Trapping ‘Small Deer’ For Survival
By Bruce “Buckshot” Hemming
Trapping means different things to people. Some think it’s easy to catch tons of food and other have tried and failed and think it’s some mystery that is too complicated to figure out.
Like anything you do, there is a learning curve. I remember helping one young man years ago after he bought a bunch of equipment and said now ‘I am a trapper’. He failed miserably his first year. He emailed for help after getting a book and couple of videos, and his next year he took 44 raccoons.
I bring this up so people understand there are the basics you have to learn and even after learning this practice, you still need time in the field. Actual hands-on experience is the best teacher.
You have to study the animals in your area. Figure out where they live. But one huge overlooked area is the green areas around cities. In fact per square mile, there is a lot more animals in these areas then compare to say a National Forest land.
What the heck are ‘small deer’? Small deer are your medium size animals like raccoons, possums, ground hogs, beaver-size animals. In fact, ground hog are a very good animal to start snaring on. Their trails and den holes are easy to find and if your neighbor has one tearing up their garden it’s a good way to makes friends. Of course you have to check with your State to learn the regulations and laws regarding trapping.
I don’t recommend snaring in the summer months, fall is normally when the season opens. But for pest animals like ground hogs you can in most states trap them all year if they are causing damage.
I believe in professional equipment. The kind that trappers who make their living use. That is common sense, as you don’t want to bet your life on homemade stuff. A professional grade snare has some parts you need to understand.
I set this snare up to explain the parts. Looking at the center left, you have stop bottom a washer, swivel, and support collar. Right of that you have cam lock and stop button. This is a kill snare that can be used for wild hogs or in an emergency deer. It’s illegal to snare deer. The rest is 7×7 galvanized aircraft cable in 3/32.
The swivel allows the animal to twist and roll. The washer job is to protect the stop from wearing down. The support collar is for attaching wire to support the cable at the correct height for the target animal. The lock is designed to close and lock on the animal preventing it from backing off.
One time I was in Hawaii doing a survival trip and watched a feral pig get snared. Taught me a lot. You see we are only there for few days so we wanted a certain size pig. Not too big, not too small – one right at 35-40 pounds. So I set up two snares and we back off about 50 yards and watched.
Soon a sow pig come by and she walk on different trail and crossed over to the trail I had set the snares on. She was walking away from the snare no worries of catching her. Her little piglets took the trail the snare was set on. I mean little 5 pounders. They took turns jumping through the snare loop. Of course the last one didn’t clear the snare with his back feet. He pull the loop closed before running off. I had to reset the loop. Next a large 120 pound hog came by and had to literally chase him off the trail leading to the snare.
This was early morning. And it was starting to warm up. I was getting worried that we would have to come back in the evening to try again when the perfect size pig came down the trail. There was 5 pigs total but this 35 pounder was in the lead on the trail. He walked right into the snare keep walking I watched the loop close down on his neck and then the lock hit his neck he froze. He knew something was wrong. He back up the snare was tied off to a tree. When he back up about 5 feet the snare closed tighter on his neck. Fully panic set in and he race forward to the end of the snare and it tighten down for good. He back flipped. Squealing in panic he made one more running lunge and it was over. He wasn’t dead but he wasn’t going anywhere. A .22 to the head and we were eating well. I must say that was by far the best eating pork I have ever had.
I bring this all up for several reasons. The first is small animals can knock your loops down. Snares and traps do not have a choice to make, their job is to catch any animal that comes by. They literally can’t say let that one go. This is why you must be careful where you snare or trap because you don’t want to catch Fluffy the dog. Or Felix the cat.
One spring I taught church camp of young teenager and we set up a few beaver snares. Beaver are another good practice animal for beginners because their trails are so easy to spot. This beaver was crossing the dam and had a very well-marked trail.
This is what we found in the morning. A large 45 pound beaver that we cooked for dinner that night.
I believe every prepper should have a emergency snare kit. Here’s the one I sell:
Another very good trap to have is the small 110 Conibear trap:
This little wonder trap is great for small game like rabbits and squirrels. In fact it is a great survival trap, as they last for years. In this video link, I am using a 110 to trap rabbits. The trap was build back in 1977. Proper care of these traps and they can last 39 years and still be catching animals for you.
This video is a great beginner’s tool to get you started.
Here is a cottontail rabbit taken with the trap.
Where the 110 Conibear trap really shines is in den holes. I have trapped up to 6 rabbits out of one hole. In fact, the trap is so effective used at den holes you must be careful because you can wipe out all the rabbits in an area.
Another over-looked survival animal is the muskrat. Unlike the nasty brown rats you see feeding on garbage, muskrats live their lives in water. They live on vegetation just like rabbits. In fact in Louisiana they are sometimes called swamp rabbits.
I remember reading a story about professional trapper in Canada back in the 50’s. His wife and baby came with him out to trap muskrats. They were in small trapper’s cabin. I don’t remember why but they got stuck out there until spring. They ran out of food and survived for 2 months on eating just muskrats.
The 110 is a great Muskrat trap. In fact if you have water and cattails even in small ditches alongside the highway they are normally full of them. A great trap location is culvert pipes going under roads. In fact culvert pipes are great location for taking several different types of animals. When water is in them the small 12 inch pipes are great location for taking muskrats. But I have used sticks to narrow down large 3 foot wide pipes down to fit the 110 Conibear to trap muskrats.
In the fall when you are trapping muskrats you can also save and tan the furs to make fur hats. I tested this muskrat hat in North Dakota at 56 degrees below zero with no problem of getting cold.
A lot of would-be ‘survivalists’ say they can hunt for food. While hunting is part of survival. trapping is what is going to keep you fed and provide warm clothing. This is very practical survival skill to learn.
If you would like to learn more, please visit my web site at www.snare-trap-survive.com.
Bruce “Buckshot” Hemming