Live Traps - Using No-Kill Traps and Snares for Survival Hunting

Using live traps is the only realistic way to make sure that your meat will be fresh and uncontaminated. The main difficulty with killing traps is that a dead animal starts to decompose fairly quickly which means that you only have a certain window of time to get to the animal. If you've set a few dozen traps then it might take you all day to get to your meat by which time it may have been scavenged by something, or someone else, or started to rot.

Benefits of Live Trapping

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In a survival situation, you will quickly need to face up to the facts that you will need a steady source of protein to help convert energy and that meat is the best way to get this. Using no-kill traps to get this meat has many benefits over killing traps:

  • Choice - the main reason to try and trap live animals is that it gives you much more choice over what you eat. A killing trap will catch whatever comes near it, no matter how small or meatless the animal may be. With a live trap, you'll be able to see what you've got for dinner and make the decision to let it go or take it home.
  • More humane - an automatic trap, designed to kill, can sometimes go wrong, hurting or maiming the animal without actually killing it. This can increase cortisol levels in the animal, which in turn causes more adrenaline to enter the blood stream, spoiling the meat. At least with no-kill traps you are able to carry out the killing quickly and humanely.
  • Protected food - a scavenger, either human or animal, is much more likely to pick on food that has already been killed as it's a safe way for them to get meat. Neither are likely to touch live animals, regardless of the kind of trap that they're in, as they run the risk of getting hurt. This means that your food source is much more likely to stay protected.

Types of Live Traps


Learning how to trap live animals is a skill that you should learn as soon as you decide to start your survival preparation. Some of the best no-kill traps include:

  • Deadfall - this is the simplest form of trap and relies on an animal wanting the food that you offer as bait. You set up a box or cage at an angle and have it supported by a stick at an angle. Then construct a figure four shape with two further sticks with the horizontal one inside the cage bearing the bait. The animal takes the bait disrupting the balance of the sticks, causing the cage to fall down on top of it.

Live Traps

  • Snare - you'll need a bit more experience to set a successful snare and to trap live animals you want to set the loop at foot, rather than neck, height. Using a strong nylon rope will trap your animal without hurting it.
  • No-exit cage - to make life easier for yourself, you can always buy a pre-made no-exit cage. This works by having the bait inside a metal cage with a one-way door attached. Once the animal has entered your trap to take the bait, there is no way out without the use of tools.

Trapping live animals is an art form but one that you should be able to manage with regular practise. It's worth learning how to set deadfall and snare live traps so that you can always get food for yourself no matter how far you find yourself from your intended base camp.







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