Countrymans Diary

Balancing act.

                Grey Squirrel control with the use of snares.

Setting a Squirrel snare by D.G. Reynard.

 
A different approach to control squirrels is by using snares .This method is very effective and will reduce the population quickly .
One thing I should stress is that this method should not be used if there are red squirrels present in such cases where there red squirrels present a cage trap would be the best option .
 
   
                                                             Tools /bait needed
          Tools                                                                                                         Bait
1 Small hammer                                                                                          Whole Maize
2 Small hand saw
3 Small fencing staples
4 sharp knife
5 Snares  4 strand brass Snares or snares made from pike trace wire
6 Three  inch nails      
7 Wire bird feeder                              
 
Preparing to set  the snares
Pole attached to tree

Pole attached to tree

 
Observation is key to good success with this method as it is with any trapping .Look for the areas where the squirrels are most active .Personally I like the corners of woods with rows of trees coming off the corners .The squirrels will use these rows of trees like highways in there day to day business .Feeders put out for pheasants are also very good places to snare .
What I like to look for is an area to set which the squirrels can see from a distance as this method works on the squirrels being able to see the bait .There’s little point setting if the squirrels cannot see the bait .
 
  Setting the snares
Two fencing staples side by side

Two fencing staples side by side

 

My first choice if I can find one is a natural  horizontal branch which is growing of a tree that way no cutting of trees is necessary .If no natural branch is available in the area you want to snare then you need to find two trees which are around 10-12 foot apart .next thing is to cut a straight branch which will go from the one tree to the other so you are looking for a branch around 13-14 feet long .I like to use hazel as at the base of the hazel trees there are always long side shoots coming of the base of the tree .These are perfect for the job .
Next thing after finding a suitable branch is to trim all the side shoots etc off the branch  we now will call the branch a pole .Now the pole  can be fixed between the two trees .Fix one end of the  pole  to the first tree by hammering it into position with a 3 -4 inch nail the other end you can fix with some wire or cable tie .Remember do not set the pole too close to the ground as the squirrels will be able to touch the ground and chew the snare off .
Next hammer in a staple  into the centre of the pole this staple is there to attach the feeder .Follow on by hamming in two staples every 2 feet away from the centre of the pole hammer the first one in nearly all the way and the other half the way in .Remember not to have a snare too close to the trees that the pole is attached to or the squirrel will be able to reach the tree and again chew the snare off .
Next thing is to attach the snares  .Attach the snares by tying it the staple which is hit in the furthest .I like to give the staple one more hit with the hammer after attaching the snare just for a bit more security .
Next thing is to cut yourself some small hazel stick around 3 inches long and thin enough to go through the second staple .These will be used to support the snare .on each of these cut a small slit in the top of the stick then fix the snare down into the stick and place the other end of the stick into the second staple .If the stick is loose in the staple then just hammer it in a little until the stick is tight .
Snare set on support

Snare set on support

The loop size of the snare should be around 2- 3 inch diameter  set the snare at about 3 fingers high from the pole to the bottom of the loop .One thing to bear in when setting the snare is that a squirrel will crawl low to the branch if the branch is thin .If the branch is thick then the squirrel will run along the branch so the setting of the snares vary with pole thickness so on a thin pole set the snares low and vice versa .Once again observing the squirrels is key to good success .
Next thing is to fill the feeder with the whole maze and attach it to the pole .Whole maize is probably the best bait to use as the squirrels not only love the stuff but it can be seen from a great distance which is the key element in this method .
All set up.

All set up.

Remember check the snares every day at the least and if there is high concentration of squirrels check twice a day . Never touch a squirrel in a snare without first confirming it is dead .This can be done by simply poking it in the eye with a  stick if it blinks then it’s still alive at this point dispatch it with a air rife of similar .Squirrels bite really hard !!!!
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