Survival on Purpose
“Again, if the campaign/event/catastrophe is protracted, the resources will not be equal to the strain.” ‘modified’ Sun Tsu
Trapping is one of the oldest methods of hunting and gathering food in the world. Some of the first traps have been found and or noted in cave paintings and Chinese manuscripts dating back before 5000 BC (Chinese manuscripts dated 500 bc). Snares have long been the go-to choice for many trappers due to their simplicity and relative ease with which they can be used, setup and harvested.
As someone raised trapping Muskrat and Beaver for pelt money during the winter months by a sharecropping father, for myself trapping is second nature. The reality is a successful trap line has more to do with understanding animal habits than with any other single piece of knowledge. For instance, water loving, fur-bearing animals such as beaver and muskrat will always dive deep when snagged, in an attempt to “lose the creature” attached. By doing this they drown themselves if you set the trap properly, using a simple slip joint/knot that goes down and doesn’t allow them back up.
Trap lines for food creatures like rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs and more are different and approaches vary greatly depending on whom you speak too. For myself, I find the greatest trapping results by locating solid runs and laying snares in various places along several of these. Note the locations of the snares and ensure they are firmly anchored. Check them regularly, and alternate locations frequently, coyotes, bobcats, wolves and more will raid your trap line if you stick to a particular place for too long.
This being said, you can use larger snares and grab these creatures for meat as well, it is not the best to eat, however, in a pinch, food is food and this is why we carry seasonings and know our wild herbs right?
Some quick and very important Suggestions/RULES regarding snares, trapping and trap lines. These have served me well over the years and continue to do so.
- Locate animal runs/ game trails by sight and NEVER follow them directly, always do your best to mask your scent before getting close to one. In Arizona, we have several indigenous species of plants that are quite pungent and easily used to mask human body odor. Creosote bushes and other similar plants allow for use by tying them onto your feet and crushing and rubbing them on your hands and in the general area.
- Time is a good thing to have on your side when running a snare line, the more used to your scent the less likely the animals are to be spooked by it. A few days of no contact scent trail dropping in the area, eg., walking across but not STEPPING on the game trail, without causing harm to the creatures will help put them at ease.
- When setting up your snares, you can use snare grease (specialized scent masking agents or simply wash with scentless soaps and crush local fauna in your hands while handling the wire or string being used.The Dakotaline Snare setup is a braided wire that holds its shape quite well, ensure it is firmly attached to a root/branch. Extend the loop over the path, brush a bit of dust over the bottom of the snare itself if you want though it’s not necessary. Ensure the loop is larger than the head of the animal (south- western rabbits have heads 4-8 inches in diameter) but smaller than the body. This is the first approach to snaring, using the animals travels to catch itself. Many times you will find the snare barely grabs a foot, sometimes a snare has been avoided or the animal ends up half way through. Regardless, remember, this is FOR YOUR SURVIVAL.
- Baiting a snare, if you want larger game, eg., coyote, bobcat or even javelina (again South Western creatures) leave the rabbit, and place a large animal snare in front of the rabbit, in such a way that the creature going for the rabbit MUST pass through it.
- Personally, as there is a plethora of greenery in Arizona, contrary to popular belief (Phoenix is not Arizona it is honestly the ecologically, worse place you could put a city, hands down with Los Angeles tying for second place.) While our greenery is not the same as what those who live East of the Mississippi are used too, it still exists. For myself snaring a bit of meat is nothing more than an addition to an already full stew pot. Cowboy stews, large Dutch Ovens setting in the coals, throughout the day toss in something new, and eat from it as you get hungry.(It may not sound wonderful, however, it works, and works well.)
- Do not rely solely on snare lines, and ALWAYS switch them regularly; locations and animals runs etc., never over snare/trap an area. You will create problems, rather move with the animals, and take only what you need to live. Never more.I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH, NEVER MORE.
- Protect your trap lines, they are your life, protect your hunting ground it is your life, contrary to popular myth, there is plenty of wildlife and food in general, to feed all humans on this planet, we could easily feed twice the number that currently exists. It is however, all about dispersion, this is why rural area residents tend to be standoffish in some ways, after all, they understand this.Citified folk look at stores as farmers look at cropland and hunters and the like look to their game areas. This mindset, the city mindset of grab what’s there now, I am owed because…this is and will not work with trapping and hunting. Spread it out, work with others around you and share game catches and or finds.
- Always be safe, ensure the game trail is in fact, a rabbit trail or that, that hole is a gopher hole and not a badger den. Know tracks, and variations.
These are some things I have learned over the years. And I use them and teach my children today now. My daughter is 8 years old, and can track, hunt and clean game. This coming summer/fall we will be doing some camping and running trap lines while we do this. She will by the end of this next few months know how to live without ever leaving our Arizona mountains.
My son will be 14, being autistic slows down his mental/emotional growth a bit however, he is very much capable of defending himself and is very intelligent in an engineering sort of way. My wife is a deadly shot, loves her designated marksman AR (16” 1:8 / 4-10X AR Bushnell optic) and has and continues to hit targets from 50 yards through 500 with practiced ease. All of my family can shoot our Glock 19s and easily keep hits within 12” at 3-25 yards, everyone practices regularly.
However, I am off on a tangent, trapping, and snares. Regardless your choice and yes I will agree that a solid set of full body traps and leg traps work well. However, they are extremely heavy while snares are very lightweight in comparison. In fact, I carry 12-20 braided wire snares that will work for small through large game (including deer) and it weighs under 3lbs. The same amount of leg or body traps would weigh well over 30lbs and thats not including the traps big enough for deer.
This is why I highly recommend the Dakotaline Survival Snare package, at $24 through $29 for 12 snares depending in location purchased.
- 4 Daoktaline Rabbit/Squirrel Size
- 4 Dakotaline Racoon through Coyote snares
- 4 Large Animal sized snares/ deer and even large cat and bear could theoretically be caught and held with these. Very strong tensile lbs per inch, more than capable of holding a 400lb black bear or 4-600 lb Russian feral hog.
The way these particular snares are built, they tighten and cannot be released without opposable thumbs, period! Any additional movement simply tightens them down more. This is why I prefer these snares to others available though I can and have made my own using cordage made from local fauna.
So what are the “pro’s” of this product?
- Pricing, for less than a breakfast for 4 from McDonald’s you can easily have the necessary tools for feeding a family group of 4-10 for decades.
- Longevity, braided stainless steel cordage, with solid steel construction of clasps and connectors. They will not break and can easily hold much more than what they are rated for.
- Ease of use, seriously, these are the easiest to use snares I have ever had my (gloved) hands on.
- Lightweight in comparison to other trapping supplies the Survival Kit itself is extremely easy to carry and store. My go bags have them, my BOLs have them and all vehicles have them.
- Did I mention inexpensive and EASY to use?
So here are the “con’s” of the product.
- Once again I have not been able to find one unless you are adverse to harvesting game. In which case this isn’t an article for you.
Any questions, suggestions, additions?
- The Trapper’s Bible: The Most Complete Guide on Trapping and Hunting Tips Ever
- The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild
- Survival Poaching
- The New Buckshot’s Complete Survival Trapping Guide
- Dakotaline Basic Snare Package
Free the mind and the body will follow