The Collarum® was invented by Don Lee (now deceased) from Sundance, Wyoming in the early 90′s. Don held several patents on products, all trapping related, the Collarum® being the most successful to date. I had the good fortune of meeting Ed Lee, Don’s son at the National Trappers Convention held in York, PA in 2000. Ed had recently inherited the Collarum® from his dad and was beginning to market it as a fur-harvesting device for coyotes. Thinking back on that initial meeting, I’m sure Ed thought “who is this guy ?”. Anyway I was really interested in the product, so I bought two immediately and he agreed to let WCS distribute them. This doesn’t happen to me often, but when I saw the Collarum® for the first time, and especially the video of a coyote interacting with it, I knew I was seeing the future and its’ applications would not be strictly limited to fur-harvesting. To make a long story short, WCS quickly became the largest distributor of the Collarum® and in 2003 purchased the device along with the patents from Ed Lee.
The Collarum® is a canine-specific live capture cable restraint device. It works by throwing a loop of 3/16-inch (coyote/dog) or 5/32-inch (fox) 7×7 galvanized aircraft cable over the head and around the neck of the target animal, by means of a spring-loaded throw mechanism. The throw mechanism has two support arms, one on each side of the loop, to which the cable is attached by means of cable clips. Once triggered, the support arms propel the cable over the head and around the neck. There is an aluminum stop affixed to the cable to prevent complete closure of the loop. In the 13 years we’ve been involved with the Collarum® we have never been made aware of a single animal being killed as a result of its’ capture by the device.
When the Collarum® is set, its lays flat on the ground. The small baseplate holds the throw mechanism, and the coil springs that power the throw mechanism. The Coyote cable loop is approximately 10 inches in diameter when set, the Fox cable loop is approximately 9 inches in diameter, and lies on the ground above the baseplate. The triggering arm (bite-piece) projects above the baseplate about 4 inches, almost to the center of the loop.
The Collarum has two sets of springs; the throw mechanism ones mentioned above, and a longer armed body grip-type spring that rides up the cable when it’s fired, and closes the loop on the animal. This spring is appropriately termed the Cinch Spring. When set, this second spring lays flat on the ground to the left of the baseplate.
It’s important to point out that the Collarum® is not a spring-loaded snare. Once the cable is thrown and closed on the animal, it is detached from the entire firing mechanism, which drops free. The end of the cable is staked solid, and the animal is essentially “like a dog wearing a collar on a leash”. No closing pressure is maintained on the animal; the Collarum® is no more a snare than a catchpole is.
What makes the Collarum® canine specific ? It’s the triggering mechanism, which requires a bite-and-pull action, common in feeding canines, rather than depressing a pan as with a traditional trap. Non-target animals such as housecats, bobcat, Mt. Lion, and even raccoon may trigger the Collarum®, however because they don’t “bite & pull” which is characteristic of a canine, they will not be captured.
Target animals need to come at the Collarum® straight on, directly over the baseplate. This is important because the cable loop is thrown directly forward and the animal has to be standing in the proper position for the loop to go around their neck. If they pull on the bite-piece from the side, the support arms of the throw mechanism will most likely slap the animal in the face, while the cable being thrown will miss its’ target.
Natural features, like weeds, guide sticks, etc., will funnel the animal into the front of the device. Fencing doesn’t have to be substantial. Avoid brush and any material that will provide entanglement, which could harm the animal.
Clear the set location and make a bed for the Collarum®. Dig a slight channel for the loop, and a small area for the baseplate. When the device is set, the baseplate should be at or just a bit below ground level, while having the backside of the loop slightly elevated, if possible, makes the trajectory of the loop all that much shorter over the animal’s head.
Using a couple of long pole barn nails (gutter spikes), nail it down through holes in the baseplate designed for that purpose. This prevents the animal from pulling it out of the ground as it pulls the bait cap. The cable is now placed on the clips fastened to the throw arms.
When setting the Collarum® always put downward pressure on the trigger mechanism. This will go against everything you ever learned about foothold and cage traps where you push upward on the trigger or pan while setting. Upward motion will fire the Collarum®.
Once the throw arms are cocked, engage the cinch spring. It is now fully cocked and ready.
The bite-piece projects about 4 inches up into the loop, just below the center if you use a round loop. Some prefer a more teardrop-shaped loop, with about 8 inches of clearance between the bite-piece and the top of the loop, especially for larger animals such as coyotes and larger dogs.
The cable should also be positioned so the relaxing lock is at the bottom of the triggering mechanism, and somewhat centered between the bases of the throw arms and directly in front of the coil spring. The cable then fits through a groove on the side of the throw arm and slips underneath the hook of the cinch spring.
For urban or suburban locations, covering is not necessary. Just set and stake the Collarum® down. Animals are not afraid of it. The white bite-piece should be seen prominently sticking up from the device. For applications where more discretion is necessary, a small piece of soaker hose is provided which can also act as the bite-piece. In a rural setting, lightly covering the set with a sprinkling of dirt or leaf litter, just enough so the device is not easily visible is sufficient. Don’t overdo this !
Use a “food-based” lure that elicits the bite-and-pull response and smear it on the bite-piece. Go back…Read that line again !! Use a “food-based” lure. Even though this is repeated throughout the instructions, when success is not being achieved, many times it is found the person is using their favorite “gland lure” !! Not Good, you will not have success with gland based lures.
The Collarum® can be used in urban situations with confidence that no children will be caught or pets will be harmed. A child stepping on it will not trigger the device because the trigger mechanism will only fire the device when upward pressure is applied…remember…bite & pull. It won’t catch cats and in the event that a dog is allowed to wander and get caught, it will not harm the animal. Most domestic dogs are used to being on a leash or tether and won’t usually fight the Collarum®. Most just sit down and wait !
The Collarum® continues to grow in popularity. Currently, the Collarum® is legal for use in approximately 26 States, with Ohio being the latest to legalize its use for NWCO’s. Many animal control departments, humane & dog rescue organizations , and municipalities were promoters and early adopters. The barrier to more rapid legalization in the States seems to be tied to the use of galvanized cable and it being “interpreted as a “snare”. I maintain that the Collarum® is no more a “snare” than a Catch Pole, that is currently in use by every animal control dept. in America. Many States continue to have antiquated snare laws on the books which do not recognize the advances made in technology, although each new legislative session finds the Collarum® being discussed in a number of more progressive States.
Internationally, – the Collarum® is legal in Canada & Australia (Dingo), the U.K., including Scotland and Ireland (for Fox). Spain and Romania are using the Collarum®, with the latest interest coming from Portugal. The military has used the Collarum® on bases in both Iraq & Afghanistan for feral dogs, jackals, and hyena.
While the Collarum® is not a “silver bullet” when it comes to capturing canines, I do believe it belongs in every wildlife control professionals “bag of tricks”, especially in urban and suburban settings.
Alan A. Huot, President
Wildlife Control Supplies
P.O. Box 538
East Granby, CT 06026