This page was last updated on Wednesday, 19 March, 2014.

Trapping for food and pelts

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Daniel E. Christoff

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Editor's Note:  Highest Quality Live Traps are available quite reasonably at: - The Leader In Animal Control Solutions.


We have a America's Farm & Home Store called RURAL KING near us. (  They sell a 2 package live trap combo for under $30. One trap is small, for small game, and the other is like a medium size, for medium size game.  This past summer I put these two live traps out in our tomato garden.  Using a small pudding bowl, I baited them with dog food. Now mind you we have a wrought iron 5 foot fence enclosing our backyard where our tomato garden sits in.  We caught 3 possum, one black feral cat and a couple rabbits with lettuce and cabbage from our garden in lieu of the dog food.  If you want to live trap squirrels, try using walnuts or other fruits from the nut family. Point is the game came to us. 


One reason we purchased our home was the fact that we have a large detention pond in our back yard easement. A detention pond holds runoff rainwater from our subdivision and stays around 8-10 feet deep year round. A retention pond does the same but  leaks out the water to a near by creek and dries up.  Wildlife tend to live and bed down near water and food resources. We have seen Deer, Beaver, Coyotes, Bullfrogs, Fish, and a lot of huge birds including Hawks and one Bald Eagle.  Again here we have game coming to us.  When the grid goes down, we have a food pantry in our backyard that we can trap, snare, shoot, gig, or fish within 30 yards of our backyard fence.  Not to mention a water sourse that would need to be treated prior to drinking. 


We didn't eat the possum or the other varmints we trapped, we released them on the south side of the interstate highway, but when
the going gets tough, the tough get going.  When the local food stores are empty, you gotta eat. The Missouri Conservation Department ( puts out a monthly magazine and is only $7 a year for Out of State individuals.  The magazine can also be seen online. We have seen various recipes throughout the years for wild game, varmints, venison, mushrooms, walnuts and a lot more in that publication. Last year Elk were reintroduced to Missouri. Have you ever tried Elk jerky?


While I am rambling on I wanna suggest you buy a Food Dehydrator & Jerky Maker.  NESCO (www.nesco,com) sells theirs for under $60 and you can use it for meat, venison, fruits, vegetables and even flowers, yes there is a wild dandy line recipe out there.  Point is you make your jerky and foods, put them in a freezer proof zip lock bag, and throw them in your freezer. Again when the grid goes down and your freezer stops freezing, take the thawed out bags and store in a dark cool environment.  You will have this food sourse for up to 3+ months.  So depending on your family size. you determine how much you make and how much you store.


"Buckshot" Bruce Hemming

About "Buckshot" Bruce Hemming and Bruce Hemming Articles
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Survivalist hunting after TSHTF

I find it quite surprising the number of people that believe they can survive off the land after the TSHTF by hunting. Duncan Long quote from his book Survival Rifles said " A garden and traps will provide more food then the wealth of hunting rifles." Now why would he say this. Mel Tappan from the 70's survivalist movement a writer for Guns and Ammo had a monthly column title Survival. Mel even said trapping is the way to gather meat and carry a gun and if the opportunity to collect game as you check your traps comes along take it. Are we seeing pattern? Yes I have said many a times if hunting was the way to go why do so few deer get taken after opening day of gun season?
Will living in remote part of the country and witnessing what happens I can tell you first hand. All year the woods is quiet until around September each year small game season arrives guys and gals in the bush shooting shotguns alerts the deer to be careful. Duck season, pheasant season more people in the bush more shotgun blast. Deer quickly learn where to hide to avoid the hunters. Then things settle down for about 2 weeks before deer season and deer have pattern the hunters. Friday afternoon Sat and Sunday is the problem days. Why would I say this? Simple because I live out in the country I see it. During the week Monday through Thursday I see the deer on their normal patterns. Come Friday through Sunday I don't see the deer.
What the hunters fail to understand is the herd of deer hunters arriving. All of sudden the car and truck traffic increases more vehicles stopping more people walking around the deer go on alert and head for their hiding spots. The small game hunters have already taught the deer where to avoid the hunters. Then open day the lead is flying at the deer. I would say about 1/2 the deer shot at are hit. The other half are running full tilt. Deer put out a warning scent when they are in danger. This alert other deer that this certain area is a danger spot and to leave. There is an old saying in Michigan the best time to hunt big bucks is from 10am to 3 pm. This is base on when record bucks have been shot. You see the big bucks have been shot at several times in their life, pattern the deer hunters. They have learned that the herd of deer hunters arrive before daybreak leave their stands about 9 to 9:30 and go back to camp and stay at camp until about 3 and go to their stand or still hunt until dark. The big bucks know this pattern and will move during this time.
But after the first 3 days of deer hunting the majority of the deer have learn to stay put until dark. Of course this is on public land with hunting pressure. Now the backpack survivalist that heads for the hills and hunts every day will cause the deer to go nocturnal. In other words the deer will become strictly a nocturnal animal and very few well be seen by people. Even after words enough people will be successful the deer herd could be thin out.
A prudent man or woman would have the traps and snares to catch "small Deer" What the heck is small deer will that is the animals overlook by hunters. The raccoons, the ground hogs, the beaver, the muskrats, the nutria, rabbits, possums, squirrels etc. Learning the snaring and trapping technique well get you into food quickly. As one customers told me. I have taken classes on primitive trapping techniques, I have tried unsuccessfully to trap animals never catching a one until I ran into Buckshot's Video and equipment. Then I quickly became successful in the art of trapping and snaring.
But in my new book The complete guide to survival trapping I answer the question can you really survive on traps and snares?
Yes and No if you have supplies of beans wheat sugar salt oatmeal and you are using your traps and snares as a supplement sure if the animals are there. No problem. How much equipment do I need for a family of 5? Is another question I answered. Survival fishing, preparing equipment making your equipment the best on and on. The idea is to make you successful trapper snaresman (woman).
You see after the backpack survivalist give up and head home the family with basic supplies and traps and snares have greatly increased their survival rating. It is just another part of survival insurance. Several people have ask me for a book on trapping as a reference guide. I ask why the DVD are better teaching tool. The answer For a reference guide after TSHTF can't watch DVD with no electricity! Can you? That is why I took the time to put the newest book together.
Times  are getting short America better stock up while you still can.
Bruce Buckshot

