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The Accomplished Muskrat Trapper A Book on Trapping for Amateurs   By:

The Accomplished Muskrat Trapper A Book on Trapping for Amateurs by A. E. (Arno Erdman) Schmidt

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The Accomplished Muskrat Trapper

A Book on Trapping for Amateurs


Copyright, 1922, by A. E. Schmidt.

Boyle Brothers, Incorporated Printers 606 West Lake Street Chicago, Illinois


In placing this booklet before the great fraternity of American trappers, the author does not propose to exercise any pedagogical influence upon the truly professional trapper, who, seasoned in the hard school of experience, knows the animals he is seeking, like a mother knows her child. It is his wish, however, to assist and guide the amateur to a greater success.

Practically all text books written for trappers, treating upon the subject of trapping and raw furs, heretofore have been neglectful of two things, namely, how to trap the animals under various conditions, and the assorting and grading of raw furs.

Of all fur bearers, the muskrat is the most numerous and least wary, hence very easily trapped in consequence of this: it has been neglected by writers of trapping to a greater extent than any other fur bearing animals. The author of THE ACCOMPLISHED MUSKRAT TRAPPER feels that he is instrumental in introducing to thousands of muskrat trappers a long felt want. Being a trapper of wide experience, he early recognized the worth of the methods contained herein. Knowing that a fair trial will convince the most skeptical as to the merits and practicability of these methods, the writer feels sure that this little booklet will meet with the hearty approval of trappers everywhere.

Chapter 1.

Habits and Nature of the Muskrat.

The rodent quadruped muskrat, also known by the Indian name "Musquash" is a small amphibious animal of North America, being found as far north as Labrador and Alaska, and ranging south as far as the states of New Mexico and Arizona. There is only one species of the muskrat, but naturalists recognize several varieties or subdivisions, the differentia lying mainly in the color of the fur, firmness of the skin or pelt, and the physical dimensions of the animal. For example, the muskrats of the Atlantic coast states are comparatively large and of dark color; while those of the Northwest prairie region are smaller, thin and papery in pelt (except those living in clear or cold water streams) and of paler color. These variations are no doubt due to climatic and local conditions under which the animal lives.

Generally speaking, it may be said that the muskrat is a nocturnal animal, but where they are plentiful they are frequently observed prowling or swimming about during the day. It is found at home in rivers, lakes and ponds. When inhabiting the former it lives in burrows dug in the banks; the entrance to these are usually several feet under water. They are found to be most numerous in swamps which are heavily bordered with grasses and thickly strewn with scattering growths of aquatic vegetation. The roots of these plants compose the principal diet of the animal, while the tops furnish the material for the construction of their homes. The marsh 'rat differs in its mode of living from that of its brother the "river 'rat," by its habit of constructing dome like houses. This change in abode is due to the natural environment in which it lives. In many large swamps scores of these queer little dwellings can be seen towering above the water. They average about three feet in height, and are composed of the roots and stems of grasses, reeds, wild rice and flags. The entrances are located under water. From four to eight 'rats are generally found in one house.

The muskrat is a herbivorous animal. Its food consists of the roots of flags, water lilies, etc. It is also very fond of sweet apples and vegetables, and will often raid a garden when located near its haunts. It is also partial to grain, especially corn.

Although the muskrat is herbaceous by nature, it is known to eat the flesh of clams. These it carries upon shore, deposits them in a pile in some secluded retreat and leaves them to die, whereupon they are easily opened and devoured with much avidity... Continue reading book >>

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