of step
when the animal is walking will be from 18 to 24 inches, and the
average footprint will measure about 2 3/4 or 3 inches in width by
about 3 1/2 or 4 inches in length. Ernest Thompson Seton, the
naturalist claims that he can judge with fair accuracy, the weight of
a wolf by the size of the track. He allows twenty pounds for each
inch in length, of the foot print.



In the western parts of the United States, the coyote is far more
abundant than the grey, or timber wolf, but its range is more limited
as it is found only in those parts lying west of the Mississippi
River and in the western portion of the Dominion of Canada. As there
are a number of varieties of the timber wolf, so it is with the
coyote, but naturalists have never yet been able to agree on the
number of types and their distribution. In the Southwest, it appears
there are several distinct varieties, showing considerable difference
in size and color. Mr. Vasma Brown, a noted coyote trapper of Texas
has the following to say on the subject:

"I have lived in Texas nineteen years and have had some years of
experience with the coyotes, coons and cats. Some coyotes are of a
silver-grey color, others are dark brown. The ends of their hair are
jet black and it makes them look brown. Some have black tips on the
tail and some white. The dark variety are the most vicious of the

With the exception of the southwestern section, it is probable that
the coyotes of all portions of the Great Plains and the country to
the westward are of the same variety, and a description of this, the
most common type will answer for the species. In size, the coyote or
prairie wolf is considerably smaller than the timber wolf, the
largest specimens of the former being about equal in size to the
smallest adult wolves. The average coyote will measure about
thirty-six or thirty-eight inches from the end of the nose to the
base of the tail, which is about sixteen inches additional length.
The fur is of about the same texture as that of the grey fox and the
general color is fulvous, black and white hairs being mingled in
parts, giving a grizzled appearance. The ears are larger,
comparatively than those of the grey wolf, and the muzzle is more
pointed. All through the animal appears to be of more delicate build.
A larger form of the coyote is found in Minnesota and the adjoining
territory and is commonly known as the "brush wolf". Whether this is
a distinct variety is not known.

Coyotes are intelligent and cunning animals and their habits and
general appearance suggest the fox rather than the wolf. While they
are greedy, bloodthirsty creatures, they are sneaking and cowardly
and never kill animals larger than deer, in fact they rarely attack
such large game. An Arizona trapper writes:

"The coyote bears the same relation to the wolf family that the
Apache Indian does to the human race. It is a belief among some of
the Apaches that they turn into coyotes when they depart this life,
and nothing will induce one of them to kill a coyote. Like the Indian
he is sneaky and treacherous, and full of the devil."

While there is no doubt that the animal enjoys its wild, free life,
it always has a miserable, distressed expression. It carries its tail
in a drooping manner and slinks out of sight like a dog that has been
doing wrong and has a troubled conscience.

The high piercing cry of the animal, which is so different from the
deep bass note of the timber wolf, is mournful in the extreme. In the
morning before the coyotes retire for the day, they stop on the top
of some elevation and sound their "reveille", which once heard will
never be forgotten. It is a shrill, piercing note, combining a howl
with a bark and although in all probability there will be only a pair
of the animals, one who does not know would be inclined to think that
the number is larger, the notes are so commingled.

  [Illustration: Coyote and Badger Killed in Texas.]

Coyotes live in natural dens in the rocks, also in dens of badgers,
in the prairie country. In the "Bad Lands" of the West and the foot
hills of the mountain ranges, wind worn holes in the rim-rock and
buttes are quite common and the animals have no trouble in securing a
good den. Naturally, they select the most secluded and inaccessible
places for their dens. The food of the coyote consists of small game,
such as hares and grouse, prairie dogs and any other small animals
that they can capture. In the sheep raising districts of the Western
States they are very destructive to sheep and in those parts it is
probable that their food consists mostly of mutton. They feed on
carrion and have a particular liking for horse flesh. They also kill
badgers and when conditions are very favorable may kill an occasional
deer or antelope. They also sometimes kill calves and hogs.

Speaking of conditions in Oregon and other parts of the Northwest,
one of our friends writes:

"The prairie wolf or coyote in the Western states are becoming so
numerous that it looks as though the sheep industry in Idaho and
Eastern Oregon would soon be a thing of the past, if something it not
done to lesson the number of the destructive coyotes.

"Twenty years ago there were a great many coyotes in Oregon, but the
black tail rabbits were so numerous then that the coyote contented
himself with them and did not molest the sheep to any great extent.
Idaho and Oregon both put a bounty on rabbits, which soon caused them
to become scarce, then the coyotes began their depredations among the
sheep. The wool growers supplied themselves with plenty of strychnine
and kept the coyote reduced to quite an extent. Of late years it
seems that poison will not kill a coyote. As soon as he feels the
effect of the poison he throws up the bait he has just eaten, and in
a few minutes he is all right.

The only way to kill coyotes these days is with the gun, the trap or
with dogs. They are so thick here now that hounds would not be much
good, as the coyotes would change at any time and run them down. I
don't think there was a band of sheep anywhere in this country but
what suffered more or less from coyotes last winter. I trapped some
last winter for the Munz Brothers, and I saw where 48 sheep had been
killed at one camp. They had been camped there about ten days. This
is about an average killing if the weather is stormy.

"In Southeastern Oregon there is a desert about one hundred miles
square, and thirty or forty bands of sheep feed there every winter.
They run from two to three thousand sheep in a band. The sheep men on
this desert last winter, 1904-'05, paid $40.00 per month and board
for trappers to trap coyotes, and the trappers were allowed to keep
the furs they caught. Some of them made very large wages."

It is said that when hunting rabbits, two coyotes will join forces
and in this way one animal will drive the game to within reach of the
other, thus avoiding the fatigue caused by running down game.
Naturalists also claim that the adult animals will sometimes drive
the game close to the den, so that the young coyotes may have the
opportunity of killing it. They frequently pick up scraps about the
camps, and if undisturbed, will in a short time, lose much of their
timidity. Old camping places are always inspected in the hopes of
finding some morsel of food, and one can always find coyote tracks in
the ashes of the campfire.

Though the coyote belongs to the flesh-eating class of animals, it is
not strictly carnivorous. In late summer when the wild rose tips are
red and sweet and berries are plentiful, its flesh eating
propensities forsake it in part and it adds fruit to its "bill of
fare". Whether this is caused by hunger or a change of appetite, or
whether the fruit acts as a tonic and the animal, instinctively,
realizes that it must tone up its system in preparation for the long
winter, is not known.

  [Illustration: A Trapped Coyote.]

Coyotes have a more regular breeding season than the timber wolves,
for practically all of the young make their appearance in the months
of April and May. The number of young varies from five to twelve. The
young animals are of a yellowish grey color with brown ears and black
tail, muzzle tawny or yellowish brown. As they become older they take
on a lighter shade and the tail changes to greyish with a black tip.
Both wolves and coyotes pair for the breeding season and the males
stay with the females during the summer and help take care of the
young. It is probable that they do not breed until two years of age.
As soon as the young are strong enough, and their eyes are open they
commence to play about the mouth of the den and later on the mother
leads them to the nearest water and finally allows them to accompany
her on hunting excursions. In late summer they start out to shift for

As before mentioned, the coyote is a wary and cunning animal,
especially in the more settled portions of its range; where man is
not too much in evidence, they are far less wary. Again the fact that
there are several varieties may account for the difference in the
nature of the animals of the various sections, anyway those of the
southern part of the range are less wary than those of the North. The
trappers of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico claim that the coyote is a
fool and is easily caught while those of the North and Northwest find
them exceedingly cunning and intelligent. Not only does the animal
appear to know when you are armed but it also seems to know something
of the range of the weapon and will sneak along provokingly close,
but just out of reach. When one is unarmed they appear to be more
bold and will loaf around in the most unconcerned manner imaginable.

In intelligence and cunning, we consider the northern coyote the
equal of the eastern red fox. While the western trappers make very
large catches of coyotes, we believe that if foxes were found in
equal numbers the catches of those animals would be fully as large.
The number of coyotes found in some parts of the West is almost
incredible, and in most parts one will find a hundred coyotes to one
grey wolf.

  [Illustration: Track of the Coyote.]

The coyote makes a track similar to that of the timber wolf, but
considerably smaller. The length of step, when walking, is about
sixteen inches and the footprints will measure about two or two and a
fourth inches in length by one and a half in width.



Undoubtedly the wolves and coyotes of the United States and Canada
destroy more stock and game than all other predatory animals
combined. In the Western part of our country where stock raising is
one of the principal industries, the ranchmen suffer great losses
from the depredation of these animals, and in other sections the
wolves destroy large quantities of game. The reason that wolves are
more destructive than others of the carnivora is that when they have
the opportunity, they kill far more than they can consume for food.
Often they only tear a mouthful of flesh from the body of their
victim; sometimes they do not even kill the animal but leave it to
suffer a slow and painful death. The animals that are only slightly
bitten are sure to die from blood poisoning, according to the western

  [Illustration: Wolves Killing a Deer.]

The wolf's method of attack is from the rear, springing on its victim
and hamstringing it and literally eating it alive. The bite of the
wolf is a succession of quick, savage snaps and there is no salvation
for the creature that has no means of defense from a rear attack.
This peculiar method of killing prey can not be practiced
successfully on horses, owing to the fact that they can defend
themselves by kicking, but for all of that, a considerable number of
colts and a few full grown horses are killed. For this reason cattle
suffer more than horses, but while the horse is, to a certain extent,
exempt from attack by wolves, they are frequently killed by mountain
lions, because their method of attack, a spring at the head and
throat is more successful with these animals than with cattle. As
food, however, horse flesh is preferred to beef by both of these

One of the western trappers writes:

"Many times in the past thirty years I have watched wolves catch
cows. The wolf is by nature a coward and will not, singly, attack a
grown cow, though he will by himself kill a pig, chicken, calf, goat
or sheep.

"On the ranges, where the stockmen and settlements are far apart,
wolves go in bunches, from three to ten or even more, and when very
hungry a bunch of them will attack a grown bull. They frighten him by
snapping and playing around him till they get him on the run, when
the bunch give full chase and stay close at his heels. While he is
running in this way, one or more of them will grab him by the ham
strings just above the hock joint. The bull makes, of course, a
vigorous effort to free himself from the wolf, but before he can do
so, the sharp teeth of the latter have cut or partially cut the ham
string. They keep him on the run till they finally cut him down in
both ham strings and then he cannot go further or fight the hungry
wolves off.

"The whole bunch then eat his hams out while the bull is still alive,
and after they get their full they let him rest. When they want to
fill up again, they return and eat him till he dies, finishing the
carcass as they require food.

"I have seen horses and cattle killed by wolves in this way live for
several days with their hams eaten out, and have never seen the wolf
make his attack or give chase in any other way. Being cowardly, he
always follows behind and keeps out of all danger from the bull's

Of cattle, calves and yearlings are generally selected, partly
because the flesh of the younger animals is more to the wolf's liking
and partly because they cannot defend themselves as readily as full
grown animals, but full grown steers are also killed at times. Far
more cattle are killed than are eaten. The wolf prefers fresh food
always and in summer when their resources are unlimited they seldom
return to the carcass for a second meal.

In "Bulletin 72," issued by the United States Department of
Agriculture, the author, Mr. Vernon Bailey, has the following to say
on the subject:

"The actual number of cattle killed by wolves can not be determined.
Comparatively few animals are found by cattlemen and hunters, when
freshly killed, with wolf tracks around them and with wolf marks on
them. Not all of the adult cattle missing from a herd can surely be
charged the depredations of wolves, while missing calves may have
been taken by wolves, by mountain lions, or by 'rustlers.'"

Nevertheless there are data enough from which to draw fairly reliable
conclusions. In the Green River Basin, Wyoming, on April 2, 1906, Mr.
Charles Budd had 8 yearling calves and 4 colts killed in his pasture
by wolves within six weeks. At Big Piney a number of cattle and a few
horses had been killed around the settlement during the previous fall
and winter. At Pinedale, members of the local stockmen's association
counted 30 head of cattle killed in the valley around Cora and
Pinedale in 1905, between April, when the cattle were turned out on
the range, and June 30, when they were driven to the mountains. In
1906, wolves were said to have come into the pastures near Cora and
Pinedale and begun killing cattle in January on the "feed grounds,"
and Mr. George Glover counted up 22 head of cattle killed by them up
to April 10. Just north of Cora, Mr. Alexander, a well known
ranchman, told me that the wolves killed near his place in June,
1904, a large three year old steer, a cow, 3 yearlings and a horse.
On the G O S Ranch, in the Gila Forest Reserve in New Mexico, May 11
to 30, 1906, the cowboys on the round-up reported finding calves or
yearlings killed by wolves almost daily, and Mr. Victor Culberson,
president of the company, estimated the loss by wolves on the ranch
at 10 per cent. of the cattle.

In a letter to the Biological Survey, under date of April 3, 1896,
Mr. R. M. Allen, general manager of the Standard Cattle Company, with
headquarters at Ames, Neb., and ranches in both Wyoming and Montana,
states that in 1894 his company paid a $5.00 bounty at their Wyoming
ranch on almost exactly 500 wolves. The total loss to Wyoming through
the depredations of wolves Mr. Allen estimated at a million dollars a

In an address before the National Live Stock Association at Denver,
Col., January 25, 1899, Mr. A. J. Bothwell said: "In central Wyoming
my experience has been that these wolves kill from 10 to 20 per cent.
of the annual increase of the herds."

Lieut. E. L. Munson, of Chouteau County, Mont., writing in
_Recreation_, says: "It is said that in this country the loss from
wolves and coyotes is about 15 per cent. * * * Wolves in this
vicinity seldom kill sheep, as the latter are too carefully herded.
They get a good many young colts, but prey especially on young

Mr. J. B. Jennett, of Stanford, Montana, says in _Recreation_: "A
family of wolves will destroy about $3,000 worth of stock per annum."

The loss caused by wolves and coyotes in Big Horn County, Wyo., is
estimated at three hundred thousand dollars per year. It has been
variously estimated that each grey wolf costs the stockmen from two
hundred and fifty to one thousand dollars annually.

Sheep, for some reason, are seldom troubled by timber wolves in the
West, but suffer considerably from the attacks of coyotes; in fact,
the loss occasioned the sheep men of Wyoming and Montana in this way
is enormous. In summer when the sheep are driven up into the
mountains, the coyotes migrate to those sections and kill sheep
whenever the opportunity is presented. In the fall when the sheep are
brought down into the foothills, the coyotes are also to be found in
great numbers in those parts. In all probability there is a greater
loss occasioned by the depredations of coyotes in the two states
mentioned than is caused by wolves and mountain lions combined.
Farther south, however, it is the wolf that does the most mischief.
Where timber wolves are plentiful and very little stock is raised, as
in the northern parts of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, sheep are
not safe from the attacks of wolves, and for that reason few sheep
are raised in those parts. It is probably the fact that the western
range is very open and the sheep always carefully guarded by herders
that they suffer so little from timber wolves in the Western States.

In the swamps of the Southern States, and especially in the lowlands
of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, hogs are sometimes killed by
wolves. In New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Mexico where large numbers
of goats are raised, these animals are frequently killed.

That an immense amount of game is killed in the wilder and less
thickly settled portions of the United States and Canada goes without
saying. In the West the wild game does not suffer as much as does the
domestic animals, but in the heavily timbered portions of the country
where little stock is raised as in the states bordering on Lake
Superior and in the greater part of Canada large numbers of deer and
other game animals fall victims to these fierce creatures. Regarding
the killing of game on the western cattle range, Mr. Bailey has the
following to say:

"At Big Piney, Wyoming, I examined wolf dung in probably fifty places
around dens and along wolf trails. In about nine-tenths of the cases
it was composed mainly or entirely of cattle or horse hair; in all
other cases but one, of rabbit fur and bones, and in this one case
mainly of antelope hair. A herd of 20 or 30 antelope wintered about 5
or 6 miles from this den, and the old wolves frequently visited the
herd, but I could find no other evidence that they destroyed
antelope, though I followed wolf tracks for many miles among the
antelope tracks on the snow. Jack rabbits were killed and eaten along
the trails or brought to the den and eaten near it almost every
night, and a half eaten cottontail was found in the den with the
little pups. While wolves are usually found around antelope herds,
they are probably able to kill only the sick, crippled and young. The
following note from Wyoming appeared in the _Pinedale Roundup_ of
July 4, 1906:

While riding on the outside circle with the late round-up, Nelse
Jorgensen chanced to see a wolf making away with a fawn antelope. He
gave chase to the animal, but it succeeded in getting away, never
letting loose on its catch.

About a den near Cora, the numerous deposits of wolf dung on the
crest of the ridge not far away were found to be composed of horse
and cattle hair, though fresh elk tracks were abundant over the side
hills on all sides of the den, while cattle and horses were then to
be found only in the valley, 8 miles distant. Several jack rabbits
had been brought in and eaten and the old wolf on her way to the den
had laid down her load, evidently a jack rabbit, gone aside some 20
feet and caught a ruffed grouse eaten it on the spot, and then
resumed her load and her journey to the waiting pups. One small
carpal bone in this den may have been from a deer or small elk, but
no other trace of game was found.

Talking with hunters and trappers who spend much time in the
mountains when the snow is on the ground brought little positive
information on the destruction of elk or deer by wolves. Mr. George
Glover, a forest ranger long familiar with the Wind River Mountains
in both winter and summer, said that he had found a large blacktail
buck which the wolves had eaten, but he suspected that it had been
previously shot by hunters. In many winters of trapping where elk
were abundant, Mr. Glover has never found any evidence that elk had
been killed by wolves. Coyotes constantly follow the elk herds,
especially in spring when the calves are being born, and probably
destroy many of the young, but wolves apparently do not share this
habit. It seems probably, however, that in summer the young of both
elk and deer suffer to some extent while the wolves are among them in
the mountains."

In the Northern Peninsula of Michigan, wolves are very plentiful and
large numbers of deer are killed during the winter months, the
remains being found later by hunters, trappers, and lumbermen. The
same conditions exist in Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, also in
parts of Ontario, Canada. In the Rainy River District, wolves have
always been abundant and much game has been killed by them. Farther
east, they are just making their appearance of late years having
followed the deer which are coming into the country from some other
section. Farther east, in the eastern portions of New Ontario and in
some parts of Quebec wolves are also numerous. One of our friends
from Northern Wisconsin writes as follows:

  [Illustration: Remains of Deer Killed by Wolves.]

"I have trapped and caught five old female wolves since I came to
Iron County, Wisconsin, six years ago. Two of them I got in Michigan,
Gogebic County, as I live almost on the line. There are times when
you can see six or eight wolf tracks all going down the river or
coming up at the same time. You can go again for a week and never see
a track. I have followed them for a week, in deep snow on snow shoes,
and never left their track, and in one week I set traps at 50
different deer that wolves had killed. I might have gotten a few more
wolves but the fox, mink, cats, skunk, owls and "porkys" (porcupines)
were bound to butt in. At one set I got a wolf, 3 foxes, 1 skunk, 1
mink and 10 porkys till June.

Two wolves caught a buck that would weigh 150 pounds, within 10 rods
of my camp one night. The next morning there was not one pound of
meat left on the bones.

I had a tent and one shanty in Gogebic County last winter, and I know
the wolves killed 500 deer on the snow. How many fawns and does did
they kill in summer time when you cannot see their tracks? The wild
cats are not so bad, a fawn, rabbit or partridge makes a meal for

In the far north where the barren ground caribou is the principal
game animal, and where wolves are plentiful, there can be no doubt
that they kill large numbers of those animals. Musk oxen are also
killed, and farther south the moose is killed by wolves, but it is
our belief that the number is comparatively small. The moose is such
a large and powerful animal that even a band of half starved wolves
will, as a rule, pass it by, but there can be no doubt of the fact
that they do kill them on rare occasions.

The elk is a great enemy of the wolf and it appears that they are
seldom molested. Beyond all doubt the deer is the principal prey of
the timber wolf.



For many years the state governments of the wolf infested country
have been paying bounties on wolves and coyotes, to encourage the
hunting and trapping of these animals. It is doubtful, however,
whether the bounties offered are sufficient to encourage any, other
than the regular trappers, to hunt wolves, and if they are, it has
certainly had no definite results, for the wolves and coyotes, taken
over the whole country, are practically as plentiful as ever.

Realizing that the state bounties were not a sufficient inducement to
trappers, certain of the counties of those states where wolves are
most abundant, offer additional bounty. This has the effect of
thinning the wolves out of that county alone, but they immediately
become more plentiful in the adjoining portions of the country.

In some of the Western States, the stockmen pay a bounty, in addition
to that offered by the state. Some of them even offer special
inducements, in addition to the bounties paid on the captured
animals, and among them may be mentioned, board and lodging for the
trapper, bait for the traps and the use of saddle and pack horses.

Such special offers to trappers have the effect of stimulating the
hunting and trapping of noxious animals in that immediate vicinity
and the result is, a thinning out of the animals for the time being.
Usually the trappers drift into those sections where the animals are
most plentiful and the bounty is highest.

One of the Government bulletins has the following to say regarding
the bounty question:

"Bounties, even when excessively high, have proved ineffective in
keeping down the wolves, and the more intelligent ranchmen are
questioning whether the bounty system pays. In the past ten years
Wyoming has paid out in State bounties over $65,000 on wolves alone,
and $160,156 on wolves, coyotes and mountain lions together, and to
this must be added still larger sums in local and county bounties on
the same animals."

"In many cases three bounties are paid on each wolf. In the upper
Green River Valley the local stockmen's association pays a bounty of
$10 on each wolf pup, $20 on each grown dog wolf, and $40 on each
bitch with pup. Fremont County adds $3 to each of these, and the
State of Wyoming $3 more. Many of the large ranchers pay a private
bounty of $10 to $20 in addition to the county and state bounty. Gov.
Bryant B. Brooks, of Wyoming, paid six years ago, on his ranch in
Natrona County, $10 each on 50 wolves in one year, and considered it
a good investment, since it practically cleared his range of wolves
for the time. It invariably happens, however, that when cleared out
of one section the wolves are left undisturbed to breed in
neighboring sections, and the depleted country is soon restocked."

"A floating class of hunters and trappers receive most of the bounty
money and drift to the sections where the bounty is highest. If
extermination is left to these men, it will be a long process. Even
some of the small ranch owners support themselves in part from the
wolf harvest, and it is not uncommon to hear men boast that they know
the location of dens, but are leaving the young to grow up for higher
bounty. The frauds, which have frequently wasted the funds
appropriated for the destruction of noxious animals almost vitiate
the wolf records of some of the States: If bounties resulted in the
extermination of the wolves or in an important reduction in their
number, the bounty system should be encouraged, but if it merely
begets fraud and yields a perpetual harvest for the support of a
floating class of citizens, other means should be adopted."

  [Illustration: Grey Wolf, the Kind on Which Bounty is Paid.]

The failure of bounties to accomplish their proposed object was
clearly shown by Dr. T. S. Palmer in 1896. Under the heading, "What
have bounties accomplished," he says:

"Advocates of the bounty system seem to think that almost any species
can be exterminated in a short time if the premiums are only high
enough. Extermination, however, is not a question of months, but of
years, and it is a mistake to suppose that it can be accomplished
rapidly except under extraordinary circumstances, as in the case of
the buffalo and the fur seal. Theoretically, a bounty should be high
enough to insure the destruction of at least a majority of the
individuals during the first season, but it has already been shown
that scarcely a single State has been able to maintain a high rate
for more than a few months, and it is evident that the higher the
rate, the greater the danger of fraud. Although Virginia has
encouraged the killing of wolves almost from the first settlement of
the colony, and has sometimes paid as high as $25 apiece for their
scalps, wolves were not exterminated until about the middle of this
(the past) century, or until the rewards had been in force for more
than two hundred years. Nor did they become extinct in England until
the beginning of the sixteenth century, although efforts toward their
extermination had been begun in the reign of King Edgar (959-975).
France, which has maintained bounties on these animals for more than
a century, found it necessary to increase the rewards to $30 and $40
in 1882, and in twelve years expended no less than $115,000 for
nearly 8,000 wolves."

"The larger animals are gradually becoming rare, particularly in the
East, but it can not be said that bounties have brought about the
extermination of a single species in any State."

"New Hampshire has been paying for bears about as long as Maine, but
in 1894 the State treasurer called attention to the large number
reported by four or five of the towns, and added that should the
other 231 towns 'be equally successful in breeding wild animals for
the State market, in proportion to their tax levy, it would require a
State tax levy of nearly $2,000,000 to pay the bounty claims' Even
New York withdrew the rewards on bears in 1895, not because they had
become unnecessary, but because the number of animals killed
increased steadily each year."

