Recently on here we had a thread called "Can you build me a better cable restraint?"
, started by Archer01. The lament was that he had lost 3 out of 5 coyotes he caught in Pennsylvania "Cable Restraints". That's unacceptable by any standard, so I asked him if he could send me a few samples of the snares he was using. He did, and subsequently I've made some discoveries that may explain the high failure rate.
(Please note: All the testing described below was done using a static pull with the snares cinched around a 2.4" outside diameter pipe. I sincerely hope that someday this can be adopted as a standard by all BAD manufacturers and we can all
get on the same page with this.)
For starters, different locks can exhibit different break away strengths even with the same BAD (Break Away Device). Usually the difference is not significant. The goal here, in most instances, is to keep the trapper legal. In other words, even though there is a difference in locks, as long as the strongest combination does not exceed the state limit, the trapper should be okay.
Most of you know, I prefer a lighter break-away than most states mandate. I make and sell a 280# break away s-hook. The design of this is to release virtually all
leg snared deer, and retain most coyotes. Devices with higher ratings, have the potential to hold more deer. Some coyotes may defeat the 280# system, but not many. With that said, I wouldn't want to go too much below a 280# system with a coyote snare. You'll start losing too many coyotes.
I had to be judicious about testing the few snares Archer sent me, because I didn't have many samples. But? on the first two tests, the snares broke out a 240 pounds.
Now, the first thing that ran through my mind was someone was selling "weak" BADs. Or, maybe these BADs weren't even tested anywhere. Remember as long as the BAD is below
state maximum, the trapper is legal. But when it gets too low, the trapper starts losing too many
coyotes -- legal or not.
Maybe I have been remiss, but I never tested my BAD on a reverse bend washer lock. I don't want to digress too badly here, but this lock has been one of the most obscure locks in the business. How it got randomly selected, and tested, and adopted as the "holy grail" of relaxing locks remains a mystery. (I wish someone could tell me why the 90? washer lock, which is probably the most common lock in use toda, was not selected as the lock to be tested.)
At any rate, I got some of my 280# s-hooks, installed them in the typical manner on these locks, and tested. Guess what, they broke at 240 pounds. There is something about that lock that gives it a higher leverage advantage to defeat the BAD. (The way the holes lie in parallel planes I suspect has something to do with it.)
I'm not giving away any trade secrets here but there are three main factors in determining the release point of an s-hook style bad, the hardness of the wire, the diameter of the wire, and the radius of the bend in the s-hook.
I found that by reducing the radius of the bend, I could make my s-hook function in the prescribed range (280 - 300 pounds) on this 180? lock. It's really pretty simple to do, once you figure it out. I took a pair of vice grips with smooth tipped jaws, and with the pliers locked, used the adjusting screw to pinch them down on various sized drill bits. Then, I would install the s-hook on the lock, and pinch it closed with the vice grips, thusly adjusted.
The setting it takes, to make the system fail at just under 300 pounds, is 11/32". That smashes the s-hook to just a little bit smaller radius than I supply it with. Please be advised that tiny fractions here are very
critical. Using the vice grips set at 21/64" gave a system in excess of 325 pounds, putting it over the maximum for several states.
I have got wind, from other sources, that a number of these "cable restraint" devices had been releasing a lot of coyotes. I'm not going to mention any names or brands here, but I have seen them advertised as including a 285# rated s-hook (or j-hook) BAD. It now seems possible, to me, that a device that ordinarily shows a 280 pound break away strength, my be failing at a considerably lower strength when used with these 180? locks. Thus the high number of escaped coyotes.
I know that I carry on a lot about the overly restrictive, and in many instances silly, snaring regulations that some states have instituted recently. But I also realize that does little to help the trappers who have to work under those restrictions.
The original thread asked: "Can you build me a better cable restraint?" I don't know about "better" but I can build you a cable restraint that will perform closer to expectation. Starting next season, I will be offering "Cable Restraint" snares that will meet legal requirements, and have been tested to be sure the break-away strength is not so low as to make them ineffective on coyotes.
I may also add a note to my 280# Break-Away S-hooks advising how to install them on 180? locks. This would be helpful to those folks trying to make their own "cable restraints" or those who just prefer this lock.
I'd be glad to entertain any of your comments or questions.