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Regulator5

Trapping

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Trapping, IMO, will be the best way to secure food in a SHTF situation where the stores can’t feed your family or the economy can’t recover from the abuse it has sustained. Trapping will allow you to be in more than 1 location at a time and also reduces the amount of energy you need to expend to gather food.

Traps can be set in hidden locations so as to reduce the chance of your BOL/hide being compromised. When employed correctly, they can be highly effective in providing nourishment, boost morale, and provide materials for clothing.

Several authors have written on these subjects who are a lot more knowledgeable than me. I also recommend looking online and finding an actual trapper’s forum and also find trapper supply houses. The specialty trapping stores will be able to offer competent and profession advice and help in choosing the correct tools for the job.

Some of the tools you will need for trapping are : shoulder length gauntlets for water sets, a small trowel (some are called a trapper’s trowel), dirt sifter, hatchet with a poll that can be used as a hammer, pack basket or backpack to haul your equipment, skinning knives, flashlights, hip boots or waders, etc. Several of the items can be found listed on the trapper supply house web sites. While not all the tools will be needed by everyone, certain tools definitely make it easier in certain locales.

Local trapping clubs and national organizations are great resources to find out what you need. State DNR agencies also offer trapper education courses (some require before you can buy a trapping license) and these are normally free and will provide a wealth of info and a chance to meet some mentors from your area. Fur Takers of America and The National Trapper’s Association are 2 national organizations that also have local chapters.

Trapping will require ALOT of work, especially in the beginning, learning how your target animal(s) live, act and respond to danger. You will need to learn where they live (den, nest in a tree, ground nests, high grass, prefer small blocks of woods, etc and their primary food sources to find what to use for bait.

Tracking will also be a great asset and beneficial skill to have. You will be able to learn whether the animal was running thru because they were pushed by a predator, moving from a bedding area to a food plot or watering hole, or if just patrolling their territory to keep competition out.

One thing to remember when setting traps along a trail leading to a main watering area; predators also hunt these trails. Predators know that animals usually follow the same path and use the same spot when watering. They will lie in wait along these paths or at the water’s edge to ambush whatever comes thru. Whether it’s copperheads, water moccasins, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, bobcats, wolves, bears, or even alligators where they are present, watering spots are very dangerous to work around or even use for your own crossing. Remember, if you find it as an attractive location to ambush game, then chances are others will as well.

Some links to help you look.

http://www.nwtrappers.com/

http://www.hoosiertrappersupply.com/

http://www.fntpost.com/Categories/Trapping/?gclid=CIWG47mgorMCFcU-MgoduXsAsQ

http://www.markjuneslures.com/

http://www.sullivansline.com/

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Foot hold traps normally come in 2 types , long spring and coil spring. The long spring, either a single or double spring, had a piece of spring steel that is folded over and when set, is held flat, after the trigger is released, the spring expands back to more of an elongated “U” shape and holds the jaws of the trap closed. Coil spring traps normally have 2 or 4 coils and the springs put pressure on the jaws using lever like pieces to close and hold the jaws.

The jaws of the traps will either be smooth, toothed or even have a rubber coating (soft catch). There are also double jawed traps (each jaw is 2 separate pieces that close together or with a small off-set), but the single jawed traps are most common. There are several manufacturers and at least 3 that I know of are American made, Sleepy Creek Traps, OneidaVictor and Minnesota Brand traps are made here in the US. Other commonly seen name brands, Duke and Bridger are probably the 2 most common imports.

Foot holds are designed to be released when an animal steps on the “pan” and thus releases the trigger holding the jaws open. Pan tension is highly important to catch the target animal. Tension can be adjusted and there are several books on this and needs to be adjusted for each target animal in a weight class. If the tension is set too high, then a 3 pound rabbit will not disengage the trigger and thus, will escape and leave you hungry, but if the tension is set too light, then even weeds blown by the wind can set off the trap prematurely and leave you hungry as well. I use a stick to check the feel of the tension (WARNING, do NOT get your fingers caught in the trap. Extreme care should be taken as they will break your fingers, cause cuts which can get infected and add to your problems during a survival situation).

If I am setting near water and plan to use a drowning rig (cable ran out and anchored in water deep enough to drown the caught animal), I prefer the added weight of the long spring traps to help hold the animal under water. Long springs are harder to use, in that they require more ground prep and a bigger area to use. Ground prep is digging a shallow hole to set the trap in and then camouflage is placed over to hide the trap from the target. The long springs require more space to be prepped, as they take up more space.

Small game can easily be held with a well maintained 2 coil trap, I use 4 coils when targeting coyote (the “big” game in my area) for added holding power.

