I have been interested in trapping and snaring since last year when it was extremely time consuming and unproductive hunting small game on foot. Several times I found trails and had the thought that if I could just set some sort of snare then it would do the waiting for me.

Just before Thanksgiving the district mandated that we teachers come up with a 6 week cultural unit plan… in a day… with no warning. I would rather have had a list of suggestions from the Inupiaq teacher but as it was the only thing I could think of was snares.

Now I don’t know much about Inupiaq culture than I did about Hawaiian culture. I am not qualified to teach about the culture or snaring for that matter. I have never used snares and I will admit that when I started I bought the wrong kind which delayed things considerably. I was a little frustrated as I was hoping to have someone show me how to do this but I was able to borrow some of the right snares from the shop teacher and a couple people did give me some good advice on setting.

Hawaiian studies was more leaning about the history which was more an academic adventure requiring some background knowledge and the right reading materials. Inupiaq is generally more hands on, beading, snaring, tanning and fishing. These are not academic things they are skills, many of which take a life time to master. It is almost laughable that I could do anything more than introduce the ideas. Not to mention the fact that since I don’t know much about the culture there are things I don’t even know to teach let alone how.

I seem to have gotten off topic.

Snares. Right. Bought the wrong ones to start with, borrowed the right kind from the shop teacher. A few people drew some pictures for me on how to set and Thanksgiving weekend I went out to set a few of my own.

It turns out that it is not super hard to set the snares. Find a path that look well used and then find a natural choke point or create one from dry sticks. Some articles I have read suggest that if green sticks are used the sap acts as a warning and most animals will naturally avoid the area. Anchor one side of the snare to something that won’t get dragged off and make the loop roughly big enough to fit a fist through and set it up an inch or two off the ground. I have found that there was more rabbit movement (as evidence by tracks) during warmer weather above 15F and below 0 there was hardly any.


The next week we went out as a class and set a couple more. We set one really close to a main foot path which I didn’t really expect it to catch anything and one over what looked like a squirrel hole which seemed more promising.

practicing setting snares on desks
our first snares set as a class

Soon after I found rabbit fur in one of the ones I had set and so we began checking them fairly regularly as a class and I checked them on my own when we weren’t able to get out together.

The snare that caught some fur (not pictured). The snow drifts up against a fallen tree but there are some holes through which serve as a pretty good pre made natural bottle neck.

Early in December I went out one Friday and found a squirrel in the one set on the hole. I had debated going out as a class but had decided against it. I now wish I had, they would have been very excited. Oh well. I had also hoped to work on skinning it as a class and any other day I would have but I was not about to leave it sit all weekend so I skinned it myself. But more on tanning in my next blog.




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