There are a variety of ways to acquire food in a survival situation. You can hunt for small or large game, you can forage for nuts and berries, or you can try to catch fish down at a local creek or pond. You could even grow your own food, although this will obviously take some time to yield results.
But there’s one more productive, yet often-overlooked method for acquiring food: trapping. When executed skillfully, trapping can help you catch more than enough food, and it can be effective in just about any habitat or geographic area. And best of all, traps don’t require your constant attention – they’ll work while you are busy tending to other things.
Different Types of Traps: Picking the Best
There are several different types of traps you can use. There are mouse-trap-like traps, leg-hold traps, body-gripping traps, deadfalls – the list goes on and on. Most of these traps will work, although they typically work better in some situations than others. You’ll have to carefully match the type of trap to the habitat and your target quarry.
However, there is another type of trap to consider: the snare. Snares are uniquely flexible traps, which will work for a variety of different animals and in almost any situation imaginable. You can use them to catch squirrels running down tree trunks, deer trying to slip through thickets, or ducks as they walk to and from the water.
But snares provide a number of other benefits, besides flexibility. A few of the most important include:
- Snares are very simple tools, with very few moving parts. This means they’re unlikely to break during storage or normal use.
- Snares don’t weigh very much, and they won’t take up a lot of space in your bug out bag or storage closet.
- Snares are unlikely to cause significant injuries to people who become inadvertently trapped by them.
- Snares are quite affordable, which makes it easier to purchase a collection of them.
- Snares aren’t difficult to set, and even trapping novices can quickly figure out how to operate them.
So, while there’s nothing wrong with deadfall traps, leg-hold traps or others, snares are likely the best option for most survivalists and preppers, given the benefits they provide.
Commercial or DIY?
Now that you understand that snares are likely the best type of trap to use in a survival situation, you must decide whether to make your own or purchase commercial snares.
You certainly can make your own snares – primitive societies and cultures have done so for millennia. All you’ll need is a length of strong cordage and a few minutes worth of effort. However, you’ll likely be limited to trapping small game if you choose to make your own snares. A snare made of grapevine or paracord some similar material may be strong enough to snare a squirrel or rabbit, but if you don’t return quickly, the critter will chew its way free.
Additionally, most such snares will only work for a single use. The trapped animal will likely thrash about and gnaw on anything it can reach, and a homemade snare is likely to become damaged in the process. This means you’ll have to make a new snare every time you catch an animal.
Given these factors, it becomes apparent that most survivalists will be best served by purchasing a few commercially manufactured snares. Commercial snares will undoubtedly work better than any you make from natural materials, and they’ll hold up to repeated use. And, as long as you purchase snares of sufficient size, they’ll be strong enough to hold just about any critter you’re lucky enough to snag.
The Three Best Commercial Snares for Trapping
There are a variety of commercial snares on the market, and it can sometimes be difficult to know which ones to pick. But don’t worry – we’ll talk about the three best commercial options below. Just compare the products carefully and try to pick the ones that will best suit your needs.
DakotaLine Snares are ideal for survivalists who want to be able to set a bunch of snares. These snares – which come in a pack of 12 – are quite strong, and they will work for catching anything from raccoons to coyotes. They’re also very lightweight and they don’t take up much space, so it is easy to pack them in your bag.
These snares are made from 3/32, 7X7 cable, and each one measures five-feet long. These snares are also dyed with Dakotaline Trap & Snare Dip, which helps to camouflage the cable and prevent your prey from becoming spooked.
Most people who’ve tried these snares have reported excellent results. Several customers even shared photos of foxes, coyotes, skunks, rabbits, groundhogs and other creatures they’ve successfully trapped with these snares.
The Thompson Snares Survival Kit for Trapping is an excellent option for those who want to be ready to catch food in an emergency. This kit comes with two different snare cables: One is a 0S-30 30″ inch, 1/16” snare and the other is a 00S-20 20 inch, 1/32” snare. They’re the ideal size for catching small game, such as weasels, rabbit, grouse or woodchucks.
These snares come in a small plastic bag, which will keep them neat and tidy until you’re ready to use them (and the bag has orange blaze markings to make it easy to find while rummaging through your pack). Tie wire is also included with the kit, as is an instruction card, which will help beginners figure out how to set the snares effectively.
Most users found these snares to be very well made, although a few people did complain that the snares were only good for catching one animal, as they’d become twisted and non-functional in the process. So, these are best suited for catching a meal or two in a short-term survival situation.
Vigilant Trails Pocket Snares are another snare set that is designed for emergency use in a survival situation. The kit comes with three high-grade, 1/16, 7×7 aircraft-cable snares and three 22-gauge, 36-inch-long anchor wires. Each cable includes a micro lock and a looped end, so they are ready to use right out of the box.
A set of instructions (complete with example snare setups) is also included with the kit. A hinged metal carrying case is provided with the kit and makes it easy to keep everything neat and organized. The metal box is approximately the size of a deck of cards, and it’ll fit easily into a shirt pocket.
Most owners who tried the Vigilant Trails Pocket Snares found them to be well-made and effective. And, unlike some other snares, these appear to hold up well enough for multiple uses.
Snares can be your best friend in a survival situation, and they’re probably one of the most effective ways to keep food in your belly. Just be sure to learn all you can about snares and practice using them as much as possible. This way, you’ll be ready to take care of yourself if disaster strikes.