"Wolf skins are often ruined by the requirements of bounty laws,
especially when the head, feet, or ears are cut off. The importance
of preserving the skins in condition to bring the highest market
price is as great as that of making it impossible to collect bounties
twice. A slit in the skin can be sewed up so that it will never show
on the fur side, but can not be concealed on the inside. A single
longitudinal or vertical slit, or double or cross slits 4 inches
long, in the center where the fur is longest, would serve every
purpose of the law without seriously impairing the market value of
the skin."

One thing that is detrimental to the success of the bounty system, is
the invariable "red tape" connected with such laws. In some states
the bounty regulations are so complicated and so exacting, that
trappers do not care to follow "wolfing" because of the trouble in
securing the bounty money.

It would be impossible, in a work of this kind, to give the bounty
laws of the different states, also as they are repealed so
frequently, detailed information on that subject would be of little
value to the prospective hunter or trapper. We give, however, an
outline of the regulations in some of the principal wolf states.

The State of Wyoming pays a bounty of five dollars each on timber
wolves and mountain lions, and one dollar and twenty-five cents for
each coyote. In addition to this, there are both county and
stockmen's bounties in certain parts of the state. Some ranchmen
offer as much as forty-five dollars each, for grey wolves caught on
their ranches.

In order to secure the state bounty, one must present the entire skin
to the County Clerk, or Notary Public, of the county in which the
animal was killed, and accompanied by affidavit to the effect that
the animal was killed in that county, by the person presenting the
skin, on or after March 1st, 1909. The skin must have the feet and
upper jaw or head, with both upper and lower lips attached. The head
will then be cut off and destroyed by the county official. Applicants
for bounty must be identified.

With regard to private bounties, one should consult the county
officials, but these, and in that case, the state bounty also, are as
a rule, paid by the treasurer of the association offering the bounty.

Wisconsin pays twenty dollars on old wolves and eight dollars each on
pups. Half of this bounty money is paid by the state and the other
half by the county. In order to secure it, the trapper must take the
carcass of the animal to the Town Chairman and remove the scalp in
his presence. He gives a certificate to that effect and the bounty
claimant presents the scalp and certificate to the County Clerk, who
destroys the scalp and gives an order to the County Treasurer for
one-half of the bounty. The County Clerk also sends an affidavit to
the State Treasurer, stating that you have presented the scalp and it
has been destroyed and the claimant then receives the balance of the
bounty money from the state.

In the State of Washington the bounty is fifteen dollars on timber
wolves and one dollar on coyotes. The method of procuring the bounty
as given here is copied direct from the game law pamphlet:

"Upon the production to the county auditor of any county of the
entire hide or pelt and right fore leg to the knee joint intact of
any cougar, lynx, wild cat, coyote or timber wolf, killed in such
county, each of which hides or pelts shall show two ears, eye holes,
skin to tip of nose, and right fore leg to the knee join intact, the
county auditor shall require satisfactory proof that such animal was
killed in such county. When the county auditor is satisfied that such
animal was killed in his county, he shall cut from such hide or pelt
the bone of the right fore leg to the knee as aforesaid which shall
be burned in the presence of such auditor and one other county
official, who shall certify to the date and place of such burning."

Utah pays a bounty of ten dollars on grey wolves and two dollars and
fifty cents on coyotes. The entire skin, with tail, feet and the
bones of the leg, to the knee, must be presented to the County Clerk
within sixty days of the date on which said animal was killed. The
County Clerk must then remove and destroy the bones of the legs and
the applicant will sign an affidavit stating that the animal was
killed by himself, in that county and within sixty days prior to that

The county official will then send a certified statement to the State
Auditor, along with the other papers, who, after same have been
examined, will transmit the bounty money to the claimant.

No bounty will be paid on the skin of a grey wolf until it has been
seen and passed upon by the board of county commissioners at their
first regular meeting. Bounty claimants must be identified by a
reputable citizen and tax payer of the county.

In Minnesota the bounty on grown wolves is seven dollars and fifty
cents and one dollar for wolf pups. The bounty regulations are
practically the same as in the other states; the entire skin with
head and ears intact must be presented to the Town Clerk within
thirty days and the applicant must take affidavit as to the date and
place of the killing.

In other states, if our information is correct, the bounties at
present (1909) are as follows:


  Arizona         $10 00                  $2 00
  Arkansas          5 00
  Colorado          5 00                   1 00
  Idaho            10 00?                  1 00?
  Kansas            5 00                   1 00
  Michigan         25 00        $10 00
  Montana          10 00                   3 00
  Nebraska          4 00                   1 25
  New Mexico       20 00                   2 00
  North Dakota      4 50                   2 50
  Oregon           10 00                   7 00
  South Dakota      5 00                   1 50


  Alberta          10 00          1 00     1 00
  British Columbia 15 00                   2.00
  Ontario          15 00
  Quebec           15 00
  Saskatchewan      3 00                   1 00

The fraud so often practiced by unscrupulous parties has always been
detrimental to the efficacy of the bounty system. The Bureau of
Biological Survey, have issued a special circular on this subject and
being of general interest, it is reprinted here.


"The bounty system has everywhere proved an incentive to fraud, and
thousands of dollars are wasted annually in paying bounties on coyote
scalps offered in place of wolves, and on the scalps of dogs, foxes,
coons, badgers, and even cats, which are palmed off for wolves and
coyotes. If in all states having the bounty system whole skins,
including nose, ears, feet, and tail of both adult and young animals,
were required as valid evidence for bounty payments, the possibility
of deception would be reduced to a minimum. The common practice of
paying bounty on scalps alone, or in some cases merely the ears, is
dangerous, as even an expert can not always positively identify such
fragments. A satisfactory way of marking skins on which the bounty
has been paid is by a slit 4 to 6 inches long between the ears. This
does not injure the skins for subsequent use. If all bounty-paying
states would adopt such a system, the possibility of collecting more
than one bounty on the same skin in different states would be

"The following directions have been prepared as an aid to county and
state officers in identifying scalps, skins, and skulls of wolves and
coyotes, the pups of wolves, coyotes, red, grey, and kit foxes, and
young bob-cats, coons and badgers."

"The variation in dogs is so great that no one set of characters will
always distinguish them from wolves or coyotes, but when there is
reason to suspect that dogs are being presented for bounties, their
skins and skulls should be sent to the Biological Survey for positive
identification. It goes without saying that anyone detected in such
fraud should be prosecuted with a view to the suppression of these
dishonest practices."


  Width of nose pad
    WOLF. 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches
    COYOTE. 3/4 to 1 inch

  Width of heel pad of front foot
    WOLF. 1 1/2 to 2 inches
    COYOTE. 1 inch

  Upper canine tooth--greatest diameter at base
    WOLF. 5/10 to 6/10 inch
    COYOTE. 3/10 to 4/10 inch

These characters will not always hold in Oklahoma and Texas east and
south of the Staked Plains, where there is a small wolf in size
between the Coyote and Lobo or Plains wolf.

  [Illustration: Difference in Sizes of Noes, Heel Pads and
Canine Teeth of Wolves and Coyotes.]


  Wolf Pups.
    Muzzle blackish at birth, fading in a month or 6 weeks to
    Head greyish in decided contrast to black of back, nose and ears.
    Ears black at tips, fading to greyish in a month or 6 weeks.
    Tail black, fading to grey with black tip.

  Coyote Pups.
    Muzzle tawny, or yellowish brown, becoming more yellowish with
    Head yellowish grey, not strongly contrasted with rest of body.
    Ears dark brown at tips and back, soon fading to yellowish brown.
    Tail black, fading to grey with black tip.

  Red Fox Pups.
    Muzzle blackish.
    Head dusky with side of face light yellowish.
    Ears large, nearly the whole back of ears bright black at all
    Eyes and ears relatively larger and nose pad smaller than in
      coyote or wolf.
    Tail dusky, tip white at all ages.

  Grey Fox Pups.
    Muzzle blackish.
    Head greyish, face back or eyes sharply pepper and salt grey.
    Ears large, back of ears dusky at tip, fulvous at base.
    Eyes and nose pad small.
    Tail with tip black at all ages.

  Kit Fox Pups.
    Muzzle with blackish patch on each side.
    Head and face tawny or yellowish brown.
    Ears tawny without black backs or tips.
    Eyes larger and nose pad smaller than in young coyote.
    Tail with tip black at all ages.


  Young bobcats are much striped and spotted. Young cats of any kind
    can be distinguished by the short nose and round head.
  Young coons have a broad black band across the face and eyes
    bordered above by a light band.
  Young badgers have a white stripe between the eyes.

The bounty laws have always been a good thing for the trapper as they
have helped much towards making his occupation a lucrative one, but,
as before explained, it is doubtful if it has ever, in any marked
degree, tended to decrease the numbers of predatory animals.

It is true that continued trapping will cause the numbers of wolves
and coyotes to diminish, but would not the trapping be prosecuted
practically the same, even if there were no bounties? We believe that
it would, for if the bounty offered were any great incentive, there
would be more trapping done during the summer when the furs were of
no account.

Neither do we believe that it ever induces others, not trappers, to
kill these animals, for they will kill them on every opportunity,
bounty or no bounty. It is man's nature to kill, for he is the enemy
of all animal life.



Of the many methods of hunting and otherwise capturing wolves and
coyotes, employed by the professional "wolfers" of the west, none is
more remunerative than the hunting of the young animals during the
spring season. While the fur of the adult animals is of little value
at that time and that of the young is not worth saving, the bounty
which is usually paid for wolf and coyote pups will fully compensate
for all loss from that source. At that time of year (March, April and
May) there is very little fur of any value, to be had but the wolf
hunter can combine wolf trapping and the hunting of the parent
animals with the killing of the young, and the large bounties paid by
many of the states and the various provinces of Canada, will alone
enable one to do a profitable business.

In those parts of our country where the extermination of the wolves
and coyotes is necessary for the protection of stock and game and the
authorities and stockmen co-operate for the destruction of predatory
animals, the hunting of the young animals during the breeding season
should be especially encouraged. In no other way can the number of
wolves be so surely reduced. To those who are well acquainted with
the habits of the wolf, their time of breeding and the most favored
breeding grounds, this mode of hunting is very simple.

  [Illustration: A Wyoming Wolf Den.]

  [Illustration: A Near View of the Den.]

Wolves breed much earlier than is commonly supposed, even by stockmen
who have resided for a considerable length of time in the wolf
country. The majority of young wolves are born in March in the
Western States and the young of the coyote make their appearance
mainly in April, but occasional litters of both will appear in May,
and grey wolves may be born at any time during the summer.

On the western cattle range, the dens of the wolf and coyote are
located mainly in the valleys among the foothills of the mountain
ranges and among the low mountains, but seldom at any great
elevation. The steep side of a hill or canyon facing the south is the
most favored location, and the rougher and more broken and brushy the
ground, the better it suits the wolves for denning purposes. They
especially like knolls, strewn with large boulders, from which the
male parent can watch for the approach of enemies.

As before mentioned, the mode of hunting is very simple. All that is
necessary is to look carefully over the breeding grounds until tracks
are found and these should be followed to the den. It is safe to say
that at that time of year, nine out of every ten tracks will lead to
a den. On the northern portions of the range, there is almost certain
to be good tracking snow during the early part of the breeding
season, but even if the ground is bare it is not generally a
difficult matter to trail the animals to the den. A track that has
been made in the evening should be followed backwards and one made in
the morning should be followed forwards, as the wolves do most of
their hunting at night and return to the den in the early morning.
When the track can not be followed, if one can get the general course
of it, the lay of the land will enable one, on many occasions, to
locate the den.

Whenever the hunter hears of wolves, or their signs having been seen
frequently, he should make a diligent search for the den. As the old
mother wolf always goes to the nearest water to drink, the number of
tracks at a watering place will often be a dead give-away and a
careful search of the locality will usually result in the discovery
of the den. As the den is approached, the tracks will become more
numerous, and near by there will be well beaten trails. Where tracks
are numerous one should keep watch for the male, sentinel wolf, as he
will always be on the lookout somewhere near the den and his position
will enable one to locate it more readily. As one approaches, the
male animal will howl and endeavor to draw the hunter off in pursuit
and thus prevent the finding of the den. Their tricks on such
occasions show considerable intelligence.

When looking for dens on bare ground, a dog, if he understands the
work is very useful. A fox hound that is well trained on fox is good,
but if trained for this style of hunting especially, will be found to
be better. Unless on the trail of a bachelor wolf, which by the way
are occasionally found during the breeding season, the dog will
readily trail the wolf to the den. It is best to go early in the
morning as the trail will be fresher at that time and the dog is more
apt to follow a fresh trail, therefore, more certain of locating the
den. In all probability, one of the old wolves will attempt to draw
the dog off for a mile or two, but in that case the mother will
endeavor to return to her young. Sometimes they find it necessary to
fight the dogs and try to keep them from approaching too near the
den. Anyway the actions of the animals will show when they are in the
vicinity of the den, which may then be readily located.

  [Illustration: Young Wolf Pups at the Entrance of a Den.]

One hunter who uses a dog for this style of hunting says: "The kind
of a dog needed is a good ranger, extra good cold trailer and an
everlasting stayer. Then if he will only run a short distance after
starting the wolf and come back and hunt the pups and then bark at
them when found, you have a good dog that is worth a large price.
There are plenty of dogs that will hunt and trail wolves all right,
but very few that will hunt the pups."

The den is usually a natural one; a hole worn in the rocks by the
elements, or in washed out cavities in the hard ground of the bad
lands. Down in the valleys they sometimes den in the ground,
enlarging the burrow of a badger or other animal. The opening is, as
a rule, large enough to allow one to enter and secure the pups, but
sometimes it will be necessary to dig the den open. For dens in the
rocks, which are too small to allow one to enter, the hunter should
provide a hook, something on the order of a gaff hook such as is used
by fishermen. The hook should be of fair size, very sharp, and should
be attached to a handle about three or four feet in length. A famous
western wolf hunter in speaking of his outfit says:

"I will say to the boys who intend to hunt pups, get two or three
strong fish hooks and a strong cord and carry them in your pocket.
You can usually find a small stick or pole of some kind. When you
find a den, tie your hooks on end of stick, wrapping cord very tight.
If you use two hooks, put one on each side of stick. Shove your stick
in the den among the pups and turn or twist it and you will soon have
a pup hooked. This works the best of anything I have ever tried;
where pups are small. I have gotten many a bunch or pups this way,
when my pick or shovel would be five or six miles away.

  [Illustration: The Hunter's Outfit.]

When the pups get too large and strong to pull out alive, I put a
candle on the stick, shove it into the den and lay on my stomach.
With a 22 rifle I shoot the pups in the head and then they are easily
pulled out with the fish hooks. I mean this for dens that cannot be
dug out, as there are many of them in rock ledges and in holes in the
solid rock. Instead of the candles mentioned by this hunter, some
prefer to use a lantern and one "wolfer" uses a hunting lamp,
attached to his hat. Some sort of firearm should be carried always. A
revolver is good for use in the den, but a rifle is best outside.

  [074 An Oklahoma Hunter with Young Coyotes Taken from Den.]

It is not often that the mother wolf will be found in the den, as she
usually makes her escape before one comes near, but should she be
found at home she should be disposed of first. There is no danger,
whatever, from the adult wolves. One of our western friends in
speaking of this says: "I never hesitate in entering a wolf den, even
when I know the mother wolf is with her young, and have never known
one to act vicious, but always sneaking and cowardly. A few years ago
at the Cypress Hills in Canada I entered a den and took ten pups. The
mother crawled as far from me as she could and never raised her head.
I set my 30-30 Savage and pulled it off with a rope, shooting her
through the heart. It was forty feet from the entrance of the hole to
where she lay, and it was midnight when I got her out. I had to move
some dirt and rocks and it was a big job.

"I have killed other grown wolves in the den and have never known one
to show fight. Of course, I always use a lantern to see what I am
doing, and would not enter a den without one." The young wolves
should be killed immediately and live pups should never be handled
with bare hands, as blood poisoning is likely to result from a bite.



Beyond all doubt wolf chasing as it is practiced in some parts of the
country is one of the most fascinating of sports and in a place where
the animals are fairly plentiful and the surface of the country is
not too rough, is also profitable. In parts of the states of
Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, some of the professional wolfers
use this method of securing their game and in the states lying west
of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains, also in
Western Canada, wolf hunting is a very popular sport among the

Among the dogs that are most approved of by the wolf and coyote
hunters, may be mentioned the fox hound, the greyhounds, and stag
hounds of various varieties, the bloodhound and crosses of these
dogs. The grey hounds are the swiftest of dogs and a pair of them are
invariably to be found in a pack, the balance being some heavier and
fiercer breed of dog, such as the blood hound, fox hound or a cross
of the two. It is the grey hounds that run the game down and hold it
until the arrival of the balance of the pack, the heavier dogs doing
the actual fighting.

One who has followed wolf hunting extensively gives the following
short but interesting description of the sport: "On the open plains
of the west, wolves are often hunted with large swift running dogs,
grey hounds, stag or wolf hounds or their crosses. The hunters go on
horseback and the wolves are usually roused out of some coulee or
draw. Sometimes trail hounds are used to start the game, on breaking
from cover and being sighted by the running dogs the race is on.
Wolf, dogs and horsemen, race across the often rough and dangerous
ground at breakneck speed. The wolf, maneuvering to gain the coulee
or cover of some sort and get out of sight of the dogs (the running
dogs have only slight scenting powers and depend entirely on their
sight). The lighter and swifter grey hounds, as a rule, are the first
to overtake the wolf and by coming up alongside and snapping at his
flanks, force him to turn and face them, thus giving the heavier and
fiercer wolf hounds a chance to close in and grapple with and kill
the wolf. Unless the dogs are well trained and very courageous, a
large timber wolf often proves more than a match for the bunch of
four or five dogs."

No matter what kind of dogs are used, they must be good tonguers and
good fighters, and must have an abundance of strength and endurance.
It is needless to say that the dog must be trained and this must be
done at an early age. The young dog should never be run alone, for
the wolf is likely to fight it off and once the young dog is driven
back it will be spoiled for hunting purposes.

One of our Kansas friends in speaking of wolf dogs says: "We have
plenty of wolves (coyotes) and have had for the twenty years we have
kept dogs. As to breeding, we used an English greyhound bitch with
courage, speed and a special hatred for a wolf, crossed with an
English fox hound with all the qualities necessary, except the speed.
We then picked the bitch with the most good qualities and crossed her
with another fox hound whose ancestry is perfect. Here we get the dog
we are using now and with which we have made the most satisfactory of
catches. We seldom have a run lasting more than three hours and catch
many, when vegetation is not too high, in from one to one and a half
hours. Where this dog has the advantage over the fox hound is in
speed and the fact that it is ever on the watch ahead for the game."

Evidently the party who used this breed of dog has endeavored to
instill into the one type, all of the good qualities of the several
breeds that go to make up the regulation pack of wolf dogs. It is
surmised, also, that the one breed of dog is used alone, when chasing
wolves. In Western Canada, wolf hunting is a favorite sport and one
of the hunters from that section in speaking on this subject gives
the following method of hunting:

"First, we put a box on the sleigh big enough to hold our dogs and
then hook up a lively team, and strike across the country, leaving
the dogs run along side. When a wolf is sighted, we get the dogs into
the box and drive as close to the wolf as we can--that's usually from
three to five hundred yards--then turn the dogs loose and cheer them
to victory. The dogs usually run down the wolf within a mile, and we
follow as fast as horse flesh can take us. When the leading dog gets
alongside, the wolf stops, and in a second the dogs form a circle
around him and he is a goner. Some hunters just turn the dogs loose,
not knowing when they are ever going to see them again. That plan
would not work with me. Good hounds are too expensive to monkey with
that way. I have found that letting one or two dogs on a wolf trail
spoils them, because one wolf will give two dogs all they can handle,
and sometimes a little bit more, especially if they are young dogs.
It takes two old dogs at least, to handle one wolf, and I have seen
them get the hard end of it. The wolf perhaps would take to running
into the scrub and then it wouldn't be long until a pair of wolves
would be slashing your dogs or 'fleecing' the stuffing out of them."

  [Illustration: Catch of a Canadian Hunter Who Uses Dogs.]

Those who make a business of wolf hunting, or in other words, those
who hunt for profit, do not always allow the dogs to fight and kill
the wolf, but carry a gun with them, on all occasions and if they
have an opportunity to shorten the chase by means of a well directed
bullet, do not hesitate to do so. A high powered rifle should be used
and one should learn to handle it in a business-like way. In the
Western States where the large ranches are rapidly disappearing and
the farm, with the barbed wire fence is taking its place, wolf
hunting will soon be a thing of the past. Mr. Jack Kinsey, one of the
most noted wolfers of the West, gives a description of an exciting
wolf chase, in which he illustrates this point, and we give the story
in his own words:

"While I was in Dakota last winter I had two exciting wolf chases. I
was stopping with Mr. Wm. Clanton, a cowman, living seven miles south
of Harding, S. D. One day I was in his shop putting a coyote hide on
a stretcher, when one of his neighbors drove up and asked Mr. Clanton
if he had a rifle. He said, 'Yes, there is a wolfer here who has
one.' 'Why,' his friend said, 'there are two big grey wolves just
back over that hill.'"

"I waited for no more but ran for my horse and gun. Clanton saw me
going to the barn and told me to bring his horse. Now I was not long
in getting those horses and we were soon on their trail. We followed
their tracks about one and one-half miles when we sighted them.
Picking out the largest of the two we both rode after him. The wolf
started west towards some bad lands, but Mr. Clanton was riding a
good young horse and he soon turned the wolf south, but now he was
headed straight for a wire fence.

"Mr. Clanton would have succeeded in turning him again, but he struck
a ditch full of snow, so the wolf got inside the pasture but I was
fixed for wire fences. I had my trapping axe on my saddle and soon
made a gate that we did not stop to fix up. We had run the wolf five
or six miles by this time, and our horses were pretty well winded. So
we pulled them up and let them take a slower gait until we got
through the other side of the pasture.

"As I said before, Mr. Clanton was riding the best horse, so he kept
the outside while I took advantage of the cuts. Mr. Clanton was just
far enough ahead of me to make one throw at the wolf with his rope,
but he missed him. The wolf cut in behind his horse, when I rode in
front of him and put a 30-40 soft point in his head. He was a very
large grey wolf. His hide stretched 6 1/2 feet long. On the way back
we saw three more wolves and two coyotes."

We give the following spirited account of a wolf hunt which occurred
in South Dakota:

"Will tell about one of my hunts behind a pair of wolf hounds that
are certainly right when it comes to coyotes. I left my home here in
Illinois on the 12th of December and arrived at Presho, S. D., early
the 14th, where my friends met me, and we started for the ranch,
which is about midway between Presho and Pierre.

"When we got to the reservation fence (Brule Reservation), we kept a
lookout for coyote signs, and located a place that we thought would
be all right, and planned a hunt for the following Saturday.

"The day proved all that could be desired, so we started out at noon.
Earl, Claude, Mort, Chas., Sheldon and myself, with the two hounds,
Ike and Lucy. A ride of about two miles brought us to the
reservation, and the hunt was on.

"Our outfit consisted of our saddled ponies and team and buggy, and
by standing up in the buggy seat we located two coyotes on the side
hill playing in the high grass. A circle around the hill and Lucy
discovered them and was off with Ike a second, as he was not as fast
as Lucy.

"Away we all go across the prairie with the team and buggy following
the reservation fence to keep the coyote away from the fence. It was
a short chase, as Lucy soon had Mr. Coyote by the hind leg and turned
him on his back quicker than it can be told, and Ike being close at
hand soon had him by the throat, so by the time we could get out
horses stopped and turned Mr. Coyote was no more.

"After skinning, we started for the buggy and Sheldon reported coyote
No. 2 headed south down the draw, and Earl went after him around the
hill and drove him back our way.

"A shout from that direction and the dogs have discovered No. 2 and
we are away with Lucy in the lead, and this time we are not far
behind, so that when the dogs got him we were right there, and the
coyote not much hurt, so he gets a rope halter and is stowed away
alive under the buggy seat.

"The dogs are panting hard and are very thirsty, with no water closer
than five miles, so we head for home, but not far away on the
hillside another one is seen and the buggy starts toward the left to
head him toward the ranch, so the dogs will be running toward home
when they jump him.

