Introduction: Basic Modern Snare Trap

Snares are a very effective tool for harvesting small game and furbearers. They were one of the very first types of traps known to be used by early civilizations, and modernized versions are still being utilized to this day, by fur trappers, survivalists, and native peoples alike. Snares are simple, lightweight and easy to carry in large numbers over long distances.

Modern snares may be purchased or built on your own. For simplicity's sake, you can buy a beginner snaring package from this link F&T Fur Harvester's Starter Snaring Package


Be sure to check your local regulations to ensure it is legal in your area to use snares or other lethal trap sets; a permit may also be required if so.

Step 1: Understand How Snares Work

Modern snares are made from tightly-wound steel cable. Varying thicknesses can be obtained, but a good versatile thickness for catching and holding most common species is 3/32". The cable should be around 5 to 7 feet long.

Snares have a one-way locking mechanism on the main loop, which only requires a slight touch in order to slide down tight over the animal. There is a swivel at end of the cable, which allows the captured animal to move freely without twisting the cable apart. Most snares also include a small coil of wire around the cable, and this is for ease of attaching your snare to a support object, as you will see in the next step.

Step 2: Anchor Your Snare

Locate an area where your target animal is known to travel frequently. Look for tracks, droppings, worn trails through the brush. Once you find an optimal location, you will need to set up your snare in a place where the animal is most likely to walk through it.

Anchoring your snare in place is easy. Use a stiff wire (such as from a coat hanger), loop it through the swivel end of the cable and tie it securely around the base of a tree or other solid object. Wrap your wire in such a way that it can't be pulled apart or otherwise unwound by the animal as it fights the trap.

After your snare is secured to its anchor, find a sturdy stick or use a thicker piece of wire to work as a support stand for the snare. Push this object as far as it will fit into the support coil, and adjust the cable so that the slide lock of the main loop is about 1/2" in front of the support.

Step 3: Set Your Snare

After your snare has been anchored, push the support stand into the ground (I used a stick for this particular set) and adjust the height. My target animal in this case was an opossum. Keep in mind that your snare must be placed at the proper height to catch your target species.

For opossums, the snare must only be about an inch off the ground, because possums walk with their heads so low. If the snare is too high up, he will crawl right under it. The size of the loop should be about 4" to 5" around for this species.

For other commonly harvested fur species, follow these general guidelines for snare loop size and height:

  • Raccoon - Loop size: 8" to 9" Snare height: 3" to 4"
  • Beaver - Loop size 10" to 12" Snare height 3"
  • Bobcat - Loop size: 7" to 8" Snare height: 10" to 12"
  • Coyote - Loop size 9" to 12" Snare height 10" to 12"
  • Fox - Loop size 6" to 8" Snare height 6" to 8"

Some species, such as raccoon, opossum, and bobcat, can be easily funneled into a snare with guide sticks, as shown in my opossum set above. Choose a few twigs and sticks from the immediate area, and push them into the ground to create a sort of "fence" that will guide the animal in towards the middle of the snare loop. Animals generally take the easiest route possible, so if there is a row of obstacles on either of side of its path, it will simply walk between them and this lessens the chance of the animal bypassing around your snare.

Other species such as coyote are a lot more wary of changes to their environment, so the use of guide sticks is not recommended for them. Instead, place your snare in a more naturally narrow path and keep your own scent and any changes to the ground at a minimum to avoid spooking them away from your set.

Step 4: Check Your Traps!

Setting multiple snares in one area greatly increases your chance at a catch, so set a few in the same trail if you can. Check your snare sets every 24 hours, as this is required by law in all states that allow snaring on land. (Some areas may allow a 72-hour check time, if you set up your snares to quickly drown aquatic mammals, such as beaver or otter - but always check your local regulations!)

Animals snared in these types of sets will be dead when you find them caught. The one-way sliding lock on the loop closes tight around the animal's neck as it lunges (see 2nd photo), and either quickly cuts off circulation or breaks the neck bones. Either way results in a quick, bloodless dispatch and you will have a clean, fresh catch that is ready to harvest for fur and meat.

Always be respectful of your catches and use every part of them that you can. The opossum shown above will be made into Possum Jerky and its fur and skull will also be preserved and sold to other crafters. There is a good use for every part of the animal!

Thanks for reading this tutorial, and hope you have a successful trapping season!