Once set and the trap placed in the hole dug to accommodate the trap, a pan cover is placed over the pan then dirt is sifted back over the trap. The pan cover will keep the dirt from getting under the pan and thus rendering it inoperable. Carrying and using dried dirt can be a great asset for the trap line if the ground is extremely wet and causes the dirt to clump. I prefer using sand with a little local dirt mixed in to accomplish this. The sand has a better drainage to allow any water that comes in from being held and freezing my traps which will cause them to be slow to act or not activate at all. Another point is to ensure no small sticks, clumps of dirt or other debris is in the trap bed that will hinder the smooth operation of the trap.

The animal you intend to trap will dictate the trap size you need. Below is a list of the common sizes and the target animal for that size:

• No. 1 -- Muskrat, Weasel, Skunk

• No. 1 1/2 -- Muskrat, Mink, Skunk, Raccoon

• No. 2 -- Raccoon, Mink, Fox

• No. 3 -- Coyote, Fox, Bobcat, Beaver, Badger

• No. 4 -- Coyote, Beaver, Bobcat

These are just general suggestions but will give you an idea of what you need for the different animals. Remember, traps are sold for fur bearer trapping and thus, our normal “hunted” game is not listed. Use the general suggestions as a guide and determine which is closest to your intended target in size and strength.

After setting the traps, you will need to anchor the trap so the animal doesn’t run off. Stakes made of wood and driven into the ground may be used for small weak animals like rabbits, but a coon or coyote will just drag them out or break them. I use rebar stakes with a washer welded onto the end to anchor my trap to. I use cable and/or a chain to attach the trap to the stake. Other forms of securing the trap are anchors, which is a short (approximately 3-4” for me) piece of steel with a hole drilled into 1 end. I secure the trap with a cable ran thru the hole and secured. I then use a probe to make a hole for the anchor and push the anchor down with the end with the cable thru it going in first. When the animal is caught and tries to run off, the anchor will turn and thus lodge itself inside the hole. This only works in solid ground and has to be deep enough that the earth will not break up, thus allowing the anchor to be come out. It’s not my first choice of securing a trap.

Stakes are driven in and it will depend on the soil on how deep a stake needs to go. If in questionable ground, a double stake can be used. To double stake, drive 2 stakes into the ground at a slight angle where the points aim towards each other. A cable or chain is run between the stakes and the trap chain is secured to this. This will give you a stake at its strongest to hold when the other stake would be at its weakest.

Other natural options is using existing trees/bushes to secure the trap to or using a grappling hook drag. The drag allows the animal to run off (used when have multiple sets in same general area) and you can follow the drag marks to find your quarry. The hooks will also grab and hold on trees and other obstructions. This is not the best way either in my opinion, but some trappers use them effectively.

Footholds are not my first choice for a survival tool, but I have them and will implement them into my foraging. They have proven themselves effective and will catch your supper. The drawback is, they leave the animal alive to be dispatched in person and they can raise a ruckus, thus giving away your trap and supper at best, or your own position at worst when you are trying to stay hid in hostile territory. I do like them for sets near water so I can rig drowning sets which will dispatch the animal and get the animal and trap out of sight. They do offer the benefit of not being lethal in the case of an accidental catch of the family’s or neighbor’s pet.

Traps will need to be dyed and waxed (do NOT wax traps used for water sets). I dye but don’t wax my snares as well. Dying the traps will help weatherproof it and protect against rust (thinking bluing on a firearm). The waxing will help with the operation of the trap and odor control. Most trappers use purchased log wood dye but you can make homemade dyes using walnut hulls. I’ve included a good step by step directions link for the processes.

http://www.wild-about-trapping.com/tips/tips_021_dyeing_and_waxing.htm

Before you use or even dye your traps, you will need to clean them. New traps have a coating of oil on them to protect them from rust. I use sani-flush to clean mine, just a ½ pint to about 20 gallons of water. Baking soda can also be used mixed with water. After mixing the solution (do outside because the fumes from sani-flush or lye are harmful if inhaled), using a large metal container (55 gallon drum cut in half works well), bring the water to a boil and place traps in. Allow the traps to be boiled for about 15 minutes and remove. Rinse the traps with fresh water (garden hose) and allow to dry completely. I hang mine outside for a few days to dry and air out. Then proceed with your other preparations like dying and waxing. Get a book on trapping (Tom Miranda and Stanley Hawbaker are a couple of trusted authors but there are several) that describes the complete process of trapping from trap prep to fur handling to get the best instruction. Many states also offer free trapper education courses thru the DNR.

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Body grip traps are my first choice. They are the easiest, IMO, to set and thus makes acquiring food the easiest. The 3 common sizes are 110 (4 ½ x 4 ½ jaw opening), 220 (7 x 7 jaw opening), and 330 (10 x 10 jaw opening). In most states, the 330 is only legal for water sets where the trap is completely covered by water, so check local laws before using. There are several other sizes available and some are the same size, like the 120 is to the 110, but the 120 has a double spring.

