Introduction: Snaring

Picture of Snaring

The woods are not like your local grocery store where you go to the meat department and pick out your pre-packaged meat, most people never see where there food comes from. In the woods you kill and clean your own meat, so you see where it comes from.


If you practice snaring animals, you will be killing animals and many of them will be cute, snaring is intended to kill an animal so don’t try to catch a pet with a snare, in most places it is against the law.

My first kill wasn’t a pleasant experience; I did not know rabbits scream like a guinea pig as you kill them. The other thing people don’t realise is when you hunt and you shoot an animal with a bow or a gun, they don’t die instantly. I know I hunt, sometimes they run for a mile other times they fall instantly and lay there dying. A friend of mine shot a rabbit with a cross bow bolt (arrow) and it ran under a bolder to die, where he could not retrieve it. Losing your kill is wasting a life and your time. Snaring is a slow way to die, hold your breath for five to fifteen minutes and see how long one minute is. It is one thing to kill this cute Chipmunk slowly for food when you must, it is another to kill it just because you can.

No animals were harmed during the making of this article.

Step 1: Marking

Picture of Marking

Mark your snare placements or you can loose your game and snares, the forest changes quickly sometimes over night, these three photos taken over nine days shows how much and how fast the forest can change.

Step 2: The Forest Floor

Picture of The Forest Floor

I set my snares one day in the afternoon and collect what I snared the next morning, mark your snares with a brightly coloured ribbon or string, above the snare in a tree or bush. It’s no use setting snares only to loose your snare and the animal you intended to eat.

These are photos of the same burrow taken in less than twenty-four hours; in the first photo I took a walk in the evening and photographed this burrow. That night it rained and the wind blew, this is what I found the next morning. Without a marker I could have past over the burrow never knowing it was the one I wanted to photograph.

Step 3: Forage

Picture of Forage

Never waste your time; although I was not snaring, if I was checking my snares and I caught nothing, my time would not have been wasted. These white mushrooms were not where I was photographing the day before. Mushrooms grow rapidly when the conditions are right, many species can grow out of the ground in as little as four hours. I am not sure of their name other than they are a gilled mushroom the biggest one is six inches across, and they were delicious.

Step 4: Snares

Picture of Snares

There are four basic snares everything else is a trap.

1. The pull snare, like the box trap with a string attached to it many of you have seen in cartoons you setup and wait for game to come along and pull the snare to catch the game. Unless absolutely necessary this is a waste of your time, your time can be better spent building a fire, building a shelter, foraging for food or gathering clean water. It works however, and there is a reason this technique is used in cartoons. I don’t use this technique.

2. The spring snare, you may have seen this one used for comedy relief in movies and cartoons, using a trip wire to trigger a dead weight or a bent over sapling to pull the snare around the leg of your game. This snare works when it is made right, however it is complicated time consuming and fails if the wrong game steps into it, and there is a reason this technique is used for comedy relief in movies and cartoons. I don’t use this technique.

Step 5: The Drag Snare

Picture of The Drag Snare

3. The drag snare, this snare works by setting up a branch or large rock along a game trail, or over a burrow and attaching your snare to it. This snare works well the game gets caught in the snare and drags the stick or rock until it catches on something and kills the game, you set this up in the evening and collect your game in the morning so little of your time is wasted. There is one weakness to this snare, the game can run until you lose it in the bush if there is little underbrush. I use this technique when I must.

Step 6: The Fixed Snare

Picture of The Fixed Snare

Figure 1
4. The fixed snare, this small game snare technique is the one I use when I snare, tide to something solid the snare stops the animal from running away and makes finding it easy.

Figure 2
You can make a snare out of almost anything, string wire, or rope. My preference is brass wire, I get my brass wire from picture hanging wire, it is soft enough to bend into the shape I need and strong enough to hold it’s self in place. Brass wire is almost invisible in the bush. That is why these photo were done indoors.

Figure 3
Wrap the end of the snare wire around a sapling or small tree a few times and twist the end around the in coming wire.

Figure 4
At the other end make a loose loop and adjust it over the burrow or small game run.

Remember; mark your snares, check your snares every day, move or adjust them if they are not productive, and forage at the same time.

Step 7: Where to Set-up Your Snares.

Picture of Where to Set-up Your Snares.

The two best places to set up snares are over burrows and game runs, both are not always easy to spot in the bush.

The burrow
Figure 1
Small burrows like this chipmunk burrow in this photo are easily missed until you get close to the tree concealing it.

Figure 2
The tree provides cover for the burrow and a convent base for a snare to be tied down.

Figure 3
Larger burrows are more in the open and take longer snares.

Figure 4
Burrows have more than one entrance so cover as many entrances with a snare as you can to improve your chances.

Figure 5
Make your snare smaller than the burrow entrance and set it more to the top of the burrow with the other end secured to something solid. Animals look up before they come out of their burrow placing their head in just the right place to be snared.