"This time Ike catches sight and is off, and Lucy cuts across to head
him off. It is a short chase, for old Ike soon has his favorite hold
and all is over.

"After skinning we started for home and as I hadn't ridden much for
over a year you can gamble I was feeling pretty sore, for the pace a
pack of hounds set isn't slow by a long shot. On driving into the
yard the dogs were not slow about getting into the house and lying

"The live coyote we tied to the buggy wheel, and while I was gone
after a strap and chain he bit the rope off and 'cut the mustard' for
parts unknown with about a foot of rope still hanging to him.

"We have good hunting here in the spring and fall, plenty of chickens
and, some ducks and geese, with lots of jack rabbits and (Flicker
Tails), prairie dogs, and their side partners, owls and rattlers.

"Our outfit is the bar circle outfit, O and I think our Holstein
cattle are among the first herds in the state. Have since this hunt
disposed of my interest in the O but still have a bunch of cattle at
Presho, which supply the town with milk."



Hunting wolves with dogs, as described in the preceding chapter is
certainly exciting sport but it is doubtful if it is as remunerative
as still-hunting, especially in the rough sections where hunting with
dogs is almost impracticable. In parts of the country where wolves
and coyotes are plentiful, as they are in many of the thinly settled
portions of the West, they may be still hunted at all times of the
year. In the heavily timbered parts of the North, this method is
practical only in winter.

The outfit that is needed for still-hunting in the West is one or
more good saddle horses and the necessary equipment and a good, high
powered rifle. A pair of field glasses will also be useful, but some
hunters equip their rifles with telescope sights and the field glass
is unnecessary. Hunters differ in their views, and with regard to
rifles especially, there is a great difference of opinion. What one
believes to be perfect, and which answers his purpose admirably,
another has no use for whatever.

The arm selected should, however, have considerable power, and the
flight of the bullet should be rapid, with a low trajectory. On the
Western Plains the atmosphere is so light and transparent, and there
is such a sameness to the surface of the country that one may easily
be deceived in distances and with the high powered long-ranged rifle,
there is less liability of errors, as the accurate estimating of
distances is not necessary.

A gun of rapid action is also to be recommended and beyond all doubt
the automatic acting arms are superior for shooting at running game.
Personally, if the writer were selecting an arm for this kind of
hunting, a high powered automatic rifle would be chosen, and it would
be fitted with a small bead front sight and hunting peep rear sight.
For use on horse back the shorter barrels are to be preferred.

In speaking of the outfit it is presumed that the wolf hunter would
be a resident of the western country and would be hunting from home
or anyway, making his headquarters at some ranch and hunting from
there. If, however, he wants to go out into virgin territory, or if a
stranger, he might find it necessary to camp out and in that case he
would require a complete camping outfit. Some of the western wolfers
use covered wagons for camps and this style of camp is very
convenient as it may be moved easily, but if the surface of the
country is very rough, this plan is not practical. In that case a
tent would be needed and the hunter would use a pack horse in moving

  [Illustration: A Still Hunter and His Outfit.]

Speaking of saddle horses, in the more arid parts of the wolf
country, the vegetation is scanty and horses require considerable
time in which to rustle food. For that reason the same horse can not
be used each day and one should have several so that each would have
plenty of time to recuperate, after use. If one can obtain horses
that will allow one to shoot from the saddle, so much the better. No
special knowledge of hunting is required, but one should be expert in
the use of the rifle, and should also be a good rider. All that is
necessary is to ride over the rougher parts of the country, where
wolves are most likely to be seen, and keep a sharp lookout for the
game. It is always best to hunt to windward as one can approach
closer to the game.

Where the bounty is sufficient to make summer hunting profitable, we
would recommend this style of hunting at that time of year. In
summer, hunting with dogs is not as simple a matter as in winter and
trapping is not as good as during the colder part of the year. For
coyotes, still hunting is a very successful method in parts of the
country where the animals are plentiful and there is probably no
place in which the method could be used to better advantage than in
the sheep-raising district of Montana and Wyoming. There coyotes may
be sighted every day and if the hunter would make a practice of
following up the large herds of sheep to the summer range, he would
always be sure of an abundance of game.

One is most likely to sight coyotes by riding along the coulees and
over the rougher ground. About prairie dog towns are excellent
places, as there they will frequently be found looking for the little
inhabitants of the burrows. Other good places are the ragged, craggy
parts of the Bad Lands and in the sage brush along the watercourses.

In winter one may follow the tracks in the snow and will stand a
better chance of securing the game. While still hunting alone might
not prove a very profitable method of hunting if one were hunting for
bounty, it should always be used in connection with trapping and den
hunting. As mentioned in a previous chapter one will often get shots
at the adult animals near the dens and if one knows of the location
of a den, he may often get a shot by watching it. Anyway the rifle
should always be carried, and it should be used whenever a wolf or
coyote is seen within range.

We will conclude this chapter by giving an account of a coyote
still-hunt, as recorded by one of our western friends.

"It was one of those bright balmy September mornings, so
characteristic of Wyoming, that I drove my horses down to water and
noticed some coyote tracks in the mud at the edge of the water hole,
and I decided then and there to have a coyote hunt that day. I was at
the time in charge of a relay station, midway between two small towns
and it was my business to look after the spare stage horses, for the
stage driver changed teams here, leaving the tired horses in my care
and taking on fresh ones. The northbound stage passed about 8:30 A.
M., and the southbound outfit was due at about 6:30 P. M., which left
me with practically the entire day at my disposal, to do with as I
liked, and having my full quota of the spirit of our savage
ancestors, I naturally turned to hunting the coyotes which abounded
in that section.

"For some time past I had been doing practically no hunting. I say
'practically none' for I had not been out on a real hunt for several
weeks, but I did have a short line of traps set and had been looking
at them every second morning. On these trips over the trap line I
always carried my 30-30 carbine on the saddle and had surprised and
shot three coyotes, besides shooting at several more, one of which
was wounded but escaped by crawling into a deep hole in a bad-land
butte. Besides the three animals mentioned, I had caught in my traps
up to that time, some twenty more.

  [Illustration: Killed by the Still Hunt.]

"On this particular morning the 'Spirit of the Wild' called loudly,
for as every hunter knows, there is something in the air of autumn
which gets into one's blood at times, and there is no remedy except
to go on a hunt. My trap line had been looked at the day before, so I
was free for the day. Returning to the little sod house which I
called my home, I got my rifle and six shooter, prepared a lunch and
as soon as the stage had arrived, changed horses and departed, I
mounted my horse and hit the trail for the hills to the westward.

"The section of the country to the west of the station was of the
bad-land type, groups of buttes and ridges, radiating in every
direction, seamed and honey-combed by the rains of centuries. While
the country is very dry, the rains are veritable deluges when they do
come, and the ordinarily dry water courses become raging torrents.
Along these creek beds, sage and grease wood brush was abundant; in
the hills, no vegetation was to be found. It was at all times a
paradise for coyotes and occasionally a band of grey wolves strayed
through those parts. However, the wolves had been rarely met with
since the stockmen had abandoned the cattle industry and gone to
sheep raising, but the coyotes had increased in numbers.

"At this time of the year, the sheep were being driven down from the
mountains into their winter range and in addition to the coyotes
which remained, throughout the summer, in the bad-lands, the still
larger number which make a practice of following up the great bands
of sheep were also appearing on the scene, and the day promised good

"Riding westward about two and a half miles, I struck the bed of a
stream and followed it up towards the hills. Here, I knew there were
several prairie dog villages and about such places one is almost
certain to find coyotes, so I turned my horse that way in the hope of
getting a shot at one of the wary animals. My fond hopes were
realized, for on rounding the hill at the edge of the first village I
saw a large coyote slinking guiltily over the crest of the nearest
ridge, but giving me no chance to draw the gun before he passed out
of sight. Hastily riding to the top of the ridge, I saw the animal
making his get-away down the draw at the other side and throwing my
carbine to my shoulder, I caught a quick aim and fired just as he was
rounding a spur of the ridge about a hundred and fifty yards away.
Snap-shooting from horseback is uncertain at all times and on this
occasion I had barely time to catch a half-hearted aim, so was not
very hopeful regarding the results of my shot.

"Riding up to the spot, I dismounted and on looking the ground over,
was elated to find a splotch of blood, but farther search revealed no
other traces of the game. Naturally, I supposed that the animal had
gone on down the draw and mounting my horse I rode slowly down the
hollow, keeping a sharp lookout for the coyote. After looking the
ground over for a quarter of a mile or more, and finding no signs of
the game, I decided that this animal, anyway, was lost and returned
to the scene of the shooting. Dismounting once more, I took the rifle
and climbed to the top of the ridge to see what lay beyond. Imagine
my surprise and delight when on reaching the top, which was low at
this point, I saw the wounded coyote, vainly endeavoring to escape at
the bottom of the depression on the other side.

"The first glance showed that the animal was badly wounded and could
not last long, but fearing that it would fall into a hole, I took a
hasty shot and had the satisfaction of seeing it crumple down,
apparently lifeless. On approaching, however, I found that it still
retained enough life to make a vicious snap at my hand, missing that
member by only a few inches. As I watched it, undecided whether to
shoot it again or leave it bide its own time, it breathed its last.

"It was a fine, large specimen and after skinning it, which required
some twenty minutes of my time, I looked it over and found that my
first bullet had struck it in the right hip, breaking the bone and
passing through the body diagonally, emerging at the left shoulder.
It was certainly a good shot and had I been using soft point bullet
cartridges instead of full metal patched, the animal would have been
killed instantly. It is surprising, however, how tenacious of life
these animals are. The second shot had passed through the shoulders.

"I returned to the prairie dog villages but saw no more coyotes. I
did see a badger and fired at it just as it was about to enter the
burrow, but missed the animal entirely. Going back to the creek bed I
followed on up into the hills to a small alkali spring where I halted
to eat my lunch. The water from this spring entirely disappears
within two hundred yards of the place where it rises. The sun was
shining fiercely hot by this time, and after eating my lunch I made a
cigarette and crawled into the grateful shadow of the bank where I
rested for a full hour. I had intended to make a large circle but
found now that I would not have the time that such a trip would
necessitate and so decided to go on northward through this range of
hills and return home over the trap line.

"At the edge of the hills I found the traces of a sheep outfit and on
rounding a spur so as to obtain a good view of the little valley
beyond, I saw the white topped wagon of the herder at the far-side,
but the sheep were farther down the hollow. Here I expected to find
coyotes and I was not disappointed, for on riding through a patch of
sage which covered several acres, a coyote broke cover on the
opposite side. Three shots followed each other in rapid succession,
throwing dirt and gravel over the fleeing animal but without harming
him, and having no other effect than to increase his speed. I
followed for some distance but failed to get another shot at the
coyote and soon lost sight of it. Signs of coyotes were numerous here
and about a mile farther I found the remains of two sheep which had
been killed and eaten by the animals.

"As I rode over a small sag of a ridge and entered the head of a long
narrow hollow, I saw a coyote trotting along down the draw about two
hundred yards below me. The animal started to run before I could
catch aim and I emptied the magazine in short order the last shot
dropping the coyote, but it was not badly hurt and leaping to its
feet it made off down the hollow. However, it enabled me to get quite
close and putting spurs to the horse, I followed the animal, firing
with my revolver. The third shot rolled it over and a fourth finished
it, making two coyotes out of three shot at that day.

"Skinning the animal I mounted and hurried on to look at the traps.
There were sixteen traps in the line and all but two of them had been
undisturbed. Of these two, the bait was taken from one but the wary
animal had apparently known just where the trap lay and had avoided
it, the other held a young, female coyote. After looking at the
traps, I returned home and dressed and stretched the skins of the
captured animals.

"The skin of the coyote is of no value as fur, at that time of the
year, but the combined state and stockmen's bounties aggregated $4 on
each animal, so that I had $12 for my day's hunt. During the fall and
early winter I captured by means of traps and gun, a hundred and
thirty-three coyotes and four wolves. All of the unprime skins taken
that fall were tanned by myself and made into robes."



Poisoning noxious animals is a common practice and is much used where
the only object is to destroy the animals, and the finding of the
carcass is of little moment, but the real hunters and trappers seldom
resort to this method because of the large numbers of animals that
are killed and lost. It is, indeed, a wasteful method of hunting as
in all probability, three-fourths of the animals killed by the
poisoned baits are not found until they have lain so long that they
have become tainted, or ruined by mice and birds, so that both the
bounty and the fur are lost. Anyway that is the conclusion of many of
those who have practiced poisoning.

In many places where wolves and coyotes could be poisoned readily in
early days the method is not a success at present as the animals have
learned by experience to avoid the poisoned food. Strychnine is
usually employed and this very bitter drug has a way of spreading
through the bait, so that the wolf can sometimes detect it as soon as
the bait touches the tongue. In such cases, the drug is never
swallowed, but may be dropped on the spot or as is more often the
case, it may be carried a considerable distance away before it is
dropped. Again if the animal swallows the poisoned bait, it may be
some time before it dissolves in the wolfs stomach and the poison
begins to act, and if the wolf begins to feel the effects of the
drug, it may start off on a run. In either case it is not likely to
be found even if there is snow on the ground as the wind will soon
obliterate the tracks.

In the government pamphlet before mentioned, Mr. Bailey has the
following to say about poisoning:

"Many wolves are killed by poisoning, and more would be so killed if
the methods followed were less crude. Strychnine is generally used
with nothing to disguise its intense bitterness, the powder being
either inserted in bits of meat or fat or merely spread on a fresh
carcass. In most cases the wolf gets a taste of the bitter drug and
rejects it, and if the dose is swallowed it may be too small to be
fatal or so large as to act as an emetic. An old and experienced wolf
will rarely touch bait poisoned in the ordinary way, but sometimes a
whole family of young may be killed at a carcass. Usually when wolves
are poisoned, they go so far before they die that if found at all it
is not until their skins are spoiled. To encourage poisoning, it must
be possible to secure the skins in good condition, or at least, to
find the animals after they are killed, so that the ranchman may have
the satisfaction of knowing that he has accomplished something toward
the protection of his stock."

"In the use of poison it is of first importance to determine the
amount that will kill with certainty in the shortest possible time.
According to German and French authorities on toxicology, the
smallest dose of strychnine that will kill a 25 pound dog is
approximately one-fourth of a grain. Quadruple this for a 100 pound
wolf and we have 2 grains. Mr. B. R. Ross, of the Hudson's Bay
Company, found that this quantity would kill a wolf quickly.
Experiments by Prof. David E. Lantz, of the Biological Survey, would
indicate the best results from a still larger dose. One grain killed
a 21 pound dog in seventy-five minutes, while 2 grains killed a 40
pound dog in twenty-seven minutes, without acting as an emetic. For a
wolf, therefore, 4 grains of pure sulphate of strychnine would seem
to be a proper dose."

"Tests on 40 pound dogs with 1 and 2 grains of cyanide of potassium
in capsules caused the dogs to vomit in about fourteen minutes, after
which they fully recovered. Other more deadly poisons can not be
safely handled, and strychnine is the only practicable poison that
can be recommended."

"For wolves, place 4 grains of pulverized sulphate of strychnine in a
3 grain gelatin capsule, cap securely, and wipe off every trace of
the bitter drug. The capsules should be inserted in a piece of beef
suet the size of a walnut, and the cavity securely closed to keep out
moisture. The juice of fresh meat will dissolve the gelatin capsule,
hence only fat should be used. The necessary number of these poisoned
baits may be prepared and carried in a tin can or pail, but they
should not be touched with naked hands. Old gloves or forceps should
be used to handle them. The baits may be dropped from horseback along
a scented drag line made by dragging an old bone or piece of hide, or
may be placed on, around, or partly under any carcass on which the
wolves are feeding, or along trails followed by the wolves. Partial
concealment of the bait usually lessens the wolfs suspicion, while
some kind of scent near by or along the trail insures its attention."

"The gelatin capsule will dissolve in about a minute in the juices of
the mouth or stomach. When the strychnine is taken on an empty
stomach it will sometimes kill in a very few minutes after the first
symptoms of poison, and dies five or six minutes later."

Although this is the method recommended by the U. S. Department of
Agriculture, it is our opinion that it would not be successful, for
it takes too long for the gelatin capsule to dissolve in the animal's
stomach, anyway that is the verdict of those who have tried the
method. Those who have followed poisoning of foxes and wolves, prefer
to place the poison in a small ball of tallow by making the tallow
cup-shaped when cold, putting the strychnine inside and closing the
opening by pressing the edges over it. None of the poison must be
allowed to touch the outside of the bait.

The most common method of using the poison is to have out a large
bait (the carcass of some animal that the wolves have killed is to be
preferred), and after the animals are visiting it the poisoned baits
are thrown about nearby. Any indications of the presence of man will
make the animals suspicious and they will hesitate to approach the
large bait but are very apt to pick up and swallow the small ones. We
believe that this is the most successful method of using poison, but
there are other methods recommended by woodsmen. Some place the
poison in the large bait but we think this is entirely wrong as the
wolf will taste the poison before it gets enough of the drug to cause
its death. One party in speaking of the conditions in Northern
Ontario, says:

"I think the wolf-poisoning business is being overdone. How would
your readers like to find poisoned wolf bait within one hundred yards
of their door, and some all round their houses within a radius of 300
yards? This bait consists in many cases of, say, half a deer. I think
it is very wrong to allow strong, able-bodied men to pollute the
country, now in the spring of the year, with large pieces, or in many
cases, whole carcasses of deer. The wolf poisoner never stops to
think what the result will be to his neighbor's dogs or poultry and
cattle from their leaving large pieces of meat in an exposed position
when the snow goes off. In fact, the thing is being carried in this
part so far that neither fur-bearing animals nor fish will be
procurable at any cost in a short time."

  [Illustration: Method of Preparing Poison Baits.]

"As it is, the farmer's dogs have been suffering, and are nearly
extinct here. For the last few seasons it has been quite common to
see large quantities of dead fish round the lake after this poisoned
meat goes into the water. I understood that parties laying out poison
had to observe certain regulations, so that no person's property
would be endangered thereby, and if I am rightly informed, it must be
some person's duty to stop the nuisance. No doubt it is a good thing
to get rid of the wolves, but the poisoning ought to be prosecuted
far enough from settlements and from public roads that stock and
poultry will not be endangered by the bait."

It is advisable when using poison to leave no human odors on the bait
and to prevent so doing, some people prepare the baits without
touching them with the bare hands. A simpler method is to make up the
baits several days in advance and place them in a clean vessel, out
of reach of all animals, and where they will be exposed to the open
air. In this way, the human odor will pass away, and when they are
placed out for the wolves they should not be touched with the hands.

The poison should not be placed in a capsule as that is too
uncertain. There is very little danger of giving an overdose. The
writer has seen strychnine used in large doses, considerably more
than four grains, and the results were far better than when using
smaller doses.

Strychnine is to be had in crystals or in crushed or powdered form.
Both forms are equally deadly, but some poisoners claim that it will
act more rapidly when crushed. The following article on poisoning is
given by a Wyoming trapper:

"I have used strychnine and it is a poor idea for a trapper to use it
as it destroys more fur than anything and also makes animals very shy
about taking bait. The best way is to put the strychnine in lard
which has no salt in it. I take some lard and put on my gloves or
mitts and go in the shade or early in the morning where it is almost
at the freezing point, so the lard will stay hard. I pinch it off in
one inch chunks, take it between my hands and roll it in round balls,
take a pocket knife or stick and drill a hole in it. Then fill it
with strychnine and close the opening up by mashing the lard over the
hole. Be careful not to get any strychnine on the outside as it has a
bitter taste and if he tastes it he is almost sure to spit it out."

"Care must be taken not to touch the outside with the bare hands as
the first thing a coyote will do is to smell it and if there is much
human scent on it, he will not take it. I dip it in blood to kill
some of the human scent. I have known a coyote to travel half a mile
with a piece of strychnined meat in his mouth and then feeling it
work on him, drop it and trot on."

"Now to show that it wastes furs and makes them wild, suppose it had
snowed, blowed or covered his track in some way; a skunk in passing
by and finding it, would get poisoned, which would be a loss of one
fur, or suppose it were a mink or something else, it would have been
the same. The chances are that the trapper would not have found it
until it was spoiled."

"A coyote will travel a few hundred yards after taking the
strychnine, even if it is put in lard or tallow. If he has eaten a
large meal of frozen meat and then the poison, he will go far enough
so he will be hard to find, and never found if you have any amount of
bait to look after and it blows and covers his tracks up and maybe
his carcass too. The result is that it makes other animals of his
tribe leery about taking baits."

"Birds such as magpies, ravens, and crows will eat poison and fly off
and die and be devoured by coyotes, foxes, mink, skunk, etc. The
result is that many of them die, and what don't, get so sick that
they are very careful about touching the next bait they see,
generally giving it a wide berth. Then there are lots of birds, such
as camp robbers and magpies that carry it off and store it away for
martens or something else to eat and get poisoned by. There was a
very large amount of skunk, but owing to the fact that many people
poison whole carcasses for coyotes and wolves, they are rapidly

"Some people claim that the dog destroys more furs than anything, but
I believe that strychnine is a greater evil than a dog or at least in
this county, so you see I have a good reason for advising a trapper
not to use strychnine. It is the easiest way and the quickest way to
get a few furs, if in the hands of an experienced man, but the furs
are always a lower grade because the poison acts on the fur and there
is always a hide now and then that the hunter will not find at once."

"The trapper will have the most furs and in the best condition at the
end of the season and generally a place to trap more at the next
season. The strychnine hunter will have to hunt a different place as
what animals he failed to kill, will leave the country or become so
wary that they will not touch bait. An animal which has recovered
from a dose of poison, carries a pelt that is oft times worthless."



After all of the various methods of hunting have been given a fair
and impartial trial it will usually be found that trapping is the
best means of capturing the wolf and coyote. Large numbers of traps
may be set and attended to and the chances of making a good catch are
greatly increased by so doing. If one has a liking for the work,
makes a study of the animals and sets the traps carefully, good
results are sure to follow. In all probability, four fifths of the
coyotes and wolves captured in the United States are taken in this
way. It is quite common for the professional trapper to take one
hundred or more coyotes and wolves in a season.

The trap that is recommended for the timber wolf and the only one
that was ever designed for capturing that animal is the "Newhouse"
No. 4 1/2. It is a large and powerful trap, having a spread of jaws
of 8 inches with the other parts properly proportioned. It is
furnished with a two pronged drag and a heavy steel chain, guaranteed
to stand a strain of 2000 pounds. The trap complete with chain and
drag weighs about 8 pounds. A simpler and stronger chain fastening
than that shown in the cut, is now used for attaching the chain to
the trap.

  [Illustration: No. 4 1/2 Newhouse Wolf Trap.]

Although the No. 4 1/2 is the trap recommended for timber wolves, the
No. 4 Newhouse is probably preferred by the average trapper, because
of its lighter weight and its adaptability to catching coyotes, which
are found in greater abundance than wolves. The trap has a spread of
jaws of 6 1/2 inches, and its strength is sufficient for holding
almost any wolf, providing the captured animal is not allowed to
struggle too long, and that the trap is not staked, or otherwise
securely fastened. Even when securely staked the No. 4 Newhouse will
hold almost any one of the younger grey wolves, and it is mostly the
young animals that are captured.

  [Illustration: The Two-Pronged Drag.]

The standard trap is furnished with a short chain and ring, but when
so ordered, the manufacturers will gladly furnish the traps with
longer chains and the two pronged drag shown in the cut, or if
desired the drags alone may be purchased and attached to any trap
chain. The two pronged drag has an advantage over the four pronged
kind, as it will occupy less space and may be more easily secreted.

It will be noted that the chain of the No. 4 1/2 trap has a double
end. This is so that it may be looped around a small log or block of
wood, if it is desired to do so. Some trappers prefer the chain
without the iron drag, and for such the drag will be omitted. Others
prefer to use the No. 4 trap with a 5 foot chain and a stone wired
securely to the end. This makes a very good combination, but for some
sections is not practicable as stones are "few and far between."

  [Illustration: Method of Attaching an Oblong Stone.]

  [Illustration: Method of Attaching a Triangular Stone.]

