The "coureurs des bois", or wood runners, began operating in 1650, when the Hurons were no longer able to supply Montréal with furs. Young Montrealers began travelling thousands of kilometres inland, to the territories of Native peoples around the Great Lakes , in search of pelts. It was a risky business. The "pays d'en haut", or back country, could be hostile, but the rewards were great. Independent spirits, they came to love the free life of Aboriginal societies. They adopted the habits of the tribes with whom they lived, and after a few months away, they became unrecognizable. By 1672, there were 300 to 400 illegal "coureurs des bois". Eight years later, this number had doubled.
Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History

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