Step 8: Game Trails

Picture of Game Trails

Game runs look like a path or a break in the underbrush of the forest and can be hard to spot if you don’t know what to look for. Instead of looking at a wall of trees or a sea of grass they look like a pathway.

Figure 2
Small game runs look like a part in the grass three inches across.

Figure 3
Big game trails look like a pathway large enough for people to use. Footprints in the path make it easy to tell what animals use the path.

Step 9: Snow Trails

Although not depicted here game trails in the snow are the easiest to identify as well as the animals that use them by their footprints in the snow. The frequency of use can be seen in the clarity of the footprints in the snow and in the time between snowfalls.

The last detail set as many snares along the game trails as possible, bottlenecks and narrow passages are the best places to set a snare. Each snare you set increases your chance to catch an animal in your snare.


Edenny0516 (author)2015-12-27

Symantics .... Eat What You Kill!

I only kill to eat.

ottawafm (author)2015-10-13

ottawafm (author)2015-10-13

You should follow my At least check it out! Lotta traps/snares!

Biblical scientist (author)2015-08-03

Pretty good; sad to see that no one has commented on this. You are right, most of the stuff I eat for snack I have caught.

You should see how nuts people get when they find out I eat wild mushrooms, but I have been eating them for over 50 years.

david foeckler (author)2014-11-25

Did you snare the chipmunk?

I did not snare the chipmunk. Unless you are in a survival situation, you can only snare red squirrel south of the French river, and if you are north of the French river you can snare varying hair on a small game licence in Ontario.

In the survival situations I have been in I have snared rabbit, ruffed grouse, turkey, and dear.

torchburner (author)2014-08-25

Sorry I did not mean that warning for you. That was for those who have never eaten wild mushrooms. Destroying angels and death cap are white and are very poisonous. They kind of look like puff balls until they get older. If you eat puff balls then cut them in half when you pick them to make sure they are puff balls. Also if they look really shiny I have been told not to eat them.

You know what is funny.

I was on a 10 K hike Monday and found some Death Caps growing in the pines.

They are not a true white kind of green where I live but they do look a lot like puff balls when they are young.

Haven't found Destroying angels but I do know them.


torchburner (author)2014-08-23

Be careful eating mushrooms, some are very deadly, others kill you over a long and drawn out time period. Your liver slowly fails. If in doubt don't when it comes to mushrooms.

I have been eating wild mushrooms since before I was toilet trained.

I know the ones that are safest to eat or try.

There are to rules to eating wild mushrooms.

1. White is right.

2. You can eat any mushroom once.


lemonie (author)2011-10-18

Your statement "NEVER KILL WHAT YOU DON’T EAT." doesn't make sense.


*Excepting the inedible parts.

finton (author)lemonie2013-03-15

Lemonie, do you mean
"...proceed to eat it [immediately] afterwards [while it's maybe still warm and perhaps kicking]" or
"...proceed to eat it [sometime] afterwards [when you're back at home]" or
"...proceed to eat it afterwards [but not raw: cook it first]",
or what?
"...afterwards" is a redundancy - no-one should eat anything BEFORE they kill it - and imho makes your statement a trifle wordy. A simpler way to phrase it would be, oh, say, "Never kill what you don't eat"* - not my wording, just some pithy advice I read recently.

*With the exception of mosquitos, white butterfly caterpillars, rats, varroa mites, powdery mildew, stoats, Australian possums**, and so on.

** In New Zealand, the best possum is a dead possum.

***  .... looks up Lemonie's profile: WHOA! Dr Lemonie! Nice. I only have an honours degree (Horticulture)

Josehf Murchison (author)finton2013-03-15

Don’t kill what you don’t eat; it means there is a difference between a hunter and a sadist, respect the life that feeds you. You should try possum pot pie um um good.

finton (author)Josehf Murchison2013-03-15

Totally with you Josehf on the "Don’t kill what you don’t eat". I certainly don't believe in sadistic treatment of any animals - I would not use snares for example, as I'm not convinced that an animal strangling to death is as humane as a quick-kill trap (look up Timms Traps).

In NZ though, possums are a widespread pest, originally imported from Australia (where they are protected, ironically) for the fur trade. They cause great destruction to native NZ species: killing trees, eating native insects and native birds eggs and young. Ditto stoats, ferrets, weasels.

We could eat possum (I think you're thinking of opposums? *), but another problem in NZ is that they spread tuberculosis, so are not always safe to eat.

If I was a farmer, and dogs were attacking my sheep, I'd have absolutely no reservations about killing them any way I, most humanely, could. But I wouldn't go killing things just for the "sport" - which is where we came in, yeah?

