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Snares

tsooye ggaabeeł “bird snare”
Language: Central Koyukon

They put white, packed snow on the willow and when flying ptarmigan see that, they think that it’s a ptarmigan too, so they land by it.

—Trimble Gilbert, 2004

Spring-pole snares are set for rabbits, squirrels, ptarmigan, and grouse, using a loop of string, sinew, or wire attached to a bent-over sapling. Fences made of willow sticks lead the animal to an opening where the snare is set. When it jostles a wooden trigger peg the snare is released, catching the prey by its neck or foot. Decoy “ptarmigan” made of packed snow can be used to attract the birds to where the snare is set. These Koyukon snares are fashioned from twine, and tied to a stick for safe keeping.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River, Alaska
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 102.2cm
Accession Date: 1928 (collected 1907-1913)
Source: Micajah W. Pope (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 161672.000