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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
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Alaska Science Camps, Fairs & Experiments

ANKN is a resource for compiling and exchanging information related to Alaska Native knowledge systems and ways of knowing. We are pleased to create and distribute a variety of publications that assist Native people, government agencies, educators and the general public in gaining access to the knowledge base that Alaska Natives have acquired through cumulative experience over millennia.


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Rabbit SnaresRabbit Snares


Snaring rabbits has been the first step into hunting and trapping for many young Alaskans. It has also been the means for survival for many adults during hard times.

Rabbit SnaresPopulation Cycles

Rabbits eat willow and alder bark as well as other green shoots. They eat grass in the summer. Rabbits are, in turn, eaten by many predators, including fox, lynx, wolverine, wolves, bears, owls, and eagles. Floods often drown many rabbits, both in the spring and in the fall. Their population has many other pressures including sickness.

Setting snares

The first consideration is where to set rabbit snares. They will be found on islands or on top of banks where the brush is thick. The best place to set a snare is where there are the most tracks.


There are several variables in setting a successful rabbit snare. Experiment with the size of the hole. Experiment with the height of the snare. Experiment with snares that have a fence and those that do not. Of the snares that have a fence, experiment with live and dead sticks.

Rabbit Snares
Rabbit Snares

Also test different kinds of wire. Which is the most durable? Most people use braided picture hanging wire, but there are different thicknesses, 5 lb, 40 lb., 60 lb., etc.

Rabbit SnaresThere are basically two kinds of snares, those that hang the rabbit in the air and those that do not. The simple kind that does not hang the rabbit is easy to set, but the rabbits taste a bit strong because they struggle. The kind of snare that hangs the rabbit in the air dispatches the rabbit quickly, giving a better taste.



Other factors and methods

Snares are usually set for rabbits between freezeup and breakup. Rabbits can carry disease more in the summer, and people do not usually eat them unless there is nothing else. When the snow depth is great, rabbits tend to follow the same trail. When there is little or no snow , they wander all over and are much harder to catch.

Rabbit Snares

We used to have rabbit drives on islands in the winter. A large group of people would start on one end of an island walking parallel down the island while making a lot of noise. A few people with .22s would wait for the rabbits on the other end of the island. This is a lot of fun, but the people with the .22s must be extremely careful, or one of the drivers could be shot.

Rabbit Snares

It is much safer to have a rabbit drive with a fence of dead sticks across the end of the island, and snares in the openings of the fence. The fence can be used in future rabbit drives too.

Finding and Developing a Science Fair Project

Examples of "Observe and Think" Projects

200+ Ideas for Science Fairs!

Traditional Lighting


Traditional Firemaking


Fishing with Lures

Rabbit Snares

Spearing Fish and the Refraction of Light

Chill of the Campfire

Solution vs Suspension

Seals & Beaver, Floating & Sinking


Selecting a Birch Tree

Spruce & Other Roots

Spruce Gum

Spear Throwing

Berry Pickers

Drum Frames


Book Cover

© 2004 Alaska Native Knowledge Network. All rights reserved.

A partner with the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0086194. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Camps as an Environment for Science & Culture

Culturally Relevant Science Fairs



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Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
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Last modified April 12, 2011