On the subject of fastening traps, Mr. Vernon Bailey of the
Biological Survey gives the following:

"The best anchor for a wolf trap is a stone drag of 30 or 40 pounds
weight, to which the trap is securely wired. A long oval stone is the
best, but a triangular or square stone can be securely wired.
Ordinary galvanized fence wire or telegraph wire should be fastened
around the ends of the stone and connected by a double loop of the
wire, then the trap chain fastened to the middle of this loop. A jerk
on the trap tends to draw the bands together, and the spring of the
connecting wire loop prevents a sudden jar that might break trap or
chain. Twisted or barbed fence wire may be used if sufficiently
strong, but it is not so easily handled. If no stones are available,
or if the trap must be immovably fixed, it should be fastened with a
twisted iron stake that can be driven below the surface of the
ground. These stakes should be at least 18 inches long and of good
iron straps three quarters of an inch wide and three-sixteenths of an
inch thick. In light soil they should be still longer. See figures 1
and 2. If a picket pin sufficiently strong, provided with a swivel
that will turn in all directions, can be purchased at the local
hardware store, it may not be necessary to have a pin made to order."

  [Illustration: Iron Stakes for Traps.]

It is our opinion that the twisted pin would not be as satisfactory
as the plain one shown in Fig. 3. If the swivel should lock, and fail
to work, the stake might be twisted out of the ground by the
struggles of the animal. With the heavy, square pin shown in Fig. 3,
this could not occur. The pin should be made of wrought iron, about
5/8 or 3/4 inch in diameter at the top, and tapering to a point. The
length should be the same as those described above.

The majority of the trappers who prefer to stake the traps use
hardwood stakes and attach the chains by means of hay baling wire,
twisting it with a pair of pliers. In many parts of the wolf country,
hardwood is not to be had and many of the trappers use the spokes of
old wagon wheels for trap stakes. We believe, however, that iron
stakes are to be preferred to wooden ones.

The traps to use for coyotes are the Nos. 3 and 4 and the most
suitable style of chain would depend entirely on the method of
setting and fastening the traps. In some of the sets described, for
both wolf and coyote, the traps, some three or four in number, are
all fastened to one stake and for such a set the chains should be
short, as also in the bank set. Where it is desired to use a drag of
any kind, the chain should be 4 or 5 feet in length. This should be
remembered when purchasing the traps and the method of setting that
will be used should be kept in mind.

As before mentioned, most of the wolves caught are young animals less
than a year old. After a wolf has reached its third year, it has
attained a high degree of intelligence, and comparatively few of that
age are caught in traps. In some sections wolves are more wary than
in others and are more difficult of capture. This depends much on the
abundance or scarcity of food and the amount of hunting and trapping
that has already been done in that section. Where wolves and coyotes
have not been trapped much, they are less shy but they are always
sufficiently wary to make extreme care in setting the traps necessary
for success.

No matter what method of trapping may be employed, there is only one
satisfactory way of setting the trap, on bare ground. In a smooth,
sandy spot, dig out a hollow the same shape as the set trap and of
such a depth that when the trap is in place and covered with about
1/4 inch of dirt, the covering will be flush with the surrounding
surface of the ground. A narrow trench may then be made, to
accommodate the chain, and a hole in which to bury the drag. If a
stake is used it may be driven under the trap and the trench will not
be needed, or it may be driven at the side according to the method of
setting but the stake must be neatly covered in all cases. The trap
is then placed in position, the chain, drag and springs are covered
and the portion outside of the jaws is filled with dirt, leaving only
the jaws and pan uncovered. Now a sheet of clean paper should be
placed over the jaws and pan and the whole covered with about 1/4 or
3/8 inch of fine dirt, covering the edges first and finishing with
the center. A piece of canvas or hide should be provided, on which to
place the dirt while setting the traps, and with which to carry away
what is not needed for covering. When the setting is finished
everything should look as smooth and undisturbed as it did before the
trap was set.

  [Illustration: Trap Set and Ready for Covering.]

In case the paper sags between the trap jaws and the pan, a few lumps
of ground may be so placed as to support it, but care must be used so
that no dirt gets under the pan. In freezing weather, make the nest
for the trap somewhat deeper and line it well with sage leaves or
some other light material, also fill in around jaws and springs with
same, before covering. This will prevent the trap from freezing down.
Do not put cotton under the pan as some advise doing, for if it gets
wet it will freeze and interfere with the working of the trap. If the
traps spring too easily, they may be remedied by drilling a small
hole through the edge of the pan and inserting a tooth pick or small
twig in such a way that it will support the pan. This will prevent
birds and small animals from springing the traps. The same result may
be obtained by bending the point of the "dog" or trigger of the trap
upward and thereby causing the trap to spring harder.

Always before placing the trap in position, turn the springs towards
the jaw that is held down by the trigger. This will allow the loose
jaw to drop down to a level and let the trap rest more solidly in its
nest. When adjusting the pan, always work from under the loose jaw,
to avoid accidents.

Many trappers advise wearing gloves when setting or otherwise
handling the traps, to prevent leaving human scent. It is our opinion
that this is not only unnecessary but also useless, as the human odor
will pass through a leather glove readily, and even through the sole
of a heavy shoe. While there is no doubt that the scent of man will
put any wary animal on its guard, there is no way to avoid leaving
this same scent about the setting. This, however, will pass away
after three or four days and it is after the traps have been set for
some time that most of the wolves and coyotes are captured.

Although the traps may be handled with bare hands, we would advise
that it is wise to not leave any more lasting odors than that from
handling the traps, also do not leave any footprints or other signs
of human presence. If, in summer, a line of traps can be set just
before a rain, so much the better, as all odors and signs of
disturbance will be removed by it. In winter a light fall of snow
will have a tendency to improve the catch, as it will cover all human
signs and to a great extent, smother the human and other odors that
may have been left about the setting.

It is important that no lasting, foreign odors be allowed to remain
on the traps or any of the implements used in making the set. The
trapper should make it a point at all times to keep the traps clean
and free from scents which might enable the animals to locate and
avoid the trap. For the same reason strong smelling grease and oils,
such as kerosene should never be used as preservatives, in fact, we
think it best that the traps have no preparation whatever. Some
trappers dip the traps in blood but unless the entire setting is
saturated with same, it is not wise to do so as the wolf would be
sure to locate it. When setting close to a large bait, it is well to
rub the trap and chain with a piece of the bait, so that everything
about the setting will have the same odor.

  [Illustration: Wyoming Wolf Trapper Driving the Trap Stake.]

The same result may be obtained by covering the traps with hair from
the animal used for bait, or with the contents of the paunch. When
nesting the traps in sage leaves, as advised elsewhere, the odor of
the trap will be greatly neutralized by the leaves, as they have a
powerful odor. In trail sets on the cattle and sheep range, the traps
may be covered with the droppings of the animals. All of these
methods have the same result, namely, that of smothering the odor of
the trap and allaying the animals' suspicions.

Just what will be needed for trapping wolves and coyotes will depend
entirely on circumstances, but mainly on just how much of a business
one wishes to make of it. The abundance or scarcity of the game, the
nature of the country, the proximity to civilization and many other
matters must also be considered. For the average professional trapper
of the western cattle range, we believe the following will be about
right: In the country lying just east of the Rocky Mountain Range,
vegetation is rather scanty and as horses must pick their own living,
they must have plenty of time for doing so, therefore, several saddle
horses will be needed. In that way the trapper can change horses
daily and give them a chance to rest and rustle food. For
transporting the outfit and stringing out the traps, pack horses must
be employed. Old, worn out horses will answer for packing and after
the traps are once strung out, they may be killed for bait or
otherwise disposed of, as one of the saddle horses may be used for
what little packing is needed. The equipment should consist of a good
easy saddle, bridle, pack-saddles, pack sacks, saddle blankets,
hobbles, picket ropes, etc. If one is camping a good camping outfit
will be necessary. Such an outfit would consist of a tent, blankets,
cooking utensils, axe and some toilet articles. The average trapper
would easily handle 100 traps, some trappers have many more, and the
proper sizes and number of each size would depend on the
proportionate number of wolves and coyotes found in that locality.
The trapper must also have wire for fastening traps, stakes, paper
for covering, a file for sharpening the axe and repairing traps, a
whetstone, a pair of cutting pliers, a high powered rifle and plenty
of ammunition, saddle scabbard, gun oil, hunting knife, axe sheath,
etc. Such an outfit is costly, and is only useful to the professional
trapper, but if game is plentiful, it will soon pay for itself.

For the ranchman, sheep herder or average western trapper, all that
need be purchased is an outfit of traps of a number which may be
conveniently handled, and a rifle with ammunition for same. All of
the outfit that will be needed is to be found on any western ranch
and as the trapper will not be camping out, the camp outfit would be



Scents for attracting animals to traps have been employed for many
years, but trappers differ greatly in their views regarding its
value. Some use scent only, to attract the animals, and make good
catches; others use bait alone and condemn anything in the line of
scent. Some use neither scent nor bait but depend entirely on "blind

The value of scent for trapping wolves and coyotes depends on the
kind that is used and the method employed, the time of year, the sex
of the animal, whether trapping is prosecuted extensively, etc. We
have no doubt that if the right scent is employed and used in the
proper way that it will be productive of good results. In all
probability those who are so ready to condemn scents have never used
the right kind, or having tried the proper kind, have not used it in
the right way.

If one will stop to consider just what scent is, and the object in
using it, he must readily perceive its value, if the right kind is
used. Scents are of various kinds and are expected to appeal to the
animal in different ways. When one uses bait, it is the odor of same
that attracts the animal from a distance,--why then will not a scent
which suggests their favorite food also prove attractive? All animals
of the dog family are very susceptible to food odors and the same
scents will attract both the wolf and coyote. Then there are other
scents which appeal to the animal's passions. These will be described
in the following pages. They are especially attractive to the wolf
during the mating season, but are also good at other times, and
should be used without bait.

The habit of depositing urine on the same spot used by another for
that purpose is characteristic of all animals of the dog family. This
is sometimes taken advantage of by the trapper, and the wolf urine is
used in that way.

In some parts of the country it is probable that one would be more
successful by using bait alone; in other places blind sets would be
better. For many localities it is best to use a good scent, and
especially so at certain seasons. For trapping grey wolves in summer,
it is especially valuable as at that time meat baits soon become
tainted and are not attractive to the animals.

The United States Biological Survey have made exhaustive tests with
scents and the result is given in the following:

"Success in trapping depends mainly on the use of scents that will
attract the wolves to the neighborhood of a trap and keep them
tramping and pawing until caught. Meat bait alone is of little use,
for as a rule the wolves kill an ample supply for themselves. Many
tests of scents, both prepared baits and various animal musks, have
been made with wolves in the field and in the National Zoological
Park. While some have given a fair degree of success, others have
proved worthless, and no one odor has proved entirely satisfactory.
Experiments are being continued, however, and new odors tried."

"Beaver musk (castoreum) and the commercial perfumery sold as musk
have proved effective in many cases by causing the wolf to turn aside
to follow the scented cross line and so walk into the trap. Siberian
musk (from the Siberian musk deer ) is very attractive to wolves in
the Zoo. Oil of anise and oil of rhodium seem to have no attraction
for wild wolves, and are scarcely noticed by those in confinement.
Assafoetida is mildly attractive to wolves and coyotes at the Zoo,
but used alone is very slightly, if at all, attractive to those on
the range."

"Wolf urine taken from the bladder is used by some trappers, and is
said to be very successful. It is bottled and kept until rancid and
then sprinkled over the trap. The sexual organs of the female wolf
immersed in the urine are said to add efficacy to this bait. The
urine of the female in the rutting season is said to be especially
attractive to males; it should be used in January or February."

"Fetid bait.--The bait that has proved most effective may be called,
for lack of a better name, fetid bait, because of its offensive odor.
It has been long in use in variously modified forms by the most
successful wolf trappers, and its preparation is usually guarded as a
profound secret. It cannot be credited to any one trapper, since no
two prepare it in just the same way, but in most cases its
fundamental odors are the same. It may be prepared as follows:

"Place half a pound of raw beef or venison in a wide-mouthed bottle
and let it stand in a warm place (but never in the sun) from two to
six weeks or longer or until it is thoroughly decayed and the odor
has become as offensive as possible. If the weather is not very warm
this may require several months. When decomposition has reached the
proper stage, add a quart of sperm oil or some liquid animal oil.
Lard oil may be used, but prairie dog oil is better. Add half an
ounce of assafoetida, dissolved in alcohol and one ounce of tincture
of Siberian musk, or, if this cannot be procured, one ounce of
pulverized beaver castor or one ounce of the common musk sold for
perfumery. Mix thoroughly and bottle securely until used."

The government has introduced this scent into Northern Michigan where
it has been used successfully. Other very similar decoys are used
extensively by Western trappers.

A scent which is highly recommended, and is used successfully by some
Wyoming wolf and coyote trappers is made by chopping fine, equal
portions of raw beef and fish and allowing same to decay in a covered
vessel. After it is thoroughly decomposed, add an ounce of
assafoetida dissolved in alcohol to each pound of the decoy. Animal
matter of any kind should never be allowed to decay in a tightly
closed vessel, as the gases may cause it to burst, but it must be
covered so as to exclude the flies. The above scent is claimed to be
very attractive to both wolves and coyotes and we know that the
trappers who used it made large catches, one of them having captured
over 200 coyotes in a single season. This trapper states that if the
perfume of the skunk is added to the decoy, its attractive properties
are greatly increased. This scent may be used in connection with
bait, or without, as preferred.

One of the northern trappers recommends a scent made by chopping
fine, equal parts of rabbit, skunk and muskrat flesh, with a couple
of wild mice added, and allow to decay in a jar. The jar should be
about 2/3 full and after it is decomposed a half ounce oil of anise
and a quantity of skunk scent is added, and the jar filled with goose
oil. This is the recipe as given but we can not guarantee it to be

Many of the old time trappers claim to have scents which will draw a
wolf or coyote a half mile, or more, to the trap. Those who make such
statements should always be regarded with distrust for the chances
are that they only wish to sell the scent or the formula. In nine
cases out of ten it will be found that the scents are worthless. One
of our old time friends wrote as follows:

"I have tried several so-called patent decoys with very indifferent
results. The only scent I care to use is the urine from a female wolf
or coyote killed in running season; sprinkle a drop or two on bush,
stone or ground near traps, but not on bait. After catching one
coyote at a setting I never trouble to bait again as the urine and
droppings will serve to attract other coyotes better than any bait.
Have caught 6 at one setting, 5 of them with no other bait than the
smell of the ground defiled by previous coyotes. They will come a
long way to scratch and urinate on same spot, and seem to lose some
of their caution."

Another successful trapper makes practically the same statements and
his views are appended.

"After catching one wolf or coyote do not use more bait as the scent
is strong enough to draw all that comes near. I do not use any patent
decoy or scents, as I consider them useless for any game. The only
scent I use is what I make myself and then only from February to
April. In the summer I gather up four or five bitch dogs and as fast
as they come in heat I kill them and take the organs of generation
and pickle them in wide mouth bottles with alcohol enough to cover. I
sprinkle a few drops on a stone or bush, stick in center between
traps but use no other bait. This is also good for fox.

"The above method is the same as I learned it from an old Hudson's
Bay trapper, Peirre Deverany, who was born in 1817, and had trapped
all thru the British possessions and the Rocky Mountains and with
whom I trapped for several years."

We find that many of the professional trappers condemn all scents
except those which they, themselves, use, but as there are a number
of successful ones using different scents it proves that there are
numbers of good decoys.

"I use scent a good deal, but make it myself," writes one man who
follows trapping continually. "The mating time is the best time to
use it and the matrix from a female wolf in alcohol is very good to
use. Put a few drops on a bone or stick of wood near the trap, say
ten or twenty inches from it. If you have two traps set near each
other, put the scent between them."

With regard to bait the grey wolf prefers horse flesh to beef. Colts
are also preferred to old horses. It is the same as regards cattle;
the calves and yearlings are invariably chosen. In the timbered
sections where there is very little stock for the wolves to prey on,
venison is perhaps the best bait. Antelope, jack rabbit, and in fact,
almost any kind of flesh is good if the wolf is hungry, but the bait
in all cases must be strictly fresh. Unless food is scarce, wolves
seldom return to the carcass of a victim, but they do so occasionally
and some are caught by setting traps in such places, especially in
the North, during winter when the animals are hungry. If possible
they prefer to kill their own game and it is that which makes the
trapping so difficult.

The same baits that are recommended for wolves are also good for
coyotes, but the coyote is not so particular regarding the condition
of its food and will eat tainted flesh, greedily. They are very fond
of mutton, prairie dogs, badgers and sage hens. As with the wolf,
horse flesh is a favorite food. One of the southwestern trappers
claims that they like fresh pork, in his section, better than any
other food.

It will be an easy matter in almost any part of the country to keep
the traps baited as the ranchmen and sheepmen are, as a rule, willing
to furnish animals for bait. As a general rule, we advise the use of
scent sets and blind sets in spring and summer and bait sets in fall
and winter.



In sections where the wolves and coyotes can obtain an abundance of
food, they do not care for meat bait and scent sets are recommended,
especially for grey wolves. Such sets are also successful in summer
when meat baits soon become tainted and lose all power of attraction.
There are many ways of using scent, depending much on the kind that
is used, and also on other things. One of the simplest as well as one
of the best is the following:

Having found the route of travel of a band of wolves, one may be
certain that he has found the proper place to set a number of traps,
for the wolves are sure to come around that way again. A pass through
the hills is an excellent place and as cattle, sheep and game animals
are almost certain to be traveling that way at certain seasons, one
is sure to find a trail of some sort traversing the pass. Having
located such a trail find a spot where same is well defined and
select a place for the trap, several feet to one side of the trail,
where it may be placed between bunches of brush, cactus, rocks or any
other obstruction that will guide the wolf over the trap. The
obstruction must be a natural one as the wolf is certain to detect
any artificial arrangement, and avoid it.

The trap should be fastened to a drag of some kind, which should be
buried and the trap must be set and covered as explained in another
chapter. In setting, the chain should be stretched out to its full
length so that the drag may be buried as far as possible from the
trap, and the disturbance of the soil is less likely to be noticed.
The scent should be applied to the grass, weeds or ground at the back
of the set, and so placed that in trying to reach it, the wolf or
coyote must walk over the trap. It should not be placed too near the
trap as the first impulse of the animal is to roll over the scent.

Mr. Vernon Bailey in his instructions for trapping describes this set
as follows:

"The trap, chain and stone drag should be buried out of sight close
to a runway, where the wolves follow a trail or road, cross a narrow
pass, or visit a carcass, with the trap nearest the runway and flush
with the surface of the ground; to keep the earth from clogging under
the pan, the pan and jaws should be covered with an oval piece of
paper and over this should be sprinkled fine earth until the surface
is smooth and all traces of paper and trap are concealed.
The surface of the ground and the surroundings should appear as
nearly as possible undisturbed. The dust may be made to look natural
again, by sprinkling water on it. Touching the ground or other
objects with the hands, spitting near the trap or in any way leaving
a trace of human odors near by, should be avoided. Old, well-scented
gloves should be worn while setting traps, and a little of the scent
used for the traps should be rubbed on the shoe soles. A piece of old
cowhide may be used on which to stand and to place the loose earth in
burying drag and trap.

"A narrow trail may be made by dragging the stone or scraping the
foot from across the runway to the trap. A slender line of scent
should be scattered along this drag mark or cross trail and more of
the scent placed around the trap and 6 inches beyond it, so that the
wolf will follow the line directly across the trap, stopping with its
front feet upon it. With old, experienced and suspicious wolves,
however, it is better not to make the drag mark, but to set the trap
with great care, close to the side of the trail and put the scent
just beyond it. If possible, place the trap between two tufts of
grass or weeds, so that it can be readily approached from one side

  [Illustration: Caught in a Scent Set.]

Traps may also be set with bait and some scent used to advantage, in
fact many of the decoys are to be used in that way. Two brothers who
trap in partnership give the following method of trapping with scent
and bait:

"This is one way of catching coyotes: We find all the horse meat we
can, we even ask people if they know of any dead horses, or sheep or
cattle. But the horse flesh is the best bait for them, then comes the
sheep, that they like almost as well. Rabbits are also excellent bait
for them, by putting a little pucky for scent along the side of the
rabbit bait. We also tell how to make this 'pucky.'

"Secure all the small fish you can from three to four inches long.
Trout is the best if you can secure them, but other varieties of fish
will do; clean but leave the heads on, because you will find more oil
in the head than in any other part. Cut them up so they will go into
a bottle; stuff them in very tight, up to the neck of the bottle;
then put a thin cheese cloth over the top of the bottle and let it
stay there for about two weeks. It will begin to work good about that
time, then cork it up tight, and in a few days it is ready for use.

"Now, taking the horse meat, sheep or rabbits, you have for bait,
find a good place to lay the bait so the coyotes cannot get to it
from all sides. Never make your trap stationary but wire the chain to
a small log, a stick of wood about four feet long and three inches
thick, leave a few knots sticking out on the log, and they will help
tire the coyote out, by digging in the ground; wire the chain about
in the middle, as it will drag harder for the coyote.

  [Illustration: Traps Set with Bait and Scent.]

"Now dig a hole the same shape of your trap, where you want it to
set, also bury the clog. Put your trap in its place and have it so it
will be about one-fourth of an inch below the surface of the ground,
not any lower. Put a piece of wool under the pan so birds and rabbits
won't spring it; then take a piece of paper big enough to cover the
jaws of the trap, take some dirt and put over the paper until level
with the surrounding place, if anything a little sunken, just so you
can notice it. Now set your trap about the length of the coyote from
the bait and one more a little farther out, both in the same way as I
said. Be sure and put your bait in such a place as to make them come
around in front.

"If you have to set traps at a dead horse out in the open, put one
just behind the hips, and one in between his feet where he lays. Set
them as I have told you and you will get them. If you find a dead
animal, that is, bait, I mean, also set your traps in triangle around
him. Put your traps about one foot and a half from bait. Study them
carefully and you will soon learn to set right. Try it.

"Some trappers say, don't let the traps touch your clothes, smoke and
bury your gloves; and even say bury your shoes after each trip. We
think all of this unnecessary for we tie our traps around us, wear
warm German socks and overshoes, just as everybody else should do in
winter. Set our traps with our gloves on or off, don't matter; when
through, brush over with a small brush and leave it. Don't make any
more tracks around your traps than possible. We made one freak of a
catch, two coyotes at one setting in one night. One had a stub foot
having been caught before."

A very good method is to find a large clump of cactus (prickly pear)
with even, well defined edges, and set several traps near the edge
and at varying distances. Use all possible care in setting, following
the instructions given elsewhere. It is best to leave the setting
some three or four days before placing the scent; that will give
plenty of time for the human and other scents, that have been left
there, to pass away and the ground which has been disturbed, will
have taken on a smoother appearance by that time. Then go on
horseback and saturating a lump of earth with the decoy, drop it in
the center of the cactus bed. Do not dismount from the horse when
placing the decoy. This is an exceptionally good set for coyotes.
While they can not reach the scent, they will walk all around the
cactus bed and are almost certain to step in one of the traps.

Another successful mode of setting is to place the trap in a trail
where it leads through a clump of sage or greasewood and put some
decoy by the side of the trail a rod or two away. The bank set which
is described in another chapter may also be used without bait by
placing some scent on the edge of the bank.

One of the Montana trappers uses this method: "Take your traps and
boil them in lye water. Do not handle them with your bare hands but
be sure and use clean buckskin gloves, and handle them as little as
possible. Find a place where they run pretty regular, like an old
road that is not used or a cow path or trail. Find a place that is
sandy if you can, and set your traps lengthwise with the trail. Of
course, you must dig out where you put your traps.

"Now cover your traps with a piece of deodorized paper and about
one-half inch of sand. Get some water and sprinkle along the trail
and over your traps to make it all look alike. You must not leave a
lot of loose and lumpy dirt lying near your traps. Leave as little
sign as possible. Wait two days before you go there again, and then
go with a saddle horse and drop six or eight drops of good scent bait
between your traps, and await results. Do not get off your horse when
you go to put out the scent bait, for I know of no animal that is any
more sly than the old grey wolf.

"Now I don't claim that this will work in all localities, but I have
had fairly good luck with this set. I always use two traps at a
setting for wolf or coyote."



Many of the sets used for coyotes are equally good for grey wolves,
providing that one uses a trap sufficiently strong to hold them and
almost any set that will catch the wolf is good also for the coyote,
but there are some which are especially good for the grey wolf and we
give here some of these methods.

