About 25 years ago, I got a hold of a copy of The Trappers Bible and I was hooked. I have always been a tinkerer and loved to work with my hands. The art of trap making is both fun and challenging. Knowing which trap to make and how to make them is an essential skill for those of us who venture into the woods. One of my favorite traps is the spring pole snare trap.
While there are many different types of traps, each one is deadly. Before I go any further though, please remember that traps are not legal and should only be used in emergency situations. The last thing you want to catch is your neighbor’s cat. But, there are ways to practice these skills without harming any animals. Knowledge and preparation are always key in survival situations and the more you know, the better odds you have of walking out alive.
My trap of choice is the spring pole trap because if it is set up correctly, it works well and generally kills the animal quickly. Deadfall traps like the Paiute and figure four usually kill instantaneously but aren’t as effective in my experience. They are also limited to smaller game and sometimes trigger themselves. The spring pole trap can be made to catch almost all game and I have actually heard of deer being caught by this method, although I wouldn’t recommend it. Rabbit, other small game and even raccoons can be caught with this trap. Here are some tips.
Obviously, location is key. Think of the real estate cliche “location, location, location,” and you’re off to a good start. Game trails are good places to start but look for even smaller passageways where smaller game might pass through. I like to find a cool spot near a water source. If you look in grassy areas near creeks, you can see where small game have been traveling back and forth. Think like the animal you are trying to hunt. If I were a rabbit, where would I go? Is there cover? Is there an escape route? Look for tracks and sign as well along the banks of the creek. If you hunt, you will already have a pretty good idea of where the game is.
Now the next part can be a little challenging. You need to find a sapling that bends enough to rig the snare and is not too thick. Willows usually grow around water and they offer a variety to choose from. Whatever you choose, make sure it will spring enough to get the animal you’re trying to trap off the ground and hold it. There are several ways to rig up the trigger system but the easiest way is to find a stake that you can drive into the dirt deep enough to hold the tension when you bend the spring pole. Make a notch in the stake and find a trigger stick that you can match up with the stake. Fasten the line (any strong, thin line) to the trigger stick and bend the sapling to set the trap. Be very careful to keep your face away while setting the trap in case it triggers. I had a friend almost tear his lip off by not paying attention. Now, you want to have a separate line attached to the trigger stick running to a noose. Use branches, sticks or whatever you can find to hold the noose open. When the game goes through, the noose tightens and the tension pulls the trigger stick free from the stake in the ground. The game gets jerked up into the air and is held securely. Hopefully it breaks its neck instantly when it all happens.
Practice this trap in your back yard until you are sure you have it right. If you are in a survival situation, this may be the difference between living and starving to death.