A MICHIGAN HUNTER AND TRAPPER
I am a new reader of the Fur News and I like it fine. As you are asking for experiences, I will endeavor to relate a little of mine. I am a Hoosier by birth, but have lived in Michigan the last eight years. I was quite a hunter, that is I liked the sport down in Indiana, but I had not hunted any in Michigan until last fall. A friend asked me to go out with him, so I did Well, he took me about seven miles from town in his auto and we got three rabbits that afternoon, I having the luck to shoot the three; not that I was the best shot, but they all came out of the swamp where I was when the dog chased them.
Well, I did not consider that much of an afternoon's work, as I have taken a dozen or more down in Indiana in the same length of time and didn't go near so far after them. But they are more plentiful there than here. That afternoon's hunt gave me the fever again and I bought a dog, giving $10 for her; two years' old; a beagle. Well, I hunted the rest of the winter when I had time and my dog worked pretty good and I picked up several rabbits. But one has to have a ferret around here if he gets very many at a time, as there are lots of holes and they hole up pretty quick when a dog is giving chase.
This year I am going to go at it in earnest. I will trap and hunt all winter, as the hard drag of the shop work nowadays has got me on the incline and I decided to trap, not all together for the profit, but for the benefit of the outdoor life, of course getting as many pelts as possible.
I will relate a little of my experience on the trap line so far. The first day of November 1 thought I would try for a few rats, as they prime first, so I took 30 traps and went to a small ditch not far from my home, just out of the city limits. My brother-in-law went with me, taking my rifle and dog. He hunted around a little, while I set traps. He got one rabbit going, but did not get it, as it was getting dark. He came to me and we started back for home, he walking in front a hundred yards. I heard him shoot; then he yelled: "I got him." Well, I suspicioned something right away, and, sure enough, when I got up there, he had shot a rat I had in a trap. I trapped that ditch three days catching three rats and two weasels and getting several rat feet, as the water was not deep enough to drown them. So I pulled them up and now I have nearly all my traps set for skunk. as I see they are in demand most and seem to be quite plentiful here.
I have caught up to date four skunks, three of them being stars and one nearly white, and eight rats. I expect to take several skunks in December, as I have a half-dozen or more dens located. I have been waiting for the fur to get a little better, although the ones I have taken are pretty good.
I have been bothered a little with Johnny, losing four traps; but I think I have him scared now. I met a kid about 17 fooling around my trap line and took him to be the right one. so I went up to him for a chat. I told him just where my traps were located, so he wouldn't have so much trouble finding them. I also told him what I would do if I caught anyone pothering them, and haven't seen any more signs. I think it a good way to tell the one you suspect just where he can find your traps and then if you miss them call upon him and likely you will have the right man.
For guns I have a .22 Savage repeater, which I bought in the summer to shoot squirrels with this fall and they extended the squirrel law and I still have the gun. Rut nevertheless I wouldn't sell it for what I gave for it. I have been looking over all the standard make shotguns this fall and finally made up my mind last week that the 16-gauge Winchester pump was the one for me. so I bought it and it is a dandy. I haven't missed a shot so far, killing several rabbits, some at long range.
My dog, as I said before, is a beagle bitch, and will put her up against any dog in the State for chasing rabbits. But she won't run anything else, as I whip her for bothering other trails. Every time she tongues more than a dozen times you can bet it is a rabbit and on the run, for she don't bark unless it is up. I have a pup out of her and a blood and fox hound dog, a good cross, I think for a scent trailer. It is a bitch also, five months old. I expect to break her to run skunks, coons and bark treed, never using the two together.
A. H. Pickering.
Oakland Co., Mich.
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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