Status: Needs Review


concerned with the value of Wrangel as a trapping island,
but we wanted to show that it had also this additional

The entry for November 7th indicates that a good
many traps had been set already, but references to them
throughout the winter show that, while foxes were numer-
ous, the trapping was not very successful. This is not
surprising, for the two experienced arctic men, Knight
and Maurer, had never seen trapping done. They had
been members of a scientific expedition to which were
attached a few Eskimos. From the zoological point of
view we had wanted foxes and these had been caught for
us chiefly by the Eskimos or by one or two old white
trappers who were with us. I have never set a trap in
all my arctic years and I do not suppose either Knight or
Maurer ever had. The theory was so simple, however,
that success might have been expected. But one
peculiarity of the Wrangel Island weather brought a dif-
ficulty which they do not seem to have found a way to
meet. So far as we can judge from the diary, the traps
were set according to a method successful where the snow
lies soft on the spot where it falls. But in an open island
like Wrangel the snow is light and dry, and the wind will
pack it into and over a trap set without a cover. Even
when a thin cover of snow is used, the location has to be
carefully chosen to prevent more snow piling on top and
making the cover so thick that the light feet of a fox can
go over instead of breaking through to be caught. Al-
though there were a good many foxes actually captured,
they were evidently only a small fraction of the numbers
that could have been secured. From the point of view of
the safety of the expedition and its success, this was
really of no consequence. The meat of foxes amounts to

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