I have been experimenting with baited hair snares to collect hair samples from eastern spotted skunks for DNA testing. These snares were designed and constructed by Greg Turner, PGC. They consist of heavy schedule PVC pipe and rifle cleaning brushes. Since the goal of this exercise was to determine if spotted skunks would enter the snare and if the collection brushes would obtain hair samples I used one of my telemetered skunks, which has an offspring still with her, as the “guinea pig”. The location of these two skunks was always known and was very near an access road, which simplified logistics for setting up and checking the equipment. Each hair snare was covered by two trail cameras, one video and one still. Another goal of this exercise was to determine if the snares could survive a black bear mauling.
Hair snares and cameras were placed at three different sites at different times. The telemetered skunk was known to be at each site when the equipment was placed. Cameras indicated spotted skunks visited the snares and hair samples were obtained on the brushes at all sites. I have not yet had the opportunity to analyze the hair but a preliminary check indicates it is probably spotted skunk hair and cams didn’t indicate any other animals (except mice and a bear) visiting the snares.
One of the snares easily survived some very rough treatment by a black bear (this was verified on video). If anyone is interested in using a snare of this type they can contact Greg for the plans. I made a few modifications to Greg’s snares but not sure if they were significant or needed.