Comments

author
CodyF15 (author)2016-03-27

Who know who to build a Bear live trapped

author

Awesome snare brother. I trap all the time. For it is an art of an outdoorsman.

author
aartcritique (author)2015-04-30

Okay, thank you very much for the prompt reply and reassurance. I am glad that there are people like you who take extra precaution to ensure clean kills and to make sure that you get what you set out to get. I hope that all trappers show the same amount of concern and dedication as you. I definitely see how things like this could help with population control, especially in places that more common wildlife causes problems.

author
aartcritique (author)2015-04-30

Please don't take this the wrong way, and don't think that I'm against hunting, especially pest animals, but I don't like the idea of trapping. It just doesn't seem fair that you can kill something while you are off watching movies or getting groceries or doing something fun. Again, this is merely my opinion, so don't take it as anything more. One more thing, is it at all possible to insure that you get what you're looking for? I was just thinking that it would be kind of easy to accidentally trap an endangered animal or someone's pet. You sound like you know what you're talking about, so if it's possible to set a trap for a coyote and not get the neighbor's dog, I'd like to know how.
Once again, I'm not against hunting, especially when every part of the animal is used. I'm just concerned about non-hunted animal's safety.

author

Thank you for expressing your concern, however I don't just kill things while I'm out watching movies or doing something fun. That's simply not how it works. Having a trapline is a big commitment in both time and respect for the animals, and traps must be checked often. As I described in my instructable, these snare traps can be set in ways to only catch certain sized animals or certain types of animals by adjusting the set location, loop size and height from the ground. If I saw domestic dog/cat tracks I wouldn't even set a snare in that area. Also most of the locations I trap are not habitat to endangered species, so that has never been a problem for me. But again if I knew they were in the area, I would not use the lethal snares. Instead I'd use a different type of trap that would keep them alive for easy release (such as a foot trap or a cage trap). Trapping is actually a very regulated and humane activity, more so than many people seem to realize. I hope this info helps you understand a bit better, but feel free to ask more questions if you have any!

author
oliviastewart (author)2014-11-28

what are appropriate loop and height measurements for snaring rabbits?

author

For common cottontail rabbits it would be about the same as for possum, roughly 4" to 5" loop and an inch or two off the ground. If you can find a fresh rabbit hole and set the snare in the trail in front of it, you are just about guaranteed to catch one coming or going from the hole!

author
suprspi (author)2014-10-24

Very good read. As a kid I had a small trap line on our property and trapped mostly rabbits. I've only used looped wire snares, never the fancy ones like this - this is a major improvement in technology allowing a quicker, cleaner kill - always try to hunt with as much mercy as possible.

What I like about snares from a survival standpoint is that you can be hunting in several spots simultaneously, increasing your odds of gathering food. In fact, you can also fish or gather edible plants while your snares do their work.

Thanks also for the tidbit of info on when to use guide sticks, and when not to.

If you use them, it would be interesting to see a further 'ible from you on snares that automatically raise your snared animal up in the air, out of reach of some ground based scavengers. This was a problem I faced as a youth until I learned to make sapling spring snares. I haven't done it in a long time though.

Thank you very much for contributing something useful, and highlighting the fact that if one is going to hunt, one should respect the animal and use it to your full ability, and to kill quickly and as painlessly as possible.

author
edyvanellende (author)2014-10-13

im sure you are,you have a nice way of hunting,i like that,but the sneer you use i never seen before,i must try it some time! keep up the good tuts,i love them

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edyvanellende (author)2014-10-10

nice rond,but keep IT simple,pick your wire and loop IT two times around a nail,and use that as your eye of disired
type sneer.for a faster end of The animal,IT wil lock the wire after closing ,so IT wil nog Be a torture tool,and more silent to,
killing for food and survival is ok,but try and make The kill as fast as posible,a sneer that can loosen is a mean divice An wil only make your pray scream like you Will never never forgive your zelf,but its a perfect way tot hun ging!! respect life,dont take more than you need'.sorry fore my english

author

This type of modern snare actually locks down tight and kills the animal much faster than any kind of looped wire snare. I've never had animals scream or otherwise suffer when caught in this trap, but thank you for sharing your concern. I am a very experienced trapper and have used this method many times with success!

author
austin111612 (author)2014-10-10

Your awesome man

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edyvanellende (author)2014-10-10

respect tot type last part of your tut,your ok

author
wilgubeast (author)2014-10-09

Very well documented.