Bushcraft Skills How To Make A Simple Survival Snare Trap [updated]

How To Make A Simple
Survival Snare Trap

Part of the top 10 skills that you require to keep alive in a survival situation is having some knowledge on how to procure you food.
You can supplement you food supplies with foraged foods and edible plants and gain important nutrients, but when it comes to actual survival off the land, sooner or later you will have to look at the wild life around you, and think of them as a source of survival food.

There are various methods to procure food from wild animals, but in this article I want to focus specifically on the smaller game we have in abundance here in the UK, namely, the rabbit and show how to make a simple survival snare trap.  

Could You Eat The Food You Catch?

One big question to ask yourself is: If I did manage to catch something in my trap, could I kill it, cook it and eat it?
That's quite a big question for some people to answer. But, if you are on the point of starvation, it's quite a simple decision to make really - trap an animal for your food, or die....

Essential Parts Of Trapping
For Food

It takes a surprising amount of time, patience and skill to trap an animal, and one of the major factors for success starts even before you set your first trap.


If you want to trap a rabbit, then make sure there are rabbits in the areas where you set your trap..!
May sound obvious, but check you hunting grounds out carefully, check runs and travel routes, animals are renowned for making their own 'rat runs' and these are a great help when positioning snares.

Check the area for their 'feeding grounds' and look for signs of tracks and animal skat.

Rabbits are hard-wired to live in groups in which they establish social hierarchies, so where there's one, there will be many..! 

Even observing what's in their skat will indicate the types of foods they are partial to, and then lead you to these areas where they may feed.

  • If you don't get this part right, the chances of you actually trapping an animal are pretty slim.

Always play the odds, if there are little signs of rabbits, yet plenty of indication of squirrels, then change your game plan and go after the squirrels.
It's a number game, so don't restrict yourself and pre-decide what you think you might catch, go for the species that is in abundance first.


Rabbits have over fifty million receptor cells in their nose, compared to our mere six million. These enable rabbits to detect predators well before they may even see them.

Also, like many other animals, they have two types of scent detection cells within their nose.
Olfactory sensory cells detect ordinary airborne odours, while a specialised group, the Jacobson Organ, pick up heavy moisture-borne molecules and pheromones.

So the odds against us actually catching one are quite low!

Of course there those who immediately shout, catch your rabbit by shooting with an air riffle - well I have a separate article on that here;
Hunting Food With A Rifle

For now though, trapping with a snare needs some forethought, and stopping you scent from contaminating the snare, and thus scaring off the rabbit, is something you must consider.

  • check
    The solution to this is quite simple: Don't wash..! Although relatively easy to do, this can be quite anti social..!

But at the very least, when setting snares, do not wear any type of deodorant, after shave, or any creams or ointments that might give the game away and alter the animal to the fact that your have been near the snare - it will not come close if it senses danger, and your unusual smell is exactly that.

Even when handling the snare itself, wear some gloves to stop any transfer of scent.


Once you have decided on the location of your snare, secure the noose end to a solid tree branch or hammer in a solid ground stake.
Securing to a tree is preferred.

The noose can be supported with another twig pushed into the ground and helps to keep the shape of the noose.

The diameter of the noose must not be too large, 5" maximum, and setup off the ground approximately 4"-6" to the centre.

Create channelled runs towards the snare and incorporate these as part of the natural path the animal will be using.
The rabbit will not deviate of their usual pathway simply to checkout your snare!
It has to be naturally incorporated in their normal route to and fro.

Image courtesy of: how-to-hunt-rabbit.com

This snare has been specifically placed along a rabbit run.

Placing some extra twigs or a branch to ensure you channel the animal directly through the snare is very important.

But remember, it must all look natural and part of the area around it.
Choosing you spot and positioning the snare correctly will greatly increase the chances of having a fresh rabbit for your tea.

Making A Rabbit Snare

Teeth are designed for chewing through things, and a rabbits teeth do this very well, so make sure you use a strong multi stand wire for the job, preferably a brass wire as steel tends to rust.
In order to have a free running noose It's best to use pre-made eyelets like the ones shown here:

This type of noose design will not jam up and runs quickly and very freely, simply twist the wire around the eyelet to secure, and then feed through to form the noose.
The other end can be wrapped around a tree branch or stack to secure it.

A typical snare wire kit (shown below), is available at around £10 from Amazon.

Is It Legal To Trap Rabbits With A Snare In The UK?

It is perfectly within the UK laws to use a snare to trap rabbits in the UK.
There are, of course, some specific codes of practice you must adhere to, but generally so long as you are trapping using correctly made snares, on privately owned land, and with the owners permission, you are free to use snare as you want.

The code of practice guidelines are laid down by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

There are many variants showing how to make a simple survival snare trap, and this one is one of many, you may already have success with your own design, but whatever you choose, trapping animals will bring you in a supply of food when most needed.

Setting several snares will increase your odds of successfully putting food on the table in a SHTF situation, and by knowing this simple method your overall survival rate has increased.....

So You've Bagged Yourself A Rabbit For Tea What Now?

There is a very high chance of the rabbit simply being caught in the snare. In which case you will need to dispatch it quickly and as humanly as possible.
Essentially this involves braking the rabbits neck, causing instantaneous death.
This is the most humane method.

If you want to know more about humanly dispatching a wild rabbit, I suggest nipping over to YouTube here:
Three Methods To Dispatch A Wild Rabbit. 
This is a very good channel coving many aspects of hunting, trapping and shooting.

Field Dressing And Preparing Wild Food

There are loads of really easy recipes for cooking rabbit, and it's a very tasty meat as well.
Fried or in the pot, it makes a very nice meal. 

For more information on preparing and cooking rabbit please see this article:
Basic Food Preparation: How To Butcher And Prepare Fish And Game Using Survival Skills

I hope this article has given you some help in understanding the skills involved in living in the wild, and trying to find yourself food far away from the pre-packed luxury of the supermarket...

Although trapping animals is not for everyone, I think it is a skill us preppers need to understand, and wherever possible, practice.

Although I myself do not go out trapping, I do take full advantage of the various bushcraft events that happen throughout the year, where it is possible to take part and learn these skills.

Steve Hart  -  UK Preppers Guide

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    • Steven on November 2, 2020 at 10:37 am
    • Reply

    Great site. Look forward to more info.

    • Nev George on October 29, 2019 at 6:45 pm
    • Reply

    I agree with thepragmaticsurvivalist on this one, I tend to shoot rabbits with an air rifle but if in a enforced survival situation I may not have that luxury so snares one of the options, I was taught snares and traps by homicidal Royal Engineer Officer back in the 80’s after he was kicked out of the SAS so he taught us Sappers before an escape and evasion exercise.

    • thepragmaticsurvivalist on January 22, 2019 at 9:03 am
    • Reply

    Thank you for this, it’s an informative read. I learned how to snare animals with my dad who was a gamekeeper for many years.

    I have recently got into prepping for the coming climate change disaster and am a big fan of your site.

    I think the most important part of snaring that must be re-iterated is to check the snares regularly. At least twice a day. Preferably just after dawn and just after dusk, this is when animals move most often.

    Checking snares regularly ensures that the animal, if caught, isn’t in distress for hours on end. It also reduces the likelihood of your snared animal (a rabbit in this example) being predated by something else while you are away, such as a fox. Furthermore, never underestimate the desire of a trapped animal to escape, the longer they are left, the more likely they are to have escaped somehow.

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