"Runners of the woods" was an French-Canadian who traveled in New France and the interior of North. Early fur trade era this meant circumventing the normal channels by going deeper into the wilderness to trade. Later it involved trading without permission from the French authorities. They ventured into hostile Iroquois territory to trade various European items for furs, especially beaver pelts, and learned the trades and practices of the Native people who inhabited there.
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A misconception about mountain men was that they were loners,wandering the wilderness detached from the outside world.These men were there to make money.The fur trade was booming, & trapping could be very profitable for someone with the know-how & equipment.Beaver pelts, the most in demand,fetched as much as $6/lb.Trapping was not easy nor was it cheap.The initial investment in gear & supplies was more than most men could part with,leaving trappers one option: a fur trading co.
Seth Kinman, California hunter (September 29, 1815 – February 24, 1888). "Kinman claimed to have shot a total of over 800 grizzly bears, and, in a single month, over 50 elk. He was also a musician who performed for President Lincoln on a fiddle made from the skull of a mule."