Basics of Snaring
There are a variety of snares available for you to use on the market today. The first thing you need to determine is which snares are legal to use in your state. Each state has its own legal snaring regulations, with proper legal restraints, please check with your local Department of Natural Resources, (DNR). Once you have determined your snaring regulations you can then purchase or make the appropriate snares.
I like to use the MBS#7 on my snare line for coyotes; it also works well on fox and raccoon. The basic parts to this snare are 3/32" 7x7 Cable which is 84" long; there is a #9 snare swivel on the end held by a stop button and snare washer; the lock that is used is a 3/32" Cam Lock; this snare also has a support collar (whammy), deer stop and end stop. Again, there are so many options and parts when it comes to snaring. You need to determine what works for you and what is legal in your state.
There are two major considerations in setting a snare to target a specific animal - the size of the loop and the distance from the bottom of the loop to the ground. In making these determinations you must consider the size of the animal, the height of the animal's head above the ground (generally determined by the length of its legs). The snare loop should be just large enough to admit the animal's head. The snare should be positioned so that the bottom of the loop strikes the animal's chest at the base of the neck after its head goes through the loop. Standard recommendations are as follows:
Coyote: 10-12" diameter loop, approx. 8-10" off of the ground.
Fox: 6-8" diameter loop, approx. 6-8" off of the ground
Bobcat: 8" diameter loop, approx. 8" off of the ground
Beaver: 9-10" diameter loop, approx. 2-3" off of the ground
Raccoon: 6-8" diameter loop, approx. 3-4" off of the ground
I mainly snare for coyotes so I use a 10" diameter loop and the bottom of the snare is 8" off of the ground. I have still caught fox and coon using this setup so for me it has been a good universal setting. However, if you are targeting other species use the recommendations listed above. The larger loop is not ideal for fox as they will
sometimes try to jump through the snare loop and get caught by the hips. This is still a secure method of snaring but it does not allow for a quick kill which is what most snaremen desire.
It is illegal to set snares on deer trails in Minnesota so I use game trails that are coming off of the main deer trails being used by predators and smaller game. These trails are easy to find as they usually go under logs and through thicker brush that a deer wouldn't follow. Since I snare in the woods I have plenty of small trees along the trails that I can use to attach my wire for supporting my snare. I use 11 gauge wire as it's easy to work with and still strong enough to support my snares. I wrap it around the tree approximately a foot from the ground and then twist it tight around the tree so that it is solid and won't move. I have enough wire cut to extend to the middle of the trail. On the end of the wire you can use several methods to attach and support your snare. If your snare has rubber tubing for a support collar then leaving the wire straight will work just fine, you can slide the support right on to the straight wire. This will also work with traditional support collars but I like to use a bend in the wire or a "W" on the end of the wire. Then I just wrap my cable through the wire to support the snare without using the support collar. The first thing that you want to "move" on the snare is the snare lock. It should be the first thing that moves and drops as an animal goes through the loop. Once you have your snare supported you can move and adjust the 11 gauge wire to center your snare in the trail and get the bottom of the snare the correct distance from the ground. If you have snow to deal with, keep in mind that as more snow accumulates on the ground you will have to adjust your snare height as the snow becomes packed down and your "ground level" changes. I use scrap pieces of cable to make small extensions that I can loop around the base of the tree to attach the end of my snare to. I connect the #9 swivel to the loops that I've made using a quick link. This allows me to change out snares very quickly and easily and give a good solid base to hold any animal in a snare. Keep in mind that a snared animal will be able to pull with all four feet for a period of time so a good solid anchor is necessary.
You can set up a bait station if you are having a difficult time trying to locate good game trails. Bring a carcass into an area, either along the edge of a slough or even in an open field. After a few days you can check the area and see where the predators have established trails to and from the bait area. Then set your snares along these trails. If you snare wooded areas like I do you can use the method listed above. If you are trying to set snares on trails in open areas you will need some type of support and anchor system for these areas. You can use ½" rebar and #9 Pigtail supports in an open area. Put the rebar thru the pigtail and drive the rebar into the ground The end of the tail can be pushed into the ground so that the pigtail doesn't turn or rotate. Stake the end of your snare with either another piece of rebar or you can use the MB Chain system or cabled stakes to attach to the end of your snare. This will give you a good solid staking system for your snare when there are no trees available to attach them to. Then you can adjust the pigtail wire to the correct height and center it on the trail and support your snare. This works well in open grassy areas where there is no natural material to support your snare or in sloughs with open areas and well traveled trails. Check your laws to make sure that baiting is a legal option for your area.
On some trails I will use sticks from the natural surroundings to narrow the trail a bit and direct the animal towards the center of the snare. I will also put a stick across the trail above the snare so that the animal will duck under it and into the center of the snare. This is easily done along wooded trails, but not a method that would work well in open areas. I don't put out any lure or bait near the snare sets as I don't want the predator to have it's nose to the ground sniffing for scent as it could possibly duck under the snare loop, I want them traveling the trail in a normal fashion.
These are some simple methods that I use on my snareline that have worked well for me, I hope you are able to get out and set some snares and have some success too!