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Snaring My Way

by "ADC" in Iowa

This is my traditional way of setting snares for raccoon and red fox. It is a live catch method that I have developed over the last 18 years or so and the set-up I used exclusively for the last 8 seasons netting me a total of well over 2000 snared raccoons. I get no docking for any marks caused by the snares at my fur buyers. That said, they will on rare occasions chew at the snare on their body and cause enough damage to get docked, but it is rare (1/100 or less).  Here's my method....

For coon and fox…

I use 48" of 7x7 3/32 cable, heavy Berkshire washer locks (or Hanson Quarter sized washer locks), a whammy, a deer stop and a 9ga. swivel at the end. This combination of a big smooth lock that won't dig into the fur and larger 3/32 cable leaves nearly no damage to the pelt. I use a piece of #9 wire for a support and a 24" long 1/2" washer on top of a rebar stake. For trapping raccoons and fox I put the snare on the stake with my #9 wire “pigtailed” on the stake. I pound the stake in the ground right beside the trail. Then I make a 7-8" loop from the snare and push the whammy up to the lock then on to the #9 support. I then lift the loop to 7-8" off the ground to avoid skunks opossums and smaller raccoons. I place the loop directly over the center of the trail. I try to set where the trail is naturally narrowed down and I use very little (if any) blocking or guiding. I also prefer there to be nothing as far as entanglement but if there is a short log or rock or something they can reach after being caught they tend to concentrate on it and not on chewing the snare. If I find the snare knocked down the next day I raise it 2" because 9 times out of 10 it is an extra large coon or fox and you'll most often have them the next day.

Also, as soon as the coon is dispatched, I cut the snare off then pull and stretch and rub the area of the fur where the snare was. This will greatly reduce the "snare marks."

As far as locations, I LIKE TO STAY AWAY FROM THE WATER! It seems around here the big coons travel the high ground more than down near the water. You'll get many more little dinks near water, so you might as well avoid them and let them grow until they are worth something. I look for trails along hilltops, through dry culverts, and high on the creek banks. Coons in more open areas use landmarks alot. If you see a lone tree, telephone pole, big fence post, etc., always look for a trail past them.

Here’s the pigtail (I weld them on the stake now-a-days)…

Here’s the wammy/lock…

The whole set up…

This method is for live catch snaring, which is recommended in Iowa for fox and coon. Here's why...

It is very difficult to neck snare coons, so in order to make maximum catch numbers you should just target the body.  Body catches are much easier and when using the right snares there is virtually no snare damage to the coons. As for fox, there are regulations here stating that all snares must have deer stops that won't allow the loops to close smaller than 2 1/2" in diameter.  Thus, you can't kill fox with the snares because that big of a loop won't asphyxiate them unless you limit your sets to locations where they will tangle up.

Speaking of that, my second method is a killpole method. Now at the time I made this original post, it was still in the experimental stages but I had very high hopes for it. The killpoles did not live up to all I had hoped. They did work flawlessly on the coons I was able to neck snare but due to the huge variation in the size of the raccoons here, I found it next to impossible to neck snare better than about 80% of the coons.  I left this information in this post for those who would like to try it in their area, and may see better results.

The poles are made of 1/2 rebar 4' long. The support wire is #9 and the cross piece is 3" of 3/8 smooth rod. (1/2" nut on top) Here is how the poles are set up...

As you see the #9 is way shorter than most killpoles and the cross piece is one of the key aspects. It is there to serve as the point on which the snare will tangle.

The snare is another key piece to the set-up. It is 36" over all length (5/64th cable) and the lock is a BMI mini lock (very aggressive kill lock). The swivel really aids in getting the snare hung at 90* to the surface of the trail and the wammy holds it all in place VERY snugly.

The loop is 7 1/4" wide and will be set 7-9" off the surface of the trail to the bottom of the loop. Common thought is that you need a much smaller loop to get neck catches on coon, but with the extreme "loading" of these snares, they snap shut so fast you can get away with the bigger loops.  These killpole snares were custom made for me.

Now coyotes are a whole different story. You can use the same type pigtail supports but you should go with 30" long 1/2" rebar stakes, and the snares for coyotes are totally different.  You are trying to dispatch the coyotes ASAP with the snares. I have found no better snares for coyotes than 8' long 5/64 7x7 cable and a cam-lock or amberg lock with a killspring. My loops are not allowed to be over 11" wide and then only in certain locations, so I opt for a non-loaded snare that will have a taller loop to allow the coyote to enter more easily. I start with the bottom of the snare (in open trails) 11-12 off the surface of the trail.

To prepare the snares I like the Formula 1 dip.  It is fast and easy when you have a bunch of snares to do. I also like painting them with a LIGHT coat of camo paint. If you coil them together and spray each side with different colors of camo, when you un-coil them they blend in so well I can hardly find them. But the spray paint is too expensive when you have 1000 snares to do so I use the F1.

I used to boil my snares in baking soda but I never liked the chalky feel or the resulting look of the snares. And I have learned this: You don't ever want to boil all the oil off your snares. I know that's controversial, but if you boil off all the oil it removes the oils from the center strands of the cable, and without this oil the first time the snares see any moisture or high humidity the cable begins to corrode/rust from the inside out. This is often very gradual, so if your snares are used and connect the first year or two after you boil them it will not be such a big a deal.  HOWEVER, after a couple years in Iowa's climate the cable becomes stiffer and weaker. I've had snares get so bad that if you'd bend a kink in the cable by hand the strands would actually break (not all them but some). So if you have a few to do use camo spray paint, and if you have a bunch to do use the F1.  I venture to guess the guys who boil snares in baking soda have never tried the F1 or they would switch, if for no other reason than the convenience (and way better camo look). I use the brown colored F1 on my snares.

I hope this info helps. Please feel free to post any questions.

1 comment:

  1. I am just getting started, we have a whole lot of coyotes here in SE Indiana. I really need all the help and info I can get. The coyotes are killing my deer hunting. Thank you so much for the info. Shaun_roll75@yahoo.com