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Trapping Techniques of the Mountain Man (Page 6)

By: Kent Klein

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A few trappers made money from the trapping of beaver; the majority of trappers broke even or made nothing from their endeavors. All too often, many of the trappers ended up like George Drouillard (guide and Interpreter for Lewis & Clark) in their quest for beaver pelts. Several years after returning from the expedition, while trapping beaver, an eyewitness records:

"We started forward in company, and soon found the dead bodies of the last mentioned hunters, (the two Delawares, whom he calls Shawnees), pierced with lances, arrows and bullets and lying near each other. Further on, about one hundred and fifty yards, Druyer (Drouillard) and his horse lay dead, The former mangled in a horrible manners; His head was cut off, his entrails torn out and his body hacked to pieces. We saw from the marks on the ground that he must have fought in a circle on horseback and probably killed some of his enemies, being a brave man, and well armed with a rifle, pistol, knife and tomahawk. We pursued the trail of the Indians till night, without overtaking them, and then returned, having buried our dead, with saddened hearts to Fort."(21)

Indeed their were many dangers, hardships, and perils encountered by those who came west in pursuit of beaver. Knowing that the potential for wealth was great but the risks could be even greater, it is indeed a tribute to their courage that they undertook such an adventure. And what an adventure it was!

  1. Original journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Vol 1. Edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites. Arno Press, New York 1969, Page 315
  2. Ibid, Page 318
  3. Ibid. Vol. 3 Page 318
  4. Adventures of a Mountainman: The Narrative on Zenas Leonard. Written by himself. Edited by Milo Milton Quaife. University of Nebraska Press, 1978 Page 82.
  5. Journal of a Trapper. Osborne Russell. Edited by Aubrey L. Haines. University of Nebraska Press. Page 105.
  6. Ibid. Page 82
  7. The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, U.S.A. in the Rocky Mountains and the Far West. By Washington Irving. Edited by Edgely W. Todd. University of Oklahome Press. 1986. Page 198.
  8. Journal of a Trapper. By Osbourne Russell. Page 150
  9. Broken Hand, The Life of Thomas Fitzpatrick, Mountainman, Guide and Indian Agent. By LeRoy R. Hafen. The Old West Publishing Co. Page 27-28.
  10. Adventures of a Mountainman: The Narrative of Zenus Leonard. Written by himself. Page 110.
  11. The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie. University of Nebraska Press. 1984. Page 19
  12. Life in the Rocky Mountains, By W.A. Ferris. Edited by Paul C. Phillips. The Old West Publishing Company. Page 144.
  13. My Sixty Years on the Plains. By William Thomas Hamilton. Edited by E.T. Seiber. Forest & Stream Publishing Co. 1905. Reprinted 1982. Time-Life Books Inc. Page 84.
  14. Broken Hand, The Life of Thomas Fitzpatrick, Mountainman, Guide and Indian Agent. Page 135.
  15. Journal of a Trapper. By Osborne Russell Page 81.
  16. Fire-Arms, Traps and Tools of the Mountainmen. By Carl P. Russell. University of New Mexico Press. Page 157.
  17. A History of the American Fur Trade of the Far West. Vol 1, By Hiram Martin Chittenden. The Murray Printing Co. Academic Reprints.
  18. Life in the Rocky Mountains. By W.A. Ferris Page I XXXV.
  19. The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, U.S.A. In the Rocky Mountains and the Far West Page 68
  20. Life in the Rocky Mountains. By W.A> Ferris. Page 40-41.
  21. George Drouillard Hunter & Interpreter for Lewis and Clark and Fur Trader, 1807-1810 By M.O. Skarsten. Arthur H. Clark Company. Glendale, California. 1964 Page 310.

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