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Effective DIY Snares and Traps (Read 8929 times)
Coote
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Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Jan 14th, 2010 at 4:03pm
 
I've had great success with snares made from synthetic rope or cord.   I generally use just a fixed running noose with fixed open eye.  I prefer not to use a locking knot or device.   I have had very few animals escape from my snares.   I don't use a lock because I want the snare to drop off the animal if it breaks the anchor cord and gets away.

But I do wonder how I would fare if I had to use natural cordage for my snares.   Nylon is strong, has elasticity, and is generally smooth enough to run nicely through the eye knot.   Natural cordage may be fairly weak and it is often quite rough... therefore the noose would tend to 'grab' in the eye as it was being pulled shut.

I would be interested to learn what others might know about making successful natural snares, particularly for bigger animals.   I've seen examples of what are believed to be N. American deer snares made from natural fiber, so I'm fairly sure it can be done.

By having a flexible snare anchor, some of the shock load on the cord is reduced.   Similarly, by having a spring-up snare the animal cant lunge about as much to put a shock loading on the cord.  I have also believed that an animal caught by the leg might not be able to load the cord as much as an animal harnessed around the neck with a snare.... but I'm not so sure about that having had a strong cord snare broken by sheep that accidentally got its leg caught in a neck snare I had set for some small pigs.   But certainly a spring-up leg snare seems like it could be effective with less-than-perfect cordage.   However I've never managed to catch a large animal in a leg snare much as I'd like to.

The use of a smooth ferrule (like a hollow bone) for the snare eye might overcome the rough closing problem that a simple eye knot would create.

Another way to get around the cordage problems is to not use any cord for critical parts of a trap.   A deadfall doesn't require any cord.   I've caught a number of rodents in simple deadfalls, my best experience being the time when I used a figure four trigger under a wooden nail case to catch a mouse on a building site.   I reckon that dead mouse could have dang near been posted into the slot on a dvd player.

So I'd love to read about what you have experienced or have heard about.  Thanks in advance.   Meanwhile here are some pics from my experience:

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Note the notched bait stick on this figure four trigger.  With the baid firmly jammed in the split, the critter will push hard to get the bait out.  The tail you can see protruding from under the rock belongs to a big rat.
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I've caught several hogs in snares.  This snare must have been a bit big and possibly been set a bit too low because the hog was caught by just its back hoof.
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xxkid123
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #1 - Jan 14th, 2010 at 4:42pm
 
wow, to me if i had to make a snare it would be just a running noose with a carrot hanging in front of it and backed by a stone or tree.

i have heard that some snares use a trip wire that drop a tree trunk that is precariously leaned against tree trunks- the vibration is enough to unhinge it.

also dead falls except with actual tree trunks for larger game.

also, will a need to smoke or cover the snare in animal dung be needed to avoid smelling out?
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hybrid_throwback
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #2 - Jan 14th, 2010 at 7:51pm
 
Good shots, Coote. Can't get away with that kind of stuff here, either hellishly illegal or just a bad idea. Would have to be fairly certain of getting back to em in time, pigs are tasty but also fairly intelligent and I wouldn't like to think of one trying to pull it's own leg off for days on end.

Bush around here, you often find shattered dingo leg bones from the very high-set steel traps people used to leave around, would take em straight above the knee and then they'd bleed to death. Classy. Some old timers still use these traps (as well as 24d) so you have to be super careful with kids, pets when walking around. Not sure how long a steel trap stays alive for but I wouldn't bet 20 years is enough to rust ALL of them out.

Fibre traps here were often of the cage (think relocation traps for foxes, etc...same kind of idea) or basket variety (like a deadfall, but trapped under a big heavy woven basket. Snares of the running variety were often made with either waxed cordage (beeswax over natural fibre, keeps it from sticking a fair bit, if you do it right) and often used natural lengths of cordage, ie, smooth untwisted strips of inner bark that had the strength but were not rough. "landhooks" ie barbed, baited lines were sometimes used as were all kinds of nets, mostly passive set but some techniques of lying in wait to deploy them by hand or by pulling a release too.

Fishtraps etc were often of the constricting basket type...fishies go in, fishies cannot get out.

Also a long tradition of digging pit traps, with brushwood fences funneling prey to them, often set up across narrow valley floors. Then run after the prey flapping your arms and hooting like a loony.
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Et Cetera
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #3 - Jan 14th, 2010 at 9:28pm
 
Nice pictures and diagrams.  Smiley I've heard that thin wire works nice for snares, what specifically do you use?
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Coote
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #4 - Jan 15th, 2010 at 3:06am
 
Thanks for all the comments and information.   I'm flat out getting ready for a big market, so I can't stop to chat long.

