Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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