Prepping 101: Large and Small Animal Traps – Survival Snares

Authors Paul Helinski Prepping 101

DakotaLine Basic Snare Package ($37.95)
Ghost Rider Survival Snare Package ($24.95 – No hangers)
Trap Stakes & Anchor Kits
Request a Printed Catalog
(Note that DakotaLine has a flat $9.95 shipping fee regardless of the size of your order.

I often laugh at survival advertisements that feature a guy in camo and a bandana on his head, with a dirty face of course lol. Live of the land! Sharpen a stick and spear deer with it. Eat roots. And for most of us, dead in two weeks, including the idiot with the bandana on his head.

Any approach to “live off the land” should be viewed with caution in a survival environment. I’ve tried farming vegetables, tried milking a cow everyday, bees, turkeys, and I can tell you, stuff goes wrong, a lot. Hunting also is not easy if your life depends upon it. If you plan to “live off the land” at all, I would make sure that you know the land you plan to live off of, and that you build your skills and equipment to make your success more probable. One way to do that is through the use of snares.

In my prior article on traps I focused on a trap called the Conibear. They are expensive, and they usually kill the animal, but most trappers will tell you that they are reliable, and almost infinitely reusable, because they kill the animal and don’t get trashed by the struggling and flopping around that is common with just about every other kind of trap, including and especially snares, which can sometimes be only one use. But when it comes to low cost, low experience level, no brainer trapping, snares have no equivalent.

Above I have to a company that I what from my investigations appear to be the best in the business when it comes to snares, and they are a good source of all trapping equipment and research. The company is called DakotaLine, and the website is They have a printed catalog they will send you, and of course there is also an online store.

DakotaLine sells sell a basic snare kit for $37.95, and it comes with a video from their master trapper and owner, Mark Steck. They do have a flat $9.95 shipping, so please watch my video to see how the snares work, because you may decide to add in some extras, and some stakes, since the shipping does not change.

As you’ll see in the video, there is no magic to snares. You find a game trail, set your snare at the right height for the animal you expect to cross there, and just leave the snare secured. Eventually the animal will walk through and get caught. Usually you’ll set a few snares in and around one location, because even a well used game trail doesn’t get hit the same way every time.

The DakotaLine approach to setting snares is to use a small piece of plastic tubing on the snare to hold the loop in the air on a support wire. It is simple and genius, and though I am sure others sell snares with the same methodology, I have never seen anyone boil it out into such a simple and accessible formula. The basic DakotaLine kit comes with support wires, the driver poles for the wire, and a dozen snares. With the method on the included video, it is nearly idiot proof to set snares like a pro on your first outing.

The only thing that the kit does not come with are trap stakes. In the included video from Mark Steck, he uses stakes made from 1/2″ rebar with a washer cap welded on the tip. They sell these at DakotaLine, and I’ll also show you the wire kind of stake, which they also sell.

The wire stakes are considered disposable in most soil types, because they lock themselves over a foot under the ground, but remember that a successful set will generally keep being successful, so they are not necessarily single use.

Snares themselves are also somewhat disposable, because the animal does generally flop and twist around, which creates memory in the wire. That is why DakotaLine also sells snaremaking tools and supplies in bulk, so if you want to supply yourself for the long haul, you can do so in a cost effective manner.

DakotaLine builds their snares “loaded” which means they have created some memory in the wire in the loop, to keep it open and springy. They also offer their traps died to an olive drab color so that they aren’t silver colored and shiny. You will get less refusals with the olive died traps. A refusal is where the animal just walks around the trap. Silver wire works fine in most cases, especially if you rub it in the dirt a little.
You will also find snares in bulk on Ebay, and in various other places around the internet. I bought some large hog snares on Ebay that seem fine and good quality, but I figured that you are better off to start at DakotaLine, and make your decisions from there. I love a good deal as much as the next guy, but when you are dealing with something that has to be set and work correctly, and that has to stay together, buying a product with a known and trusted name behind it makes a lot of sense, especially at these price. No we don’t get any kickbacks. They don’t even know the article is going to hit today and will I’m sure be shocked at the bulk of orders from you guys.

Beware that most states have very strict trapping laws and a license you must purchase, and in many cases if you are caught illegally trapping they can and do take everything you have with you. That can include your vehicle. Also, as you’ll see in Mark’s video, some states require a “deer stop” on snares so that you don’t catch a deer by the leg. Nobody is going to tell you the correct height to snare a deer either, but of course in a survival situation we’ll take what we can get, and experiment with trapping whatever tastes best and is of high caloric value.

Mark notes in the video that he has not had a problem with catching dogs and killing them in his snares because he rarely sets a killer set, which as he explains in the video is where there is something for the animal to tangle itself on. He does suggest that when you are setting for coyotes, you should provide a tangle/killer set, as the dogs tend to work themselves loose otherwise. In a survival situation you probably won’t be hunting coyotes to eat ideally, but if they are trying to get into your henhouse, or they are clipping calves or your local turkey poults, snares are about the only foolproof method to get rid of them.

The starter pack is a great investment, and you’ll get a lot from the video. If anything you’ll be shocked at just how easy this is, and if you live in the country this is kind of a no brainer investment for any prepper. Don’t put this off. Once the system starts to break down, companies like DakotaLine will cease to exist, and while you are clinging to the gold coin that Glen Beck convinced you to buy, you’ll wish you had some snares, which will be an even rarer “no obtainium.”

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