One of the most successful is the following: Somewhere on the wolf's
route of travel find an unused trail and selecting a well defined
portion, set two traps close together as shown in the diagram. Have
the jaws of the traps parallel with the trail so that there will be
no possibility of the wolf's foot being thrown out by the rising
jaws, and so arrange them that the pans will be about twelve or
fourteen inches apart. The traps must be attached to drags of some
sort, stones or iron drags, which must be buried, along with the
traps. Great care should be used in setting so as to leave everything
as nearly like it was before as possible. No loose dirt should be
left lying about, and no tracks or signs of human presence should
remain about the setting.

Two more traps should be set in a similar manner, somewhere on the
trail, and from fifty to one hundred yards from the first two. The
traps should be left setting some four or five days before placing
the bait. This will allow all foreign odors to pass away from the
setting. A large bait should then be placed midway between the two
settings, and close beside the trail.

  [Illustration: Trail Bait Set.]

On approaching or leaving the bait the wolves are almost certain to
walk on the trail, and while they view all signs of disturbance near
the bait with suspicion, they will be less cautious some distance
away. In other words they will not be expecting danger so far away
from the bait.

When looking at the traps, one should go on horseback and avoid
dismounting near the traps or bait. In placing the bait one should,
if possible, go on a wagon, or if more convenient, on a horse, and
should drop the bait in place without stepping down on to the ground.

If desired a single trap may be used at each setting but as the
length of step of the timber wolf is from eighteen to twenty-four
inches, it is better to use two traps, for the wolf is likely to miss
a single trap. The method will be found to work well in all
localities and is as good for coyotes as for wolves.

Another very popular mode of trapping the grey wolf is with what is
known as the square setting. This set requires four traps and they
are arranged in the form of a square.

On a smooth sandy spot of ground, dig a hole about six inches deep
and having attached the chains of all four traps to the stake, drive
it in the hole until the top is below the surface of the ground. The
traps should have the regular short chains and they should be
arranged in the form of a square each about twenty inches from the
stake. The traps must be bedded down, or in other words, they should
be set in holes dug for the purpose as previously described and
should be neatly covered. A narrow trench should be made for each
chain and they must be covered also, so as to leave no sign. The bait
should be fastened with wire to the top of the trap stake and the
hollow beneath it may be filled with sand. The wire must not be
visible and if a bird, rabbit or any small creature is used for bait,
it must not be skinned or mutilated. When baiting with a piece of
beef mutton, horse-flesh or the flesh of any large animal, it is best
also to leave the skin on, as a skinned bait is likely to make the
animals suspicious.

  [Illustration: The Square Setting.]

If the animal's suspicions are not aroused, it will approach the set
unsuspectingly and attempt to raise the bait, but when it finds it
fast, it will step around some and is almost certain to step into a
trap. It will be very likely also to land in another trap after it
commences to struggle, and there will be very little danger of it

Many of the trappers who use this method use only three traps at a
setting and arrange them in the form of a triangle. This is good but
we believe that the use of four traps will give better results.

One trapper fastened his traps to iron pins, about 10 inches in
length, and used this pin as a stake. The captured animal could
easily pull up the stake but the entire bunch of traps would act as a
drag, and it could not go far through the sage brush without getting
fastened up.

One of the best methods for both the timber wolf and the coyote is
what is known to trappers as the "cut bank set." All over the western
country, along the water courses and wash-outs, will be found
straight cut banks, sometimes overhanging. Select such a bank from 5
to 7 feet high, and if you can find two bunches of cactus, about 16
or 18 inches apart, on the top of the bank, this is the place to set
the trap. If the cactus can not be found growing this way, place some
there, being very careful to give it a natural appearance, so that it
will look as if it had grown there.

The trap should be staked the length of the chain from the edge of
the bank, and the stake driven out of sight. Set the trap about 20
inches from the bank, if for coyotes, and about 26 inches, if wolves
are expected, and directly between the two bunches of cactus. Cover
the trap nicely as per instructions on a preceding page, and fasten
the bait between the cactus, on the very edge of the bank. When
properly set, the animal can not reach the bait without stepping on
the trap. When caught it immediately leaps over the bank, and as it
can not get back, will be unable to make use of its strength in
struggling, and will seldom escape. Another thing that speaks well
for this method is the fact that the fur of the captured animal is
always clean, which is more than can be said of those which are
caught in traps set and staked on level ground, where they can
struggle and roll in the dirt for hours, and sometimes days.

  [Illustration: Coyote Caught at a Bank Set.]

Mr. Ira W. Bull, official hunter for the U. S. Department of
Agriculture, and now located on one of the Colorado forest reserves,
writes as follows:

"It would be hard to make an estimate of the number of coyotes and
wolves in this section, especially coyotes, as there are so many of
them and they seem to be getting more numerous every year. There are
not so many grey wolves, but still, enough to do a lot of mischief,
as they kill stock and move on, hardly ever coming back to the
carcass for the second meal.

"My method of trapping varies according to conditions and time of
year. When I set with small baits, I first select a smooth open
place, and cut a hole in the soil the size and shape of the trap. I
set the trap in the hole and cover carefully, fastening to a stake or
toggle, concealing by covering with dirt. I cut the bait in small
pieces, probably 40 or 50 in number, and scatter around the trap,
leaving everything looking as natural as possible. With a large bait,
say the whole or half the carcass of a horse or other large animal, I
set the trap in the same way, but use 2 or 3 or even 4 traps at the
one bait."

An old time trapper writes as follows: "Water-sets are the best for
wolves if the animals are cunning. The proper way to make them is to
take a boat--don't walk along the bank but simply load your boat with
lots of bait, such as beef head, shanks, entrails, or sheep that have
died or have been killed by wolves. Start down the stream, looking
for small sand or gravel bars lying just above the water and a few
feet long. When one of these is found, run your boat up to it and
leave a beef head, a quarter of mutton or such like, and then proceed
on down to the next bar and bait it in the same way, keeping on in
that way until the bait is gone.

"The wolf is very bait shy. It will take bait that it finds along
streams more readily than on land. In a few nights after placing your
bait, you will find that the wolves are working on it and have made
trails down the bank of the stream to the edge of the water. You will
observe that they all take the water at the same place.

  [Illustration: Wolf Water Set.]

"Now load your boat with plenty of bait as before, but this time take
also a good supply of traps, the proper size for wolves, and a supply
of clogs similar to fence posts. When you come to the bar, supply it
again with bait. Fasten your trap to a clog, set the trap at the edge
of the water in the trail and allow the clog to lie the full length
of the chain, downstream in the brush. Splash water on the clog to
wash it, and also on any brush you touch. Continue thus at the baited
places, and you will be surprised at your catch, if you have never
trapped that way.

"As for wolves getting scarce in the West, there are some places
where the large wolves are decreasing. The coyote is becoming more
plentiful every year. They are the worst of the two among sheep and
small calves and colts. The sheep men on the desert are paying $40.00
per month to the trappers in eastern Oregon for wolves, besides
boarding them and allowing them to keep the pelts. Some trappers are
making as much as $150.00 per month. It is almost impossible to
poison wolves in this country, but I can trap them successfully
several ways."

One of the Minnesota trappers gives the following experience: "In the
fall a man brought an old horse to give us for chicken feed, and
after butchering it, we hauled the insides, head and feet out into
the field along with some manure. After a few days we found that
wolves were eating it, so when we butchered the next one, we dragged
the insides around and put them in a little gulley and spread manure
around; then set two traps, No. 3 Newhouse on both sides of the
gulley and three traps down in the gulley near the bait.

"We set these traps on Monday, and on next Thursday father saw a fox
running away from the traps, and found it had sprung one without
getting caught. I think 4 or 5 wolves came around on Friday night,
but they didn't get caught either. I moved one of the No. 3's nearer
the bait, and on Friday father bought two No. 2 1/2 Newhouse otter
traps. One of these we set where the No. 3 had been, and the other
about six rods west of the gulley. We set the two No. 2 1/2 on
Saturday morning. On Sunday morning on our way to church, we drove by
the traps and found a wolf in the new No. 2 1/2 and a red fox in the
No. 3 that I had moved up near the bait. These two traps were not
over ten feet apart. On skinning the fox we found marks as if he had
been bitten. It weighed 8 1/2 pounds and the wolf weighed 34 pounds.

"The wolves kept coming every other day. The next Friday we found
another wolf in the same trap that the fox was caught in. On Friday
of the next week we had another wolf in the No. 2 trap. On the next
Thursday there was a wolf caught in the other No. 2 1/2 otter trap
which was set six rods from the gulley, and that was the last one we
caught up to February 15th. They don't seem to come around here now."

A Wyoming trapper submits the following: "I send you herewith a photo
of a female grey wolf which I trapped in the spring of 1908; this
wolf weighed 62 pounds. I caught her in a No. 4 trap, and when I got
to within thirty yards of her I shot her with my 33 Special

"The grey wolf is a powerful animal, and if a person goes too near
them when they are in a trap they are apt to escape, and another
thing, their feet are so large that a trap generally catches them by
the toes. It is nothing uncommon for a single grey wolf to destroy
$1,000 worth of stock in a year. This one that I trapped would have
in a few weeks produced 12 cubs; just think of the damage which these
thirteen wolves could have done.

"The grey wolf is hard to trap on account of being so powerful; they
can kill a large steer or other ranch stock, in the shape of horses
or cattle, and they like their meat fresh. I had fifty traps out and
trapped 17 or 18 coyotes and several skunk while I was trying to
catch this wolf.

"Here is the set I use: Find where the wolves have killed something
or an old carcass, or find a trail that they are in the habit of
using, for it is the habit of wolves to smell around anything they
may find dead, and scratch around the same. Dig holes to fit the jaws
and springs of your traps, put a wad of paper or wool under the pan
of trap, and cover the entire jaws of traps with a piece of paper;
then cover over the trap and chain with fine dry horse or cow manure,
so that the covering will be level with the top of the ground, and
make everything look as natural as possible."

  [Illustration: A Trapped Wolf.]

"The accompanying photograph shows a wolf that I caught a few years
ago and this is the way I caught it," writes one of the Wisconsin
trappers. "First, I took the insides and stuff from a hog and placed
it in a clover field and set three No. 4 Hawley & Norton traps around
it, covering nicely with clover leaves, chaff, etc., but I guess I
must have been a little careless, as a hungry wolf came along, ate
what he wanted and scattered the rest of it around without springing
the traps; so I thought I would teach him how to do that trick over
again, and I took 4 more traps, making 7 in all, fastened one trap
chain to the next trap, and in this way strung them out around the
bait, fastening the whole to a logging chain that I had concealed
under some clover seed hay.

"Then I covered everything very carefully with clover leaves, chaff,
etc., and also some of the food out of the hog's stomach, as this
food was smelling very sour by this time. I will also add that some
of these traps were brand new, while some of them were very rusty, so
I took first a new trap and then a rusty one, and set them
alternately around the bait, thinking that this arrangement, together
with the sour smell of the food, would confuse his nose a little, and
I think it did, at any rate, in about a week he came back and got
tangled up. He was caught only in one trap as his first jump would,
of course, pull all the other traps out of position.

"He was a sorry looking specimen of a wolf, mixed up in all this
hardware (seven big No. 4 Hawley & Norton traps and one logging
chain), but we will have to excuse him as he "didn't know it was
loaded." The best way is to fasten every trap separately, as in this
way he may get caught in several traps, or more than one might happen
to get caught at the same time, while if they hang together, he will
not be likely to get caught in more than one trap, as in his first
desperate struggle to escape he will pull the others out of position.

"I suppose it will make some of the old 'war horses' laugh to see
that it takes seven traps at one bait to catch a wolf. This is the
only time I have had as many as seven traps handy, so I thought I
would fix him plenty. I generally use from one to three traps for
each set, depending on surrounding conditions."

In addition to the trapping methods given in the preceding pages,
there are many others used in the various sections of the country and
all of them have some good points.

All trappers make it a point to set a number of traps about the
carcass of any animal that has been killed by wolves, also animals
that have met death through other sources. The trouble is that in
open ground it requires so many traps to guard a large bait, and also
the wolves become very wary and refuse to approach a large bait after
one or two have been caught there.

For these reasons some trappers set their traps some distance away
from the carcass, using small baits, and so placing the trap among
clumps of brush and other natural objects that the wolf can only
reach the bait by walking over the trap. Others set their traps
without bait on any trails that may be found in the vicinity of the
carcass, trusting that the animals will follow these paths when
visiting the bait.

Some recommend dragging a large piece of bloody meat by tying to the
horn of the saddle with a rope and setting traps without bait in the
trail. Others set the traps in the same way and scatter small pieces
of fresh bait all about.

Another style of setting which is sometimes used is to bury a good
sized bait in a trail and set a trap on each side of the buried bait.
All of these methods will give good results at times but one should
never confine himself to any one method, as the animal will soon
learn his tricks and refuse to have his toes pinched. It is wise also
when using baits or scents to locate the set to the windward side of
the animals probable course of travel as all animals can scent a bait
at a much greater distance when passing to the leeward.

No matter what method is used, one must be a hustler and persevering.
One can not possibly make a great success of wolf trapping unless he
uses a large number of traps, and keeps them in working order and
well baited.



If there are many methods of trapping the wolf, there are still more
for catching the coyote, for it is a far more common animal, and
while its range is over a smaller area of country, it is found in far
greater numbers than the grey or timber wolf.

If there is any difference between the two, the coyote is more
cunning and wary than the wolf, but the fact that wolves do not care
for dead bait and the proportionately small number of the animals
makes the capture of them more difficult and the catch very much
lighter. All of the methods given for the grey wolf are good for the
coyote, and in addition we give here the methods of various others,
from all parts of the Southwest. The first is from Mr. Vasma Brown a
noted coyote trapper of Texas.

"In the season of 1903-04, I commenced trapping about November 25th,
and stopped about March 1st. I used seven No. 2 Victor traps, but
consider No. 4 a better size. In the ninety-six nights that I
trapped, I caught 182 coyotes, 4 skunk, 12 opossum, 3 coons and 12
cats. I only trapped for coyotes, but these other animals came along
and got caught. Had I been trapping for skunk, opossum and wild cat,
I would have caught about 200 of each, but their pelts were not worth
more than 10 cents each."

  [Illustration: A Trapped Texas Coyote.]

"I took a piece of fresh meat and dragged it along a trail for about
a mile. About every two hundred yards I set a trap. I scratched a
hole in the ground just the size of the trap, put it in the hole and
covered it up with a piece of paper and sprinkled dirt or sand upon
it entirely concealing it. For bait, I cut some little pieces of meat
and put about six or eight around the trap and then went on and set
my other traps. I never failed to find two or three coyotes in my
traps. My biggest catch in one night was six coyotes and one coon. I
never use any scent. Fresh pork is the best scent that a person can
use. I tie my traps to a log or a piece of brush."

"In the spring of the year, I have many calves and some hogs killed
and eaten by coyotes. A calf about six months old, is the finest kind
of bait for a coyote. A few years ago I saw a coyote kill a calf and
as soon as I could, I put a 38 Winchester bullet through him. As many
coyotes as I have caught in steel traps, I have never had one dig up
my trap. They are very easily caught."

"In the winter of 1903 and 1904, I raced with a friend of mine
catching coyotes. Our trapping places were about five miles apart,
and there were just as many coyotes on his place as mine. I used
seven No. 2 and he used nine No. 3 traps. He also used scent and I
used none. When the day came to count and see who had the most hides,
I had the most by one hundred and three coyotes, besides twenty-one
other hides. He used scent and the animals were not very hungry. The
scent they found on a suspicious place, made them shy, because they
could not see what it was."

"If you will all think about it, it is plain enough. If an animal is
hungry and sees a bait he is going to eat it whether it looks
suspicious or not; and if not hungry and he sees a trap with bait,
especially if he has ever been caught and gotten away, he will not
bother it. The slyest of all animals have been caught in the most
simple way a trap could be set, because they were hungry. My brother
and I used to, and do now, catch coyotes at the carcass of a dead
animal with our traps as unconcealed as you can set them. We always
have had good success. We catch about one-third of what comes

"In the fall of 1895, my brother found the carcass of a dead horse.
He set three No. 3 Newhouse traps at the carcass, and when it was all
consumed, he had thirty-six coyote hides. His traps were set on the
ground. A person could see them on the top of the ground at one
hundred yards distance. The coyotes were very hungry and they cared
for nothing but the flesh of the dead horse. They stepped everywhere,
and on and in everything. Hunger makes an animal easy to capture."

The ease with which the coyote of the Southwest may be captured only
goes to prove our statement in a previous chapter, that there is a
great difference in the nature of the animals found in widely removed
localities. It is certain that the coyotes of the Northwest could not
be captured in uncovered traps. There is also, as will be noted, a
great diversity of opinion regarding the value of scent. In parts of
the country where the animals take bait well, scent is seldom used
and would not be as successful as in other parts.

"I trap on a small scale, but enjoy it more than any other
occupation," writes a New Mexico trapper. "I intend trapping on a
large scale next winter. It is mostly skunks, coyotes, badger and
occasionally a fox and coon."

"Some of the brother trappers complained of wolves being hard to
catch. There are very few here, but I can catch a coyote almost as
easy as a skunk. I have caught lots of them. The best place to set
the traps is on loose plowed ground or a sand bed, or anywhere you
can conceal the trap so another person couldn't locate exactly where
it is set. A cow trail is good. Setting it in grass is no good.

"I dig out a place in the ground just the size of the trap, and so
the pan will be one-fourth of an inch below level, then set trap, put
in place, take a piece of stiff paper (not too stiff), large enough
to cover jaws, and place over jaws; then cover one-fourth inch with
fine loose dirt. Brush the ground down smooth so it will all look
alike. It is best to have two or three traps set at one setting, so
you will catch him by more than one foot. When caught by one foot,
they will soon sever their leg by jerking and twisting."

"Another pointer, when you catch a coyote at a setting, don't move
your traps away, but set back in the same place, for the more you
catch at a setting the better chances you have to catch more. I've
caught six coyotes in one setting within the last two weeks. That
isn't extra good but they are scarce here."

"By all means, don't pile up brush, stones, etc., around your traps
when trapping for coyote. It doesn't make any difference how much the
coyote scratches up the dirt, others will come back to the same
place. I use most any kind of meat, such as rabbit, chicken and
sometimes a coyote carcass until I catch one; then I seldom use any
bait, for the scent left by the one caught attracts others."

Another trapper from Texas, writes, "In trapping for coyotes, there
are three lines to be looked after with the eye of experience, viz:
The where and the how of setting, and the bait. Beds should always be
located between either hiding or feeding districts. In passing from
one to another of these districts, coyotes follow in the main, the
same route, and the experienced eye can soon locate a good place for
a trap bed. These spots may be far apart or they may be near each
other. The past season I had two not more than three yards apart.
Failing to get such a location, the trapper traps by chance and
catches by accident. After a rain the trap bed should be torn up and
sunned awhile. Fresh sign is suspicious. Four traps make a good bed,
but I seldom use more than two. Traps and chains must be well hidden
and the ground left as level as would seem natural."

"If the traps are so fastened as to hold the animal to the spot, that
bed is lost for that season. I prefer small pieces of worn out
machinery, rusty iron, weighing ten or fifteen pounds for clogs. Then
comes the most important matter of all--bait. In this I have deviated
from anything I have ever noticed in guides. I use unrendered beef
fat. Leaf fat is good, but I prefer what is commonly called gut fat.
If taken off without too much care, it is best. Hung up and dried it
lasts indefinitely. This dried article I cut up in pieces from the
size of a pea to the size of the end of my thumb, the smaller the
better, and scatter around over the trap bed, say 10 feet square. If
the bed is in short grass, this baiting is better. The bait must be
carried in a bag for the purpose, and must not be touched, in any
case, until the traps are set. With traps well disinfected this is
the slickest cheat I have ever seen worked on a coyote."

Some of the northern trappers will probably smile when they read of
the following set, but the fact that it is used extensively in the
South, proves that it is a good one for that part. It was contributed
by one of the Arizona trappers. "There is plenty of small timber
here, so the first thing I do when I find a good brush to wire the
bait to, is to cut a drag about three to four feet long and about
three or four inches in diameter about the center of the drag. Cut a
notch on one side and in the center of the drag. Wire the ring of the
trap chain securely to the drag in the notched place with about two
lengths of hay baling wire. Lay the drag on the ground on one side of
the pen and cover with brush. The pen would be brushed up all around
about 18 inches high, except the entrance."

"I make a 'U' shaped enclosure about four feet long with bait wired
to bush in the farther end. The pen should be about a foot wide
inside of the brush. Dig a hole just inside the entrance of the pen
for the trap, which set lengthwise, and cover even with the surface.
Also be sure and cover the trap chain. Instead of cotton under the
pan, I use a piece of canvas that just fits inside of jaws and put
over the pan and cover all with sifted dirt from the hole until level
with the surface. Place a stick across the entrance so that when the
coyote goes up, if he wants to get the meat, he will have to go over
the stick. It should be about eight inches in front of the trap. This
keeps him from digging in the trap."

"Now fill in on both sides of the trap between it and the side of the
pen with small brush or twigs so as to guide his foot into the trap.
Do not put the twigs on the trap where you want him to step. I guide
his feet right into my traps that way. Always lay the bait on the
ground in the pen, wired to the brush or stake in rear end, as
coyotes will not enter pen if bait is hung up. I use horse meat
mostly, but sometimes rabbits and beef. Hawks and ravens are bad on
rabbit baits, and cattle paw the traps up if set with beef."

"I set my traps from one-fourth to one-half mile apart, and use a
fresh rabbit or fresh piece of meat and drag from one trap to the
other, when making my rounds. Also spoiled fish scent is good for a
trail. I never use gloves to prevent human scent in setting traps,
and I consider it nonsense. After the first night a set has been out,
almost any coyote will go into the trap. I use No. 14 Newhouse traps,
and when they catch they never let go."

"I never set traps at a large carcass of a horse or other animal, for
when one does when the coyotes come there to feed and one of their
number steps into a trap, that generally settles it for the rest of
them, and they will not come back. Set traps from one-eighth to
one-fourth of a mile all around the carcass and bait with meat from
the carcass is a good plan."

"I visit my coyote traps daily if possible, as they should not be
left in the traps to frighten others away that would get caught, if
the trap was set, and seeing that coyote in trouble, they will be
very shy about coming up to the place afterward. I ride horse-back
looking after my traps, and am able to get over a good deal of ground
in that way."

Another coyote trapper from Texas gives the same method, and adds:
"For bait take cracklings from either lard or tallow. Heat them in a
skillet and when hot, cut up some garlic and drop in, but don't let
it cook too much. Put the mixture in the pen the same as any other
bait and see how it works. It does fine here, but it might be that
there are so many coyotes here that they will eat any old thing. The
best thing about that kind of bait is the buzzards will not bother
it. I have tried it for coyotes, skunk and badger, and it is good for
all of them."

This is the mode of trapping employed by a party from Southern
California: "Now a word about trapping those cute little coyotes. As
every one has his way of trapping for them so do I. The best way to
catch anything that walks on four legs is to make a fool of them.
Some people may think that is 'hot air', but I know better. The way
to fool an old coyote is to take a fresh sheep skin and drag it, you
riding, on a horse, for a mile or so in the hills near where your man
is in the habit of going, (now be sure you do not touch it with your
hands), until you find an open hill not too high. Have a stake there
beforehand and have your traps set. The traps should be left lying in
the sheep pen for a week before setting. When you get to the stake,
hang your pelt on it, so when the wind blows the pelt will move."

"Mr. Coyote will be sure to find the trail you have made and will
follow it until he sees the pelt, and then he will walk around it for
a night or so, but he will not get too near the first night or for
three or four nights, but he will be sure to get there after a while
and try to pull the skin down, and he will forget about the traps and
everything else, and he will be taken in just like all the other



Mr. C. B. Peyton, who met such a tragic end, while attempting to
arrest a party of game-law violating Indians last fall, wrote the
following article on coyote trapping, several years ago. "I herewith
submit my method for trapping the coyote, hoping it will be of
interest to the readers. My outfit is as follows: Eighty steel traps,
various sizes 2 to 4 1/2, two saddle horses, one short handle spade,
one hunter's axe, a piece of canvas, some wool; 3 or 4 pounds of
sheep or coyote wool is enough for one day's setting, one 30-40, 95
Model Winchester.

