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Thursday, February 24, 2011

3 Easy Snare Traps for Survival

This is the variety of snare which has been in very common use for ages, and has always been the one solitary example of a noose trap which our “boys’ books” have invariably pounced upon for illustration. For the capture of small birds it works very nicely; and as without it our list of traps would be incomplete, we will give an illustration of it as it appears when set and ready for its work. In constructing the affair it is first necessary to cut a flexible twig of willow or bramble about eighteen inches in length, and form it into a loop as seen at (a), securing the tips by a few circuits of string, and allowing the larger end to project an inch or more beyond the other. This loop, which is called the “spreader,” should now be laid down flat; and on the upper side of the large end and about an inch from its tip, a notch should be cut as our illustration shows. The spring should next be procured, and should consist of a pliant, elastic switch, about four feet in length. A piece of fish line about two feet long should now be fastened to the tip of the switch, and the loose end of the cord attached to a catch piece of the shape shown at (b). This catch may be about an inch and a half long, and should be whittled off to an edge on one end, the string being attached at about its centre. A slipping noose, made from strong horse hair, or piece of fine wire about two feet long, should now be fastened to the string about two inches above the catch.

Having the switch thus prepared, it is ready to be inserted in the ground at the place selected for the trap. When this is done, another small flexible twig about a foot in length should cut, and being sharpened at both ends, should be inserted in the ground in the form of an arch (f), at about three feet distant from the spring, and having its broad side toward it. Insert the notch of the spreader exactly under the top of the arc, and note the spot where the curved end of the former touches the ground. At this point a peg (d) should be driven leaving a projecting portion of about two inches. The pieces are now ready to be adjusted. Pass the curved end of the spreader over the peg, bringing the notched end beneath the arc with the notch uppermost. Draw down the catch piece, and pass it beneath the arc from the opposite side letting the beveled end catch in the notch in the spreader, the other end resting against the upper part of the arc. Arrange the slipping noose over the spreader as our drawing indicates, bringing it inside the peg, as there shown, as otherwise it would catch upon it when the snare is sprung. Strew the bait, consisting of berries, bird-seed, or the like, inside the spreader, and all is ready. Presently a little bird is seen to settle on the ground in the neighborhood of the trap; he spies the bait and hopping towards it, gradually makes bold enough to alight upon the spreader, which by his weight immediately falls, the catch is released, the switch flies up, and the unlucky bird dangles in the air by the legs. If the trapper is near he can easily release the struggling creature before it is at all injured, otherwise it will flutter itself into a speedy death.
The accompanying cut illustrates an improvement on the last mentioned trap, whereby it can be used for the capture of larger game, and with most excellent success. In place of the “spreader” a crotched stick is used, the crotch of which catches around the peg, the other end being supplied with a notch as in the case of the spreader. On the upper side of this stick a small pasteboard platform is tacked, over which and beneath which the bait .is thrown. Instead of the arc, a stout crotch stick is substituted. The noose should be at least ten inches in diameter and constructed of sucker wire. It should be arranged on the ground around the bait and inside of the peg. When the snare is set, the crotched end of the bait stick will thus rest near the earth, the notched end only being lifted in order to reach the catch piece. It is well to insert a few small sticks inside the edge of the noose in order to keep it in correct position. If properly set, the quail or partridge in approaching the trap will have to step inside the noose in order to reach the bait, and while thus regaling itself with a choice meal of oats, berries, or other delicacies, will be sure to press upon the bait stick either by pecking, or treading upon it, and will thus set the catch piece free, only to find itself secured by a grasp from which he will never escape alive.

This is a very effectual snare; but on account of its securing its victim by the legs and thus torturing them to death, it is to be deprecated. We would recommend in preference, those varieties already described as being fully as successful, and far less cruel. They effect almost instant death, either by broken necks or strangulation, and are in this regard among the most humane traps on record.
For simplicity in construction there are few snare traps which can compare with this variety, although it is somewhat similar to those last mentioned, and like them, catches by the feet. The trap consists of three pieces. A catch piece about three inches long, a bait stick of about six inches, and a stout crotch of the proportionate size shown in our illustration, a glance at which will make the setting too clear to need description. Be careful that the bait stick is set in line
and rests just beneath the tip of the catch-piece so that a mere touch on the bait will release it. Arrange the noose as in the instance last described, and bait either as therein directed or with an apple or nubbin of corn, as our accompanying cut indicates. Always remembering that the noose should be sufficiently large to require the birds to step inside of it in order to reach the bait.

Attributed to W.H. Gibson

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