Josehf Murchison (author)finton2013-03-15

I was referring to opossums commonly called possum here, they are invaders in Ontario, and they came up from the US on freight. Now we can kill them in fact it is required by law to kill invasive spices when captured.

I looked up the Timms Trap not sold here.

Snaring is cruel but when you are trying to survive with little resources it becomes a necessity live trapping is preferred. That way you don’t harm animals you don’t want to like the neighbour’s cat.

Josehf Murchison (author)lemonie2011-10-18

I said it right.
How do you get nourishment if I eat it?
My statement leaves it open to nourishing others.
If I proceed to eat it afterwards how do you or someone else get nourishment?
Also preserving for later use is still ethical use.

lemonie (author)Josehf Murchison2011-10-18

I don't eat spiders, house-bricks, wood, people and many other things.
Instruction not to kill everything that I don't eat is generally meaningless.

Within a piece about killing animals, the point is not to be snaring things without then cooking and eating them isn't it?
Such as "Don't just snare animals for fun".


Josehf Murchison (author)lemonie2011-10-19


Critiques are not to stroke ones ego like a phallus.
Nor are they to be said in anger or malice.
If ones structure points to a technique.
Then that’s what must be pointed out in critiques.

Whether Waka, Tie or Haiku.
Only the rules in these will do.
Not every one will like what you write.
So don’t consider critiques a slight.

If you don’t understand what I say
To this next part, attention do pay.
Perfect in structure shape and form.
For Tie poetry this is the norm.

Tie Poetry

Tie poetry has three very strict rules.
1. Every word must be one syllable.
2. Only two lines in the poem.
3. Only three words in a line.
With that in mind this is a poem.

Up your but.
You numb nut.

Josehf Lloyd Murchison

That's verry cool,i did not know that kind of poëtry.You Ace'd it Joe

It is in my "Book Melodious Verse"

lemonie (author)Josehf Murchison2011-10-19

Nice poem.
Do you understand what I said?


Josehf Murchison (author)lemonie2011-10-19

Yes I understand you perfectly.
To quote you, “I don't eat spiders, house-bricks, wood, people and many other things.”

In Cambodia spiders are a common dish.
And you murder people but don’t eat them.
How do you kill inanimate objects like bricks and wood?

Dude what have you been smoking?

I my be weird but at least I have style.

lemonie (author)Josehf Murchison2011-10-19

I'm wierd too, but I gave up cigarettes.
(I wasn't sure, thanks)


tjesse (author)lemonie2011-10-19

Lemonie, I see where you are coming from, however, I must say that this is an argument that makes you look petty and foolish. This was the smallest mistake in the article, you don't see me mention the fact that he had multiple spelling errors like "Never waist your time" or "wire from pitcher hanging wire", because I'm better than that. You don't see me commenting about the fact that I was disappointed to only see one crudely made snare and information gathered from T.V. shows.
"Try not to kill in vain", would be a less confusing statement.

lemonie (author)tjesse2011-10-19

It's not petty, it's about good communication.
I like "Try not to kill in vain", you put it much better as you've not tied yourself to the original format.
Spelling etc is of less interest to me than the fundamentals.


tjesse (author)lemonie2011-10-19

The satire was lost in print. Although, I do see a lot of meaningless ball-busting on this site. "Because I'm better than that" was written in jest and I hoped that in would show that I to am guilty of critiquing.
What's more fundamental to communication than spelling?
I'm sorry if you were not aware of some of the errors in this instructable, if you feel the statement is not confusing then let this conversation be proof. NEVER TAKE OFFENSE WHAT YOU DON'T READ. I'm going to now eat the dog I had to put down. Just Kidding. If you could, I would include the pictures of snares that are not easy. It just seems like you took a picture of a wire loop and some mushrooms and said "now survive". But, then again, what do I know?

Josehf Murchison (author)tjesse2011-10-19

I don’t think lemonie read the whole piece if he did he would realise that the saying, “NEVER KILL WHAT YOU DON’T EAT” is an old saying and I clarified it afterwards.

Also he took the saying outside the context of the article on snaring.

And please do mention “Word confusion” this is not spelling, I do appreciate it. I write in MSword and sometimes MSword automatically puts the wrong word in what I am writing. I have turned off that option but it still does it.

Word confusion is, Which witch is which? There is a difference between spelled wrong and word confusion. Which and witch are both spelled correctly, when misused in a sentence it is word confusion not a spelling error. Word confusion is a more concise term then spelling mistake or spelled wrong. Spell checks can tell you if the word is spelled wrong, in the dialect you are writing in, they cannot tell you if you are spelling the wrong word and Msword sometimes automatically puts the wrong word in.

Dialect confusion is, “Prise Vs Prize.” Both words are spelled correctly and both words have the same meaning. Just in one place they are accustomed to spelling it Prise, and in another place they are accustomed to spelling it Prize. In Canada both are correct.

Don’t correct the spelling of my name, it is Josehf.