Interesting to learn about the Australian traps.   I would like to learn more about these eventually.

Yes.... snares and traps can be a sensitive issue.  They are generally legal here though.  Certain steel traps are now being outlawed, but others are still allowed and the law seems to be fairly silent on snares.

We have a law that non-kill traps have to be checked within so many hours of sunrise the next day after they are set.  That is a good rule, and generally I will check them as close to sunrise as possible.   I may also check some traps more than once a day.  But it is best to check them from a distance so as not to disturb the immediate area.  The idea of leaving a trap unchecked for more than day is abhorrent to me.

While it is not illegal to set traps, I take care to act sensitively toward others and I keep my gear out of sight as much as possible.   Its the same when I'm hunting with any other method too.   No point in upsetting other folks and giving the bunny huggers more ammo to make hunting and gathering illegal.

I don't generally worry about rubbing natural scents on to my sets.   I have sometimes rubbed fragrant leaves on to them in an attempt to try something new, but generally I find that they can work anyway.   I think time is a great factor in overcoming the scent or disturbance problem.  I may have a snare set for several nights.   I check them at least daily and generally from a distance.   Any foreign smell has a chance to evaporate, and possibly the critters can get used to a change in the scenery.

I have sometimes rubbed earth on a white cord snare to disguise it a bit.

Yes.... I've used wire.   The wire I've used a lot of is braided stainless steel fishing trace.   I have only used this for small critters.   For the snare eye I simply double the last couple of centimeters of wire back on itself and lock it in place with a crimp ferrule.

The British use a lot of brass wire for rabbits snares.  Maybe six strands of it to make a snare.

A single strand of copper wire will make a rabbit snare.  In fact I think in Canada the only snare you are allowed to set is for a type of hare or rabbit (snowshoe hare?) is a single strand of a certain gauge of copper or brass wire.  Not sure of the exact details.

We make glass jewellery for a living and we sell it at markets.  I've got a two hour drive in the morning for a market with an early start so I have to head off to bed.   Best wishes to all.... Coote.
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Coote
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #5 - Jan 15th, 2010 at 3:15am
 
I forgot to describe the cord I use.   For small critters I use braided nylon that I get from a commercial fishing supply store.   Ive also used monofilament nylon.

For hogs I've set a variety of types of cordage.  Doesn't really matter so long as it is strong enough.  Cheap 'superfilm' polypropylene rope has bagged me a couple of pigs (that is black superfilm rope shown in the pig picture above.... also of note in this picture is the short length of polythene water pipe that I used to make a smooth-running eye for the snare.

At one stage I scrounged a length of extremely strong hi-tech rope of a large diameter.   I unravelled the fibres and twisted up some smaller snares.

I have been told that a single strand of paracord is strong enough to hold a deer.  The guy that told me this has allegedly snared deer using paracord.   He ties a knot which locks thus ensuring a fairly quick end to the struggle.  For the deer I know, I'd say paracord was a bit light.

Just as a bowstring should have a breaking load of say five times the draw weight of the bow, I'd say a snare cord should have a breaking load of five times or more the weight of the target animal.  It isn't the dead weight of the animal that is the problem, it is the shock load that is applied as the animal lunges and accelarates.   (like a climber dropping several meters before his safety rope pulls taut).

Gotta go.
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #6 - Jan 17th, 2010 at 10:19pm
 
Thanks for all of the info., Coote.  I wouldn't use snares under normal circumstances.  Around here I'd probably catch as many dogs and cats as anything else.  But, as mentioned in another thread, it is the most efficient way to put meat in your pot if you're ever stranded somewhere.  This is good info to know.
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Coote
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #7 - Jan 17th, 2010 at 10:47pm
 
Yes.... you can can find other animals in your traps.   But if you don't use a locking eye knot or a snare lock, you may often be able to let the non-target species run free.  And if they are caught in a simple cord snare, it is relatively easy to cut them free.   A wire snare is a different thing though.... I believe that a wire snare is harder on the animal, and it can be much more of a circus trying to free an animal

Things can get complicated if there are things like sticks or brush near the snare that the animal can tangle itself around.  If they do get tangled they are likely to pull the snare tight enough to strangle themselves in a very short time.

For tree-climbers you can set a snare on a pole.   This can keep the snares away from the normal paths taken by domestic animals.

A foot-catch snare with a cord noose is another fairly safe trap if there is the possibility of non-target animals getting caught.