The body grips are designed to kill upon capturing the animal, so ensure you take precaution about setting these where pets can get into them. They offer “stabilizers” to hold the traps in the place you set it and not interfere with their operation.

They have small metal clips (some are polymer I have seen) that can be attached to a tree or pole and hold the trap to catch animals that climb trees such as marten, fisher and squirrel in a survival situation. These are sold under several brand names, Killer Klips is the one I am familiar with. They can also be improvised and homemade out of conduit, PVC pipe, wooden dowels etc. By attaching the trap to the side of the tree and placing some dried apple pieces or some peanut butter on the trigger, I am confident that squirrel will be on the menu for my next meal. One tip I will suggest, is to attach a length of twine, rope, cable, etc to the trap spring so the trap will swing out and hold your catch safely out of reach of scavengers who will appreciate your hard work at procuring dinner as much as you would.

I use 110 sizes for muskrat, weasel, and mink on the trap line but they will work for rabbit and squirrel as well on the survival line. The 220’s are for coon, possum, fox, some coyote, etc. The 330’s will take beaver, their primary target in my area and can be used for the bigger “small game” in a survival situation.

I dye my body grips traps just like foot holds and snares. I do not wax my body grips as I do foot holds, as I am more inclined to use the body grips for water sets.

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Snares are probably the best option for securing food in a survival situation, IMO. You can carry several for a very small weight, which gives you the ability to set more and thus increase your chances of “making meat”.

Modern snares used for fur bearer trapping and pest control are made from aluminum aircraft cable. The 2 most common sizes are 5/64” and 3/32” cable. Other options available are 1/16” and 1/8” and the strength and target animals will have to be taken into consideration for the size you carry. I opt to carry a variety, but 5/64” is my most common. These snares can be bought pre-made or made at home by getting spools of the cable (available from trapper supply houses or home improvement stores as garage door cable) and then purchasing the additional parts or making your own. I use a relaxing washer lock personally, which I buy for pennies apiece but they can be made at home if the need arises.

Snares are used to catch the animal, normally around the neck, as it passes thru the “hoop” , which will cause the hoop to tighten around the animals neck. The hoop size will depend on the targeted animal you intend or are trying to harvest. The perfect hoop will allow the animal to get its head thru the hoop and then the animal’s legs, shoulders and chest drag the snare from its pre-set position and thus cause it to tighten around the animal’s neck. Snares are normally set in a trail or “animal run” but purpose built locations can be used, like a hollow log or even a pipe set and then bait placed in the middle. I target a lot of coyotes by placing snares in holes thru fencing. This helps “mask” the metal smell that can cause a coyote to be wary and also, they don’t (or so it seems) to notice the slight restriction from the hoop tightening until too late.

If setting in a trail, I like to use a “spring pole” to help set the snare as fast as possible. This is accomplished by bending a sapling over and rigging a trigger to hold the sapling in the bent over position. The snare is attached to the sapling and when the animal disengages the “trigger”, the sapling springs and tightens the hoop around the animal’s neck. This offers a quicker dispatching of the animal and reduces the risk of the animal escaping. The trigger I use is driving a stake into the ground near the end of the sapling (the top after bent over) and cutting a notch in the stake. I then tie a line down to the top of the sapling and attach another piece of wood which is notched to fit the notch in the stake (thing of a check mark and then 1 points up and 1 points down). The snare is then attached (I tie mine on with a piece of twine or use a cable tie) to the piece tied to the sapling. As the animal goes thru the hoop, it pulls the trigger apart, thus releasing the sapling to spring back and tighten the snare. Several books out there on wilderness survival demonstrate this technique with drawings and/or pictures (Ragnar Benson and Tom Brown Jr are 2 authors).

I use regular sewing thread (dull dark color normally) to tie the snare to brush, tufts of grass, etc to help retain its shape and stay in place after being set. Look for areas in the trail, or build a “funnel” with sticks, brush, etc to direct the target animal into your snare and offer limits on its options of travel. This is the same as using bridges, valleys, etc as choke points to control people movement. Try NOT to cause a huge difference in the way things were. I suggest looking for natural barriers and funnels and then only adding small amounts of debris to help strengthen and fill in any gaps.

I use fishing line, normally 10# test, for snares intended for birds such as quail, grouse, etc. I have used 40# because I ended up with a spool somehow and do not use it for fishing except limb/trot lining. I have caught rabbits in fish line snares, but the 1/16” snare cable would be great for small game line squirrel, rabbit, muskrat, etc. I like to use dried corn kernels to bait birds at the snare. Rice can also be used to entice them to the snare. Birds swallow their food whole and the dried corn will help keep the snare in place and even helps in restricting breathing (I know it sounds barbaric and some may question ethics, but I am gathering food to feed my family).