I like my Dog with a little curry and garlic.
Ha Ha

tjesse (author)Josehf Murchison2011-10-19

You are referring to homophones. If you were given the word waste in a spelling bee you would ask to hear it in a sentence... "Don't waste your time." W-a-i-s-t is misspelled. I'm not word confused, it's misspelled.
Who corrected your name?

Josehf Murchison (author)tjesse2011-10-19

Josehf is Spanish and Aramaic spelling of Joseph. But then again, Juan and Jose is Joseph also.

I mean Msword changed it when I made a typo, then I missed it while I was proofreading. I write in MSword and sometimes MSword automatically puts the wrong word in what I am writing.

This is the program making the word confusion.
The program cannot interpret a sentence. Therefore, it corrects to what it thinks you are saying.

Remember programmers are people and they cannot think of every thing.
That was a total of three errors in editing which I have corrected.
Thanks for pointing them out I missed them.

The rest of what you think of as miss spelling is dialect.

Dialect confusion is, “Prise Vs Prize.” Both words are spelled correctly and both words have the same meaning. Just in one place, they are accustomed to spelling it Prise, and in another place, they are accustomed to spelling it Prize. In Canada, both are correct.

Remember there are over eighteen different dialects of English in use worldwide, yours is not the only one that is correct. This sight is open to the whole world is it not?

However, please do point out errors that I missed, after all, I am people to.

tjesse (author)Josehf Murchison2011-10-19

What are you talking about? I am not the grammar police, I don't care about why it happend or if you change it or where your name is from (why did you even bring that up?) What makes you think I care about programmers or any of that stuff you keep repeating about prizes. I understand what your talking about, I just don't know why you are repeating yourself. I'm done.

Josehf Murchison (author)tjesse2011-10-20

45 years of people telling me my name is spelled wrong and,
“What's more fundamental to communication than spelling?
Or did I take this out of context?

tjesse (author)Josehf Murchison2011-10-20

I was talking to lemonie and wanted to then talk to you so I addressed you, like in a letter. I was not saying anything about your name, honestly I didn't think it was spelled wrong. I assumed it was just how some people spelled it.

Josehf Murchison (author)tjesse2011-10-20

Out of context.
If I do make a mistake, do point it out.
I like quotes and page numbers.
Can you imagine going through a 150,000 word novel only to find the person claming a misspelling made a dialect error.

TheStudio7 (author)2012-11-18

This is fabulous, since they have banned all guns in my country, snaring is the only way to go in dire situations. Thanks.

Where do you live?
There are a number of good instructables on traps here like the figure 4 trap you might like looking up.

Australia. The worst nanny government on the planet.
And yeah, thanks for that, any knowledge I can get on how I can make things myself is the way to go.

Have you checked out coil guns?

jkimm7 (author)2012-08-27

what if you are doing this for pest control? i dont want to eat a rat

Josehf Murchison (author)jkimm72012-08-29

Cat food

jkimm7 (author)Josehf Murchison2012-08-29

i dont have a cat

Josehf Murchison (author)jkimm72012-08-29

Dog food! they are also good bate for large Pike and Bass fishing so do baby ducks. I have a friend that feeds mice and rats to his Oscar it's cool he dangles them just above the water by the tail and the Oscar jumps up and takes them from his hand.

jkimm7 (author)Josehf Murchison2012-09-03

sweet fish bait in my backyard that wont go away i guess it could be cood

Josehf Murchison (author)jkimm72012-09-03

If you want to see something cool toss one between two adult Muscovy ducks.

jkimm7 (author)Josehf Murchison2012-09-04

ha ha alright then

The Sloth Uprising (author)2012-05-27

Would it hurt to put a piece of green or camo duct tape where you wrapped the wire around itself?

As long as it doesn't interfere with where the snare slides.

doflagie (author)2012-01-31

Great 'ible. Great photos. I love that people are learning to take care of themselves. Practice is needed before survival application. And you should include trapped meat in your daily diet. Otherwise, you may have a problem with the squirts when you first start trying to survive. Plants and fungi too!

I see someone else mentioned It's an excellent site. Ron Hood has an excellent method for making the loop for a snare. The little twisty loop that you run the tail through to make the snare loop. Wind the end of wire around a small stick. 6 - 8 wraps. It should look something like a spring. Break and remove the stick and you have a nice tight coil to thread the other end of your wire through, making the snare. This coil tends to hold fairly large animals without unwinding. Remember to dress the short end so it doesn't stick your supper in the eye. You might end up with no supper :-( Ah well, back to meat bees...where's that piece of bullion cube I had left over?

To look at my photographs you would not know I am visually impaired or blind.
I am planning to add photoes of trails in the snow.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a photographer, a tinker, an electronics technology engineer, and author; I write short stories and poetry for the love of writing. I started ... More »
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