How to Build a Survival Trapping Kit in 3 Easy Steps


There are thousands of traps that are used worldwide to catch wild game for food and fur, but only a few of these are also trusted performers in the realm of survival.

Of that group, an even smaller number of traps are portable enough to be placed into a small lightweight trapping kit. The best among these are snares. Snares are a group of traps that restrain or strangle game animals. These can be stationary, fixed snares that only restrain an animal, or they can be dynamic traps with complex triggers and engines that lift animals up off the ground.

In the event that you have to provide for yourself, a survival trapping kit can really maximize your ability to catch game. These little “automated hunters” are out there day and night, rain or shine, giving you multiple chances to catch game for food. They’re working hard while you’re off doing other survival chores, or even sleeping through the night. Here’s how to build your own survival trapping kit to stash in a bug-out bag.

Add the Snares
These are the most important ingredients of the kit. Snares can be made of cable, cord, or wire, thought the best kind are braided steel cable with a metal locking slide. This kind of snare constricts tightly around the animal and is unlikely to kink when they roll around, or break when chewed. An assortment of sizes is a good idea, so you can handle different sized animals that may be inhabiting your survival site.

A few large snares (3/32 inch cable) are suitable for bobcat or beaver and will be strong enough to handle medium-sized game. About a dozen small snares (1/16 inch cable) will be ideal for squirrel, rabbit, and the like. A 4 foot length is fine for all of them. A dozen snares is the minimum I will pack in a kit, because it’s the minimum I will set. Always remember that trapping is a numbers game. Unless it’s virgin territory teeming with game, you’d be lucky to catch something in one out of ten traps, every couple of days.

Bring Some Bait
The best bait is one that you could also eat in a pinch. If space is really limited in your kit, you can use MRE pouches of peanut butter, which will last for years and serve as a reasonable lure for rodents and many omnivores. If you have a little more room, a small tin of sardines may be just the thing to bring it that fat carnivore or scavenger. And both of these items are edible for humans, if needed.

Kill the Stink
Scent is a deal breaker in trapping. Even the most nose-blind animal can smell the human scent on objects that we have touched, and this generally causes them to avoid the item. A small bottle of de-scenting spray may be just the thing to allow you to "clean" the scent off your traps. You could also go old-school and bring a bag of powdered charcoal. This black powder can be wiped on your hands and traps before you set your trap line. It absorbs odors and adds a little cover scent. One final stink eliminator is a barrier. An unscented trash bag can be added to the kit and used as a ground cloth to kneel upon when setting your traps. Mark it somehow, so you are always putting the same side down, and you'll keep the shower of human scent from falling so heavily at the actual trap site.

Legal Note: Find out about your local trapping regulations before you buy traps, and only test and use the traps that are legal in your area (during practice time and in season). Keep in mind that possession of traps that are illegal in your area, even if just for emergency use, could be viewed as intent to break game laws.

Happy trapping this season! Hope you come back with the same number of fingers you set out with.