Bait can be used to help entice your target animal to go thru the snare and thus provide you with a meal and a hide to make some other items. Large game will need the bigger snare cable (1/8-1/4”) but snaring big game is illegal in every locale I have been. After SHTF, game laws may be a moot point, but until then, check local laws and regulations; all your preps will do you no good if you are in jail when TSHTF.

Remember to practice these skills BEFORE you need them. Most states allow some form of trapping fur bearers. Many of the fur bearers are edible, muskrat, beaver, coon among others, are all eaten commonly in many rural areas. Even practicing different recipes now will help you and your family adjust to a different taste and food than you get at the local grocer, plus the added benefit of knowing you really provided the food on the table.

Trapping will cause you the need to learn A LOT more about an animal. Luck can play a part in it, but knowledge is a much better partner for success. Tracks and learning the animal’s normal routine will enhance your chances. Where does a rabbit hold up to wait out a storm? How does a squirrel get ready for winter? What is a muskrat’s favorite food? These are all questions that you will need answers to so you will be successful. These answers can also provide you valuable insight into what you need to survive in nature, from shelter to finding food.

Please add to this thread, as this is just a very basic posting on what’s needed and the differences between the different traps. Any tips, tricks or suggestions for our family members?

 

http://www.nwtrappers.com/catalog/proddetail.asp?prod=dlsbk

Edited by Regulator5
added link

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I agree, good post. I have to say snares are not only easier to pack but MUCH cheaper(and easy to make yourself) I have a couple of dozen foot traps....and over 100 snares, the snares cost less, and in trapping it's a numbers game, the more the better.

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I agree Pig. I can build about 100 snares for less than $50 and probably closer to $30. They are also lighter. The only real issue is that if anything big is caught, the cable is twisted and kinked and will need replaced but the lacks and swivels are all reuseable. I'm also sure that after People see the locks and relaxing locks, they will figure a way to produce them easily at home.

 

I haven't gotten the posts written on deadfalls, pit traps and the other improvised traps that will work... altho a pit trap is my least favorite as they are super time and energy consumers.

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reg,

good links, thanks. I am a tad concerned about trapping too soon/too late. I think (opinion subject to change) that you should live off of your preps only for a short time after TSHTF. That does not drive away game you might need later among other reasons. The problem is others may take advantage of the game, probably using firearms not traps, and the game may be gone when you set your traps.

 

Lots of salt to preserve your catch is required if you are not eating the catch immediately of course.

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I agree Capt. but will base my decision on the event and even the time of year. If it is normal hunting season, I will use my traps very soon. I won't have to worry about creating legal trouble if I am caught with wild game and I can still stretch my preps out from the start. I don't want to think about 1/2 rations after the first month (for a reference time line) because I didn't initiate part of my plan from the beginning.

 

It will be a balancing act to know when to initiate the steps of the plan(s) developed for each event.

Good point on the preservation of the catch. Salt, smoke house, jerky, and canning if possible will be essential to not waste a commodity worth more than gold in long term event, IMO.

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True the taking of wild game will explode, but animals adapt really quick to a nocturnal life style. Even with spotlights,if available, the average Joe can't cover enough ground to find the game without a car. Traps work BETTER at night....and with people trampping about pushing the game into them.

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Yeah, I'm lucky to be set up to go into the rural areas. It's nice being from farm country and being raised enjoying the woods and all they have to offer.

 

I have been throwing some food items out to keep the local city squirrels and rabbits fed. I don't feed them all the time, nor probably alot, but when I have left over salad that is starting to brown, I'll toss it in the shrubs out back and I drop handfuls of nuts out in the back yard as well from time to time.

 

My wife even grabs things to feed the animals because my 5 year old likes watching them. She thinks thats the reason I do it...lol. I just want them to keep thinking they MIGHT find food here and coming back.

Edited by Regulator5

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Heads up on a duke single flat spring trap I love these and have quite a few in different sizes.

I have never had this happen before the pressure plate fell off,  well it was somehow knocked off by a possum

it is held in place with a brass nut and bolt about 1/8 of an inch in diameter and a half inch long.

That little nut was on so tight when I first set it up i had to loosen it but it was still not unscrewable by hand I had to use a screw driver and a nut driver

and they still were hard to turn.

 

I think I am going to use a rivet or hammer a nail to hold it on weird I am going to change all my trap plates hinge pins so not need that to happen again.

it has to be loose to function so the bait plate can move easy under the weight of a critter.

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