Most of us think of snares as something only used with small animals; yet there is no reason to limit our thinking in such a way, especially in a survival situation. Mankind has trapped large animals throughout the centuries, often trapping much larger animals than deer.
Trapping deer may be preferable to hunting them in a survival situation, especially if hunting means using firearms. Gunshots can be heard from a long ways away and the last thing you might want to do is attract attention. If you’re hiding out in the wilderness for some reason, any gunshot you fire can only mean a fight or hunting, but in either case, it might invite people to find you, which you would much rather not see.
Commercial deer traps are available, with the most commonly known one being the Clover trap. There are also dropnets that you can buy. Perhaps, if you own your own patch of woods somewhere, you might want to invest in one of these, but for the rest of us, bugging out with a deer trap just isn’t practical.
That leaves us with snares, essentially a larger version of what’s used for catching rabbits and other small game. These larger snares operate under the same principles and are made just about the same. the major difference with a deer trap, is size.
It’s Really Not About the Trap
But trapping deer, or any other animal for that matter, really isn’t about the trap. Rather, it’s about where the trap is set. The world’s best trap isn’t going to work, if there are no deer to be caught. So the first thing you need to do, is verify that there are animals around for you to trap. If you can’t find deer sign or tracks, look for someplace where you can.
Deer like areas with a lot of undergrowth, where they can hide well. This can actually work to your benefit, as that thick undergrowth can act as a fence, to help funnel the deer towards your snares. Look for the trails that they would use to get through such an area, as that’s where you’re going to want to put your snares.
Don’t just depend on one snare. Ideally, you want to put a snare on each and every trail that the deer can use. This will make it hard for them to avoid your snare, increasing your chance of a catch.
Building a Deer Snare
Like just about any snare, a deer snare depends on three things:
- A spring
- Rope (we’ll use paracord)
- A trigger
For the spring, you’re going to need a fairly large sapling or tree branch. You want something that is strong enough that the deer can’t break it trying to get out, as well as large enough that they can’t get slack in the line, just by walking close to it. If they manage to get slack, once their head is in the loop of the snare, they will be able to get out.
You’ll need to whittle two pieces our of available sticks. The first is a bar to go across the trail. This can be made out of a stick that’s 1” to 2” in diameter. You’ll want to whittle one side flat, on the down-trail side. This is what the trigger is going to hook onto. Tie this stick across the trail, high enough for the deer to walk under, but low enough that the loop, which will be hanging from it, will be at the right height for the deer’s head to go through.
The other piece you need to whittle is a hook. This will attach to the rope that’s tied to the tree you’re using as a spring, and hook on the bar you tied across the trail. When the deer goes through the loop, the rope loop should close around its neck, pulling the trigger free from the crossbar.
To set the snare, pull the rope to bend the spring down. You’ll want as much bend as you can get. Tie the trigger you whittled to the rope and hook it on the crossbar. Then, make your loop, using a slip knot and hanging it off the horizontal bar you tied between the trees. You’ll be better off making this big, rather than small, so if unsure, go for a bit bigger.
Repeat this process with every potential trail you can see out of your chosen trapping area. If you can’t put a snare across some opening, then do what you can to block that opening, such as tying several lengths of paracord across it. you don’t want to leave the deer an alternate way out, or they will find it and use it.
Finally, your snares are going to be much more effective if you can drive the deer towards them. Start from some distance away, and walk towards your trapping area, zigzagging back and forth and making noise as you go. The longer this goes on, the more nervous the deer will become, and the less likely they are to see your snares until it is too late.
Whether your building a deer trap to survive in the bush or building a fire in the snow having survival gear is always an asset. From paracord to matches, a knife or a blanket each can be found in our emergency kits.