Snaring and Trapping
Snaring and trapping of native mammals for their skins began with human occupation of Tasmania. While the activity occurred throughout the island, the most valuable skins were found in the high country where colder weather produced thicker fur. Although the official season, six to eight weeks, began in June, preparations, such as burning off and building huts, began about November. Out-of-season snaring ensured potential conflict with police. End-of-season sales involved intense bargaining between buyers and snarers.
To be successful, the typical snarer, a semi-skilled rural male, needed an array of skills such as general bushcraft, knowledge of game, setting snares and drying skins. Furriers, fellmongers and tanners were associated with the final phase of preparation. Although prices fluctuated because of demands of world fur markets and international fashions, in good seasons snarers could earn hundreds of pounds. Snaring was banned in 1984 because of decreasing demand largely due to the influence of the environmental movement.
Further reading: N Haygarth, A view to Cradle, Canberra, 1998; T Jetson, The roof of Tasmania, Launceston, 1989; and 'Hunting and snaring', THRAPP 45/2, 1998; S Cubit, Snarers and cattlemen of the Mersey high country, Launceston, 1987.