4 Ways To Trap Game In The Wilderness

Learning to find food in the wilderness is a skill that needs to be honed by learning new ways to get the job done and by practice. We are going to discuss 4 ways to trap game in the wilderness to get you started. The methods we have chosen to include are great for beginners to cut their teeth on and figure out the principles of trapping for survival.

To be successful at trapping, you need to hone your skills with practice, and be able to improvise to adapt to the situation you find yourself in.

Most traps require some manufacturing of parts and will need basic materials to achieve this. Most parts of the traps can be constructed with the use of a knife and some basic cordage, such as paracord.

If you do not have any of these items available, you will have to improvise by using a sharp rock in place of a knife, and make your own cordage from suitable plant material that you can find n the environment, such as the fibres under the bark of some trees.

To make your traps effective, you need to take your time, and put effort into their construction. The trap needs to be as robust as possible in order to retain the trapped animal and secure your food. Another reason is to prevent injured animals from escaping only to suffer and die later.

A word of warning bears mentioning here. Constructing traps can have inherent danger for the builder. Traps such as spring traps are under tension and if accidentally released during construction can cause severe injury to the person building the trap. Work slowly, carefully and methodically and keep yourself out of range from any of the moving parts of your trap construction!

The first trap we are going to cover in our 4 ways to trap game in the wilderness is a very basic snare!

Last update was on: June 4, 2020 3:59 am

Trap 1 – The Simple Snare – 4 Ways To Trap Game In The Wilderness

This trap is very easy to make and is effective for catching small game up to rabbit size. Larger game can be caught with this simple snare, but you would need extremely strong cordage to prevent the animal breaking free.

The materials needed to build this trap are some cordage, such as paracord, or a natural material that you can weave or re-purpose for cordage. I would say that the minimum amount of cordage that you can get away with is about 50cm (20inches). You will also need a stout stick to function as a stake. The length of the stick would need to be about 30cm (12 inches) and at least as thick as your thumb.

Once you have the stick, use your knife or a sharp edge of a stone to sharpen on end of the stick to a sharp point. Use a rock to hammer the stake on the side of a trail or to the side of an entrance to an animal burrow.

Some knowledge of basic knots will be required to create a noose from your cordage. To begin setting up your noose, first tie a loop in one end of your cordage. Follow the instructions in the photos below if you are unsure how to do this.

First loop the end of your cordage, as shown in step 1. Then loop that end back again as shown is step 2. In step 3 you take the loop over the cordage and back under in a basic overhand knot. Step 4, hold the short end with the rest of the cordage as you pull the knot tight to stop it pulling out of the knot.

The result should be a loop in the end of your line as depicted in step 5.

To create the loop of the snare, feed the long loose end of your cordage through the loop your have just created. This will give you an effective noose that will slide along the cordage. The tendency of trapped animals to pull away from the tether will cause the noose to tighten and thus strangling the prey.

The best place to setup your snare is along a well -worn rodent or rabbit trail that you have identified, or at the entrance to a burrow.

The Simple Snare – 4 Ways To Trap Game In The Wilderness
Basic Snare Trap

Build the components of your trap away from the final location to minimize disturbance or leaving your scent in the trapping area. The animals you are trying to catch are prey animals for predators and are therefore very cautious and will stay away from any perceived danger!

If your cordage does not hold the noose shape well, you may need to prop it open with some well-placed small sticks or grass tufts.

Trap 2 – The Deadfall Trap – 4 Ways To Trap Game In The Wilderness

A deadfall trap uses a heavy weight to fall on the animal to kill it. There is a trigger mechanism, usually made from a few sticks, and some sort of bait to lure the animal in to the trap.

There are many trigger mechanisms to choose from, with varying degrees of complexity. Here we will show you a simple deadfall trap using a figure 4 trigger mechanism.

This trap does not require any cordage. The only tool you will need is a knife, or some sort of sharp edge to use as a knife. Four sticks as thick as your pinkie finger will be needed to construct the trigger mechanism for the deadfall trap.

