animal trapping

Animal Trapping can be a Useful Survival Tool



Animal trapping has been used to gather food for most of human history.  It is just in recent years that it has been banned.  I live in California which has strict laws on animal trapping.  Leg traps and body snares are banned, and most other traps are regulated in some way or another.  Live traps can be used but are still regulated.  Mouse/rat traps are still legal.  Trappers have to be licensed.

Now fortunately many of you do not live in California and have to face fewer regulations.  But wherever you live, you need to check your local games laws before you go trapping. One of the problems with using traps today is that to be a good trapper takes experience, which is hard to get today because of the laws and regulations.

animal trapping
Leg hold traps are non selective and are banned in many areas.

Traps were used by most indigenous people who lived off the land.  Larry Dean Olsen who has taught primitive survival for many years says, “That deadfalls and snares are very effective for hunting animals and trapping is one of the quickest and most humane ways to kill an animal if it is done responsibly”.  Here is a link to a post on him and his book Outdoor Survival Skills A Real Mountainman.  While he says it is possible to survive off animal trapping, he says that you need at least 20 and better yet up to a 100 sets.

The big advantage to animal trapping is that once you get your trap line set, you just have to come back and check them on a regular basis.  But even that can be a lot of work.  There are many different types of traps a good source of information on early trapping in the U.S. is the book Deadfalls and SnaresIt can be downloaded of the internet for free.

animal trapping
Wire snares, the top two are made by Thomson Snares, who make reliable inexpensive snares. The one on the bottom left is homemade and works well. In the near future I will post directions on how to make them
animal trapping
Conibear traps are effective and are designed to kill humanly


The idea of setting one or two traps in the evening and having meat for breakfast is not realistic for most of us.  If you plan on living off the land, which I think is impractical or just supplementing other food source, which I think is a good idea, trapping can be useful.

The pictures that I have attached show the most common types of commercial traps, many of which can be quite expensive.  A large live trap can easily cost $75.00 or more.  The primitive traps are free and you can make wire snares very inexpensively.  In the near future, I will post a blog how to make your own wire snares.

As I said even if you have all the traps and supplies, you still need to practice to get good at trapping.  If you decide to learn how, check your local game laws and stay out of trouble.



1 thought on “Animal Trapping can be a Useful Survival Tool”

  1. Good post! I like snares , just remember to anchor them well. Also fish traps aka baskets are a heck of a protein provider! Just remember to camouflage the rope/wire you use if in a place where someone could find it!

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