Loaded all the way. I can't think of anything a loaded snare won't do better than a nonloaded (teardrop) snare. If all i snared was wolves, hogs or coyotes I wouldn't feel the need to load snares. The reason being, all those animals walk straight legged, are large in physical size, and are like bulldozers in their walking habits and the way they negotiate brush and fences. Large animals like these are adept at "plowing" through small obstacles, like small sticks, brush, switch grass, honey suckle vines, corn stalks,ferns,regrowth popple,balsam limbs, pine bows, etc. Mother nature doesn't often leave large voids on the landscape, especially during summer months, and large animals have to "make" the majority of their travel routes in nature. In general the smaller the animals, the more "travel friendly", the general landscape is, for land dwelling furbearers. The exception is during deep snow, when many of the common furbearers hibernate, and others spend a great deal of time in trees. Animals use our clearings and roadways for easy travel, but most of their travel routes are made by them from constant use, to and from a den or food source, hunting area or resting area. Often the trails are used by many different animals, especially along waterways, to access a easy or safe place to cross or as a place for larger predators to hunt,do to that waterway being a draw to smaller prey species. Trails are usually made in areas that are determined in great part by natural pinch points, like a saddle in rock structure, around large deadfallen trees,boulders, briar patches, around large open areas, etc.
The reason I got into the trail topic is that trappers and snaremen need to know why a trail is where it is and why it is there. These animals are as familiar with their travel routes as we are our route to work or our backyards. The exception to this would be an animal dispersing through a new area, which I would argue is more alert than a local animal, as it is looking for an area to establish, and would be more apt to confont a local inhabitant, who is looking to defend it's existing territory.
While in their home range or using a trail that this animal has traveled often, these animals have encountered many obstacles in the making of these trails, after any wind storm, snowfall, harvest of domestic crops,or just the falling of the leaves. Their trails are changing constantly with the weather and change of seasons. The small animals in particular, are used to encountering small limbs, vines,grasses,and leaves in their trails and clean them out, walk over them, or brush by them daily. Major obstacles like crop harvest, or deadfallen trees will most often reroute or change their travel routes to some extent. The animals are used to pushing through, walking around, or squeazing into tight spots on a regular basis. They know what size physical "hole" it takes to get their body through. As snaremen we have to know what size that "hole" has to be, and at what height that "hole" has to be to not deter that animal into taking a different route, whether by going over it, around it, or trying to step through it. As snaremen we want the snare we put in the trail to not cause the animal to slow down,look unatural, too small, too high, or so low it wants to try to hop or step through the loop. The "hole" should should be correct in size, just higher than the animals stomach,which will often cause it to try to step through the loop first, or slighly lower than it's chin, which if too high could cause the animal to duck it's head and go under the loop. If I do my part the animal shouldn't have to change it's stride nor change it's head position as it enters the loop. With some of the restrictions on loop size as in Va. mentioned above, an obstacle added above the snare can cause the animal to lower it's head, but could also cause the animal to go around or over the snare by restricting their stride, or bringing undo attention to the snare. You can also put "obstacles under the snare or "chin lifts", but it has been my experience that doing this causes more animals to attempt to step through the loop, resulting in body snared animals, than would go under the loop.
As the animal enters the snare loop, it's chest comes in contact with the bottom of the snare loop and begins to "elongate the loop. This is where a loaded snare and a nonloaded(teardrop) snare part company in my opinion.
With a teardrop/ nonloaded snare, the animal has to physically pull the loop closed, while the cable is dragging against it's chest or chin, until it is tight enough to hold the animal and not be able to be thrown off it's head,the animal stops when it feels the cable drag on it's neck and puts a foot through the loop in an attemt to step through the loop, or the lock is so slow closing or drags enough the animal stops and walks backwards or shakes it off it's head. A slow, noisy, or hard closing loop can do are are part of all the above listed. Also a loop that comes in contact with the ground stops the closure of the loop and the animal can physically walk through the loop as the cable binds with the surrounding obstacles, like twigs, grasses,reeds, or just frozen ground.
With a properly loaded/ round loop, as the animal enters the loop it should only have to be elongated about .5-3"(depending on size of loop)when the loop should jump shut or travel until it hits the animals body/fur. When this happens the loop should be mostly closed on the animals neck, behind the ears, before the animal has even pulled the snare off the support wire. As the animal continues down the trail it shouldn't even know the snare is anything more than another leaf twig or stem brushing it's body, until it gets to the point where it is pulling the snare off the support wire or comes to the end of the snare, resulting in a hard locking of the snare and or compression of the spring if so equiped.
If you work in an area of constant high winds, it is just a matter of tilting your loaded snare up, to say a 1;30 or 2;00 oclock postion while set to eliminate blown down snares. The more angle you hang the lock at, the farther the animal has to elongate the loop to activate the snare, but also the snare speed increases as the animal pulling on that loaded loop just causes more "spring" being added to the loop.
I have found that the more "slinky" the intended animal is in nature or movement, like a mink or bobcat, the faster the snare needs to be and the smaller the cable normally is in my snare. Also consider the dexterity of a coons feet,the size of it's head, and the actual heighth of a walking coon when loading and setting coon snares. I believe most coon snaremen are putting their coon snares too close to the ground, which encourages a coon to step through the loop as easy as push through the loop, resulting in body caught coon. I just measured the length of the leg on a 32# coon I caught today. It is 8" long and not even stretched to full length. How many people are setting coon snares 5" off the ground and not using loaded loops??
A loaded snare should be much faster than a teardrop loop, even using a Camloc:)
Edited by Rally (11/24/09 05:02 PM)
Keep your boots dry