In severe disasters, often times you end up relying on yourself and your own outdoor survival skills more than you might expect. It’s handy to have your supply of food storage and other gear, but what if a sudden tsunami sweeps it all away? What if an unexpected earthquake buries your supply in rubble or opens a sink hole and swallows it whole? (It’s rare—but it does happen). What if, for some reason, you can’t access your storage anymore? As a prepper, it’s important to prepare in all areas: food, water, gear, and skills.
Hunting Basics: Traps and Snares
Not everybody is a hunting expert with a Brush Gun slung over their shoulder, but everyone can, and should, be a snare/trap expert—or at least know the basics.
When you have only yourself to rely on for food, a basic knowledge of snares and traps may prove to save your life.
In an emergency, there’s always a chance that you will be out on your own for longer than three days. Think Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms hitting the Philippines in 2013; it killed nearly 6,000 people and displaced another 3.6 million. Or consider the tornadoes that swept through Oklahoma in May of 2013, destroying homes, damaging schools, and killing 24 people.
Disasters like these happen all too often, making your knowledge of survival skills vital to staying alive. Learn to build traps and snares out of basic items you can find after a disaster (or items you have stored in your emergency kit), and you’ll be better prepared to face the unexpected.
Types of Traps and Snares
A snare is one of the simplest types of traps you can make that allow you to catch animals or birds using a rope, wire, or cord. This post will tell you how to make a few types of snares to use in a survival situation. Typically it’s a good idea to place multiple traps around your area and build a variety of them—certain traps work better in certain locations or with specific species.
Keep in mind that a lot of animal snares and traps are illegal and dangerous, such as the Pine Pitch Bird Cup trap, so make sure you check with your local authorities to determine whether or not your choice of snare is okay for hunting or if it should only be used in a real emergency situation.
A Squirrel Noose
This classic snare uses no bait and little supplies, letting you easily trap your prey right outside his home. All you need is wire. According to the Survivalist, you want 2-foot lengths of wire (22-gauge or 24-gauge wire works well) for each snare, which you’ll want about a dozen of.
First, locate an area where squirrel activity is high. You can usually tell by either finding a squirrel nest in a tree or by signs of their activity on the ground (ex. a pile of pine cone shreds where one has sat and eaten). Once you’ve found your location, search out a log to rest against the tree. It’s preferable if there is already one that you can tell squirrels use to get up to their nests. If there’s not one already set, find your own.
Using your 2-foot lengths of wire, make a small loop (about the circumference of a pencil) at one end of the wire. Feed the other end of the wire through that small loop making a noose. Pull it through until your snare loop is no bigger than 3 inches in diameter. Tie the other end of the wire around your log. Don’t save your snares, use dozens over the one log, making the nooses cover the tops, sides, and bottoms so your prey can’t escape.
Learn how to build a Squirrel Noose from the experts at the Survivalist.
The Fixed Snare allows you to catch an animal and to keep it from running away. You can make a fixed snare out of practically any flexible, durable material (wire, a braided-steel cable, etc.) making it an ideal snare to use in an emergency situation. However, these snares are usually a one-time use trap as the wires tend to bend and weaken after an animal has been caught.
For the fixed snare to work, simply create a small loop at one end of the wire (about the circumference of a pencil). Feed the other end of the wire through that small loop to create a type of noose. Place the ‘noose’ above a burrow or on a small game trail and wait. When an animal scampers by, pull the wire, which will tighten the noose and catch you a meal.
Learn how to build a Fixed Snare from the experts at Outdoor Life.
Deer Trail Snare
Trapping a deer is tastier than other game you may find in a survival situation, and with this snare it’s pretty easy to do. Locate a path where deer travel frequently—look for animal tracks across a trail where shrubbery and bushes overlap into it. These trails are great to help hide your snare.
For this snare, all you need is paracord, wire, and nature. Create a snare loop (as explained in the Fixed Snare and Squirrel Noose instructions) with your wire large enough for a deer’s head to fit through—roughly 12-24" in diameter and up to 3 feet high. Over the trail, locate two trees. Tie one end of your paracord to one tree and the other end to the second tree; hang your noose wire from it. Use the overhanging brush to disguise the wire hanging in the middle of the trail. When a deer walks through, his head will get caught in the noose and he’ll be trapped. This trap won’t kill the deer, but will hold him until you can get there to finish the job.
Greasy String Deadfall
This bait-driven snare will catch and kill your game. This snare is great to use in survival situations because all you need is a deadfall (a weight, like a rock, that’s heavy enough to kill the animal on impact), a forked branch/stick, a sapling, and twine or paracord. All of these items can be found outdoors except for the twine—which you should put in your emergency kit ahead of time.
With the Greasy String Deadfall, an animal is lured to your string covered in bait (that’s the ‘grease’). Your bait can be anything from other dead animals, berries, etc. You can decide what type of bait to use based on the type of animal you’re trying to catch. As your prey chews on the string, it will snap and the rock (a.k.a deadfall) will land on top of the animal.
Learn how to build a Greasy String Deadfall snare from the experts at Outdoor Life.
Bottle Fishing Trap
The Plastic Bottle Fishing Trap is as simple as it gets when it comes to traps. This trap is ideal for catching small fish, which you can either eat or use as bait for another snare. All you need to make this trap is a water bottle and a sharp knife.
Using your knife cut off the top of the water bottle and insert it back into the bottle, nozzle down. You can place insects or other bait into the bottle to attract the fish. Place the bottle in shallow water where you can hold it steady with surrounding vegetation. Small fish will swim into the bottle for the bait, but be unable to find their way back out.
Learn how to build the Bottle Fishing Trap from the experts at OffGrid Survival.
For additional snare ideas and tutorials, check out the sources below: