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The Twitch-up


Our next example of the snare, we imagine, is one which all our

boy-readers will immediately recognize; for it would certainly

seem that any country boy who does not know the Twitch-up must

be far behind the times, and live in a locality where there are

no rabbits, quail, or even boys, besides himself, to suggest it.

This snare is a universal favorite among nearly all country boys,

and our illustration will immediately
bring it to mind. Its name,

The Twitch-up, conveys perfectly its method of working. Our

illustration represents the trap as it appears when set. It has many

varieties, of which we will select the best. They may be divided

into two classes--those with upright nooses, and those in which

the noose is spread on the ground, the latter of which are commonly

called ground snares. We will give our attention first to the

upright style. These are rather entitled to preference on account

of the harmless death which they inflict, invariably catching by

the neck. Whereas the ground nooses as frequently lift their prey

into the air by their feet, and thus prolong their suffering.

Twitch-ups are the most successful and sure of any snares, and that,

too, without being complicated. The writer, in his younger days,

was quite an expert in trapping, and he can truthfully say that he

found more enjoyment and had better success with these than with any

other kinds of traps he employed.

They are generally set in thickets or woods where either rabbits

or partridges are known to abound. Having arrived at his chosen

trapping ground, the young trapper should first select some slender,

elastic sapling; that of the hickory is the best, and is generally

to be found in open woods--if not, some other kind will answer very

well. It should be about five or six feet in length, (trimmed of

its branches,) and in diameter need be no larger than an axe-handle

or a broom-stick. When this is decided, some spot about five feet

distant from the sapling should then be selected. The hatchet and

knife will now come into excellent use, in cutting the sticks for

the little inclosure shown

in our drawing. This should be about eight or ten inches in diameter,

and of about the same height. The sticks should be driven into

the ground in a circle, leaving an open space of about six inches

on one side. A stout switch as large as a man's little finger,

and nearly two feet long, should then be cut and nicely sharpened

at both ends. This should then be driven into the ground in the

form of an arch, at the opening of the inclosure.

We will now ask our readers to turn their attention to the next

illustration, in order to understand what is to follow. This picture

shows the method of setting the trap.

After the arch is firmly fixed in its place, a short piece of stick

should be cut, of a length corresponding to the height of the arch.

To the middle of this stick the bait should be attached, being

either tied to it or stuck on a plug driven into the stick, the

latter being sharpened on one end. Next proceed to cut another

stick, of about six inches in length; let this be flattened on

one end. The wire noose should then be fastened to the opposite

end. The noose in this case should be large enough to fill the

opening of the arch. We will now go back to the sapling again.

It should be bent down slightly, and a piece of the strong twine

should be tied to its tip. Taking hold of the string, proceed to

bend down the end of the sapling, in the direction of the inclosure,

until it draws with a force strong enough to lift a rabbit if he

were tied to the end of it. Thus holding it down with the string

against the front of the inclosure, cut off the twine at the place

where it crosses the top of the arch, as this will be the required

length. It is now necessary to tie the end of this string to the

same piece of wood and at the same place to which the noose was

tied. When this is done the trap may be set as shown in the cut.

The spring sapling should be bent as seen in the first illustration.

The piece of wood holding the noose should be passed beneath the

top of the arch, as far as it will go, with its long end pointing

inside the inclosure. By now supporting the inside end with the

bait stick, and carefully adjusting the noose so as to completely

fill the arch, the trap will be set.

In order to reach the bait, the rabbit or bird must necessarily

pass its head through the noose, after which, if the bait be scarcely

touched, the animal's doom is sealed, and he is lifted into the

air, generally suffering almost instant death. It is well known

that in the case of a rabbit the neck is broken by a very slight

blow, a strong snap of the finger being often sufficient. It is

therefore safe to conclude that when thus suddenly caught and lifted

by the noose, death must occur almost instantaneously from the

same cause.

It is not really necessary for success that the force of the sapling

should be strong enough to lift the rabbit from the ground, as a

mere strong tightening of the noose would be sufficient to cause

strangulation and death. But we recommend the former method as

being less painful and more rapid in its effects.

If the young trapper should experience any difficulty in finding

saplings of the right size, in the locality where he desires to

set his traps, the difficulty may be easily mended by cutting the

poles elsewhere, and carrying them to his trapping-ground, this

answering the purpose equally well. They should be sharpened nicely

on the large end, and firmly stuck into ground. The Twitch-up

may be used for the capture of all varieties of game, and when

set with the noose in the opening of a hollow tree, a stray coon

will occasionally be entrapped.

The next figure represents another method of constructing this

trap, The picture explains itself. Instead of the arch, two notched

sticks are driven into the ground, one on each side of the opening

of the pen, The other piece should be of the shape shown in the

figure, made either in one piece or in two pieces fastened together.

They may all be constructed from twigs in the woods. Let the noose

and draw-string now be fastened to the middle of the cross piece,

and when set it will appear as in our figure. It will easily be

seen that a slight pull on the bait will turn the cross piece from

beneath the notches, and allow it to fly into the air.

In our next instance the same principle is employed. The

notched pegs are here driven in the back part of the pen, about

five inches apart, with their notches towards the front. A forked

bait stick of the shape shown is then procured. The draw-string

should be attached near the end furthest from the fork. By now

inserting the ends lightly beneath the notches in the pegs, at

the same time letting the bait incline near the ground, the trap

will be set on a very slight lift, as the bait will dislodge the

pieces. Of course the noose must be arranged in the opening of the

pen, as in the previous varieties. The bait stick in both cases

should be set cautiously beneath the notches, as shown at (a),

so that the slightest turn will cause it to roll out of position.

A fourth method of snaring is shown in our next figure. In this

instance the original arch is used, or else some circular opening

constructed in the front of the pen. Inside, at the back part of

the inclosure, a smaller arch is placed. Two sticks are then to

be made similar to those mentioned in our first example of the

Twitch-up. Let the draw-string be tied to the end of one of these

sticks; after which it should be passed under the inside arch, being

brought out in front of it, and there supported by the bait-stick,

as seen in our illustration. The noose should then be attached

to the draw-string above the pen, and afterward brought down and

arranged in front of the opening. The trap is then set, and will

be found on trial to work admirably.

One of the simplest as well as surest of Twitch-up traps forms

the subject of our next illustration. Like the foregoing varieties

it is of course to be surrounded by its pen, and supplied with a

circular opening or arch at one side, in which to hang the noose.

It is constructed of three twigs. A simple crotch (a) should be

firmly inserted in the ground at

the back part of the pen; (b) the bait stick, consists of a straight

twig, five or six inches in length, and should be attached to the

draw-string at about half an inch from the large end; (c) is

another forked stick with unequal arms, the long one being driven

into the ground near the opening of the pen and a little to one side,

letting the remaining arm point directly towards the crotch-stick

at the back of the pen. The noose having been attached to the

draw-string, the trap may now be set. Lower the bait stick and pass

the large end under the crotch at the back of the pen, catching

the baited end underneath the tip of the forked stick near the

pen's opening. Arrange the noose in front of the entrance, and

the thing is done. A mere touch on the bait will suffice to throw

the pieces asunder. It is an excellent plan to sharpen the point

of the forked stick (c) where it comes in contact with the bait

stick, in order to make the bearing more slight, and consequently

more easily thrown from its balance.