Shelter? Check. Resources? Check. A way to resupply your food stores when your canned goods, jerky, and freeze dried food supplies and survival food kits run low? Welcome to Trapping 101.
Trapping: getting past the first days of survival and into a more food-secure future
Whether you have accomplished a pre-catastrophe relocation or evacuated just before it happened, at some point the carefully planned and stored foods will dwindle. Preplanning for survival must include resupply and continuity of food supplies. And at some point even the most high tech clothing will wear out. Replacement of food sources and warm clothing and other supplies will depend on several factors: growing and storing foods, hunting and fishing and trapping. In reality, hunting is a labor-intensive activity. It expends calories in the effort to find them. Depending on hunting alone for protein and materials for survival such as fur, pelts and other things made from the carcass is not a wise decision. Most likely you will settle with like-minded survivors and this will place an increased demand on local game animals.
Unless you are prepared to be a nomadic hunter-gatherer, trapping and fishing and developing your own domestic herd such as goats or raising poultry are the best ways to guarantee some forms of dependable protein on the dinner table. The Native Peoples inland were nomads who followed the buffalo and deer and often times went hungry when the game moved too far ahead or was sparse. As game is hunted it becomes necessary to range out further from the home site. The survivalist will also encounter other hunters and possible hostile forces. Depending on what weapon is used for hunting, gunfire will attract the interest of any hostile groups and ammunition needs to be replaced. Archery is an acquired skill and unless you are proficient at it, all you will do is scare off the game to an even further distance away from your home site and lose valuable arrows as well.
The hunter can become the prey. Bringing back large amounts of meat is also an issue since transport will be on foot or mule or horseback. There will also be fewer capable protectors for the home site as the hunting party is gone for longer periods of time. So, trapping becomes a safer and more workable option and small game is the best and most dependable source of supply.
Today’s survivalist knows that selecting a good location with water, places to plant crops and abundant small game is the best way to protect the group. Trapping food and fur bearing animals is a skill that should be included in the prepper’s and survivor’s toolkit. Trapping is passive hunting. Well-set traps work at numerous sites and are always at work. Trapping for small game works best, especially for newcomers smaller mammals are easier to prepare, skin for hides and easier to move back to the home site. Diets in a survival mode need to adjust to smaller portions of protein and in different forms. At some point the connoisseur prepared foods will dwindle and disappear and finding and preparing nutritious foods will be a daily necessity. The bunker mentality is a trap in itself since a long term or permanent state of emergency will mean that changes in lifestyle will be obligatory; you simply cannot stockpile enough canned and emergency foods for a permanent change of lifestyle as needed in a survival environment.
Setting The Snares And Traps
Having a network of traps and knowing how to use them is critical to success. Observing what animals frequent which areas, time of day and trails they follow will help locate the optimum locations to set the traps. Also, remember that these are food sources for larger animals, carnivores. Be careful to set the traps far enough away so as to not attract dangerous carnivores too close to the home site.
Trapping With Basic And Available Materials
There are numerous guides to how to make snares and traps as well as illustrations on how to dress and prepare the game. You should also have a book that shows you the type of tracks you should seek out as a priority. These should be a part of your survival supplies, keep them secured in plastic zip bags for reference. You should include a large portion of salt in your survival supplies, not only for flavoring foods but preservation of meat.
You can also buy traps – for example, we have an article about the best coyote traps that covers the different types of traps you can currently buy.
One of the easiest and most simple types of traps. This trap is set on a trail or obvious pathway where small mammals, rabbits etc. travel to water or food sources. It is basically a large rock supported by sturdy sticks that falls on the prey. Bait such as vegetation, berries or fish can be used. Remember to map where your traps are set and check them on a regular basis. A large canvas (washable) carry bag is necessary. Simple snares are also a simple and easily repairable type of trap. A loop attached to a bent tree branch is the basic form. You can use appliance cord, parachute cod, along twine or any dependable type of line. A sharp knife is one of your most basic necessity-tools and a multi-tool as well. You may have to dispatch a trapped animal and doing it mercifully and without causing damage (puncturing organs that contain feces or urine and spoiling the meat) is part of the process.
Survival Is An Ongoing Process
Survival means continuity.
Developing food sources, pelts for warm coverings and avoiding confrontations with hostile groups are realities in what will seem like an unreal world. Planning, assembling of supplies such as guide books, salt, processing tools and being ready to act will help ensure survival beyond the emergency and into the “new normal”. Knowing how to make shelf-stable, long lasting foods like pemmican (high in protein) or hardtack (high in calories) will play a role, as well other forms of traditional preservation (e.g fermented survival foods). Hunting and trapping is a start, but in order to provide a sustainable supply of food for your family, you’ll need to know the whole “cycle” of food – from acquisition (trapping, hunting, foraging, fishing) to survival cooking to preservation and storage.