Of course there are times and places where the setting of any trap could be innappropriate.

I have made a very small spring-up trap with a horizontal noose that seems to work quite well if you want to catch certain small critters when there are bigger domestic animals around.   The noose is set only just big enough for the animal to get its paw into without upsetting the noose too much.   The noose is supported by a 'stonehenge' arrangement of split sticks.  It is set over a small hole in the ground, and the trigger stick is baited.  It is probably best to place earth and stones around the noose to a point slightly higher than the noose to prevent entry under the noose, and to help prevent the noose getting knocked out of the way.   The critter reaches through the noose into the hole to get at the bait, and knocks the trigger stick.   You only need just enough tension on the 'spring' to tighten the noose.  There is no point in cruelly lifting the animal off the ground.   The possum in the picture below appears to be pulled up, but that is only because it ran to the extremity of its 'tether' to get away from me when I came along with the camera.    It had enough cord to be able to easily lie down.  It is surprising how relaxed many snared animals seem to be when you sneak up on them.
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Coote
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #8 - Jan 17th, 2010 at 10:55pm
 
Here is a good, safe and effective trap to use for small critters and birds.  It is called the Arapuca Bird Trap.  This could be used in a suburban back yard provided that you keep an eye on it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iR_3zWd0hA
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hybrid_throwback
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #9 - Jan 17th, 2010 at 11:12pm
 
Hey Coote, nice stuff. Another lost art hey.

What's the white stuff on and under the bait in that pit? My brain is telling me it's mashed potato powder?

I hear roast possum with plum sauce is great. They're protected here but you can buy farmed sausage etc. Bit odd when you can, in many areas, go out and pop roos or wallabies until the cows come home, and THEN go out with the spotlight. Sure it made sense somewhere.
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Coote
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #10 - Jan 17th, 2010 at 11:58pm
 
Good question Hybrid.   I'd forgotten about that.   It is a lure made to a recipe something like this:

1 cup white flour
1 dessertspoon icing sugar
A few drops of Oil of Aniseed (or any food essence like vanilla).

Mix ingredients thoroughly.  I'd typically do it by placing it in a jar that will hold more than the mix....then shake it up and down vigorously.

Naturally this lure is designed to have an appealing fragrance and taste, but I also think that the white color might arouse some curiosity.

The 'bait' is a paste based on a Christmas mince pie recipe.... includes flour, chopped raisins, cinnamon, vanilla essence, brown sugar, butter, oil.  I was even adding a bit of glycerine for a while to help keep the texture right, but I don't think it is necessary.
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #11 - Jan 18th, 2010 at 1:58am
 
That's great, turning pie mince into next easters roast rabbit Cheesy

Possums here (for something meant to be the same species as our most common ones, yours seem a lot darker and "tuftier") go totally ape over apple slices, honey on bread, cornflakes and golden syrup on baked beans (only a possum could love that). We don't use it to whack them, just something people do (kind of irresponsibly) at BBQ's and while camping. i get that yours are a feral pest and NZ is a small enough lil niche to need all the help it can get on behalf of it's native wildlife.

Looks weird though, like you seeing me post pics of clubbing kiwi birds, sort of  Cheesy

Like most herbivores they naturally go for the most sugary, protein-rich smelling thing they can find on the way to a more certain food source like tree fruits. I suspect super fresh corn on the cob would be ideal, they go totally mad for my mangos and stonefruit send them on some lengthy and risky missions too.

Do you make anything out of em, skins or anything? Can't imagine possum hide being really strong but it would have to be super flexible and fine, and a long tradition here of making possum skin cloaks and baby rugs among rainforest groups and "highlands "people.
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Coote
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Re: Effective DIY Snares and Traps
Reply #12 - Jan 18th, 2010 at 2:38am
 
People do make things out of possum skins.  I haven't bothered.

There has been a big demand for good possum skins and plucked possum fiber.

When I was catching them, a good skin might fetch NZ$14, and the plucked fiber was worth NZ$105 per kilo.   It took the fur from maybe 15 possums to make a kilo of fiber.

The possum fiber is light and I understand that it is hollow.  Thus it should have good insulating properties.  It is blended with merino wool and spun to create a high quality yarn which can then be made into upmarket garments.

I guess our possums may have changed in appearance a bit as they adapted to our food and climate.   There is a seasonal difference in the fur here, with winter fur being more desirable.

Our authorities have carpet-bombed a lot of our wilderness with 1080 poisoned baits designed to kill these possums.   I am not at all happy about this.   Aerial poisoning is not something we should do.

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