Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Survival Tools

150' of 24g snare wire, $2.59@ Michaels.com

Snare wire rolls.
Nota bene, Gentle Reader, I did not say "a snare". Or even two snares.

Germane-to-the-topic exchange at Mountain Warfare Training Center:
"I put out a snare, Sergeant!"

"Well, gee sir, that's really nice. Now go put out 20 more, and you might get one scraggly squirrel or rock marmot to eat before next Christmas. Your choice. It's a long evolution out here. Carry on, sir."

I mention that because it happens all the time.
The dotMil, in all incarnations, even packs one or two snares, steel, in their aircrew survival kits. With a spiffy soft metal locking link, in case you get some action. Dumbasses who've never used them think two is enough.

Not hardly.
Try 20-50. If you actually want to eat.
Consider the number required for a single squirrel pole, of which you should try 3-4, or maybe 9 or 10, if that sort of game is on the menu:

If you live in suburbia, I highly recommend practicing with this.
Just not if you have cats. And NOT in the front yard, m'kay?
Check local laws and requirements for a hunting/trapping license too.

So you need a lot of snare wire, just for one proper pole.
A snare, singular, isn't going to get it done. Ever.

Second problem.
Those spiffy issue snares are made of steel. In the white.
Wanna know what their lifespan is in a survival kit, even in a dry climate?
Fifteen years, at which point they'll be a rusty circle of worthless shit.
(Ask me how I know.)
Don't even ask about in a near-ocean salt air or high-humidity climate, in which it's probably measured in months.
You can oil them, which spooks game. You can use animal oils and grease. Which stinks like sh*t in your gear.
Or you can use things other than the issue white steel. Things that don't rust out.

Stainless is always a good choice. You can find (and I have them) 2-3' stainless leaders in the BassPro angling aisles, that make great snares for anything up to probably raccoon and beaver-sized prey.

You can even buy some really splendiferous pre-made snares from the few remaining trapping companies that PETA hasn't driven out of existence.

Both options are rather spendy, however.
And you should know how to make your own snares, with no hardware, or fancy catches, from scratch. You may be working from salvaged wire from any number of sources (vehicles, etc.), which likelihood is much higher than having a survival kit with two dozen game snares of all sizes with pre-made locking links.

A brighter choice, therefore, is to go to the hardware store, and get spools of wire that won't rust:
Or green coated floral garden wire.
Which last is the cheapest thing you'll find, and the most bang for the buck. Strength and durability is always a function of price and your desire.

Unless you're thinking of trying for deer and such, you're aiming at squirrel to rabbit sized prey. So 20-26 gauge wire will suffice.
If you want more strength, braid it, like any other line.
Or buy stronger wire. Generally, thicker gauge equals shorter amount on spool.
So read the labels.

More strength, fewer snares.
Buy more wire, make more snares.

Need a bomb-proof tightening wire?

Take one end. Roll the wire around a small diameter roundish piece of wood (twig, pencil, etc.) two times, leaving several inches left over.
Take it off the stick.
Take the additional length, and twist it around the wire before the double loop.
Don't crush or tighten the double loop.
Put the running end through the double loop.
That's your won't-loosen locking loop.
Make the loop the correct size for the game you seek.
Anchor the other end appropriately.

When Bre'r Rabbit or Bre'r Squirrel goes in, it tightens on itself, locks up the snare loop, and won't let go.
If you anchored the other end securely, and found your catch before some other predator, dinner is served.

The spool above will get you plenty of snares.
A few such spools, minimum, is the correct amount.
They also make, or can make, leaders for toothier prey on fishing line.
And trip wires for deadfalls, spring snares, etc.
You can also use military trip wire spools, which come in green and yellow.

The mil-surp stuff can be had usually for about $1/roll, in endless quantities. And it's not just for flares and land mines, okay?

(You can always paint your brass, copper, or aluminum wires, but it has to be done unrolled, then allowed to dry thoroughly before re-rolling. I would rather get blackened anodized aluminum, or other pre-coated options, but I may not have as much time to watch paint dry as you do.)

You can catch anything with a head or feet with a big and strong enough snare.
But only if you have enough.
(And then, a way to dispatch the prey from a distance that isn't strangled, without becoming a meal yourself.)

Snare wire rolls, kids. Not *a* snare or two.
Survival is hungry work.


TiredPoorHuddled Masses said...

Great stuff. Going on my shopping list.

Beans said...

What you said, Aesop. There's a reason professional trappers set 10-20 traps for every animal they expect to get. Always love watching the 'perfessional survivalists' on the teevee set one or two small snares, expecting mana from heaven or to do a Bear Gyllis escape to Motel 6 when the cameras are off.

Anonymous said...

just curious...1)when do you see yourself completing this purchase? 2)how many miles is it to the nearest “big city” 3) do you own more than one firearm?


TiredPoorHuddled Masses said...

Carolina Turtle
Two or three depending.
Do you want to know if I'm Ford or Chevy too? ;)

Felix Bellator said...

I am guessing Ford based on all our other similarities of taste and opinion.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the content and topic Aesop - some great reasons to keep that material handy. Snares are quiet and are on the 'meat collecting' job 24/7 while physically hunting takes time from more needed tasks. Ever heard of the 'short fence snare' ? Very effective but because it is used in open, use with caution. Many ranchers down here use it for helping with coyote control.

I keep a sewing bobbin with one of the military snare wire in my trucker's wallet. I also keep another bobbin with same with a spark rod inserted in middle for more utility. A good binding material for lasting repairs.

