Traps & Snares


Squirrel Pole: Build a Squirrel Pole Snare Trap in Three Easy StepsThe official opinion of Survivalist 101 on trapping animals is that it is a horrible way to hunt animals. We believe that if you are living in a non-survival situation, when it comes to hunting,  trapping is cheating and unusually cruel to the animal that you are trying to harvest. If this bothers you, remember, it’s just our opinion, so chill.

However, in a survival situation, trapping, when done correctly, is the most efficient way to gather calories while expending the fewest. Of all of the other food gathering methods, trapping makes the most sense because it allows you to perform other needed survival activities like building, gathering, foraging and more while you are securing protein calories.

Here’s the rub. There is no way to become a “good trapper” without practicing. If you buy traps with the mind-set that, if need be, you’ll learn how to trap in a survival situation, you better have a lot of food stored. Trapping is an art and a skill and cannot be learned overnight. Trapping animals, in their environment, is akin to trying to navigate a new city without a map. It will simply take time and many failures.

If you are prepping for a long term bug out, or to shelter in place, trapping must be a strong consideration for a viable food supply stream. We suggest that you first buy a COMPREHENSIVE book on trapping. You can begin by reading our Trapping 101 tutorial. However, you should have an off-line, in-depth reference manual for honing your skill.

Once you are familiar with the type of trapping you will perform, you can purchase your traps, the waxes and dyes and store them as part of your regular preps. We highly suggest that you make yourself completely familiar with the trapping process before purchasing traps. Here are the trapping books that we recommend:

Leghold Traps

Have been used for centuries, the steel-jaw leghold trap is the most commonly used trap in the United States by commercial and recreational fur trappers. Triggered by a pan-tension device, the weight of an animal stepping between the jaws of the trap causes the jaws to slam shut on the victim’s leg, or other body part, in a vice-like grip. Most animals react to the instant pain by frantically pulling against the trap in a desperate attempt to free themselves, enduring fractures, ripped tendons, edema, blood loss, amputations, tooth and mouth damage (from chewing and biting at the trap), and starvation.

On land, leghold traps are most frequently set for coyote, bobcat, fox, raccoon, skunk and other furbearing animals. However, leghold traps are inherently indiscriminate and will trap any unsuspecting animal, including dogs and cats, threatened and endangered species, and even humans.

Snare Traps

Snares are categorized as either body/neck or foot snares. They are generally made of light wire cable looped through a locking device or of a small nylon cord tied so that it will tighten as the animal pulls against it. The more a snared animal struggles, the tighter the noose becomes, the tighter the noose, the greater the animal’s struggle and suffering. The body snare is used primarily on coyotes and often is set where animals crawl under a fence or some other narrow passageway. It is designed to kill by strangulation or crushing of vital organs. However, snares do not discriminate and will capture any animal by any body part. Because they are cheap and easy to set, trappers often will saturate an area with dozens of snares to catch as many animals as possible.

Conibear Traps

The Conibear trap consists of two metal rectangles hinged together midway on the long side to open and close like scissors. One jaw has a trigger that can be baited. The opposite jaw has a catch or “dog” that holds the trap open.

Originally intended to be an “instant killing” device, the Conibear trap is designed to snap shut in a scissor-like fashion on an animal’s spinal column at the base of the skull. However, because it is impossible to control the size, species and direction of the animal entering the trap, most animals do not die quickly in the trap, instead enduring prolonged suffering.

Manufactured in three standard sizes, Conibear traps are frequently used in water sets to trap muskrat and beaver. In addition, they are used on land to trap raccoon, pine marten, opossum, and other furbearers. Numerous research studies have shown that this trap does not kill instantly.

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