Food stores run out, as does ammunition, and snares are quieter than gun shots. Whether lost in the wilderness, struggling after an urban disaster, or if you have intentionally fled into the wild, trapping is a skill that you will need to be able to implement if you hope to have a sustainable supply of meat. Here are a few tips on how to increase your effectiveness with traps for survival.
- Know your intended prey. Traps are not universally effective on all animals so you will want to know, from direct observation or from track interpretation, what animals you have in your area so that you know what traps to use.
- Know your surroundings. Setting a baited trap in an area that is rich in potential food for your targeted prey will decrease the likelihood that they animal will be interested in the bait. On the other hand, if you use food that is totally foreign to the environment your intended prey may not be familiar enough with it to take the bait.
- Target trails and choke points. Look for signs of activity from prey animals to indicate where to set a trap. Tracks, droppings, and nests are all clear indicators of activity, but these indicators could remain long after the animals are gone. Know how to determine the approximate age of these indicators.
- Use channeling. Even if you set your trap on an active trail, the animal will naturally want to avoid it. This can be minimized by using natural material such as sticks driven into the ground, brush, or logs, to direct the animal into the trap.
- Use camouflage. Animals are not stupid and they are equipped with senses that go far beyond our own. Do what you can to reduce your smell on trap material, and use nearby natural material to visual conceal the trap as much as possible, as well as signs of disturbance.
- Play the odds. Don’t set a trap and put your feet up expecting a meal later that day. Odds are, even if your trap is constructed soundly and placed in a good location, that you will only catch 1 animal for every 10 traps.
Trapping is not as easy as you might think it to be. Practice this skill now while you are not depending on it to eat so that you can fall back on your skills when they are needed.
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