A Compendium of Useful Information for the Practical Man/Traps and Snares
The Tree Trap (Steel Trap)Edit
Brick Trap for BirdsEdit
This is a very old invention, and has always been one of the three or four stereotyped specimens of traps selected for publication in all Boys' Books. It is probably well known to most of our readers.
Take four bricks, and arrange them on the ground, as seen in our engraving, letting them rest on their narrow sides. If properly arranged, they should have a space between them, nearly as large as the broad surface of the brick. A small, forked twig of the shape shown in the separate drawing (b) having a small niece cut away from each side of the end, should then be procured. Next cut a slender stick, about four inches in length, bluntly
pointed at each end. A small plug with a flat top should now be driven into the ground, inside the trap, about three inches from either of the end bricks and projecting about two inches from the ground. The trap is then ready to be set. Lay the flat end of the forked twig over the top of the plug, with the forks pointing forward, or toward the end of the enclosure nearest the plug, The pointed stick should then be adjusted, placing one end on the flat end of the fork, over the plug, and the other beneath the fifth brick, which should be rested upon it. The drawing (b) clearly shows the arrangement of the pieces. The bait, consisting of berries, bird-seed, or other similar substances, should then be scattered on the ground on the inside of the enclosure. When the bird flies to the trap he will generally alight on the forked twig, which by his weight tilts to one side and dislodges the pieces, thus letting fall the sustained brick.
It is not intended to kill the bird, and when rightly constructed will capture it alive. Care is necessary in setting the topmost brick in such a position that it will fall aright, and completely
cover the open space. This is a very simple and effectual little contrivance, and can be made with a box instead of bricks, if desired. A piece of board may also be substituted for the top brick, and the enclosure beneath made larger by spreading the bricks further apart, thus making a more roomy dungeon for the captive bird.
Asian Squirrel TrapEdit
(author's note - this could be used on chipmunks, also.) We passed several squirrel traps of an ingenious and simple construction. On an overhanging branch a seed (chesnut) of which the squirrels are fond is placed, and bound to the branch by a double hand of cane; the squirrel cannot get at the seed without putting his head through a noose of the cane, and on his disengaging the bait the stone drops and tightens the noose round the squirrel's neck: they eat the flesh of this animal as a great delicacy.
Indian Deer FunnelEdit
Besides their bows they had other devices to take their game, sometimes by double hedges a mile or two in length, and a mile wide at one end, and made narrow by degrees until they came to a gap of about six feet, against which they lay hid to shoot the deer as they came through in the day-time, and at night they set deer-traps, being springs made of young trees
The Poacher's SnareEdit
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 heavily.
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 length, half an inch 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 catchpiece. 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 le 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.
Simple Dead FallEdit
Tesch Nest Box TrapEdit
Miller Sparrow and Bird TrapEdit
The trap below was designed by Mr. Charles W. Miller, director of the Worthington Society for the Study of Bird Life. It is especially adapted to poultry and pigeon yards, where it can be permanently installed. The poultry or pigeons are fed in the trap, the door being left open until birds are accustomed to feed there with them. Later the door is closed and by putting a little bait on the shelf and considerable on the ground inside, the birds are enticed to enter through the open corners at the top. After they have learned the way in and out over the shelf, the corners are closed. The sparrows now enter between the partitions and are unable to return. Captives are removed from this trap by means of a short handled net, from which they can be taken by hand. A few birds should be left in the cage as decoys. Captives are removed and the decoys supplied with food and water at dusk when outside birds are at roost.
The construction of the Miller trap may be described under four heads: (1) The cage, (2) the frame, (3) the partitions, and (4) the shields. Figure 10 shows the skeleton of this trap without the wire netting. This should be painted green or gray before the netting is applied. Regular aviary netting of 1 by 3/4 inch mesh, or poultry netting of 3/4 inch mesh, may be used. The door has a hook on each side and spring hinges. Around the top of the cage extends a shelf about 8 inches wide.
Funnel Bird TrapEdit
When extensive trapping is undertaken, the traps employed must fulfill certain requirements in addition to ultimate efficiency. Especially important are simple and prompt action, portability, and cheapness, all of which are found in the funnel trap.
Bird Trap from a Bird CageEdit
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