Capturing Exotic Animals

by Pat Hoctor

For small animals, you can use dip nets, wire box traps or catch poles. Dip nets used should be strong and have the proper size mesh with enough "bag" to allow you to flip the net and still contain the animal in the bottom. Some nets have pull strings to close the openings.

Box traps should be plenty large enough so that the animal won't be afraid to enter, but the wire strong enough to withstand abuse. The trigger mechanism must be sensitive and fast.

Loop or catch poles must be strong, yet light to handle. The loop must hold open for easy cature. The cable must be covered with rubber or plastic to avoid cutting the animal. When you pull the loop closed it must lock, yet be easy to release. Make sure you are strong enough to control what you are about to snare and that you won't strangle it or break it's neck. Only use a snare out of dire necessity.

On large carnivores, I use several methods. I coax the animal into a crate with a drop gate with food. If I can get safely close, I use a pole syringe with a fiberglass pole, a 10cc syringe and a 16 gauge needle to tranquilize the animals. When I can't get close, I use a Telinject blow gun with postol adapter to make it more accurate. The System is grat for shots of 3 to 100 feed. At close range, this system causes little bruising if used properly. For long shots of 35 to 75 years, I use a Pneu-dart rifle with a four-power scope. You can use either darts containing liquid such as ketamine or rompun or darts holding powder such as sicostrine.

When using drugs, know what you're doing before you inject. You can cause harm or death. I always keep dopram and oxygen handy in case of an overdose. You should never try to tranquilize an excited animal. It will lead to disaster. Make sure the animal is truly down before you approach. I remember once a full grown Bengal tiger jumping up from between my legs. I also had a 500 pound bear (that I thought was down? stare over the top of me while I was on my knees hot-tying a smaller female. I still remember the shotgun sound it made as he slapped the bottom of my boots when I dove through the cage door. Never! I repeat, never trust the animal to be out.

A rope or lasso is another handy item. Be sure to wear g high on the outside edges. A 6" ring goes around the center pole. The center has two small rings and the four corners have small rings which go to a bracket on top of the center pole to support everything by a 3/8" pull pin. It also helps to use tarp straps and scoks filled with sand around the edge. When the animals come to the bait under the net, you jerk the pin from the bracket with 3/16" aircraft cable and it drops the net down. You must have plenty of people to remove the animals quickly or they may suffer capture shock. In many cases, nets are safer than dart guns, but it is a lot of work for a few animals on small captures.

It takes practice and common sense to get good. It pays dividends to assist professionals to gain knowledge and learn how to prevent mistakes that might cause losses. Always use the most humane method possible while considering yours, and others safety.

If a large and dangerous animal escapes from your animal compound, my advice is to destroy it, if possible. I love animals, but people must come first. We all owe a responsibility to our neighbors. Tranquilizers don't work like they do on TV. I have dropped animals from 4 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Darts don't always work. There is no time to erect nets. If a dangerous animal hurts someone, the entire animal industry suffers, along with the victim. My standing rule is if an animal of danger leaves my compound, there shall be NO effort to capture, but only to destroy. This may shock a few of you, but you must realize that it is alright to risk your life, but unfair to risk the life of someone else. NO SINGLE animal is worth the harm it does to all other animals when someone is mauled.

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