As a kid, I was first exposed to hunting with a little 22LR repeater, stalking rabbits and squirrels and learning the finer techniques of preparing them for roasting. As I got older, my great-uncle introduced me to trapping. Now, this was hunting! Set it and forget it; the next morning, a pleasant surprise is awaiting the fire pit.
Over my life, I have evolved in my hunting, understanding the importance of active vs. passive hunting techniques as it pertains to survival and the expenditure of precious energy. Active hunting involves stalking, waiting, watching, harvesting, tracking, processing, and then cooking. On the other hand, passive hunting requires tracking, setting traps, harvesting, processing, and cooking. Much less energy is being used during the latter, and as we all know, high or low energy can be the difference in life and death. While active hunting is more exciting and in many cases, more productive, I have learned that stopping your hunting trip at sundown is a massive waste of time and opportunity. Passive hunting, utilizing traps, snares, or a weir transcends daylight hours and maximizes one’s efforts, regardless of the time of day or how low on energy they may be. During my military years, I was introduced to snare trapping. Back then, we used a pliable, malleable wire that would easily get hung on itself and one’s quarry would scurry away unscathed. Snare trapping needed to evolve, and the folks at Thompson Snares rose to meet that challenge starting in the mid-1920s. To say that they are experienced is an understatement.
With a plethora of different sized braided, stainless steel cable sizes, you can set snares for just about anything North America throws at you. Yes, even grizzlies. The braided cable allows the trap to function so much more efficiently than that of solid wire and was much easier to roll up and pack away. Another great addition is that of a swivel on the ends that allow you to anchor the snare easily to a tree limb and will enable it to have more mobility when the animal starts to flip, spin, and move around, trying to free itself, which is the moment when solid snares can fail and break. The swivel or “tree lock” as they call it, is basically a slotted piece of steel that allows you to use the end to create a simple friction knot or wrap around the tree or limb you are anchoring to. It sounds confusing, but they have a website, (http://www.thompsonsnares.com)with in-depth instructions on the use of their snares as well as a great set of printed instructions in the kit.
It is also essential to understand the swivel or tree-lock and how that pertains to state or local trapping laws and snare re-use laws that you will need to understand fully before setting out to gather game. The included instructions also have direction on “loading” the snare which turned out to be nothing more than bending the cable with a pair of pliers to create a small crook that will keep the snare from closing on itself due to the natural memory of braided stainless. Thompson’s also recommends cleaning or degreasing the snares before use as most braided cable has a sheen of oil during manufacturing. Most critters don’t like oil or bright, shiny metal, so after cleaning it, use dye, logwood crystals, or spray paint to give them a little camouflage.
Out of the pack, this snare was ready and set in just a little while and perched in a small evergreen grove near my home frequented by a huge warren of cotton-tails. Only the lamentations of my twelve-year-old daughter kept me from a buttery rabbit roast later that night, but I will be back in there soon enough.