Snare traps are one of the simplest ways to catch small game. Usually constructed from a piece of flexible wire, snare traps catch animals when they crawl through the snare loop and become tangled. When they pull on the wire, the loop cinches tightly around the animal’s leg, head or body. Some snares rely on a trigger mechanism, but it is simpler to construct one that simply entangles any animal that passes through it.
Making the Snare
Measure out about 8 feet of 24- to 28-gauge wire to build a snare suitable for squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs and other small game. The thinner 28-gauge wire is appropriate for squirrels, the thicker 24-gauge for larger game like beavers, advises Field and Stream. Take one end of the wire and wrap it two or three times around a stick about the diameter of a pencil and then twist the stick several times to form a small loop. Remove the stick and pass the other end of the wire through the small loop to create the large snare loop.
Placing the Trap
Create a neck snare by orienting the loop vertically at your target species’ head height. You may need to use small sticks, pieces of string or spider silk to hold the snare in place. Attach the other end securely to a suitable anchor, such as a log, tree trunk or root. You can make a leg snare by placing the loop flat on the ground where you expect your quarry to place its feet and attaching the other end to a trigger mechanism. A simple trigger is to use two notched sticks held together by tension; one is staked into the ground, one attached to the snare wire and a bent sapling. Place the snare outside the entrance of a burrow, along a game trail or in a natural bottleneck in the landscape to increase your chances of success.
Rope, string or twine can be used as a substitute for wire, but these materials will not cinch as well as wire snares will. If you substitute rope or twine for wire, always anchor the snare trap in such a way that it is suspended from above, once the snare tightens. By utilizing gravity to keep the string tight, it will prevent the noose from loosening and allowing the quarry to escape. Be aware that string snares may not kill the animal, so be sure to check such traps frequently to prevent the animal from suffering unnecessarily.
Improving Your Odds
If you have the time and necessary materials, you can construct and place multiple snares to maximize your efforts and increase your capture rate. Placing multiple snares along a prominent branch or tree trunk is often extremely effective for catching squirrels. Conversely, several leg snares set up near a shoreline may be effective for capturing waterfowl. Always try to cover your scent with mud or animal urine when placing traps to prevent spooking your quarry.
- dialogphotography1/iStock/Getty Images