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The Poacher's' Snare


Our next example represents one of the oldest and best snares in

existence,--simple in construction, and almost infallible in its

operations. It is the one in most common use among the poachers of

England, hence its name. The pieces are three in number, and may

be cut from pine wood, affording easy and profitable employment

for the jack-knife during odd hours and rainy days, when time hangs


The pieces are so simple in form and easy of construction that a

sufficient number for fifty traps might be whittled in less than two

hours, by any smart boy, who is at all handy with his jack-knife.

If a few good broad shingles can be found, the work is even much

easier,--mere splitting and notching being then all that is necessary.

The bait stick should be about eight inches long, pointed at one

end, and supplied with a notch in the other at about half an inch

from the tip. The upright stick should be considerably shorter than

the bait stick, and have a length of about ten inches, one end being

nicely pointed, and the broad side of the other extremity supplied

with a notch similar to the bait stick. About four inches from the

blunt end, and on the narrow side of the stick, a square notch should

be cut, sufficiently large to admit the bait stick loosely. The catch

piece now remains. This should be about two and a-half inches in

width, and bevelled off at each end into a flat edge. The shapes of

the different pieces, together with their setting, will be readily

understood by a look at our illustration.

A hundred of these pieces will make a small bundle, and may be easily

carried by the young trapper, together with his other necessaries,

as he starts off into the woods. He will thus be supplied with parts

for thirty-three traps, all ready to be set, only requiring the

stakes for the pens, which may be easily cut in the woods. Having

selected a flexible sapling about five feet in length, and having

stripped it of its branches, proceed to adjust the pieces. Take one

of the upright sticks, and insert it firmly in the ground, with

its upper notch facing the sapling, and at about four feet distant

from it. Bend down the springer, and by its force determine the

required length for the draw-string attaching one end to the tip

of the sapling, and the other near the end of a catch piece, the

latter having its bevelled side uppermost. The wire noose should

then be attached to the draw-string about six inches above the

catch-piece. The pen should now be constructed as previously directed.

Its entrance should be on the side furthest from the springer,

and should be so built as that the peg in the ground shall be at

the back part of the enclosure. The pen being finished, the trap

may be set.

Insert the bait stick with bait attached into the square notch in

the side of the upright peg; or, if desired, it may be adjusted by

a pivot or nail through both sticks, as seen in our illustration,

always letting the baited end project toward the

opening. Draw down the catch piece, and fit its ends into the notches

in the back of the upright peg and extremity of the bait-stick.

By now pulling the latter slightly, and gently withdrawing the

hand, the pieces will hold themselves together, only awaiting a

lift at the bait to dislodge them. Adjust the wire loop at the

opening of the pen, and you may leave the trap with the utmost

confidence in its ability to take care of itself, and any unlucky

intruder who tries to steal its property.

Most of the snares which we shall describe are constructed from

rough twigs, as these are always to be found in the woods, and

with a little practice are easily cut and shaped into the desired

forms. If desired, however, many of them may be whittled from pine

wood like the foregoing, and the pieces carried in a bundle, ready

for immediate use. In either case, whether made from the rough

twigs or seasoned wood, it is a good plan to have them already

prepared, and thus save time at the trapping ground when time is

more valuable.