The Booby Trap?

Taylor Fur Getter, a short-barreled gun used in the 1920s

At a recent behind the scenes tour of the Rock Island Auction Company, my guide was called away and I was handed off to the nearest employee. I found out that working for IT may not be the most exciting job, but it has its perks when you work at RIAC. “I was walking through the back one day and came across something I had never seen. It was a small gun with a spike to stick into the ground. It also had a ring on a short chain that activated the trigger. I figured you were supposed to tie a string or something to the ring.

Taylor Fur Getter — circa 1920
Taylor Fur Getter – circa 1920

“It was percussion era, so I knew it was cap and ball. I was hired to work for IT because I’m not one of the gun experts, but most of the items we see are generally easy to identify. Even if there is an odd configuration or something and I don’t know the history, the describers usually will off of the top of their head. However, they were not around and this one had me stymied. I kept staring at it, determined to figure it out. In the end, I think it was some kind of bobby trap although I have never asked anyone to confirm it,” said my anonymous IT guide.

Suddenly my IT Guy turned tour guide announced, “there’s one.” I must admit it was off my radar too.  Undaunted, and with a now-piqued interest, I scoured the volumes in RIAC’s research library in search of information about the proposed booby trap. Okay, in truth, I looked at the booking slip for the product name and punched it up on my phone’s Internet, but that’s semantics and does not make for as great a story.

Taylor Fur Getter, a short-barreled gun used in the 1920s
The Taylor Fur Getter c.1920, was a novelty in its day and is now very collectable.

It was an odd little invention known as the Taylor Fur Getter. The ring was not for a string, but rather the bait, and when a fox or whatever critter pulled on the bait …well, essentially it committed suicide by shooting itself in the face.

Today, the Taylor Fur Getter would be illegal to produce and sell because of its short barrel length and it is certainly illegal and dangerous to use. However, since this little known piece of history was placed on the Curio and Relics list by the ATF—to keep it from falling under the short-barreled weapon and dangerous device auspices of the National Firearms Act of 1934— you can pick one up for anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000.


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Comments (7)

  1. Under RCS 9.41.185 coyote getters are legal as long you obtain authorization from the dept.of agricultural and fish and game..

  2. Tool, plain and simple.
    Comes down to the user as to the humaneness and or suitability for a particular purpose.
    I see no redeeming value in baseball bats since I personally have no interest in what some would call a sport, that does not directly put food on my table.
    My luck would be that I forgot where I set the thing up and accidentally wander into it as has been the fate of a few trappers I’ve heard of.
    We have raised a society of sheep educated not for self reliance, but codependency. Not capable of figuring out for our selves what is real and worth having. We depend on others to sell us self worth. We are bred and educated to keep the wolves and sharks fat.
    Come November, write in Link/Shatner.

  3. We call it a “convict getter” and have deployed ours many times with 22 cal. bird shot. No one has called us on it but it’s gone off several times over the years in on my farm with an old wristwatch attached to the hook, so not as to harm 4-legged animals.

  4. An interesting piece of history, but that’s where it should stay, ( my opinion )
    The concept, although possiblly useful at the time it was invented, would not be of any logical use in today’s world. Even in it’s logical intended use, which I assume would be out in un-populated rural areas for pest/varmint control, how reliablly humane to pests, or safe to un-intended critters/people would this be? Guess I’ve always just been a hunter, not a booby-trapper, but I see no benifit of this other than historical value. Hpoefully, this thread won’t promote people lashing guns to trees, firing by string, except in cases of testing an old action initially for strengh, bfore proceding to restore and bring back an old gun to life, as I have done in the past. In today’s world an un-attended set-up like that, ( a booby trap ) isn’t something that should be promoted. Again, my opinion. What do you guys think? Thanks.

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