Setting Snare Traps
Nowadays, there are so many 'experts' on setting snare traps its hard to know who to trust. Fact of the matter is, the internet is full of fakes who know that the bulk of people have no idea what's right and what's wrong. so first of all, lets sort out the lies and clear up some misconceptions.
Lies about Snaring
The biggest lie out there is what height you need your snare loop to be set. There's lots of stories about using your hands as a scale of size. Such as using so many fingers to gauge the distance from the ground. The only size you need to know is 6 and a half inches from the bottom of the loop to the floor. This size can change a little depending on the conditions of the beats (more on that later) buts its a great example size.
The next big myth is the diameter of the loop. A lot of different people say different sizes but they often make it far harder then it has to be. Its as simple as this with snare traps; The loop has to go over and under the rabbits ears and chin. Most people forget about the ears and set it to about half the size it should be. With the ears, a rabbits head is about 6-7 inches tall. Make your loops about 7.5 inches wide. If your having problems visualising the sizes, below is a photo to help:
Sadly that’s not the end of the rubbish you can read. Snare traps don’t need to have their smell masked. There is no need to use smoke or your compost bin. Just make sure your aren't covered in strong unnatural smells, like perfumes and such. Some say "Check the trap often, so you can reset it and not miss a second". This is a great way of scaring off your prey. Leave them all night and for the early hours of the morning.
Snares do not break necks, ever. It is also extremely rare for the rabbit to be 'skinned'. I know a few snare hunters who go on a lot of trips and I have only heard of it happening once. And it only took off a little fur. Snaring is humane and is miles from cruel.
So with my rant about lies over, lets move onto how to really hunt with loops.
How to Set Up Your Snares
Beats, tracks and paths are your target. Just like beaten mud paths, its clear where the rabbits have been and they use the same routes over and over. So clearly these are your target. If you watch a rabbit closely you'll notice that its doesn’t run, it hops. When it does this it flattens the grass and pounds the dirt leaving bent over grass and dead patches of green. This is called a beat.
The goal is to set your snare traps between the hops so the rabbits neck enters the loop before/after it hops. So you want to aim for the middle of the beat. Stick your peg to the side and have the loop cross the path half way across. Simple right?
Well it is until you think about the height. Like I said its roughly about 6 and a half inches from the bottom of the loop to the ground.
This is a good rule of thumb but sometime the grass between the beats is tall. If it looks like the bunny is jumping higher to cross it you need to lift your trap about half an inch. Short grass? Some people like to lower it half an inch but I stick to 6.5 myself.
The height of the snare is important, so if needs be take a ruler. Get it wrong and the loop will simply be jumped on or over, leaving it on the floor.
Other Tips for Snare traps
Setting the peg right is important. If you just stick it in the ground you'll find it can come out nice and easy. You want it at a very small angle away from the loop. Like in the photo below:
This photo also shows just how easy it is to lose a snare trap. If it wasn’t for the camera flash it would be nearly invisible in the dark. This is why a lot of people will use marker pegs. Just make a peg and paint the top a nice bright colour and place it somewhere near the snare but away from the beat. Then on the other hand, its not uncommon to have snares stolen by other hunters. If you feel the area is away from other hunters and you'll need markers (I.e your using many traps) I would recommend them.
When setting a snare, look for paths though tall paths. Its not uncommon for rabbits to hit a tall bit of grass so many times I shapes a kind of hole. This is a golden area and you would be a bit silly not to set a trap over it.
And finally, make sure you check your snare traps daily! Or they could be classed as illegal and cruel.
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