Snaring Tasmanian tigers

By K.M.N.
The subject of capturing wild creatures
b.v cunning and ingenuity has au attraction
for a great many people, and the following
description of the principal traps and snares
in use amongst Tasmanian bushmen may
prove of interest. The forms shown are the
ones upon which the prospector or bushman
depends for his fresh meat, and the pro
fessional trapper for his skins, and, with
the exception of the nooses, they are made
of materials obtainable in any patch of
scrub. Many parts of the West Coast of
.Tasmania are even at the present day quite
uninhabited, and the traveller in them has
always to carry his "flicker' on his back.
This consists, in most eases, of bacon, flour,
and oatmeal, a diet, which, if continued,
generallj^produces a craving for fresh meat
of any kind.' The bushman therefore car
ries a few bails of white bemp in his swag,
and with this, assisted by an axe and a
knife, he is able to construct remarkably
efficient (raps and snares, which easily pro
cure for him all tbe meat he needs
It is generally known as the
"springer," and is a variation of, and a
great improvement upon, the "springe" of
the English poacher. It is used principally
for catching kangaroo and wallaby, but
may be adapted to take any kind of animal,
even the native tiger.
lis construction' is easily understood
from the sketch. A stout stick, about an
inch and a half in diameter, is driven into
the ground, on the edge of the "run," and
a nick out upon the side. A straight branch
about 2ft. long is then cut, with a twig pro
jecting from the thickest end. This is for
the "treader," as it is termed. A nick is
cut in it about -tin. from the projecting
twig. A "button," about 3in. or 4in. long,
of the same diameter as the "treader" is
nest procured, and pared down to a flat
point at each end. A groove is cut round
the middle. Then a pliant sapling, 6ft. or
7ft. long, is cut, and carefully trimmed of
branches, except at the top, where half an
inch or so of twig is left to keep the snare
from slipping off. This is pointed at one
end. and thrust into the ground at an angle
of about 45 degrees, so that its end, when
it is bent down, projects a few inches over
the stake driven into the ground. The snare
is made into the noose-form, and the end
tied firmly to the top of the sapling ori
"springer." The snare is then lied round!
the groove in the button by a "clove- j
bitch." about 6in. from the snringer. The]
trap is now ready to set The end of thel
springer is taken under the left armpit and
bent down, and the ends of the button]
placed in the nicks in the stake and the;
treader. which latter hook6 round the
sfake and projects into the run. The
pressure on the springer is then gradually
 The wallaby or kan
garoo comes hopping along the run, finds
the piece of wood in his way, and jumps
over it, touching the treader and pressing
it down. This disengages "the end of the
button, and allowB the springer to fly up,
tightening the noose round the legs of the
game, which remains tethered until
the trapper comes ' along and knocks
it on the head. This is probably
 the simplest and most efficient traps.. The writer has caught kangaroos,
Wallabies, opossums, black magpies,The stake
is then driven -in a few inches further back
l from the run. The other parts are then
easily, fitted together.
Fig. 2 shows what is known as the "neck
snare." It is extremely simple, but re
markably efficient, and is generally used in
places that are too overgrown to allow of a
springer being employed. -
It is an adaptation of the "wire" the Eng
lish poacher sets in hedgerows for rabbits
and hares, and consists of a stout stake,
pointed, and driven into the ground beside
the run, until about 2ft. projects. " A
groove is cut round the top, and the snare,
made as described above, tied tightly round i
it. The snare, of course, is first formed
j into a noose. A forked twig is then |
j lightly stuck in the ground on the other
side of the run, and the noose hung over
it, as shown. When the kangaroo or wal
I laky comes along he puts his head and
generally one fore-leg through stke noose,!
which tightens up. The forked stick falls,
over, and the game remains fast. This ,
snare is sometimes used for wombats, or
"oadgers," as they are usually called, but I
unless the snare is made of wire they gener
ally bite it through and escape. They are
so powerful, too, that they will often pull
the stake out of the grouud or break the
snare. Kangaroos and wallabies neverl
bite the snare through,.though they could
easily do so. They sometimes pull the
springer out. but in that case nearly always
dash themselves to pieces in their frantic
efforts to escape from the thjpg they are
pulling after them. Wallabies are some
times caught by the tail in springers, which
causes tlicui to perform acrobatic {eats that
would make a .grasshopper envjons.
Fig. ;! represents a very ingenious and
highly satisfactory trap for tiger-cats,
native eats,- bash rate, . and vermin
of that kind. It . requires an empty
21b. pieserved-meat tin, a springer,
a short snare, and a few bits of stick, ar
ticles which are always procurable round
any camp. Its construction will be under
stood from the illustration, but it requires
a little more care in putting together than
the traps previously described.