To make the figure 4 trigger mechanism you will need 3 sticks that are about the diameter of your pinkie finger. It is preferable to use dry twigs, since green twigs will have too much flexibility to perform well in this structure. The length of the sticks will have to be gauged depending on the size of the rock used for the dead fall. The bait stick must be long enough to position the bait as close to the centre of the rock as possible.

The bait stick must be sharpened to a point in order to easily attach the bait. The other two sticks shour be shaped to have a wedge point on each end, and a notch carved at the appropriate distance to hold the wedge points.

The upright stick needs a slight notch carved where the bait stick crosses it. This is to have a place for the bait stick to rest when setting the trap. It must not hold the bait stick tightly, as the animal you are trying to catch must be able to move the bait stick easily. The success of the trap will largely hinge on how easily the bait stick can be dislodged from this slot.

The sketch below will give you a visual representation of the mechanics of the trap. You will need to practice creating this type of trap in order to successfully reproduce it in the wilderness!

The Deadfall Trap – 4 Ways To Trap Game In The Wilderness
Deadfall Trap

When setting this trap, take care not to trigger the trap accidentally and have the rock fall on your hand or fingers. This can be a painful experience at minimum and at worst, possibly break bones!

Last update was on: June 4, 2020 3:59 am

Trap 3 – The Pit Trap – 4 Ways To Trap Game In The Wilderness

A pit trap is probably one of the simplest traps to make! You don’t need a knife or cordage, you can make do with just a stick if necessary.

The principle of this trap is to find a path that is frequented by the animal you want to catch. You then dig a hole directly in the path, to trap your prey. The way the hole is dug is the secret to the success of this particular wilderness trap method.

The hole must be excavated so that the hole at the top is smaller than the base or bottom of the hole. This will create steep sides that have an inverted slope towards the entrance hole, preventing the trapped animal from climbing out.

The Pit Trap – 4 Ways To Trap Game In The Wilderness
Pit Trap

Once you have the hole dug out, arrange some vegetation over the hole to disguise it from the unsuspecting animal. Another trick to employ is to cover the entrance of the trap with a slightly elevated platform for the prey animal to shelter under. Prey animals will see this as a place for them to stop and remain unseen from would be predators. This will extend the time they spend in the location of the trap and improve your chances of success!

Trap 4 – The Spring Trap – 4 Ways To Trap Game In The Wilderness

The last trap we will mention is a modification on the first trap, the simple snare. The modification involves having a spring and a trigger mechanism. Once the trigger mechanism is triggered, the spring will come into effect, lifting the prey off the ground. This reduces the possibility on the animal escaping.

This trap will require a sharp edge to carve sticks, and some cordage to make the snare.

This trap is best constructed along a known animal trail, with a suitable sapling along the trail to act as the spring.

Three sticks are needed for this trap, two as holding sticks and one as a trigger. The holding sticks need to be stout enough to be hammered into the ground far enough not to be pulled out by the spring.

Cut a notch near the top of the holding sticks and shape a point on the opposite end which can be hammered in to the ground on either side of the trail.

The Spring Trap – 4 Ways To Trap Game In The Wilderness
Spring Trap

Cut the trigger stick to a length that will fit between the holding sticks and rest in the notches that have been cut. Tie your cordage to the centre of the trigger stick and form a noose that will hang below the trigger stick.

Bend the sapling over and tie the other end of your cordage to the end of the sapling. Take care when setting this trap that the sapling does not come loose and hit you, causing an injury.

The Tip Of The Iceberg

The traps mentioned here are but 4 ways to trap game in the wilderness. There are many more options, designs and methods available. Many will be limited as to the materials you have available to you at the time.

The purpose is to learn as many trap types as you can, but possibly more importantly, the principles behind building a trap. Knowing the principles will allow you to improvise a trap with whatever materials you can find on hand at the time!

Frank is an allround outdoorsman who has experience in homesteading, bushcraft and African wildlife, particularly snakes which he has a passion for. Frank has worked as a safari guide in well-known big 5 game reserves in South Africa and enjoys photography and knifemaking as hobbies.

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