Setting a fox snare by D.G. Reynard.
Since a young age I have been involved with all sorts of field sports from ferreting too shooting but my main interest in the last few years has turned to using snares as a form of pest control .By no means am I an expert at the game as some people are who have been snaring most of their lives but it is a past time I like so much that I snare every day though out the winter months.
Fox snares now days are free running this means that when a fox is snared then the snare relaxes when the fox stops pulling .It is now against the law to use a self locking snare that tightens the more the fox pulls against the snare and this ultimately leads to the death of the fox or even worse the death of a none target capture (could be some body’s dog ,cat ect ).
The modern day snare now should now be regarded as a restraining device and not a killing device. As the snare now is a restraining device then a firearm is need to dispatch the fox when captured if you don’t posses a firearm then don’t snare foxes! .If you don’t have permission then don’t snare.
There are two different types of way to snare fox.
1 Setting the fox snare on a run going under a fence .(Not legal to do this in some parts of the UK now .)The capture of none targets (Badgers ect )increases with setting snares on fences .The risk of entanglement of the target is also high which can result in the target getting choked to death .It is best not to set on fences otherwise you could find yourself in court resulting in a large fine ect.
2 Setting on an open run in a field or track .This is the best way to set fox snares .It takes a bit more knowledge but the result is much better .The capture of none targets is greatly reduced and the risk of entanglement is reduced .
There are a few company’s now days that supply fox snares .I make my own solely for the reason I use a lot of snares through the winter and I can make them a lot cheaper than I can buy them .Most snares available now all have the basic components that are needed on a snare .
The swivel is needed so the fox doesn’t twist the wire .Without the swivel the fox could twist the wire and end up escaping or twist the wire up that tight that it ends up chocking its self out .
The lock is needed to form the loop .The choice of lock is down to the individual but the lock must be free running and run quick and smooth down the snare.
The stop is on the snare to stop the snare tighten right up around the neck of the fox .Sometimes these come set already on the snare or sometimes they come where the user has to set them. Usually the stop is a very small nut which the user can simply hit with a hammer to fix on to the wire. The stop should be set at 9 inches from the lock .The stop also prevents dear from getting held up in a snare .The leg of a deer will come out of the closed snare due the stop .Smaller none targets will also be able to get out of the snare due to the stop.
The small bit of plastic tubing is on the snare so the snare can be attached to the tealer .
The tealer is needed to support the snare up off the ground on the run .The tealer can be made of 3mm wire fiberglass ,or wood .The best I find is the wire type made of high tensile wire due to being able to reuse the tealer over and over again and as it is only 3mm thick then it is less likely for the fox to spot the tealer when coming down the run .
You will need some way of anchoring the snare so the fox doesn’t pull the snare straight out of the ground .There are a few different ground anchor available for different soil types .I make my own they are the Iowa type anchor which I find hold very well in the soil conditions I have in my area. Whatever type of anchor you use then make sure that the fox cannot pull it out of the ground .
Finding a suitable run to set on.
It’s always best to observe the foxes behaviour before setting snares for the first time and know how to spot signs of fox smell of fox ect .Foxes very rarely venture out into the middle of the fields so the most productive runs are to be found around the perimeter of the fields or woods .Some of the best snaring can be in fields of crops be grown (Maize ,wheat ,beat ect )This is due to there being lots food in the crops for the fox to eat mice ,rats, rabbits ect .In fields of crops the fox loves to use the tyres tracks that the tractors have made when planting ,spraying ect .These tyre marks are like a highway to the fox and make excellent places to set the snare .When setting snares in fields of crops its always best to use two ground anchors because the ground is a lot softer than in a normal grass field.
Setting the snare.
When a suitable run has been located try to find a spot where the run narrows a little this way the fox won’t go around the snare .Try not to disturbed the ground around the run too much as the fox will go around the snare I tend to try and stay inside the run so I don’t disturbed the outside of the run too much The last thing you want to do is divert the fox around your snare .The next step is to set your ground anchor .Whatever type you use then make sure the fox can’t pull it out of the ground .
Once the anchor is set then attach the snare to the anchor cable .This can be achieved by using a small shackle.
The next step is to attach the snare to the tealer this is easily done by pushing the top of the tealer through the small bit of rubber pipe on the snare .Once this is complete then open the snare up so you have a loop of aprox 10 – 11 inch in diameter .Next push the tealer into the ground next to the run .Make sure the bottom of the loop of snare is at least 11 -12 inches of the if on a flat field is ground. If snaring on banks then the snare should be set lower depending on how steep the bank is the steeper the bank the lower the snare should be set .Make sure the snare is lined up correctly over the centre of the run.
Cover over the wire from the ground anchor and excess wire from the snare with some grass or hat ever is growing around the area of the run .now the snare is ready to catch .when leaving the snare always step over the snare and not around around it the last thing you want to do is make another run around the snare .Walk along the run until you leave the field .
Checking the snare.
Fox snares need to be checked every day by law .Its best to check first thing in the morning so the fox has the least amount of time in the snare .In the summer months then the snares should be check two times a day .Every time you check the snares then take the firearm /shotgun with you also take a pliers/wire cutters with you and a few extra snares and ground anchors .If there is a fox in the snare then dispatch the fox asap by a shot to the head if the first shot failed to kill the fox then take another shot immediately.
Once dispatched then take the fox out of the snare and come 10 meters up or down the run and reset a new snare .Many foxes can be taken of a single run in a very short time catching and resetting in this way this is part to do with the amount of scent that the previous fox has left on the ground when caught .The most productive times for fox snaring is January and February .Many dog foxes can be taken during this time due to them looking for vixens to mate with you would be amazed how many dog foxes they will travel maybe 20 miles to find a vixen to mate with.
Come March the foxes become very hard to get it’s as if they have despaired from the area all together .April -September the cubs are about so unless you have to snare foxes during this time then I think it’s best to leave them alone as you are only going to kill your sport for the following winter .
If you take up snaring of foxes be warned it can become a very addictive I must say I’m hooked on it!
Happy snaring and remember keep away from the snaring the fences and stay within the law at all times…
Code of practice as linked from DEFRA.Here:LINK