Hunting is a labor-intensive endeavor which burns calories that need to be replaced in order to survive. It may take days to track and kill an animal, plus in times of food shortages, competition with other hunters will be fierce.
Furthermore, ammo is precious, so you must consider whether you have the skill to realistically achieve a one-shot to one kill ratio when hunting game.
The delicate art of hunting
Perhaps an even bigger consideration, if you’re hunting with a firearm, is whether or not you will attract unwanted attention when that shot rings out.
Plus, every shot expended may be one less in the event you have to protect yourself and your family. It’s no good having all that food if you can’t protect it.
A 5.56 rifle, a 308, a 10/22, maybe a bow and arrow are what comes to mind if you want to get some hunting done.
When the time to live off the grid comes along, many survivalists choose to include rifles, pistols, and all the ammunition they can take with them to hunt and feed themselves and their families.
Ultimately, it boils down to how much to carry and what to do if you find yourself in an extended situation away from creature comfort and the food and ammunition run out.
If you know how to read the land, set enough, and recover in a timely fashion, you will up your food survival exponentially. So much so that you may even have enough to trade or barter meat, pelts, and other fruits of your labor.
No one is saying this is a replacement for learning how to hunt or keeping ready-to-eat food. But this is a low-risk, high reward skill that is invaluable to the prepper knowledge base.
In the event that food competition is high, this could also be a way to stealthily get food, and in the event, someone finds your trap or snare, you don’t have to be around to fight them for it.
Traps and snares are the perfect way to conserve calories, fly under the radar, and allow you to diversify your food sources which is why it’s been so effective throughout the ages.
Feeding yourself and your family during this kind of extended state of emergency may create the need to know how to hunt using a technology used for centuries and still just as effective today.
Regardless of how much you prepare for that time when your comfortable way of living changes drastically, building effective traps and snares may make the difference between starving and surviving.
A Twitch-Up Snare
While there are several types of traps you can make, a twitch-up snare is one of the more effective and humane snares you can easily make. Designed to typically kill the prey when sprung, twitch-up traps consist of two pegs, a loop of braided wire, and the assist of a sapling tree limb.
Building your twitch-up snares requires a lengthy strand of heavy twine or paracord and a bit of woodworking as you need to carve notches in both the ground stick and the snare trigger.
Both posts should be supple, about two inches in diameter, and when you start cutting, think of this. The trigger notch on the stake you’re putting in the ground should look like an upside-down checkmark with a long tail, and the active snare piece should resemble a regular checkmark to fit well in the ground post.
Once you’ve finished that, you’ll need to fashion a loop of wire and attach it to the smaller, active trigger piece, and here’s where your survival skills get a workout.
Knowing how to construct the trap is one thing. But remember, the most important thing is knowing where to place your traps, or this will be a huge waste of time.
Find the Trail
For a twitch-up snare to work as intended, you’ll need to find two things first, and both are equally important. While you may not possess years of tracking experience, you’ll need to focus your observational skills on finding animal trails.
Whether nocturnal or not, animals rely heavily on scent paths and typically traverse their way in the woods along the same routes each day. Your search doesn’t stop once you’ve spotted a trail because for a twitch-up snare to work effectively, you need to find a sapling or limber branch of a tree at the edge of the path.
It may take some time, but eventually, you’ll find a tree limb that will do the trick, and you can then set your twitch-up snare.
First, give the tree limb a tug to determine how far it will bend. It’s an essential step because you’ll need to tie one end of your twine or paracord to the tip of the sapling and the other end to the trigger notch. Too much back pressure will cause the post in the ground to pull up, but too little will render the snare ineffective.
It may take a couple of practice settings to get it right, but eventually, you’ll get it right. Remember that the open noose of the twist-up snare must be positioned directly on the path.
Once the animal starts to pass through the loop, it will move the trigger and spring the trap jerking the animal upward and typically killing it instantly.
When using traps and snares for hunting, remember that these traps work even when you’re asleep. Just make sure you get to them before someone else.
One last feature of using a twitch-up snare for hunting is that by its nature, the snare, when sprung, elevates the prey above the ground, keeping it away from predators, which is a good situation for you because the last thing you need is a predator eating what you plan to have for dinner.
Paiute Deadfall Trap
A deadfall trap gets its name from how it works. A deadfall trap collapses on the prey, crushing it and instantly killing it. Making a deadfall trap requires a heavy stone, four pieces of notched wood, and some cord or string for the trigger piece.
Although simple to create, the deadfall trap typically will supply you with more minor animals such as mice or field rats.
If you decide to scale up to a bigger game and use a much larger rock, remember that the trigger of the deadfall trap is sensitive to movement and can make a mess of your hands if it accidentally trips while you’re working with it.
Bottle Fish Trap
Regardless of the region you live in, one sad fact is that you’re almost sure to find discarded trash even deep in the woods. Believe it or not, if you’re in a survival situation, someone’s trash can be your treasure.
Making a bottle fish trap isn’t complicated, and the genius of how it works will surprise you. You’ll likely stumble upon a few empty two-liter plastic bottles as you forage, so be sure to pick them up and clean them thoroughly before making your fish trap.
Using your hunting knife, cut the top quarter of the plastic bottle off and then invert or turn it around and insert it so that the nose of the bottle is facing toward the bottom.
You’ll also want to puncture a hole in both pieces so you can thread string or twine through it and fasten it to the bank of the stream you’ve chosen. Remember to face the opening of your bottle trap in the direction of the stream’s current and then turn your attention to other things, such as building another trap.
This ingenious makeshift fishing tool allows the fish to swim through the opening and into the trap but not find their way out. Depending on the size of fish you’re hoping to catch, you can adjust the top quarter of your bottle trap further out of the base to accommodate fish of crappie or perch size.
The Best Trap Is the One That Works
These snares and traps all have one thing in common. When carefully put together and logically placed, they will help you find food and survive.
Each may require a little building and application practice, but in a short time, you’ll discover just what it takes to make an effective snare or trap that works as expected.
Of course, many will be dependent on environmental factors, such as animal population and terrain. Don’t wait until starvation to build your first trap, find ways to practice, and remember you have to be able to find them, so come up with a system.
Trapping and snares may be illegal in your jurisdiction, so check before you build anything. And, don’t forget that some trapping and snaring methods can be potentially lethal to humans, so be careful.
Many people make their living by being effective trappers, such as in the Alaskan territories, so you may be able to get a license and learn how to do this effectively before you need to learn out of necessity.
Suggested prepping learning:
Time tested lessons to protect your home against intruders
Must-Have Knowledge to survive any medical emergency
Survival lessons from our ancestors that can still be used today