Building Traps and Snares for Survival

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

During a survival situation you may find yourself with very little time or ability to hunt. Furthermore, you may find that you don’t have very much equipment to hunt. Depending on your state’s laws and/or how life threatening your situation is, building traps and snares for survival may be necessary to reduce the use of calories while gaining as much food as possible.  In most states snares and traps are illegal unless in a survival situation. This will be a short brief overview with plenty of resources linked to for further research.

Snaring is especially useful for catching animals for harvesting but also for having fur which you can remove without gunshot wounds and other such defects.  Snares are very light weight and usually consist of a long piece of cable or wire with a slide lock and a loop in the cable. If you attach a swivel, it will prevent twisting and breaking of the cable. The swivel should be attached at the end of the cable opposite side of the loop. You can see how to make a locking snare below.

Should you not prepare snares for your bug out bag ahead of time, one can be improvised with paracord or wire.  Finding a travel lane for rabbits or squirrels is the best way to start your improvised snare.  Placing a snare directly in the path that an animal travel is how a snare is successful. For a squirrel, create a stake, get 24-gauge wire, put a small notch in the stake, wrap the wire around the stake, and twist it on. On the other end make the noose with a slip knot. Hammer the stake in away from the direction of the animal will be pulling if it gets snared.  If using paracord, use support twigs to make your snare stay upright and be able to snare your prey.  Below you will find a video on how to make an improvised snare.

Finally, we will discuss a basic deadfall trap.  A deadfall trap works by placing a heavy rock or boulder above lightweight sticks that are easily moved by the size of the animal or buy a string or twine. This releases the heavy rock or boulder above the animal and uses gravity to fall down and hit the animal. Deadfall traps are pretty basic traps and a lot of fun to make.

The McPhearson deadfall trap in particular is very effective at catching small animals however it is one of the more complicated ones to build. A Figure 4 deadfall trap is slightly easier to complete with a pocketknife and not much else. Below you will see some tweets with pictures on how to produce a figure four deadfall trap. First you will want to carve sticks so that they end up being a figure four. The ends of the top of the four and on the side of the four are pointed.


After you have created your figure four, you will want to place a heavy rock on the end of it at the very tip. This is a difficult process as the rocks weight, if too heavy, will break your figure four. It takes a lot of patience to set up but below you should see a picture of the completed trap.

Be sure to maintain your snares and traps daily. This means that once or twice a day you should go around to every snare and trap and remove any dead or trapped animals. Then reset the snare or trap. Be careful not to leave your scent behind. From time to time you may want to disassemble and reassemble elsewhere.

Are you more of a planner or do you just "go with the flow"?*
This poll gives you free access to our premium politics newsletter. Unsubscribe at any time.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.