Thanks again - I'm liking this "Survival Tools" series. A lot of good suggestions and ideas.

Anonymous said...

One wonders if a stout (30-60) pound monofilament fishing line would serve as well? $60 will buy you over 2,000 YARDS of the stuff, it's clear (thereby practically invisible), can be cut with a knife and (if you know how to tie it) knots just don't come loose. Doesn't rust. The heavier sizes are pretty stiff, so loops would hold open. And it's useful for a wide variety of things.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Mark D

Aesop said...

Monofilament is great for survival, as fishing line.
Or fishing nets.

It performs poorly against species equipped with TEETH.

Hence snare wire.

Anonymous said...


I can only plead that I asked the question before I finished my first cup of coffee.

My Daddy used to tell me there are no stupid questions, I guess I proved him wrong....

Mark D

Aesop said...

If you thought it in your pre-coffee state, there were absolutely at least 20 more people out there less bright who thought it too, but were just too timid to post it.

Fishing line is great stuff, no doubt. But that's the reason snares aren't made out of it.

But put a gorge hook lengthwise inside a piece of bait, and use it to catch birds or fish?
Now you're talking.

Anonymous said...

Almost as bad as the Troll is the Trollhost, that dim rabbit mouth that doesn't realize they're being dragged into the dim conversation.

Termite said...

I haven't used it for snares, but .032" or .041" S/S safety wire comes to mind. I have a roll of each in my tool box. I use it for safety-wiring bolts/nuts on aircraft.

IIRC, there's about 200-250 ft of .041 wire per pound.

Be interesting to try it on snares for small game............

George True said...

Just one word about snares - they do not discriminate between game critters and Fluffy the cat or Fido the dog. So be very cognizant of that if you place any in your AO for practice or for reelz. Aesop made mention of this. I thought it worth mentioning again. You really do not want to find one of your pets or your neighbors' pets in your snare.

Sherm said...

I took a wilderness survival course after high school. We learned about snares, deadfalls, and other traps using string we made ourselves from available plant materials. We dutifully set these out. We got one ground squirrel. Someone saw it in the brush and hit it with a stick. It made mighty thin stew.

Anonymous said...

Once again, great stuff Brother.
Boat Guy

Peter B said...

Cats, or... it would be highly entertaining if the critter someone else caught was a skunk.

Anonymous said...

Apologies to the patient host for this off-topic digression...let me try and bring it back on topic...
Personally, i am most partial to BUICK, and i also like Nissan...the Ford vs. Chevy debate (to me) is pretty much like “my dad can beat up your dad” and let’s not forget the mopar crowd? Or the Nismo fans? etc, etc...

My questioning was something of a “how much are you like me” inquiry, but i am thinking that doesn’t make any difference really...

After reading @141 comments in the previous posting, i was more thinking “out loud” and actually have been somewhat neglecting some other “adulting” that i * should * be doing (although completely unneeded if/when CW2 happens to pass)...good luck with your prepping, though!


Pat H. said...

Years ago, the League of the South had an extensive talk, at our annual conference, on using snares by a man who knew how to make them and use them. One of the things he told us was that any animal could be captured via a snare, including deer. You just had to make them strong enough and place them in a place where deer moved.

I've not tried them, but I should. My "bunker" is on 11 acres, and we have lots of deer here, and bears and wild hogs too. The unfortunate thing is that the large number of coyotes here have thinned out the rabbit population a lot. Rabbit is high quality protein.

Anonymous said...

Also useful for a stealth dipole. Just be sure to scrape the paint off the ends you are hooking up to the cobra head.

Howard Brewi said...

I usually keep a roll of galvenized picture hanging wire in my go bag. I have heard of using a length of gill net for birds that come in flocks like grouse and ptarmigan. You can also set it for fish. You can get by with heavy diameter mono line if you use spring pole sets. Before wire came to North America snares of sineau and raw hide were used especialy for rabbits and birds.

Anonymous said...

Another wire storage tip -

That sewing bobbin with snare wire storage from above. Glue a Chicago Screw female (bring eye bleach if you have to Google that, lol) to the bobbin hub. Pierce the side of a leather tool pouch on the side and insert the Chicago Screw male thread through the hole. Now you can screw the bobbin to the outside of the pouch.

TiredPoorHuddled Masses said...


I'm Ford through and through. Look at the Mustang. The F-150. Consider the Pinto. Who else could design a multi-functional vehicle that is both a car and an IED?

Good luck with your prepping too!

Jonathan H said...

Don't forget - snare wire can also be used with booby traps or alerts to let you know that two legged predators are in the area. I've also heard that it can slow down or stop a car that drives over it.

Old Phart said...

You want to do some research on Bruce "Buckshot" Hemming. He wrote "Buckshot's Modern Trapper's Guide". It may still be available via Amazon.com. He has, or had at one time, a website on trapping. Stranded CABLE snares, properly sized and positioned for the target species, were his favorite tool. Think cable similar to bicycle brake or gear cable. You can make these snares with cable, a nico-press tool, cable sleeves, and pennies for sliding locks (drilled and properly bent). Buckshot was primarily concerned with trapping for fur, but the techniques are certainly applicable to trapping for food. BTW, snaring deer - in a survival situation only as it's highly likely extremely illegal and will get you into plenty of trouble - is relatively easy and will get you lots of food for a single success. Buy a few commercial snares and see how they're made and copy the design. Bon appetit!

Aesop said...

@Old phart,

Don't need to research "Buckshot".
I've had and read his trapping guides since the 1980s.