"When there is a bounty I do not start trapping until the frost is
about all out in the spring. I start some morning with as many traps
as I can set that day, four to the setting, five settings is a fair
day's work if done right. I never bait until I have my entire line

"I have used the following style of setting with fair success, known
as the square set. I select a spot where there is sand or no sod, cut
a stake about 14 inches long, take four traps, fasten chains to
stake, drive stake down until about two inches below surface, pull
traps out about two feet from stake, a No. 2 trap chain is about
right length, making a square set. Now dig out bed for each trap,
placing dirt removed on canvas or blanket. Bed traps so there will be
a half inch of dirt over them when covered; place enough wool under
pan of trap to keep dirt out and keep rabbits or birds from springing
them; leave a mark directly over stake to tell you where to place
bait, when making your rounds with bait sack. Carry what dirt is left
on canvas some distance, before dropping.

"I prefer a fowl for bait, such as an old dead hen, duck or grouse;
place bait in center of setting on its side, lift a wing and drive a
slender stake thru into the ground to anchor it and drop the wing
down on top of stake to conceal it."

"Now back away a few feet and throw a few handfuls of dry sand or
dirt over your tracks. If your work has been well done, it will be
difficult to tell exactly where your traps are hidden, if your
setting is properly located Mr. Coyote will not be slow to see or
smell bait, as he is always on the lookout for handouts. He will take
careful note of surroundings, if he sees or smells nothing
suspicious, he will attempt to remove bait to some less exposed place
and eat it or hide it for a future repast. He is very careful in
approaching bait, making numerous circles of setting; if they succeed
in reaching bait without stepping in one of the four traps, they soon
find one when they attempt to raise the anchored bait, then begins a
dance that lands him in two or more traps, there to await the coming
of his friend, the trapper."

"Care should be used in killing captured animals, so they will not
bleed on ground as that will spoil setting. I choke them with a small
rope. Do not skin carcass nearer than 200 yards of setting. I use
gloves always in handling bait or traps. I never go nearer than is
absolutely necessary to see that they are not sprung. My line this
spring, 1902, was 30 miles long. I went over it every other day,
catching 43 coyotes in 6 weeks. I have never lost any coyotes by
twisting feet off. When using square setting, they most always have
two or more feet caught. I lose game and traps frequently by being
lifted by human coyotes. I pull my traps up about the middle of May,
then go to cruising after their dens."

  [Illustration: A Northern Coyote.]

The following method, submitted by another northwestern trapper is
practically the same: "My outfit consists of the following: 60 No. 3
Newhouse single spring otter traps (I find they will hold any wolf
and are easier to set than double spring traps), axe, 60 stakes 16 or
18 inches long, 12 or 15 pounds of wool or cotton, wool preferred, 20
stakes 10 or 12 inches long. A piece of oilcloth or canvas about 3
feet square, a light wagon and team, a 30-30 Savage rifle and four
stag hounds. The hounds are trained to stay on the wagon until told
to go, and will nearly always get a coyote when sent after him."

"In setting traps I choose a high knoll or a bare spot on the range
and often the bed of a dry creek, where I see plenty of signs and
then proceed as follows: Stick one of the small stakes where I want
the bait and from 20 to 24 inches from it, I lay a trap and stretch
the chain straight back, drive stake through chain ring and drive
down below the surface of the ground an inch or more, then fix two
more traps the same way at the opposite points of a triangle, set
your traps and place a good wad of wool under the pan so that rabbits
and other small game will not spring it, then proceed to bed the
traps, and chains, placing all the dirt on the canvas. Now place your
bait (I always use live bait if weather is not too cold but have had
good success with dead bait). Lay an old dead hen or other fowl in
the center and drive small stakes through it into the ground, firmly,
cover the end of stake with wing or feathers of bait. Now step back
and take dirt from the canvas and cover traps 1/2 to 5/8 inches deep,
also cover your own tracks and brush over well with a brush. If traps
are well set, it will be hard to tell where they lay. All dirt that
is left on canvas should be taken away some distance and dropped."

"In using live bait, proceed the same way with traps, only bait
should be tied by the feet with a good, stout cord and place a can of
corn and one of water within reach of fowl, both cans to be set into
the ground even with surface. Do not go nearer to traps than to see
they are not sprung and do not shoot or club game in traps but choke
to death with a copper wire on the end of a pole; a good stout cord
will answer the same purpose. Wipe all blood off traps before setting
again and brush out your tracks as before, and above all don't spit
tobacco juice near your traps."

"Never set your trap by your bait; the bait is there to attract the
animal," says a Colorado trapper. "When setting traps at your bait
you only catch two or three, and by this time all the coyotes in the
country have seen their comrades' doom at this particular place, and
will stay clear of the place in the future."

"Find where there is a dead horse or cow in a draw, or some place
where there are a number of trails leading toward it. Coyotes always
travel on trails whenever they have the chance, in order to save
their feet. Find where the trail goes thru some brush or high grass.
Here is the place to conceal your traps, five in number, in the
trail. Set them so they will take in eight feet of the trail, and
there is no animal that can pass over these traps without stepping in
one or more; fasten each trap with a pin eight inches long if the
ground is frozen, and if not, the pin should be longer. If there is
snow on the ground, put a piece of cotton under the pan and brush
snow over them; if there is no snow, dig the trap down level with the
ground, put a piece of paper over them and cover lightly with fine
dirt. Use No. 3 Hawley & Norton or Newhouse traps."

"Use the same method for wolf; you need no bait for him. Find where
he travels in a trail. He travels this trail every four or five days,
take note of this and see if I am not right. Use No. 4 Newhouse or
Hawley & Norton trap, with a heavy short chain and a good sized pin.
When setting traps, take a piece of hide small enough to tie on the
bottom of your shoes, and when within a hundred yards of the place
where the traps are to be set, tie the hides on the soles of your
shoes. Always use clean buckskin gloves when handling your traps."

"When you catch anything, move your traps a hundred yards or so, and
reset. A coyote or wolf tears the ground up so that others get
suspicious. If you have the chance to set traps horseback, take a
hide and tie a rope on it, take this along, and when setting traps,
throw this on the ground and step off on to the hide to set traps.
When thru, get on your horse and pull the hide up with the rope. I
learned this method from two of the best coyote and wolf trappers in

The following is from Joseph Casper, an Oregon trapper: "We have
here, the coyote, wild cat, lynx, mountain lion and bear, but no grey
wolves. Coyotes are plentiful, and I have seen as many as 6 or 8 at
one time. A good way to trap them is by dragging the carcass of a
sheep or pig through shallow ponds and set the traps in the water.
The coyotes will follow the trail and will wade around in the water,
looking for the bait. Traps may also be set by the side of some dead
animal after the coyotes have been eating at it, or small pieces of
meat or lard cracklings may be scattered around the trap. When
setting traps on dry land, I would advise using some good wolf scent,
to smother the human odor. I use the No. 3 Newhouse and No. 4 Hawley
& Norton traps."

W. L. Williamson, a Montana trapper, in telling his experiences gives
the following:

"Take some rabbits, chickens or other bait and make a drag out of it;
dragging the bait from the horn of the saddle, and about every half
mile, set two No. 4 Victor or No. 3 Newhouse traps in the trail and
about 6 inches apart. Have a sheep skin to stand on when setting the
traps, and do not step on the ground. Place all loose dirt on the
sheepskin and after the traps are set and covered, get on your horse
and lift the skin by cords, attached to the corners. Carry the loose
dirt away from the setting."

  [Illustration: An Idaho Coyote.]

This set is good for both grey wolves and coyotes:

"One day I went to the slaughter house, got a fresh cow head and took
it about three miles away, placing it in the center of a small flat.
I set several traps around it and the next morning I had a nice grey
wolf, caught by two feet."

"When my father had his cattle down on our lower ranch, the coyotes
killed a young calf one morning, so I took four Victor traps and set
around it, and by 4 o'clock, I had two coyotes. I reset the traps and
the next morning I had another one."

The trapping methods given in the following pages are from expert
trappers of all parts of the central and northern portions of the
coyote range.

"We have a $1.00 bounty on coyotes and $5.00 on wolves in this state
(Wyoming) besides a stockmen's bounty in certain districts, ranging
from $1.00 to $2.50 on coyotes, and $15.00 to $35.00 on wolves. I
find the best way to find coyotes here is to go out in the open
country where the sheep men run their sheep in winter, and when I can
find a camp that has just been vacated by a band of sheep, I always
figure on getting from one to five coyotes on that ground, as there
is most always some dead carcasses left behind, and a good, dry place
to set in."

"My method of setting is this, I have all my traps with the chains
cut off to about six inches and a swivel on the end, and use a long
iron pin about 5/8 inches in diameter. Usually, I take a part of a
sheep with the hide on, and so place it as to leave but one natural
way into it, where two traps put about ten inches apart will make it
impossible for a coyote to get at it without being pinched. One can
always find natural runways thru the sage brush, to make such sets."

"I also use the trail set a good deal, and always drag a piece of
sheep pelt along from the pack horse. I use a pack horse most all the
time, besides a saddle horse, and have two twenty-five mile circles
out, with about thirty-five traps to each circle. In this way, I get
from 75 to 150 coyotes every winter. The ground is too dry to freeze
here, so I bury traps, pins, and use paper over and under jaws."

"A dead sure way to get a coyote every time is this, I can kill sage
hens most any time, and always carry some on the pack horse. When it
comes time to eat, first dig a hole to bury trap in and build a sage
brush fire in it and singe a few of the feathers and some of the
flesh in it, and set in the ashes. Who ever saw a camp fire that
didn't have coyote tracks around it?"

  * * *

"My way of trapping coyotes is to go to some prairie dog town and
find an unused hole or one that has been filled up. Chop out a small
hole two or three inches deep, then dig three trenches for the
chains, then three holes for the traps, which must not be too deep
nor too shallow. This requires practice and good judgment. They must
be deep enough to allow the trap to be covered half an inch with dirt
or sand, and still be even with the surrounding surface. Any deeper
is too deep."

"Put a large piece of wool under the pan, and cover jaws, pan and all
with a piece of heavy paper or light cloth, to keep the dirt from
getting under the trap pan. Drive the stake with three traps attached
until the top is two inches or more below the top of the ground; put
the chains in their trenches and the trap in the holes dug for them.
Cover all over with fine dirt the same as it was before being
disturbed. Then take a brush made from stiff tough grass, a small
brush or the wing of a chicken or sage-hen and brush out all finger
marks, etc., then drop the last bait on top of stake and go away."

"The coyote or wolf will not come close enough to get caught the
first three or four nights, but don't get uneasy, they will get bold
after awhile, if you don't go too close to your trap when looking at
it. When one gets caught in a trap set this way, he pulls to the end
of the chain and swings around so as to step into another trap, then
there is not much danger of him breaking a chain or pulling up a

  * * *

"In trapping the coyote or wolf, I make a bed some three or four feet
each way, or nearly round. I set the traps after I swing the spring
to the "dog" side. Then place the trap, say, about ten inches from
the outside of the bed. Cover them with about three-fourths inch of
soil. I cover the pan with a piece of gunny sack so the sack will be
inside of the jaws. I place the pin in the middle of the
bed,--everything is covered."

"I use bacon for my bait. After I have the bed all smooth and fine, I
cut the bacon in very small pieces, then scatter them all over the
bed, say some four inches apart. Coyotes like the bacon. They
commence to pick up the small pieces and the first thing they know
they are in trouble. I caught in two nights with the eight sets six

"I make my beds near the cow trails. I have had better success making
my beds near a dead carcass than to set the traps by the carcass.
Last October we had an old coyote and five puppies that were killing
sheep for one of our neighbors. I set one trap where the herder
generally saw them. I caught the five young ones the first five
nights. The sixth morning I went to the traps and they were dug up
and the bait gone. I reset them and they were in the same shape the
next morning. I said to myself, "Old girl, I will fool you." I made
another bed some thirty feet from the old one. I set four traps in
the new bed and fixed up the old one just the same as I had it
before, only minus the traps. The next morning she was caught and had
three feet in the traps. She ate all the bait on the old place and
had pawed up the ground."

"I do not use scent. I have tried several kinds and consider them no
good. I have trailed coyotes where they have been trailing my tracks
and found them caught in the traps. I have set traps in the evening
and found coyotes in them the next morning. I have been trapping
coyotes and wolves for some five years in my county (Billings Co.) I
am located on the Little Missouri River a short distance south of the
old ranch that President Roosevelt used to own, what is called Bad
Land Country."

  * * *

"First boil your traps, and from the time you take them from the hot
water, use gloves till set, gloves to be smeared with blood. Take a
pair of old shoes and nail on some blocks of wood cut from 2 x 4
stuff, the length of your shoes; nail them on from the inside of
shoes with small nails, use gloves to do this. Now you are ready to
start to where your coyotes are, so take four No. 3 or 4 traps and
stake 3 feet long, with something to drive it with. Don't let traps
touch your clothes while carrying them."

"When you get to your place that you have in mind, put stake thru all
four rings of traps and drive down to the level of the ground; put
your traps out each way so as to form a square, and bury each trap,
chain and all. Make everything look as natural as possible. Put a
small piece of wool or cotton under pan of trap and cover all well
with dirt; take what dirt you have left from digging to set trap and
carry away. Now leave your traps set till next evening, and then take
a piece of beef liver or fresh hog lungs, put on your same shoes with
blocks on and go put your bait in center of trap, (keeping gloves
on), and don't expect to catch your coyote the first night, as he
will likely come up close and take a look at things and go away
again, but the third or fourth night, he will try to sample your
bait, and when you catch your first one, the next one will walk in a
lot quicker."

"I have caught as many as eight at one setting. Now mind you, in
going to trap and resetting them, wear your shoes and gloves. I
always bury my gloves and shoes in dirt to keep off human scent. I
have caught lots of them this way, although, I have other methods.
The main thing is to keep human scent off of trap and the ground
where your traps are set."

  * * *

"I saw a coyote jump over a sage brush about 6 rods from me one day,
and shot at him as he struck the ground with No. 6 fine shot and
killed him. As I went to pick him up, I found his hind foot in a No.
2 Newhouse trap. I took him out of the trap, took the trap, and
followed his track for about one-half mile toward the top of the
Butte, and found a dead horse. I left the trap, went back and skinned
the coyote, took his hide over to Mr. Muma."

"About a week after killing the coyote, I went over the Butte, and
found a man at the horse covering up some traps. I told him of
killing the coyote and where to find the hide. He caught 11 coyotes
at this horse up to February 1st. They set their traps from 10 to 30
feet away from the horse, between sage brush, where coyotes would be
likely to walk in approaching the horse. They had eight traps set at
this place, fastened each one to a limb about 3 feet long. I think
they put some scent on the horse to keep the coyotes from eating him,
as I did not see as they had eaten any of it during the time they had
their traps set."

  * * *

"I will give some good coyote sets, altho the season is about over
now, March 8th, but some coyote trappers will trap most all summer in
order to get bounty. I find that this thing in handling your traps
with gloves on is all foolishness. Well, to begin with, take some
lard cracklings, say a half dozen. Go to some brush where there is a
trail going through, take your cracklings to the trail and scatter
cracklings along trail, and set traps one at each end of brush in
trail. This is a set hard to beat, boys. Another way is to find some
old cow path, and if you see coyote tracks in this set a few traps
along in it, cover traps, first spreading some brown paper over trap
then some dirt. Take an old coyote foot, make tracks all around your
trap, and you will have another good set."

  [Illustration: A Trail Set.]

"Here we have the coyote in larger numbers than any of the furry
tribe, and he is here to stay, for his cunning is a match for the
best of trappers, but many a one gets his toes pinched every season
and his coat is worn the next."

"The best method that I know of to fool the cute chap is to find a
carcass, and if they are feeding off it, then take about six or eight
No. 3 or 4 Newhouse traps and set well back from bait. Set in trails
leading to and from the carcass, but be very careful and leave no
signs, for Mr. Coyote is very careful to look all around before
partaking of his meal, and while making this tour of inspection (if
you have your traps rightly and neatly set) he will get his foot

"Never fasten the trap solid but to a drag so that he can drag it off
and not prevent all the others from coming to the bait, and also he
makes his hardest fight immediately after being caught, and if your
trap is staked solid and happens to have a weak place, or your coyote
is not securely caught, you are very apt to lose him."

"Find an old badger hole with a large pile of dirt in front of it.
Take your traps, and everything needed to make the set with, walk
straight up to the place and don't move out of your tracks while you
set the traps. Put the bait, fresh meat of almost any kind, in the
hole, so that the coyote can just see it. Set one trap about six
inches from the mouth of the hole, a little to one side and another
on top of the mound of dirt. Bury the toggles carefully the length of
the chains from the traps and dig a hollow for the traps to set in.
Be sure they rest solidly in their beds, so that they will not tip
over if the coyote steps on the jaw. Cover neatly, with, first a
piece of paper, and then fine dirt. After the set is completed, use a
skunk's tail for a brush and smooth out all signs except your tracks.
Have it appear that you have walked by there without stopping. The
No. 4 Newhouse trap is the one to use, and the more coyotes you catch
in one place, the better the set will be."

  [187 Traps Set at Badger Den.]

"Around most ranches are hollows, ditches, or strips of brush, along
which the coyote approaches the ranch to catch chickens. Along one of
these places, about a quarter of a mile from the house is the place
to catch a coyote."

"Take the entrails of a hog or other animal and go up the gulch until
you find a place where the ground is loose and there is no grass. Set
two traps about four feet apart and place the bait between, and about
one foot from one of the traps. If the animal tries to eat the bait,
it will be caught in this trap, and if it is suspicious and walks
around the bait, the other one will catch it. Take a piece of the
bait and erase all signs that you have made in setting the traps, so
that it will appear that you have only come there to dispose of the

"Look at the traps every other day, not oftener, and never go close
to a set if it can be avoided. These may not be the best methods, but
they are good ones, and I have caught many coyotes with them. When
you get thirty or forty skins, you will think that they are well
worth the trouble necessary to secure them, just to look at."



Where wolves and coyotes are plentiful and natural conditions are
favorable, blind sets are very successful, especially for the wary
animals that refuse to take bait. Conditions must be favorable in
order to make blind set trapping feasible. There must be plenty of
good clear trails traversing the country, and a comparatively rough
locality will be found to be the best as, on rough ground, the wolves
are more certain to walk on the trails.

It is only, perhaps, a small per cent. of the trappers who are able
to make a success of blind sets, for it requires one who is very
observing and a diligent worker. To make a fair catch requires that
one runs a long line of traps, for he must depend on putting his trap
just where the wolf will step, instead of decoying the animal into
the trap by means of a bait, and no matter how careful he is in this
matter, he is certain to set a lot of traps in bad places.

On the other hand, if food is plentiful and the wolves do not take
bait well, or if they have become shy and wary because of persistent
trapping, one is more likely to make a showing if he uses blind sets,
in part at least. Then, too, he may be more certain of pulling in the
"old veterans."

The reason that the blind set is more certain for the wary animals is
that there is no bait to arouse the suspicions of the intended
victim, and it is taken when completely off its guard. Such animals
as the wolf, coyote and fox are always suspicious of a bait even
though there is no trap there, and will sometimes steer clear of it
for several days, simply because they think there may be something
wrong there. They approach a baited trap warily and if they detect
any disturbance or sign of human presence, they are off for good.
With the blind set, that would not occur and if the trap is in the
proper place, the trapper may be pretty certain of the animal when it
comes that way.

In all parts of the wolf and coyote country, trails of some kind are
to be found. On the Western Plains the stock trails are numerous and
offer great possibilities for blind trapping. In the mountains, game
trails are to be found and as such trails invariably lead through
passes and other natural passage-ways they make excellent places for
wolf sets, if on the animals' route. In the northern forests, moose,
caribou, and deer trails are plentiful and good places for blind sets
are to be found.

Main trails are the best always, unless one finds that the animals
are traveling on the branches. The trail leading to the crossing
place of a deep washout is an excellent place in which to set a trap.
Unless the trail traverses a natural pass or leads to the crossing of
a ravine, it is always best to be sure that the animals are traveling
the trail before setting traps.

  [Illustration: A Good Catch.]

A narrow, well defined portion of the trail should be selected, and
if there are bunches of brush, cactus or weeds on either side, so
much better. A single trap may be used but as the animal is likely to
step over it without springing, two traps are better. They should be
attached to drags of some sort; either stones, chunks of wood or the
pronged, iron drags. If the traps are staked the captured animal will
tear up the trail and the next one that passes that way will stop to
investigate and may locate the trap. With other sets, it is sometimes
better to let the captured coyote or wolf scratch up the setting but
with the trail set, it is best to use a drag.

A piece of canvas or cow or sheep hide should be spread on the ground
and the trapper should stand on it while making the set, and should
also use it as a receptacle for the loose dirt. A hole should be dug
for each trap, the same shape as the trap when set, but a little
larger, and of such a depth that when the trap is covered, the
covering will be even with the surface of the ground. A narrow trench
should be made for the chain and a hole in which to place the drag.
The drag should be buried as far from the trap as the chain will

The traps should be set with the jaws lying lengthwise of the trail.
After filling in neatly with dirt around the springs and the outside
of the jaws, a sheet of clean paper should be placed over the trap
and covered with from one fourth to one half inch of fine dirt,
covering the edges of the paper first to prevent it from sagging.
When finished the whole should be brushed smooth and the surplus dirt
carried away.

Sometimes one can find a long, deep ravine which is practically
impassable to wolves and coyotes. At such places one may find small
branches running out to the side and wherever there is such a branch,
there is sure to be a trail at the first crossing place. Such a trail
is sure to be used by the animals when traveling along the canyon for
when they strike the lateral branch, they are certain to follow it to
the first crossing place. That is the place to set a trap for them.

One of the trappers who is located on the coyote range of the
Northwest, writes: "There are several ways of trapping for the coyote
but none of them will hold good very long. The coyote will soon get
on to the way you trap, and know as well where your trap is as you

The most successful way I have found is to take two No. 3 and No. 4
Newhouse traps and wire the rings together hard and fast. Set them in
trails that are used by the coyotes. Dig a hole in the trails the
right size for the traps. Double the chains up and put them under the
traps, cover the traps lightly with dust, leaving everything as
normal as possible. Two traps together make your chances double for a
catch, and the loose trap answers for a drag. The coyote will not go
far until he becomes entangled for keeps. I never use bait only to
draw the coyote to some place where there are lots of trails leading
in all directions. These trails I monopolize with traps as just
described. I set it in the most likely looking place, then take a
large sized bait, fasten it in a thicket in the vicinity of the
traps, and your chances are good for a catch."

Another trapper gives his method in the following: "In setting traps
for wolves and coyotes, I set them mostly on the trails made by
stock. I use steel pins made from rake teeth. With a short handled
axe I cut out a place in the trail so the trap will be level with the
top of the ground when covered. I use paper over the jaws and set two
No. 4 traps at a setting, putting them fourteen or twenty inches
apart. A wolfs foot is good for brushing the dirt over the traps so
as to make everything look as natural as possible. I use a pair of
gloves in handling my traps and set them where the trail is narrow
and on a little knoll, or where the trail goes around a bank or
between two hills.

"Leave all wolf and coyote carcasses near the traps after skinning
them, as they make a good decoy. A good plan is to throw your rope
around a piece of meat and drag it from your saddle horn. Take a
dozen No. 4 traps and go up and down the dusty trail and set them on
the drag mark. If you hide them well, you will get Mr. Wolf or
Coyote. I do not use bait in warm weather and not much in cold
weather. A grey wolf is hard to catch by bait, unless very hungry and
he is seldom troubled that way where there are cattle and horses on
the range."



When the ground is covered with snow, trapping for wolves is
exceedingly difficult and there are few, if any trappers who can make
a success of it. Throughout Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and
Michigan, as well as in Canada, a few are caught by the most
persistent hunters, but the winter catch never amounts to much.

It is difficult to make a set in the snow and leave no signs when the
set is finished, and even if one can make a neat set it will seldom
remain long in working order. This is the rule, but there is one
exception, a set which is successful, but can only be used in places
where the winter temperature is such that the snow will remain a long
time in a loose, powdery condition. In other words it can only be
used successfully in the North, where the weather is very cold. The
method referred to is the one used by the northern Indians for
trapping both the fox and wolf. It is made as follows:

Having the trap attached to a heavy clog, and well cleaned by boiling
or washing, go out onto the ice of some windswept lake and scrape up
a pile of snow. Make it cone-shaped about three feet in height and
six or seven feet in diameter at the base. Bury the clog, or drag, in
the mound, and stretch up the chain, so as to bring the trap to the
top. Make the mound hard by beating it with a snowshoe, and in the
top, scoop a hole about five inches deep and somewhat larger than the
trap. Line this hole well with dry moss or cat-tail down, the down is
best, and place the trap in the nest. Fill inside of the jaws, and
under the pan with cat-tail down and after the trap has become cold,
so that there is no danger of the snow sticking to it, sift snow over
it, to the depth of an inch. Do not touch this snow with the hands or
it will freeze hard and the trap will not spring.

