Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hunting & Trapping. Fur Trade.

"Here has been a plenty of martens this winter about the factory, in such plenty that several drowned themselves in our pickle cask. I sent eight men to lie out a marten catching as soon as the winter set in; likewise gave liberty to all the men at home to go at times a marten catching, being a safe time of the year. Several went that had not been two miles from the factory since they came here, purely to purchase a little brandy.

There is a bundle of a 130 martens, whereof 65 was traded for brandy of the men's catching, and would have traded all their catchings, but they were no ways willing. Those men that lay a trapping at the seaside caught a plenty. I sent two men up this river fourteen miles from hence a marten catching to a place where martens used to be plenty formerly. When they came home they told me that they had caught but few, which I found to be so by a general search of all men before they entered within the gates.

Here has been caught in all 1110 martens by your servants this last winter, besides some foxes and some quickhatches, all which is mentioned in the invoices."letter to the London Committee from Thomas McCliesh, chief factor of Albany Fort. Early 18th century.

"Dog’s are of great service to the Natives in hawling Sleds, and carrying of Burthen’s also when they are hunting Beaver they turn the Dogs into the house, who wurries the Beaver into the Vaults, imagining the Dogs can not come at them their, by which means the Indians open’s the Vault’s and Catches them—these Dogs are also of great service to the English in hawling provision’s when they Lye abroad from the fort, one Dog being able to hawle a fortnights provision’s for 2 men etc.

Martins are Very Numerious in some parts one Indian Killing 3 and 4 hundred a Winter, they are Catch’t mostly in Log trap’s, and are not Eat for constancy, tho the Natives Eats them frequently, they are Like a Rabbit when Dressed and cutt the head and tail of cou’d not Distinguish one from the other, they have a fine soft furr, and next to a catt for beauty and Value, they Live chiefly upon mice Rabbitts etc.: they have Commonly 3 and 4 at a Litter, breeding once a Year, itts Very Difficult to bring these up tame,—they being Subject to a sort of fitts, which Kills them if but once Effected with them." "Observations on Hudson's Bay," written in 1743

1 ¼ pounds of iron and brass wire, both thick and thin.
Ft Pontchartrain 1747.

The Fur Trader By John Buxton.


Gorges Smythe said...

Times have changed a bit.

Fimbulmyrk said...

Great post! It reminds me a bit of our local history, especially the brandy part;-).

Le Loup said...

Yes it has Gorges. We can turn the clock back with living history for a while, but we can't bring back the wildlife or return the land to its previous glory.