Traps and Snares
described by First Boy - James Larpentuer Long, Fort Peck
Assiniboine-Sioux, in The Assiniboine: From Accounts of
the Old Ones Told to First Boy (James Larpentuer Long),
edited by Michael Stephen Kennedy , University of Oklahoma
Press, 1961, p 106-08 (originally published as Land of
the Nakoda by the Montana Writer Program in 1942)
and snares were frequently used for killing most kinds
of small game.
foxes, skunks, badgers, and the other small prairie animals
were taken in traps made in this manner:
roves of wooden stakes were driven in the ground about
two feet apart. The rows were three feet long, two feet
high, and open at each end. The south opening served as
the entrance. A pole was imbedded in the ground across
the entrance to form the threshold. Another, three feet
longer, was laid directly on top. The top pole, being
longer, extended two feet on one side and one foot on
the other. Two large stakes were then driven, one on each
side, which held the poles in place and also served as
poles, slightly longer than the enclosure, were laid lengthwise
between the two rows of stakes, with the butts rest-ing
on the top pole at the entrance. Several large boulders
were than laid on top for weight.
open the entrance, the short projecting end of the top
pole `vas raised, the longer end resting on the ground.
That made a horizontal V-shaped opening which was propped
in place with a short, round stick, with the bottom placed
on top of the thres-hold and the tip under the top pole.
The trigger was a sharp-pointed stick about eighteen inches
long, the butt of which was flattened out and placed directly
under the prop stick so that the end of the trigger was
sandwiched between the threshold and the lower end of
the prop stick. A piece of fresh meat was stuck on the
sharp end of the trigger. The trap vvas then set. It resembled
a slant-roofed shed.
an animal passed through the entrance, the bait vvas pulled
away. The prop stick slipped, and the roof came down on
the animal. The weight was usually enough to kill it.
catch snowshoe and cottontail rabbits, a single snare
made with a loop of twisted horsetail hair was used. One
end of the loop was tied to the center of a round stick
about two feet long. The stick was placed crosswise in
the bushes or small trees be-side a well-beaten trail
in the woods. The loop was large enough to slip over the
head of a rabbit. As the rabbit ran along the trail, it
was caught in the loop and strangled.
the late fall mornings, prairie chickens were in the habit
of congregating in large numbers. These were called "chicken
dances," because the male birds strutted around and
made a lot of noise.
for trapping the birds were made by driving two stakes
into the ground about eight or ten inches apart and leaving
them a foot above the ground. A crosspiece was fastened
to the top of the stakes, and to that was attached a loop
made of horsetail hair. A number of these snares were
built close together. As the chickens in their dance ducked
in and out between the stakes, some were caught in the
loops and strangled.
were taken in the summer, just before the young ones were
ready to fly. As the young ducks dived and swam under
water, they were detected by the movement of the wiregrass.
A group of men wading abreast across the Slough reached
down where there was such movement, grabbed the ducks,
and wrung their necks.