  [Illustration: A Snow Set.]

The bait should be cut into small pieces and tucked into the sides of
the snow mound, where it will be out of sight of the birds. Brush out
your tracks as you go away and the wind will soon erase every vestige
of signs, leaving the snow as smooth as it was before the trap was
set, but the mound will freeze hard and no amount of wind can drift
it away.

Such a set will remain in working order as long as the weather stays
cold. A fresh fall of snow will bury the set for a short time but the
wind storm that always follows a snowfall will blow all loose snow
off the mound, leaving just a sufficient amount over the trap, as
that will be sunken somewhat below the level. The human scent will
also pass away in a short time.

This set is practically the same as setting a trap on the level and
scattering the bait about, the only reason for setting it on a mound
being that it will not be buried by the falling snow.

While the set described does well where wolves are making an
occasional trip across the country, for places where the animals are
plentiful, some other methods must also be employed.

If one can find where the wolves have killed some animals and are
feeding on the carcass, he will note that they have trails where they
approach. One may put out a large bait and they will beat a trail
about it at times. These trails make excellent places for snow sets.

The best way to make the set is to fasten the chain of the trap to
the end of a long pole clog, and having set the trap, split the end
of the pole and pinch one of the springs in the split. Now slip a
clean paper bag over the trap and stand the pole and trap against a
tree somewhere in the neighborhood of the bait, for a day or more, to
allow the foreign odors to pass away. This is not always necessary,
but it is best. Then go and make the set by pushing the trap under
the snow in the wolf's trail, standing as far away as possible and
without touching the trap, or the end of the pole that it is fastened
to. If the set can be made while it is snowing, or just before a
light fall of snow, so much the better. After the trap is set walk
back stepping in the same tracks and brushing the footprints away
with a bunch of evergreen boughs tied to a stick.

This set is good if the wolves are visiting the carcass regularly but
will not remain in good condition very long, as a heavy snowfall will
put the trap out of commission.

One of the professional wolf catchers of the western mountain
regions, gives the following set: "When there is snow, I cut a piece
of soft cloth, white preferred, the size of the jaws, when open, and
lay it over the trap, being careful not to let it get into the
corners, next to the springs; then cover lightly with snow. The cloth
will prevent the snow from getting under the pan of the trap and thus
prevent it from springing. It is also a good plan to put a brace
under the pan, so that the birds cannot spring the trap. A small
forked willow will do, but a better plan is to drill a hole through
the pan, near the edge, and place a match, or a tooth pick slanting
through the hole to the bed of the trap."

"I use the No. 4 Newhouse trap with long chain, for coyotes and
wolves. The bait, I cut in small pieces and scatter all around the

One of the coyote trappers from Saskatchewan, Canada, says: "I will
give a snow set for coyotes that an Indian showed us and we proved
its merit. Select a good hard snow drift, set your trap and lay it on
top of the drift, then with a knife, mark the snow around the trap,
remove trap and dig out the snow to a depth of three or four inches,
replace trap in hole so that the pan will be about two inches below
the surface. Now go a little distance off and cut a cake of snow
large enough to cover hole, in which lies the trap and scrape it as
thin as possible without breaking. This requires care. Now place the
cake over the trap and sprinkle some snow around the edges so as to
leave all smooth. The chain and clog of course, should be well buried
in the snow."

"I have caught a coyote in a set like this after a big storm, the
snow having blown clear over the drift and not injuring the set in
any way; all I did for bait was to set my trap by a little bunch of
grass. Of course, it is evident a set like the above will only apply
when it is cold and there is no chance of a thaw. Another important
point to be remembered in setting traps is to give them a firm bed.
When a trap is sprung it kicks back the same as a gun but when on a
firm bed it has the greatest chance of a high grip."

In portions of the North, snow sets are used considerably. The sets
given here were sent by a Minnesota trapper who claims to have used
them successfully.

"I have trapped wolves a good many winters in this part of the
country, but they are very scarce here now. As to my way: I use a No.
4 trap and set under the snow. If I can find a place where their
paths come together or cross, I select it as a favorable place for
catching them. If there are a couple of bushes near together with the
paths between, I set my trap there, pushing it under the snow from a
couple of feet back of the path, taking care to make as few tracks
myself as possible and to fill those up and brush with a bunch of
twigs or weeds for a distance of twenty feet or more. I sift snow
over the trap also and leave everything as natural as possible. This
method I have found very successful in capturing these shadowy pests
of the prairie."

"When ponds, lakes and rivers are frozen over and the snow is deep,
wolves are apt to travel on the ice; any dark object out on the
smooth expanse of snow on lake or river will at once attract their
attention and they are apt to go and examine. A crow, rabbit or bait
of any sort; let it be up where it can be seen at a distance. Place
two or three traps around the bait at a distance of three feet, put
pieces of white paper, one under and one over the trap, then cover
carefully with dry snow by sifting it with a piece of wire screen."

"When traveling an old trail or timber road thru the woods, reach out
to one side as far as possible and place a piece of bait with some of
the scent on it or near it, and place two traps half way between bait
and trail, also one directly in the trail. Set and cover it as on the
ice. It is a good plan to scatter a few beef or lard 'cracklings'
along your trail. No. 3 traps are about right for wolves, and the No.
2 1/2 Newhouse otter trap makes a good wolf trap if the attachment is
taken from the pan."

  [Illustration: A Large Wisconsin Wolf.]

"To sum up, the trapper who makes a success of trapping wolves must
make a study of it and must often contrive methods suitable to his
particular trapping grounds."

The following extract from a letter received from a Canadian trapper,
tells of a very successful coyote set.

"One day I found a dead sheep in the pasture, and dragging it down to
the edge of the lake, I set my traps around it, covering them nicely
with wool from the sheep. I told the boys I would have a coyote in
the morning, and so I did. On the second morning I had a red fox, on
the third morning a coyote, on the fourth a fox and on the sixth
morning another coyote. Then I did not get any more for a week from
which time, I caught one now and then until spring. I think I caught
23 coyotes and 2 foxes at that one bait. When the snow got deep, I
set the trap on top of the bait. When a coyote came along he would
smell the bait and would dig down through the snow, into the trap. I
wore skis when looking at the traps and never turned around near a

"My last winter's catch was as follows: 69 coyotes, 5 lynx, 2 red
foxes, 5 badgers, 12 weasels, 12 muskrats and 2 mink."

"I want to tell you how I catch coyotes," writes a North Dakota
trapper. "I set two or three No. 3 Victor traps around some dead
horse or cow, cover the trap with a piece of paper or cheese cloth,
then throw snow over that, having it look as near like the
surroundings as possible. Sometimes I use a fresh beef head, but the
coyotes are so shy they will not go close enough to get in your trap
for sometimes a week, unless they are starved to it."

"I think the coyote is as shy as most any other animal. I do not
think they can smell the steel traps for the strong smell of the
fresh meat or carrion but they are afraid of your tracks, and
naturally suspicious of everything. When I first tried to trap
coyotes, I drove up within a few rods of where I wanted to set my
traps, went and set them, and did not pay any attention to destroying
my tracks. I would never catch any until snow filled up my tracks."

"Now I set my traps off of skis or snow shoes or drive up close to
where I want to set my trap, and drag some fresh meat over my tracks;
they are not afraid of a sled track for they will travel for miles in
sled tracks when the snow is deep."

We will conclude this chapter with an article written by a Canadian
trapper, telling how he caught his first coyote:

"This is my second winter in Alberta and I must say that we are
having one of the good old fashioned kind. The snow is over two feet
deep on the level, and the thermometer on one occasion, went on a
strike. It was only 36 degrees below zero this morning.

"Last winter, which was very mild, was a poor year for catching the
sly old coyote. He was too well fed and could get around so easily
that he never suffered the pangs of hunger, so was constantly on the
watch for danger. We had a cow that committed suicide by falling into
the manger, and I thought she would make good bait. So she did until
I set some traps around her and from that time the coyotes would come
and look at her, but would not venture near. However, I succeeded in
catching three large dogs.

"On January 5th, I changed my boarding place, moved to within a half
mile of Battle River and Lake. The coyotes were quite numerous around
the lake and river, and made nightly excursions up around the
buildings, feeding on a dead horse, cow or calf. The boys had a
couple of traps set beside a cow, but the cattle would spring the
trap while feeding at the straw stack where the dead animal was. Then
I took a hand and set the traps on runways used by coyotes. I set
them with great care, but all I found was a footprint about two
inches from the pan of a trap. Sometimes they would go as far as the
trap and would turn around and retrace their steps. One night they
actually scratched the snow off of the trap, as if to show me that I
needn't try to fool them because they were on to my game.

"However, my turn came. There was a little old straw pile that they
seemed to like to run onto, to see if the coast was clear. There I
set a trap, covered it and the drag nicely with snow, brushed out the
tracks with a twig and made some nice tracks right over the trap with
an old coyote's foot. I also threw a little piece of meat up on the

"Friday morning I ran down to my trap and was surprised to see it
gone. I saw some blood on the snow but could not realize--no doubt on
account of so many disappointments--that there was anything in the
trap. However, I followed up the trail and you can imagine my delight
in finding a big, fine, dog coyote in the brush. The next thing was
to kill him, and I assure you that they are the hardest animal to
kill with a stick an inch in diameter that I ever tackled. I pounded
him on the head until his skull was crushed and still he breathed.

"On Sunday morning I took a walk down to a trap I had on another
straw pile and when within a hundred yards of the stack I saw a
coyote rise up, take a look at me and then start to run. I ran, too,
and when I arrived at the other end of the stack there he was fast in
my trap. I thought that was pretty good for I had actually chased him
into my trap. Two coyotes in three nights was pretty good, with only
three traps, and I was quite proud of myself, but that was a week ago
and number three only came last night. I am in hopes of more before
spring, but never will I have the thrills of pleasure like those I
had when I found my 'first' coyote."



If you are using small animals for bait, use the whole animal, if
your method will allow of it, and do not skin the bait, as that will
make the coyote or wolf suspicious. Leave the bait, if possible,
looking as though it had died a natural death and you will be more
successful in your trapping.

  * * *

Do not, if timber wolves are expected, stake a single trap on smooth
ground, for the captured animal will be almost certain to escape if
you can not visit the trap soon after the animal is caught. This is
especially true when using the smaller sizes of traps. When using the
regular wolf trap, it may sometimes be fixed solidly if desired but
it is better to use a drag of some kind.

   * * *

If you find some animal that the wolves have killed, do not fail to
set traps there at once. While it is possible that the wolves will
not return, there is a chance, and then one is almost certain to
catch coyotes if there are any about.

Wolves are sometimes suspicious of a large bait and will not venture
near to it. In such cases one may sometimes make a catch by setting a
trap somewhere near by, using a small scrap of bait only. The trap
may be placed in the open side of a natural half circle of brush, and
the bait placed behind it. The tail of a skunk is said to be an
unfailing lure in such sets.

  * * *

Sometimes a badger will be caught in a wolf or coyote trap. If so, do
not skin it, as they are worth but little; kill it and let it lay on
the spot, setting the trap by the side of it. The trap may be set in
the loose dirt that the captured badger has dug up and there will be
no signs of human interference. It is almost certain that a wolf or
coyote will be caught there, within a few nights.

  * * *

When you find where the animals are traveling on trails, if there is
not much stock about, to interfere with the traps, make a set on the
trail, without bait. Such a set is very good for the old, wary

  * * *

As a general rule, it is best to use blind and scent sets in summer,
when the weather is warm and bait soon becomes tainted. The wolves
are likely to pass tainted bait by with a sniff, although the coyote
is not so particular, and at times prefers carrion. In summer, too,
food is more plentiful and the animals are not likely to be hungry.
In winter it is best to use bait, as then it will remain fresh for a
considerable length of time and the wolves are hungrier at that time.

  * * *

Of meat baits, horse flesh is perhaps the best, and next in order
comes antelope. Beef, pork, mutton, and the flesh of all game animals
is also good for bait and the young animals are always preferred and
selected, if the wolves do the killing. They do not like the flesh of
old or diseased animals. Jack rabbits, cotton-tails, prairie dogs,
badgers and sage hens make good bait for wolves and of these the jack
rabbit is preferred, perhaps because it contains so much blood.

  * * *

It is a good idea to have some small traps, No. 1, with which to
catch prairie dogs for bait. The animals are rather wary, however,
and care must be used in setting and covering. A 22 caliber rifle is
also useful for procuring bait.

  * * *

When tending the traps, one should carry a long range rifle as he
will get shots at coyote, wolf or badger nearly every day. The
animals killed in that way add considerable to the income of some of
the western wolfers.

  * * *

There will be but little chance of making a catch as long as any
human scent or signs remains about the setting. The scent will pass
away within a few days, but one should always guard against leaving
signs. A rain, or a fresh fall of snow will sometimes help the
trapper out, as it removes or covers all signs of human presence.
Some broken weeds or a freshly crushed lump of ground will alarm the
animal, and through such apparently trifling causes, one may fail to
make a catch.

  * * *

When looking at the traps go on horseback and do not dismount unless
it is absolutely necessary. On horseback, one may ride up quite close
to the trap and the wolves will not be alarmed. If, however, it is
necessary to go on foot, do not approach the traps nearer than
necessary to see if you have made a catch, also do not go oftener
than need be.

  * * *

Sometimes a coyote will uncover a trap, or dig it up from its bed.
There is no way to prevent this and the only hope of catching the
animal, is in having other different sets in the same locality. Some
other method may catch him. For the same reason we would advise the
trapper to make use of different sets when putting out the traps, for
the method that will catch one would not be successful with another.

  * * *

Do not depend on a few traps alone. Have all that you can look after.
If one chance is good, two are better, and those who make the largest
catches are the diligent workers, who run long lines.

  * * *

Wolves, like all other wandering animals, have a regular route of
travel. While they may vary somewhat from this course, they are sure
to continue in the same general line so that when you see tracks in
any locality, you may be certain that the animal will travel
somewhere near there again.

  * * *

When setting a trap, never leave it until you are satisfied that it
is as near a perfect set as can be made. If you do that way, you are
sure to be successful.

  * * *

Whenever possible, make the set on the windward side of the wolfs
route, that is, on the side from which the prevailing winds blow. In
that way the animal is more certain to scent the bait, and will
easily follow it up wind to the trap.

  * * *

Some wolfers make it a practice to burn bones and other animal matter
near the camp at night, believing that it will draw wolves into the

  * * *

All of the foregoing rules will help, and should be kept in mind, but
what is more important than any of them is that one be industrious
and observing, always endeavoring to learn more of the habits and
nature of the animals he seeks for. Such a one is bound to make a
success of wolfing.



By Perry Davis.

The accompanying photo shows the writer holding up the skins of two
mighty greys; either wolf would have weighed a hundred pounds, and
measured six feet from tip to tip. Little does the average person
know of the great damage done by these destructive and blood thirsty
desperadoes of the western stock range. Cowardly and evasive, when
coming in contact with men, yet when these two blood thirsty
companions were running at large, were capable of torturing a full
grown cow to death; sometimes a bunch of them will destroy good sized
horses. The swift footed and aggressive range steer, equipped with
nature's weapons, his long sharp horns, falls an easy victim to the
powerful jaws, sharp teeth, and the wise generalship of these
terrible brutes.

  [Illustration: Mr. Davis With the Big Wolf Skins.]

Five wolves have been killed in this community last winter, and there
is but little sign of others, and no complaints from the stockmen.
Billy Clanton claims to have lost about 40 head of cattle, mostly
calves and yearlings in the last eighteen months and he blames this
small bunch of wolves for that loss. The great state of South Dakota
pays the miserable sum of $5.00 bounty on grey wolves and $2.00 on
coyotes. Last year the bounty claims were paid 80 cents on the
dollar, as the claims were in excess of the fund appropriated for
bounty purposes.

I have heard of wolves attacking persons in the woods of the
Northeastern States; I have no reason to doubt this--they may be a
different wolf from our grey wolf, or buffalo wolf, as they are often
called. I have seen them in the Panhandle country of Northwest Texas,
in Colorado, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Montana and Canada and they are
all the same, as far as I could see, in looks, size and habits, and I
have never heard of them molesting anyone in the above mentioned
places. Of course, there is the coyote, he is everywhere I have ever
been and some call him a wolf. Fur dealers call him prairie wolf;
frequently some fellow will tell me about a black wolf, or a big
white one, but I just let him run it over me; I don't tell him he is
a prevaricator, neither do I get angry and try to kill him. I permit
him to think he is telling me something and try to look unconcerned
and solemn, but I think he has looked down on the back of a grey wolf
from high ground and he looked dark and the more he thought about it,
the darker it became, until he became almost too black for anything.
The same wolf standing on a hill above you, will show the white and
yellow on his breast and belly and that always looks so much like
that big white wolf. I do not doubt but that there is an occasional
black wolf, but I have never seen one.

I want to see every wolf and coyote in the country with his hide
nailed up to dry. I did not encourage others to trap when I was
wolfing, as I wanted to know how to work my range to the best
advantage, and beginners often make them hard to catch; their work is
too coarse and the wolves get wise. To the boys who inquired in the
July number about methods of setting and baiting for wolves, I will
say I will give you the best I've got. While an experienced wolfer
can give you some good pointers, he can do you no good, unless you
are an early riser and an energetic worker with lots of patience, for
successful wolfing is not a lazy man's job. Of course, I do not know
anything about trapping in the woods or in the country east of the
Missouri. No. 4 Newhouse traps are the best where you are trapping
wolves and coyotes both.

A prairie dog town is a good place, especially if the country is
rough around it, as wolves come to catch the dogs. Make a blind set
on some smooth mound, set about three traps close together. Kinsey
stakes all three to one pin, probably to save time, but I always
stake them so that they can't quite pull them together but it takes
more work. The wind generally blows from the northwest and wolves
generally come to a setting facing the wind, and you will see the
advantage in having your traps set on the "windward" side or set them
in a triangle with bait in center--a prairie dog cut in several
pieces and then put together to look natural. In picking the pieces
up, he is liable to step around some. If the dog is whole, he may
carry it away without being caught. It is not always necessary to
bait after you have caught one, as he leaves scent that will attract
others. Get traps in bare ground, don't chop out places in the grass.
In trapping along trails and creeks always remember the wind; this is
important. Roll up a bunch of wool to put under the pan and cover the
whole trap with dry dirt, especially in winter.

If you have been covering your traps with paper, cut it out--wool is
more convenient and the mice do not uncover your trap and the wind
does not uncover it so much. If you are bothered by having cattle
spring your traps at a carcass, set your trap under the edge of the
carcass where stock will miss them but when the coyote rears back to
pull off a bite, it is right where he will put his front feet. I have
often killed "Big Jaws," old horses and cripples and then set traps
on the trails they follow to feed on the carcass, but seldom set the
trap at the carcass. Good strychnine is good if one knows how to use
it. If you want to make drop baits, cut up small pieces of the paunch
and roll the poison up in it. They like that part of an animal and if
they swallow it while it is frozen, it will unroll in the stomach and
give the poison a chance to act quickly.

I often use a light wagon in setting traps and sometimes carry dirt
to cover with. I throw a wagon sheet out to stand on and do all the
work without stepping on the ground, as one should always leave as
little scent as possible. I think that most kinds of scent are good
or anything that smells rotten enough, but the old grey is certainly
cunning and hard to trap, especially if he has lost a few toes. There
are grey wolves that do not kill cattle; when I commenced to hunt
wolves, I studied them very carefully. I opened and examined the
stomach of all I caught and instead of finding them loaded with fresh
meat, I found over half without anything in the stomach at all;
others had pieces of bones, grass and old pieces of hide stripped
from old dry carcasses and I found rabbits, mice and gophers and this
was in the lower Musselshell Country where there were thousands of

I have tried hounds, and have had some of the best that I could get
but they were never successful. I never had hounds that would kill a
grown wolf, but they often stopped the wolf until I could shoot it
and I never knew them to make a good fight more than once, besides
dogs knock their toe nails off on rocks and get crippled up with
cactus and often a whole pack will almost ruin themselves by killing
porcupines, the quills getting in the throat and sometimes will work
through the head and into the eyes and blind them. I can take traps
and beat any bunch of dogs I ever tried for both wolves and coyotes.

A wolf hound is often very stupid and does some very laughable
things. I had six good ones on a trip in Canada. I was going down the
Medicine Lodge Valley, had team and the hounds; on each side of the
road about three hundred yards ahead were a bunch of cattle, near
each bunch there was a coyote. I tried to send the dogs after them
but they could not see them, as they were sitting still. Just then
the dogs saw a badger about a quarter of a mile down the road, and
they were not long getting there. As they passed the cattle, both
coyotes started after the dogs and followed them to within a few
steps of the scene of battle, where the six dogs were tearing at the
tough skin of the badger. The coyotes seemed to think it was "heap
fun" and then one coyote jumped into the fight and out again and then
the other and they repeated it several times, when at last a young
dog discovered one of the coyotes and started him over a hill and the
other coyote following at the heels of the dog.

Finally the hound found that he was out-numbered and went back; the
other five never knew that there had been a coyote in the valley, but
were still tearing away at the dead badger as I drove up. Well, I
felt like saying something, but I didn't.



This article by R. H. Winslow was originally contributed to the
HUNTER-TRADER-TRAPPER, but being of special interest is reprinted

"It was my misfortune sometime ago to contract a nervous disorder,
which quite incapacitated me. After securing the medical advice of
one of the world's best specialists, it was apparent that I would
find health, if at all, only in a 'journey to nature.' Accordingly I
decided to leave New York and spend a year in the West, there to hunt
quail, prairie chicken, wild turkey, rabbits, bob cats, wolves, deer
and bear.

"At first I went to Oklahoma and from there traveled by easy stages
to the Mill Iron Ranch in Northwest Texas, which I have thus far made
my headquarters.

"The feathered tribe, rabbits, prairie dogs and bob cats interested
me for a while, but soon my thoughts became centered on wolves.
Indeed, they are extremely interesting, and I was not long in
discovering that it would be necessary to cope with animals of almost
human intelligence. Too, they were quite plentiful--could be seen any
day while riding over the plains--and night they made hideous with
their howls. Would I hunt them with horse an gun, horse an dogs, or
attempt to trap them? That was the question confronting me.

  [Illustration: A Texas Specimen.]

"My first experience with horse and gun came about in this way: Two
young cowboys, Ernest Edwards and Robert Russell, were with me
hunting prairie chicken; we saw a wolf lying in the sage grass about
five hundred yards away, and decided that although we had shot guns,
we would endeavor to ride up sufficiently close to get a shot.
Edwards and I were within about eighty yards of the wolf when he
started; both fired, and Russell started immediately in pursuit.
Russell ran after him for about three miles, when the chase was taken
up by Edwards, who, upon his famous sorrel, 'Playmate,' was soon
within a few yards of him and fired with his shot gun. Three shots
brought him to the ground.

"After this I saw cowboys try to rope wolves, but seldom with
success; and frequently they would attempt to kill them from their
mounts with carbine or revolver, but were likewise seldom successful.
It was not long, accordingly, before it was evident to me that very
little success would attend my efforts with horse and gun.

"The next plan was to try riding to the hounds. There are on the
ranch many imported wolf-hounds, two grey hounds and two blood
hounds. It comprises about a million acres and these dogs are allowed
to roam over it at will; sometimes they are at Estellme; sometimes at
Shamrock; sometimes at Aberdeen; sometimes at other places. There is
no regular hunting with them by the foremen or cowboys, and none of
the owners live on the ranch. These hounds are perfectly trained,
though, and understand quite well the ways of a wolf. The following
is my first experience with horse and dogs: "The day before my
arrival at the Beasley Camp, which included a house of a dozen or so
rooms, barns and the like, a beef had been killed and the waste left
laying about a hundred yards from the house. We had just gone in to
luncheon when one of the boys noticed a large wolf going up to eat
upon this waste. Within an incredibly short time we were out of our
seats, some yelling for the dogs which were lying around the porch,
and others straddling the horses already saddled. The chase was on.
It lasted, however, for only about twenty minutes, for the wolf was
soon 'picked up.' After this we had several other chases.

