Conibear Trap: GROUNDHOG

The groundhog snare has been setting consistently. The problem is he’s either wiggling his way out, or I find my wire cut. Admittedly I used spiderwire fishing line instead of steel, but groundhogs have excellent teeth and claws and it’s become apparent to me that snaring it isn’t going to work. I’m not around when he’s snared to see what’s going on, and it renders the snare ineffective as a result. When he’s snared, all he’s got is time to work on it.

The snare is a really simple tip up – there’s a cinder block balanced on my fence with a branch under it acting as a prop. The line is tied through the block, through one of the diamonds in the fence, tied to the prop and then went to a loop. So far it’s been tripped three times and if I haven’t gotten the hog in three tips it’s not going to happen. At least two of those had the groundhog in the snare because the loop was chewed on or frayed. The idea was the spider wire would constrict the groundhog but I’ve come to realize the fundamental problem is that it’s too near a fence and growth the groundhog can prop himself up on. He gets snared, but the funnel effect from the brush gives him enough purchase he can work on the line before suffocating, and the spiderwire is of such high quality that it won’t snag on itself either direction.

I was thinking about buying a hav-a-hart trap but frankly the one for groundhogs starts at $70. My Economics of Caring end at about $20 (about the cost of losing one carbon arrow) so the pricepoint for a live trap was well above what I was interested in. Part two was the goal really never was a live trap, the snare I set was fully intended to go around his neck and I was just going to use the maul to dispatch him humanely when I found him. If I got on him quickly enough I was going to throw him in a box and drive him to the far end of the park, but frankly I briefed my wife we were going to find a hog hanging from the fence one morning.

After two weeks and three trap tips I was largely fed up with the operation and I had taken a shot at him with the bow. The bow doesn’t track like the rifle does through brush, so I was even going to nail him with the rifle with subsonics. I wasn’t sure a subsonic 22 was going to put him down, so this was easily the most grisly of options. I happened to be browsing the internet for better snare designs and someone mentioned the conibear trap. To make things even better – the trap is designed as a kill trap. And finally it has the last requirement which is important: the whiskers for the trigger are inside the body of the trap vertically, so I don’t need to worry about larger animals (like our deer population) stepping into them and having their legs broken. The neighbors cat may end up being a casualty, but she typically jumps over the fences and doesn’t go into the earth under them, so I think we’re OK. The local sporting goods shop had the #160 which is exactly the size I wanted. They also had the trap tool, which is basically the worlds largest set of snap ring pliers. Since I figured I could use those also I purchased them.

Total cost was $25, which is a bit more than I wanted to spend but now I have a trap set I can use over and over again.

Savannah Cats

Normally I don’t watch Animal Planet. Normally it tries to toe the line between “common sense” and “PETA” and produces some really mired stuff. On the other hand, they had a program called CATS 101 on yesterday, and while it showed off some really interesting breeds, they had one which really caught my eye.

The Savannah Cat.

The cats have become parodies of themselves since cats were always treated as work animals in America for the first 200 years or so. The Pilgrims kept cats on the ships to keep bugs and rats out of the rations, and then introduced them to America for the same purpose. Basically the American take on the cat was for pest control for the longest time. The Savannah isn’t the only wild mix of a domestic (for our purposes we’ll use American Short Hair as “domestic”) and wild cats, SavannahCat.com has a list of other cats including the Bengal. Now, for all intents and purposes these are simply cats with a specific gene type for their coat and they’re no different than Happy Cat (Russian Blue) or Sad Cat (Scottish Fold). The Savannah, you will note, isn’t on the list.

The reason for that is because Savannahs are the size of medium dogs, and that as a breed they don’t have an affectionate personality. In order for a cat to have a breed standard, it has to not want to EATED UR JUGULAR. Unfortunately since the breed has such a small gene pool, the individuals are assigned a number on a scale. F1s and F2s aren’t recommended for indoor cats, but F3s forward are. The F1s are 50% wild (one wild and one domestic parent), the F2s are 25% wild, and the F3s are 12.5% wild with the wild cat being the great grandparent. The F3s are where the breed seems to resume being “housecat-like”. Since we all know what happened to whats-his-name with the white tiger, I think we know what kind of cat we want.

Anyway, it’s a neat breed, but there’s still a ton of cats in the local animal shelter, many of which are perfectly suitable to being housecats. Tricks comes from the local shelter, and while he’s skittish around new people, he’s plenty affectionate otherwise. Since the American Shorthair (Tricks and Libby) are both 20 year cats, that will give the Savannahs plenty of time to work out the quirks.