The ineat-tin should have the rough edgCE
where it ha? been cut open beaten down
smoothly. A small hole is then made near
the open end with a nail, and a larger one,
about fin. in diameter, at the bottom, in a
straight line with it. This larger hole may
be made with the point of a pick, or com
menced with a penknife and enlarged with
a piece of hardwood cut to a point. A
springer, about 6ft. or 6ft. long, is thrust
into the ground, dnd the place where the
top end comes when bent over marked.
Here the tin is placed, with the holes upper
most, and the open end poiniiugaway £pom
;the springer. It is held down by two
sticks, about Oft inch invliaoicter, each witft
a projecting twig like a hook, driven m one
on each side. A short piece of stick paBscs
under the Wigs and over the tin. these
hooked sticks must be firmly driven in, and
the crosspiece made to come down tightly
on the tin.
A bait-stick is next cut. with a project
ing twig. A nidt is cut in the largest end,
which is passed through the larger hole in
the tin. .The twig prevents it pulling
through the hole," ana to the other end,
which should Peach about three-quarters of
the way down, the bait is fastened. Another
stick, long enough to reach from the nail
hole to the nick in > the bait-stick is then
cut, a groove made round one end, and
the other out to p flat point. The grooved
end is tied to the n&ilhole with a piece of
string, the free partof which should be t he
same length as^rOiU the top of the tin to
the top of the nick in the bait-stick. A
short snare, which will make a noose some
what laiger than the end of the tin, is tied
to the springer, anda loop of strong string
»s fastened a few idbhes further back. A
piece of bait, usuaUybacou, is tied to the
bait-stick, the nicked end of which is put
through thethole"at the further end of the
tiu. ^The springer is then bent down, and
the short, piece of stick passed through the
loop of cord,* and the flattened end put
.into the nick of the bait-stick and held
I there, while the pressure on the springer
is gradually eased. The upward pull of
the springer will then cause it to hold. The
noose should be arranged round the mouth
of the tin, so that it wiR catch nothing
when it flies up, and the contrivance is
ready for business. • The quarry puts its
Jiead into the tin to pull out the bait, and
TiSso doing causes the top end of the bait
stioRsto bend backwards. This disengages
tkfci small stick from the nick, and it flies
\upwitp the pfit! Of "the springer, the loop
slips, and the noose tightens
rotimL-rhe neck'Of the victim, and, lifting
jtynjnn the air, strangles it in a very short
^"ror capturingsuch creatures as the tiger
eat, no more efficient contrivance could be
devised. This animal, scientifically known
as Daeyurus maculatus, is the chief pest cf,
FIG. (.

FIG. (.
the West Coast. It knows neither fear nor
satiety. It is always ravenous, and is very
impartial in its tastes. Bacon, candles, fat,
ana freshly-greased boots seem to have a
special attraction for it, but very little
comes amiss. It grows to a large size, one
that the writer caught in a meat-tin trap
measuring some inches over 4ft. from the
tip of its nose to the end of its tail. To
poultry-keepers in the back settlements it
is a dreadful nuisance. Once in a fowl
houjsfc,'it will kill for. the mere pleasure of
killing, until the/Whole flock is destroyed.
When at Tyenna, the writer'6 brother once
heard a commotion in the fowl house in the
small honrs of the morning. Bunning out
with a gun, he descried in the faint light
a tiger-eat squeezing out of a hole, which
it had made by chewing off the top of one
of the hardwood slabs of which the fowl
house Was built. He let flv at it, both bar
rels of the gtin at once. The writer, roused
by the noise, ihen came on the scene with
a light, and an investigation was made. The
fowihouse was literally carpeted with dead
fowls, hensychickems, and the old paternal
rooster lay in a confused heap on the floor,
25 in all, out the murderer had disappeared.
He was found some days afterwards under
a tussock of button ~ grass. Both charges
had gone dean through him, and completely
blown his internal organs to the wind, but
8uc-h is the tenacity of life of these crea
tures that he had managed to get 200 yards
away before he fell. This was by no means
an uncommon experience in the early days
of the settlement at Tyenna, where settlers
frequently lost all their fowls in a night.
The meat-tin traps, however, soon reduced
the number oE cats. The female tiger-cat
is much smaller than the male, hardly larger
than the pfttivecat (D. viverrina), but is
even* store destructive. It seems to be very
uncommon, & dozen males being caught fhr
evert- female, Thetraps described may be
used for native cate or rats, if made on
smaller scale. They should not be set where
domestic dogs, oats, or fowls can get at