Trapping and Snaring Wild Game
There are several reasons why snaring or trapping game is the preferred method in a survival situation. You may very well have a firearm but discharging a weapon may reveal your location and scare off the game in the area and you may need to conserve your ammunition for self-defense.
While food is not your first priority when you realize you are lost or you are a “bug out” situation, it is important to your survival nonetheless. You need the energy from calories and the physiological effects of food cannot be underestimated in a survival situation. Being successful with snares and traps will give you the confidence to survive under the harshest of conditions.
Tools and equipment that will help but are not absolutely necessary include wire, cordage, knife and or camping axe or machete. If you do not have some of these tools you will need to know how to make do with the tools mother nature provides for you. On a side note you should never be caught without a survival knife or a multi tool at the very least.
You also need to know what species of animal you are trying to snare and what type of small game lives in the area you are in. Like I said before you need to have the skill set to fashion snares with materials from your surrounding if you do not have wire, paracord, fishing line or anything like that with you.
Setting snares is not a haphazard affair and you must weigh the benefits against the effort. If it takes you all day to set snares and traps and you burn 700 to a 1,000 calories in your efforts only to receive a few hundred calories in reward then you are doing something wrong. Any energy you exert moving from place to place or hunting for food will need to be replaced or your battery will die, and if your battery dies, you die.
Where to look for small game
Game trails and runs must be identified. Trails are usually to and from water sources and several species of animals, including large predators will use the trails as well. Animal runs however, are typically used by the same animal until they move their burrows or den.
The animal using the run has discovered the safest and easiest route to and from feeding areas and their dens. Usually there is a “bolt hole” or backdoor as well. Look for droppings and worn/chewed vegetation. Once you have identified the areas that you want to place your traps in avoid trampling around in the area too much so you do not leave evidence you have been there.
Spring Snare Traps
A spring snare is a very common method of snaring small game. Look for places where the grass is worn down. This is caused by small animals moving through the area on a regular basis. Grass that is just warn down is a relatively new path otherwise; the grass would be worn away. Small animals will use high grass for concealment and will change routes depending on the season. Small animals may avoid moving through dry grasses in early spring and late fall. However, certain animals like rabbits are camouflaged to blend in with brown vegetation.
Spring snares are ideal along trails leading to and from water. Once the animal is snared, it is lifted off the ground to keep predators that are using the trail from stealing your game. Once set traps and snares must be checked regularly to avoid predators and to prevent undo suffering on the animals part.
There are many different ways to make a spring snare trap but all have the same principal; an animals walking into the loop will pull the trigger loose that holds the sapling down causing the sapling to spring up holding the game well above the ground.
Mask your scent by covering your hands in mud preferably from stagnate water that will have rotting vegetation in it. You can also smoke the materials over a fire to mask your scent. Some may believe that animals will shy away from the smoke smell, but they are familiar with the smell and will only be alarmed if there are actual fires/flames.
You can bait the area around the trap to increase the animal’s interest in the area. Place bait that is recognizable and yet not something readily available. Using acorns when the woods are full of oak trees is not an enticement for squirrels. Use food from your rations packs in particular peanut butter. Place some bait where it would be safe for the animal so they gain confidence as they make their way into the trap.
You want to funnel or lead the game to your snare by using bait and placing obstructions in their way to force them in one direction. If you are trying to snare squirrels for example, then snares can be placed over stumps and along logs they would use.
One technique than can be used is tying small loops of wire along a branch or raised log so when a squirrel or even a bird is snared around the body they fall off the branch or log, which secures the game.
Never leave an area with your snares in place. The more snare and traps you have set the greater chance you have of obtaining game. Do not place the snares close to each other. One animal in distress will cause others to avoid the area.
Paiute Deadfall Traps
Paiute deadfalls do work but they can be complicated to set up and in some cases, the benefits do not outweigh the effort. As you can see, the materials needed would be available in any wilderness environment and you should consider using deadfalls if you do not have any cordage or wire or have a limited amount. Keep in mind some that have attempted to construct deadfalls have themselves been injured.
Larger animals can be trapped in pits covered with sticks and grass but remember pits are dangerous for humans as well in particular if sharpened spikes are placed in the pit. Typically, pits are used to trap wild hogs, but the effort to dig a pit big enough to trap a wild hog is considerable but the payoff is day’s worth of food. Before leaving the area, the pit must be filled back in to prevent human and animal injuries.
The snares and traps you set cannot be so complicated that they do not work or the effort far outweighs the benefits. Keep it simple and do not be afraid to move snares after a couple of days of not having any success. If all else fails you can find a few creepy crawler and feast on them or forage for food while you wait for the main course.
Being prepared for any situation is essential in any survival situation, now if you are in some sort of fallout situation I don’t think you would be setting too many traps or eating any meat at all. But if you were in any sort of situation that required you to be able to acquire food trapping small game in a survival situation is a useful and needed skill to have.