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Country notebook

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 21, 2012

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When I was a young boy one of the older village men taught me how to catch moles with the old wooden traps that were used before the advent of the modern metal trap.

All the working parts were cut from the hedge, and all of hazel. The main spring was called the bender and was a hazel wand, some inch or so thick and six foot long. The body of the trap was made from a hollowed out half section of a piece of main stem about two inches in diameter. A small hole was drilled in each corner of the shell and a hole of about half-inch diameter was drilled in the centre of the shell to take the trigger.

A hoop of hazel at each end with the pith removed to take two brass wire nooses would be inserted into the corner holes. All that remained now was to cut two smaller sticks to hold the trap down against the bender. Unfortunately only a few traps could be carried by a boy but placed in main runs, located by probing with a sharp stick, they could be most effective. The skins were sent off to Horace Friend of Wisbech. The resultant postal orders made my penny a week pocket money go much further.

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