North Dakota Furtakers Educational Manual


The use of snares in trapping furbearers and other animals goes back even farther than the foot-hold trap itself. In fact, the Indians had been snaring animals long before the white man came to North America. Snares used by the Indians and white men were extremely primitive by today's standards. Today's snare is an efficient trapping device that is grossly overlooked and underrated by the average trapper. Basically, a snare is a specialized steel cable that has a sliding lock on it to form a loop. The loop closes very easily when an animal places pressure upon it, and once it closes, the slide lock prevents the loop from opening up. It only tightens when it's pulled. An animal is usually caught around the neck, body, or legs, restraining it, sometimes alive, until the trapper arrives. To be effective, a snare has to be positioned so that the animal walks, runs, slides, or swims into it. (The most natural place is along a trail in nearly any type of country.) There are a great many trails, both game and cow trails. Predators and other furbearers habitually use these, making them a natural place for a snare setting. However, the trapper must be cautious regarding their use and avoid areas where livestock, deer or pets could possibly get into them. With these precautions in mind, snaring can be a very effective, safe, and humane way of taking furbearers. First of all, they can be carried in quantity into the back-country. Snares, can be carried for long distances and in great quantities, leaving plenty of room for other set making materials. Their use simply requires a lot of common sense. Nearly anywhere an animal travels regularly, a snare can be used to trap it. Setting snares in these places simply involves forming a loop of the proper diameter and height in the path of the animal. One important aspect to being effective with snares is to have a proper size loop and the right distance off the ground. This all depends upon the animal you're attempting to snare. For fox, raccoon, and bobcat, a loop about 10 inches in diameter and 8 to 10 inches off the ground is about right. For coyotes, a loop of 12 inches in diameter and 10 to 12 inches off the ground, for beaver a loop of 10 inches in diameter and 2 inches off the ground is about right. The preceding loop size are approximate (with each specific situation governing the appropriate size loop. The advantage in using snares is they will continue to work even during periods of heavy snowfalls or extremely wet weather where freezing can occur. Unlike the steel trap, the snare is set above the ground level and not as susceptible to freezing. A trapper usually finds it's faster to set a snare than it is to set a foot hold trap.

Snares when new will have oil on the locks and cable. To remove the oil, snare are boiled in baking soda water for 1/2 hour than rinsed off with clean water. Sometimes it best to do it twice to insure a good clean job. Though snares can be homemade, it is best to buy them from reputable manufacturers.

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