Food, water and shelter are the basics of survival no matter what disaster you are focusing your preparedness plan on. Growing your own groceries by gardening and raising your own livestock definitely belong at the top of any food preparedness to-do list. Stockpiling long-term food storage products will also deeply enhance your chances of surviving a SHTF disaster.
Knowing how to hunt and purchasing all of the necessary weaponry to do so, in triplicate, is a long-standing prepper concept as well. Learning how to trap, and maybe more importantly, how to make traps out of found items, could also one day save your life. Relying too heavily on any one way to garner food would likely be a deadly mistake.
All too often I have heard folks in my rural area say that if a TEOTWAWKI disaster does strike, they will just go hunting. Leasing land to hunters during the various seasons is a big business in my region. Deer and turkey abound, so much so that the fire departments in the county can barely go a single week without being paged out for a wildlife-involved car accident.
Although the deer, turkeys, wild boars, and pesky coyotes frolic readily in our beautiful Appalachian hills now, the land would become played out in rapid fashion if everybody and their brother and their cousin and the infamous marauding hordes suddenly took to the woods in search of Bambi and her forest friends.
Hedging your bets by growing, raising, buying, hunting, and trapping your own food in preparation for a long-term disaster will not only increase the food stores of your own family, but also provide an excellent bartering opportunity as well.
If your home burns down, there goes your purchased long-term storage preps, the garden harvest carefully canned at the end of the growing season, and the dehydrated or smoked meat from your fields and hunting expeditions. Fires will rage freely during many major types of disaster scenarios and can be the undoing of your carefully pondered survival plan. If your garden offerings and barn inhabitants are confiscated “for the common good” or lost to drought or disease, your food preps will immediately decrease significantly.
Trapping is an old-fashioned homesteading and pioneering skill, which has sadly been lost through the generations, like many other self-reliance skills our grandparents and great grandparents engaged in on a daily basis. Learning how to trap, how to safely operate store-bought traps, and how to make your own traps from found items could save your life if you are lost in the woods. These skills will also provide another avenue for replenishing food storage during a disaster.
As noted in the eFoodsDirect How To Build Simple Snares And Traps guide that came out last year, the best trap to build is a simple one. Traps and snares choke, trap or crush prey
Top 5 Best Survival Traps
As long as you follow the instructions and tie the peg to the proper side of the line, this trap is very easy to build and set.
• Spring pole
• Peg to drive into the ground
• Snare line to craft into a noose
• Peg to act as a trigger
• Bait (optional)*
* If not using bait, the snare will be motion-activated.
1. Use a knife or other sharp object to carve a hook near the top of the driving peg.
2. Drive the peg deep into the ground using a hard object. Placing this trap in loose or sandy soil is not advisable.
3. Carve another hook into the top of the ground trigger peg.
4. Tie the noose snare line to the spring pole.
5. Tie the trigger peg onto the same line on the same side as where the hook was carved.
6. If using bait, attach it to the trigger peg with the noose hanging around the baited section of the line. If not using bait, place the noose on a trail as close as possible to the trigger peg.
Bait Stick Snare
This trap is a bait-activated spring pole snare often used by bushcrafters.
• Spring pole
• Forked stake sturdy enough to be driven into the ground
• Toggle stick about the same diameter as a pencil
• Snare line with an attached trigger line
• Bait stick
1. Tie the snare line to the end of the spring pole by bending the pole down until the snare line touches the ground.
2. Mark the spot where the snare line touched the ground.
3. Firmly push or drive the forked stake into the ground on the marked spot.
4. Tie the toggle to the end of the trigger line after tying it to the snare line.
5. Run the toggle under the forked stake, making sure it stays parallel to the ground at a right angle.
6. Place the baited trigger stick at the end of the toggle.
7. Test the trap. If it springs up too quickly, use some loose weeds or twigs to cover the snare noose and test again. If a snare reacts too quickly, it may not capture enough of the animal’s body and allow it to fight its way free.
The treadle snare is another easy-to-make noose-and-spring-pole-style trap. The trap is activated when the prey bumps a treadle stick while the animal is traversing a trail.
• Spring pole
• Trigger line
• Snare line
• Toggle stick, pencil diameter size
• Treadle trigger stick
• Support stick
1. Tie the snare line noose at the end of the spring pole.
2. Tie the toggle stick to the end of the trigger line
3. Pull the spring pole down and then lap the toggle stick over it to support the snare.
4. Use the treadle trigger stick to hold the toggle stick firmly in place.
5. Set the snare line noose so that it hands just beside the treadle.
6. When an animal happens along the trap, the noose will activate and provide your next meal.
Pine Pitch Bird Trap
Unlike all of the other snares on the list, the pine pitch bird trap does not kill the prey.
• 1 cup tree bark
• Bird seed or other appropriate bait
1. Simply use some tree bark (For some reason birch bark has been favored.) and affix it into a cone shape with cordage. The trap will resemble an ice cream cone.
2. Smear the interior of the cone with pine pitch or another sticky substance that is non-toxic.
3. Sprinkle the seed or other bait inside the cone to entice birds to come investigate.
4. As the bird eats the bait, its feather, feet, and head will become coated with the pine pitch. The bird is then unable to fly away and becomes disoriented.
5. Remove the bird from the cone and kill it.
This method of trapping should be strictly reserved for a SHTF or starvation situation. It is considered animal cruelty and is illegal in many states.
The rolling snare uses a pair of wooden hooks and motion activation to trap your dinner.
• Forked branch approximately 1 to 2 inches in diameter
• Forked spring pole – smaller than the other forked branch
• Snare line
• 2 hooks
1. Cut a point onto the end of the branch opposite of the fork.
2. Drive the pointed end into the ground along a trail or game run.
3. Tie the snare line noose onto the smaller forked branch spring pole.
4. Attach the two forked branches with the hooks in a manner that allows the smaller forked branch to roll freely to the ground when motion-activated.
5. Set the trap along a trail and prop it up with some cordage, string or twigs.
Other great survival traps and snares that all preppers should learn how to make:
• Drowning Snare – This snare uses a snare noose, float stick, rock and rock prop stick.
• Squirrel Pole Snare – This trap uses a 4–6-foot pole about the same diameter as a human arm, which is covered with snare loops made from small wire.
• Greasy String Deadfall – For thousands of years folks used this very uncomplicated snare to capture their food. It is made using a deadfall weight, thin string, bait and a forked stick.
• Figure 4 Deadfall Trap – While the trap is considered by many a bit tricky to carve, all that is needed to assemble is three sticks, a little bait, and a deadfall weight.
• Figure 4 Snare – Using the same leverage trigger of the Figure 4 Deadfall trap, this trap is built with a simple-to-master spring pole snare.
• Paiute Deadfall – This trap is a fast motion-activated Native American creation. It has successfully been used to capture prairie dogs and rats. The snare is made by using a Y-shaped stick, thick straight sticks, a thin stick, an even more slender bait stick, string, and a heavy, flat rock.