How to Make a Snare Trap
When you built your bug out bag, you probably stocked it full of enough food for 72 hours thinking that you’d have access to food soon after that three-day window. But what if you’re in the middle of a long-term disaster and food resources are scarce or nonexistent? Do you have the tools and skills necessary to catch your own food? Do you know how to make a snare trap that actually works?
Trapping is one of the most valuable skills that any Prepper can have. Instead of having to rely on commercial food sources like grocery stores, the skilled prepper-trapper can act independently of food supply chains and ensure that their family has an adequate source of nutrition regardless of the circumstances.
While expert trapping skills can take years to master, everyone needs to start somewhere and there’s no better place to begin than by understanding the basics of snare trap use and how to choose one for your emergency preparedness kit. At the end of the day, if you don’t have a snare trap or the skills to make one, you won’t be a very successful trapper in an emergency.
Essential elements of a snare trap
Snare traps are fantastic hunting devices in an emergency situation because they allow you to hunt passively in a variety of locations without expending any excess energy. Think about it: if you had ten snare traps set up around your camp, you could be hunting in ten different spots at the same time. Pretty cool and efficient!
Before you can go out and set up your own snares, however, we ought to go over the basics. While there are hundreds of different snare designs, most of them follow the same principles and have similar components.
First and foremost, almost all modern snares involve some form of a wound steel cable. This cable, particularly when purpose-made, should form a main loop with a one-way locking mechanism. The cable and locking mechanism are the main operational parts of any snare as they are designed to slide down tightly over an animal’s neck to kill it. It’s important to note that the main loop of the cable needs to be large enough for your target animal, so some research is needed to identify what you might catch in your area.
On the other end of this cable is usually a smaller loop on a swivel. This loop is used to anchor the cable (more on that in a minute) and the swivel is used to prevent the cable from unraveling or becoming over-wound if the animal resists the trap. The main loop, one-way locking mechanism, anchor loop, and swivel form the basics of any snare cable.
Snare traps must be anchored in place to be effective. The best place to anchor a snare trap is wherever a target animal frequently travels. These locations can be identified by tracks, droppings, and worn animal trails. Once one finds a good location, they need to anchor the snare cable to something like a tree with a stiff wire (like that from a coat hanger) in a way that won’t come undone if the animal fights the trap.
After anchoring the trap, it’s also important to prop up the snare to the appropriate height for your target animal (think: a fox is quite a bit taller than a squirrel). This can be done with a stick or a thick piece of wire so that the cable sits at the right height above the ground.
If you’re unsure what height your trap should be set at or how big your main snare cable loop should be, these measurements are a good rule of thumb:
Racoon: loop size 8”- 9” and snare height 3” - 4”
Beaver: loop size 10” - 12” and snare height 3”
Bobcat: loop size 7” - 8” and snare height 10” - 12”
Coyote: loop size 9” - 12” and snare height 10” - 12”
Fox: loop size 6” - 8” and snare height 6” - 8”
At the end of the day, you need to either create your own snare trap or buy a pre-made snare trap kit. Newer trappers might enjoy the ease and simplicity of a ready-made kit and there are quite a few great models out there for the most casual Preppers.
Premade Snare trap kit review
Vigilant Trails Pocket/Survival Snares
This snare trap set from Vigilant Trails comes complete with three small game snares and anchor wires that are ready to go, right out of the box. Lightweight and portable, this snare set comes packed in a convenient carry case that can even fit in a shirt pocket.
The set comes with some high quality, made in the USA snares, and (one of our favorite parts of this set) a metal carry case. We love this case for new trappers because it comes complete with a full instruction set and diagram for setting up your first snares. Plus, it even comes with a trapping cheat-sheet which tells you what size loop you should use and how high the trap should be for a variety of different small mammals.
A snare trap kit like this is perfect for new Preppers who don’t want the hassle of creating their own kit out of pieces from the hardware store. For many new trappers, these snares are higher quality and much easier to use than anything they could make themselves.
While it’s a bit pricey for three snares, we think this kit is well worth the price for the ease of use and its simplicity. Plus, if you ever have to use the snares, you can reuse the metal carry case, which is the perfect size for any bug out bag or emergency preparedness kit.
Ultimately, a good snare trap could make a huge difference in an emergency. Whether you choose to make your own or buy a pre-made kit, it’s important to understand the basics of snare trapping so that you’re prepared should the time come.