"Formerly, hunting with hounds here was practicable and extremely
interesting, but now that there are wire fences everywhere it is
quite impossible to follow the dogs, and, moreover, when after a wolf
they frequently leave the ranch and go upon the premises of some
'nester' (farmer) who has planted poison.

"In a pack of a dozen dogs, say, there are generally two grey hounds
used as 'tripping' dogs; that is, they run ahead of the main body and
trip or throw the wolf, sometimes twice--so the others have time to
come up and jump on. Generally they do no fighting themselves.

"The last plan was to try trapping, and I have found that most

"I found that, first, it was necessary to boil the traps, preferably
in blood, so as to kill the odor of steel; secondly, that my gloves
and the soles of my boots should be dipped in blood, so as to kill
all human scent; thirdly, that I should prepare a large number of
round logs, about four feet long and weighing about forty pounds,
with a notch in the middle of each, to receive the chain. Then came
the consideration of bait.

"At first I used no bait but depended solely upon trail setting and
for the following reasons: A trapper who was formerly in the employ
of the Hudson Bay Company told me of a setting by which he attained
the greatest success, and it is as follows: Take a forked stick the
shape of a V, the prongs being about two and a half feet long and
with knots or projections on them; fit this V around a mesquit bush
so the bush will be pressed closely into the sharp part of the V;
place the bait, preferably a rabbit--close against the tree and in
the sharp part of the V; then set the trap, completely covered, with
springs bent inward, eighteen inches back from the bait and in the V,
with the chain covered and fastened to the bush. A wolf will go into
a V but will never step over anything two inches high to get bait. I
tried this setting but without success. The wolves would go nightly
within about ten yards of my traps but no nearer.

"Then I tried staking out a cow's head with the stake driven down so
it would not project at all above. But before driving the stake in
the ground I had the rings attached to my chains on it and under the
head. Around this head I set ten traps in a circle. As before, the
wolves would go within about ten yards, but no nearer. I decided,
therefore, temporarily, to use no bait, but to try trail setting, for
nightly two particular paths were literally covered with wolf tracks.

"My traps, logs, gloves and boots having been prepared, they were
taken in a wagon to places for settings; the traps were sunk into the
ground so that when leveled there was about a quarter of an inch of
dirt on top of the tredles; then the chains were sunk; and finally
the logs. About the setting: The center of the tredle should be in
the center of the trail; place under the tredle a piece of
cotton--over it, a round piece of paper twice its size with a place
cut out over the restraining lever; cover very carefully and be quite
sure there are no lumps to get caught between the jaws when thrown;
and, lastly, leave no loose soil visible so there will be no trace
whatever of any disturbance of the earth. Three traps should be set
in a row with the jaws, when set, six inches apart. This plan was
entirely successful, and I caught wolves nightly. In using a log such
as has been described there should always be used with it the
two-pronged drag such as is furnished with the No. 4 1/2 Newhouse
traps. A wolf may get a few hundred yards away, but he will never
break loose, and may be traced quite easily. It is unnecessary but I
use a bloodhound on the ranch, 'Red,' for this purpose. With a
stationary fastening something may break.

"In time it became my good fortune to drift around to the bull
pasture where Curtis Brown, a nice young cowboy, is feeding cotton
seed to half a thousand bulls. Here I found trail trapping almost
impracticable on account of the bulls following the trails and
throwing the traps, and because, seemingly, the wolves would go
directly to the carcass of a dead bull without reference to any
trail. Accordingly I would watch the carcass closely (about twenty
bulls have died) and wherever a wolf had begun to eat on a carcass I
would set my traps so as to catch him when he returned to his meal.
This plan has been all one could ask.

"Finally, I tried luring wolves to my bait by setting four traps in a
row as described in trail setting; but between the second and third I
buried a bone or lump of meat which had been allowed to roast and
smolder all the night before. Wolves could smell this miles away,
would come to it and get in the traps. This, indeed, is the best
scheme I know anything about.

"I have noticed that Mr. Ernest Thompson Seton and others say a she
wolf or dog staked out in the mating season is an infallible lure;
and a captive wolf that will howl is good at any time.' We have a
number of female wolves around the camp now and have had them for a
long while, one is quite gentle and they howl. They have been staked
out frequently with a circle of traps around each, but no wolf has
been near.

"Aside from the sport to be obtained in trapping wolves, the
pecuniary feature is of interest to the trappers. In New Mexico where
they are much more plentiful than in Texas, there is a bounty of
twenty dollars each on Lobo wolves (Canislupus) and two and one-half
dollars on coyotes. Moreover the trapper does not have to wait for
his money for the large ranch owners pay cash for the scalps in order
to have him trap on their range, thus decreasing the number of wolves
and thereby protecting their cattle and sheep. Too, the trapper is
usually furnished a horse or two."



By Louis Wessel.

While the tourist speeds across the cheerless plains on his way
westward, snugly seated in the upholstered berths of an overland
limited, the objects of attraction over the landscape are so rare
that he will find little desire to spend or waste, as he will say,
much time in viewing the scenery; and instead, will settle down to a
book or something or other less monotonous than that almost boundless
stretch of country, through which he must pass, before he can expect
to see the rugged peaks of the Rockies loom up about the distant
horizon. Swiftly the limited is carrying him toward his destination,
yet slowly very slowly the time passes for him, as hour after hour
wears away without bringing a change of scene, until even the
monotony of the situation begins to generate in him an interest for
the surroundings.

He lends a closer scrutiny to the objects as they speed by. "Why is
yonder bluff so lifeless and dreary?" he mused. "What fantastic forms
are those near it?" They are but spurs of the famous "Bad Lands."
"And this large field of bushes, what is it," he inquires. Some newly
formed friend who is better acquainted with the nature of the Great
Plains will inform him that this is but a patch of sage bush, an
aridity loving plant, characteristic of this region. He will explain
that yonder mounds are part of a prairie dog town, and the little
marmot like forms, perched in their peculiar attitudes on the little
round knolls, represent the inhabitants of this populous city. The
traveler has oft heard of prairie dogs, and is surprised on a close
acquaintance with them. They appear so different from what his mind
has pictured them. He watches them scamper to their burrows, sit up
for a moment on their haunches and dive out of sight.

His interest, however, is not completely aroused until he catches
sight of a dog like form, half hidden among the sage bush. He watches
it as it disinterestedly trots along with drooping head and tail, a
picture of despair, most perfectly suited to its environments. Once
it stops all alert, looks back over its shoulder, ears pointed and
nose uplifted, and the train leaves it behind in all its loneliness.
This is our first acquaintance of the coyote or prairie wolf. Coyotes
are of several varieties, each differing from the rest through
certain peculiarities in form, size or color, and each having a well
defined geographical range. Collectively they range from the upper
Mississippi Valley westward through the Great Plains and Rocky
Mountains, southward to northern Mexico and northward into British
Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

While the coyote is found in one or another of its forms, in greater
or lesser numbers throughout this region, its most congenial home is
among the Bad Lands and among the sandstone ridges, steep sided
buttes and deep narrow coulees and canyons in the Colorado and upper
Missouri Valleys, and it is here that its greatest numbers are found.
Being thoroughly fitted to these surroundings it has been enabled to
hold its own through the advent of civilization, while most of its
larger co-inhabitants have been sadly reduced in numbers.

It is true that the combined actions of poisons, traps and high power
rifles have done much to reduce the numbers of the coyote in some of
its favorite haunts, yet, in other localities, its persistent numbers
are deserving of considerable credit. They prove but the survival of
the fittest.

Among the mountains the coyote is rarely found, though since the
coming of the white man with his flocks they have multiplied
considerably in several localities even to such an alarming degree
that ranches have found it unprofitable to further attempt to raise

The coyote of the plains is considerably smaller than the wolf, being
intermediate in size between the red fox and the grey wolf. It has
the short body, bushy tail, rounded head and pointed nose of the fox
and might easily be mistaken for one. Its general color is fulvous,
grizzled with black and white hairs and lighter underneath a color
remarkable for its ability to blend with the brown and grey, that the
arid Plains are clothed in the greater part of the year.

Although well proportioned and being where food is usually plentiful,
it rarely fattens up, and almost invariably presents a hungry, half
fed appearance. Its food consists mainly of small rodents and birds,
such as it can dig up from the ground, or waylay by cat-like
maneuvers. Preferring to live on a diet of such animals as it is
enabled to capture and kill, it resorts to many schemes and tricks to
satisfy its desire for fresh meat. Field mice and gophers living in
shallow burrows, fall an easy prey to its diggings. Prairie dogs and
cotton tails are waylaid at their place of refuge, and grouse and
small birds are pounced upon when they venture too near its place of

Not always, however, is the coyote enabled to capture its game by
such easy means, and when it chooses to dine on jack rabbit, it finds
it requires all the power of perseverance and endurance it is capable
of mustering up to overtake that fleet creature. As it happens, it is
often obliged after a long chase to give up its quarry for a humbler
meal. Probably it then decides it is not worth while to hunt the jack
alone today, for it knows that if it can persuade one of its comrades
to join the chase, Mr. Jack is doomed. When hunting in pairs, they
give chase in turns, each stopping to rest in turn, thereby having a
double cinch on the poor jack rabbit which is compelled to run
continually until exhausted.

In the winter when birds are scarce and the small mammals have
hibernated or are huddled away under the snow and frozen ground, the
coyote is often sorely pressed for food, and he is then forced to
content himself with gnawing off an existence from the frozen carcass
of a horse or cow that has died probably months before. His ingenuity
of last summer is replaced by a stubborn perseverance, which keeps
him traveling day and night in search of scraps of food.

In the spring after the young are born, the bitch is kept busy from
morn till night trying to satisfy the hunger of her growling litter
of pups, and in her frantic efforts to do so, scruples little on
running down and killing a stray sheep or an unprotected calf or
colt. When, however, this large prey fails and the smaller game
proves insufficient, she is again forced to the humbler larder of
some carcass she has discovered on one of her many haunts.

Coyotes are not adepts at burrowing, yet, some credit must be
accorded them for work in this line. They often follow up mice and
gophers for several feet under the sod, though it remains for the
female to exhibit the powers of burrowing possessed by her tribe. In
late winter in the southern part of her range, and in the early
spring in the northern part, she selects a safe location, usually
under a boulder or a ledge of rock, or on the face of a rounded point
in a coulee or gulch, from where she may keep a sharp lookout, and
sets to work to dig a home for her prospective family. Large
quantities of dirt are deposited at the mouth of the burrow, yet this
amount is remarkably small when compared with the tunnel from which
it is removed, which is often twenty feet or more in length and wide
enough to admit a boy, or even in some cases a medium sized man.

At the end of the burrow, which is usually elevated, is an
enlargement, in which a litter of from three to eight are brought
forth. These are blind and helpless, yet after the first day of their
earthly career it seems to become necessary that they exercise both
their lungs and limbs, and except for the time that is spent in
actual sleep, they keep up a persistent scrambling, one over another,
and at the same time a constant growling and whining. The cries of
the young and the shuffling about of awkward feet can often be
distinctly heard at the mouth of the burrow. This is one of the tests
the "wolfer" relies on when he has made the find of a burrow with
fresh signs.

As soon as the little ones' eyes are open and their legs grow
stronger, they begin to travel, first up and down the burrow, a
little further each time, until the mouth is reached. Later on,
during the warm sunny days they may be seen playing on the hillside
near their home like so many kittens. Before they are half grown the
fond mother leads her family out for its initial trip, usually to the
nearest watering place, to which they subsequently make regular

It is a pleasing sight to see the young coyotes in playful antics
jump up the mother's side and play with her tail as they follow her
or chase each other around the bushes. As soon as the young are old
enough they are taken out and taught the rules and regulations of the
hunt, and long before they are full grown they take an active part in
the chase.

  [Illustration: Caught at Last.]

In late summer the young leave the maternal home in exchange for an
independent life, and it may truly be said that the coyote's
childhood day's are over, and it must face the stern realities of
life with all its serious consequences. It now prefers to live the
life of a hermit, with an occasional short interview with its

Contrary to the habits of its cousin and neighbor, the wolf, the
coyote is not often seen except singly or in pairs, though it is
probable that they are more in the habit of congregating during the
night, when the eyes of the hunter and his dogs are closed in sleep,
and they are at liberty to roam at will. Their stealthy maneuvers are
not apt to disclose their presence, and one usually is not aware of
the fact that coyotes are near until he is suddenly reminded of it by
one of those unearthly screeching, yelping utterances given vent to
by the coyote during the long still night. Immediately the call is
taken up by some prowler in a different direction, and in turn is
repeated by others further away, until the air fairly resounds with
that weird cry. Whether uttered in pleasure or in pain, it is one of
nature's most unpleasant calls, and embodies all the hopelessness and
despair so apparent on the wide plains of the west.

It is hard to describe the cry of the coyote, though a fair idea may
be had by imagining a series of sharp, harsh yelps, terminating into
a long drawn painfully entreating howl. Often repeated and echoed by
several further away, half a dozen are able to produce enough noise
to lead a stranger to believe that he is in the midst of a hundred
blood thirsty demons who are proclaiming vengeance on any one that
might lack of proper protection.

The coyote is detrimental to but a small degree except to the sheep
industry. It is true that coyotes, when hard pressed by hunger, have
been known to rob the ranches of its poultry or even to kill a calf
or colt, but it is on the defenseless sheep and lambs that they
commit their greatest ravages.

In some of the western states, where stock raising is an important
industry, large bounties have been paid at different times for the
destruction of the coyotes, and these bounties, together with those
offered by stock associations and private parties, have induced a
number of men and sometimes women, too, to make a business of the
extermination of the coyote. Where formerly little time or trouble
was spared to destroy these pests, now everybody who has an
opportunity eagerly sets traps or poisonous baits for them, shoots at
them at long range, runs them down with his bronco to ensnare them in
the fatal noose of his lariat, or digs them and their families out of
the depths of their underground retreat. The result is obvious. But
few localities remain where coyotes hold their own in their original

The coyote is a wary animal and hard to approach within reasonable
pistol shot range, and then only an experienced eye can draw a bead
through the gun sights on its dull coat against the usual background
of brown or grey. They are fleet foot creatures, and anything short
of a greyhound, they are apt to leave behind struggling in the dust.
Grey hounds and fox hounds are sometimes employed to run them down,
and if one is caught out on the open plain by a pack of these hounds
it is quickly dispatched. Frightened almost out of his wits, it
repeatedly takes a quick glance back over its shoulder at the furious
mob pursuing it, only to find that they are each time a little
nearer, until it feels the sharp clasp of the jaws of the leader in
deathly embrace. What sport this would be to some of our noblemen
across the sea.

Like the red fox, the coyote will sometimes form the friendship of
the farmer's dog, and once arrived at a mutual understanding amicable
relationship is not easily broken.

As has been said, the coyote is swift afoot, but its wind is easily
exhausted, and many a one has fallen a prey, through this lack, to
the lariat of the hardy cowboy, who desires nothing more exciting for
recreation than a rough and tumble chase through a prairie dog town
in pursuit of one of these nimble creatures. Imagine the roughly clad
westerner with hair and kerchief flying in the breeze, and the magic
noose swinging round and round over his head, whooping at the top of
his voice and urging his steed on to its best. Imagine him shooting
forth that magic noose and see it settle over the coyote's head. A
jerk of the hand tightens the rope, and a turn in the horse's course
takes the coyote off his feet and drags him along bouncing from mound
to mound into insensibility.

Coyotes cannot be said to possess a vicious nature. Armed with a
short club, one may safely enter their burrows, and when trapped the
same weapon will complete the work, as they are cowardly and rarely
show fight.

Though possessing considerable cunning, coyotes are easier trapped
than foxes, though they are slow at taking bait. Large numbers,
however, are annually poisoned by placing strychnine in the carcasses
of animals that have fallen, through old age or otherwise, of which
the pangs of hunger are apt to force coyotes to make a meal. The
action of strychnine is exceedingly fast, and it is no unusual
occurrence to find a dead coyote a few feet from where it had been
enjoying a dinner of poisoned meat.

Of all methods resorted to, however, none is highly responsible for
the reduction of the coyote as that of digging up the young (and this
often gives up the mother too) from the burrows. By one who is versed
in coyote habits, the burrows are easily found, and the work of an
hour or two with pick and shovel usually forces them to give up their

Not always, however, are the results so easily and quickly arrived
at. The writer well remembers the first litter of pups he was
fortunate enough to capture. After a three days' search among the
deep coulees, along the upper Missouri, a den was located. But where?
In the crevice of a ledge of sand rock. By placing my ear to the
mouth of the burrow, I could hear the pups whining. The burrow was
too small to admit me, and as it was too late in the day to commence
operations, I plugged up the opening lest the bitch should proceed to
transfer her young to some other place of refuge during the night.
The greater part of the next day a friend and myself spent in
enlarging the burrow with sledge and crowbar, and it was not until
late in the afternoon that I was able to crawl in far enough and with
the aid of a short stick with some nails drawn through the end, to
rake out the six young, one by one.



By Captain Jack O'Connell.

For more than 40 years "Old Hank" Morrison has made his home in the
lonely cabin on the shore of a small lake miles from any human
habitation, in Alger County. I have often visited this strange old
chap, and although the frosts of 70 winters has bent his giant form
and silvered his hair, his heart is young. His past life I have never
been able to fathom, but to judge from the choice books in several
languages in his little cabin, I am led to believe there is a romance
in the long, long ago.

The writer slowly recovering from a stroke of paralysis, wishing to
get outside the confines of civilization, decided to drop in on "Old
Hank" recently. I made a trip despite the deep snow and the protest
of my doctor. When I pounded on his door it was rather late at night.
"Who in ----," and then pausing in astonishment, threw the door wide
open and held out his hand. "Hello Jack," he fairly shouted, shaking
my hand in real pump handle fashion, and with all the vigor of his
mighty frame. "Blest if I ever expected to see you again! Well! well!
well!" He helped me put the horse away in good shape, and then got me
a regular "bang up" supper despite the late hour.

Next morning after pancakes and coffee, the very first thing to
attract my attention, when I stepped outside was two huge wolf pelts
nailed to the side of the shack doing duty as the barn. I became
interested at once owing to the unusual size and freshness of both.
"Fifty dollars in one night is like finding money, eh," remarked the
old man.

I asked him how he managed to catch these cunning animals, knowing
that others had met with poor success elsewhere. Says he, "I didn't
learn the art of wolf trapping by mail--I have been afflicted with
the fad of wolf trapping for 30 years, and in pursuit of them, I have
learned a few things not observed by other hunters. I may not know it
all but I think I have the only successful trick of trapping these
cunning animals and any man who will try my suggestions will meet
with good success."

Wolves are very suspicious animals, and have a keen scent for human
beings. They will sometimes make a wide detour around a place where I
have blazed a tree for the purpose of marking a spot I want to again
visit. They are very observing and while the scent of a man's trail
through the forest is fresh they will not come within many feet of
his path. Hunters find in the school of bitter experience that it is
no easy matter to catch them in traps. Old trappers will tell you
that it is easier to catch the cutest fox than it is to snare the
dullest and most stupid wolf. I have followed the same method all my
life--I learned the trick from a half breed trapper in the far
Canadian Northwest.

I select an open place in the woods or on the edge of the forest. It
is necessary to have a knoll or mound near the center or edge of the
clearing on which to place the trap, and in plain view of your bait
which you propose to place there for the benefit of Mr. Wolf. A piece
of venison or ham is about the best bait to use. I hang this on a
sapling or tree and high enough from the ground so the wolf cannot
get it by jumping. Make no mistake, mind you, regarding the height
from the ground. I put it at least eight feet, for I can tell you a
wolf is no slouch when it comes to jumping, especially when the
reward is a good chunk of meat, and he happens to be hungry.

"Why not plant a trap under the bait," I suggested, in an effort to
appear wise. "Not on your life," says he. "Mr. Wolf is always looking
out for just such a joke."

  [Illustration: A Northern Wolf.]

Continuing, he says, "I then cut a stake about six feet long--one
with a crotch at one end. I sharpen the other end for the purpose of
driving it into the ground. The ring on the end of the chain which is
fastened to the trap, I slip over the stake up to the crotch. I then
drive the stake into the ground so that no part of it is exposed. I
place the trap on the highest part of the knoll and then cover it
with leaves. I never take the leaves in my bare hands. I use a piece
of bark to carry the leaves in and always from some other place than
in the immediate vicinity of the trap, for, mind you, the vagabond is
quick to detect if the leaves have been disturbed, and will also
scent the presence of man if the leaves have been placed there with
his hands.

And remember, it is absolutely necessary that no part of trap, chain
or stake be left exposed to view. You see, if you leave the top of
the stake sticking out, showing where it was cut off, it is enough to
make the vagabond of the woods suspicious that there is a "nigger in
the fence" somewhere, and he will lose no time in getting into the
next township--instead of attacking the bait.

The bait and trap should be from 30 to 40 feet apart--gauge the
distance according to the lay of the ground where the trap is set.
When the wolf scents the bait, he will approach it with great caution
and endeavor to reach it by jumping. After several unsuccessful
attempts to reach it, he will proceed to the highest ground in the
immediate vicinity of the bait, where he will set himself upon his
haunches and set up a great howl, calling every wolf within the
hearing of his voice to the spot.

Your trap, you see, is set upon the highest point of this mound or
knoll, and a wolf is almost certain to get into the concealed trap. I
sometimes set as many as eight traps on a mound in the vicinity of
the bait, and I have caught from two to four wolves in a single night
in this way. This was in cases, of course, where a pack arrived
before the original finder of the bait was caught. You see if they
had found him in a trap when they arrived on the scene, they would
not come within yards of the place, but would cut out for tall timber
at once, even if they did get a whiff of the bait on the sapling.

Wolves are even more easily caught in the spring of the year than at
any other time. This is, of course, after the close of the hunting
season. They are hunters themselves and prefer to chase and kill
their own game and this accounts for the fact that they will seldom
ever touch a deer carcass left in the woods by hunters. When the snow
is deep they hunt deer by following their tracks for hours, even
days, until they finally get their prey into a place where the animal
can't run or defend itself. The feast is then on in short order.

Wolves kill more deer in this country than two legged hunters. If the
state is going to do the right thing to protect the deer, just let
them put a bounty of $50.00 on the wolves in every county in the
Upper Peninsula. Then the woods will be full of men with rifles, and
in a year or two there wouldn't be a wolf in Northern Michigan.

If the state did this instead of getting out a lot of swell books on
the game laws, we would have the deer with us a few years yet But as
it is now, the wolves alone will pick the bones of the last deer in
this whole Northern Michigan in less than three years from now. Mark
you these words, the state now pays $25.00 for every pelt, but it
don't seem to induce hunters and trappers to make a business of wolf
trapping. Even with plenty of wolves to catch, following the business
for a living is one of extreme hardship, but if they put the bounty
in the $50.00 notch, then there would be something doing and the
hardship would have no terrors to the men who took up the hunt in

I spent a week with this interesting man. He has over 300 Newhouse
traps of all sizes and quite a pile of mink and skunk skins. He said
he never trapped for muskrats as he didn't consider them worth while.
His forte being mink, otter, skunk, fox and wild cat, with wolves a
side line--although it didn't appear as such to me.

He was greatly interested in my 35 caliber Automatic Winchester rifle
and when I fired it a few shots for him, as quick as I could, his
eyes stuck out like tea cups. "Say, Hank, you ought to get one." "Not
if I know myself, them pop guns is all right for dudes and those
fellows with that tired feelin'. Old Betsy is good enough for me." So
saying, he took down "Betsy" for my inspection. It was a Sharpe's
rifle and a good one, too. It shoots a 45-100 Sharpe's special with a
550 grain ball set trigger, open and peep sights, and weighs 12
pounds. And just to show me how she behaved, he blew a two quart jug
off a stump at an estimated distance of 500 yards. "How many deer
have you ever killed, Uncle?" I asked. "Well, I can't say, Jack, but
give me a dead rest and I can plug a dollar every time at 100 yards."
"Well, for heaven's sake, how many have you shot at?" "Well, I can't
tell, Jack, but I must have shot at more than 1,000 of 'em at not
over 50 yards."

As a pledge of my friendship, I gave him my Marble pocket axe and
knife. It was with a heavy heart that I grasped his honest hand to
say good bye--perhaps for the last time on this earth. If so, I
sincerely hope to meet him in the "Happy Hunting Grounds" to part no


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wolf and Coyote Trapping - An Up-to-Date Wolf Hunter's Guide, Giving the Most - Successful Methods of Experienced Wolfers for Hunting and - Trapping These Animals, Also Gives Their Habits in Detail." ***

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