"Buckshot" Bruce Hemming

About "Buckshot" Bruce Hemming and Bruce Hemming Articles
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The Following is excert of Buckshot Complete Survival Trapping Guide.  The book is receiving great reviews and is in high demand. My first book Buckshot's Modern Trapping Guide last winter was selling as high as $329.99 on Amazon. I am sure this book too in years to come will be a great investment. Wholesale is available. Don't wait get your copy today.

BE the Bunny; Thinking like the Animal You Want to Trap

        In this fast paced world it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of life. People forget to stop, take a deep breath and really think. If you want to step off the merry-go-round into the woods, you must first learn to slow down. You have to learn to not just look, but to see. Trapping and snaring are about the details, not the 30,000 foot, big picture of it all. You must learn to think like the animal you are after.
        For example…rabbits (the other white meat). Most people who trap think of a rabbit only as survival food; but they’re quite tasty! Well worth learning how to trap/snare. So, now that you have a good tasting target, how in the world do you think like a rabbit?
        Rabbits have the same basic survival requirements as people: food, water, shelter and mates. Rabbits…breed. I know this will shock you as much as it did me, but it isn’t uncommon for a single female rabbit to have three litters of 4-6 kits in a year. Just on paper you’re now looking at an average of fifteen new rabbits per mating pair per year. Wow!
        But this is where thinking like a rabbit begins. What are your predators? Hawks, owls, feral cats, weasels, mink, fox and coyotes. By the time the hunting season rolls around you will still have 30-50% of the new rabbits left to harvest. Predators are not perfect; they make mistakes like missing their prey. The prey animal that escapes then learns to protect itself better. If you understand the innate need for shelter you can use that information to your advantage.
       I listed hawks and owls first because they take a lot of rabbits – “Silent death from above.” One of my most incredible hunting memories is of when I watched a great horned owl take a rabbit. I’ll never forget it. With a wingspan over three feet, the owl  looks huge. Owls tend to sit high in the trees, silently surveying their hunting ground. They sit motionless, moving only their head. When a rabbit makes the critical mistake of moving slow in the open, the owl swoops down, flaps his wings just before impact and grabs the unsuspecting rabbit in its razor sharp talons. When the rabbit is “hit,” it gives off its death squeal. I believe this accomplishes two things: First it is an attempt to scare the predator. And second, to warn the other rabbits there is a predator in the area.
        When you witness such an event first-hand, you get a clear sense of just how cruel nature can be. I have seen an owl hold down a struggling rabbit, ripping the flesh from its body and eating it. Remember, the rabbit is still alive at this point. It’s hard to watch. The rabbit dies very slowly. The owl may take his prey up into a tree or stay on the ground to finish his meal. Another interesting fact is that owls don’t come back to a kill after the first night. As far as I can tell is it’s a survival trait. The fresh blood attracts other predators; and an owl sitting on the ground would make a good meal for a bobcat, coyote or fox.
        If you own private property, one thing you can do to increase the small game population is to leave brush piles.  (Author’s note: be careful in dry climates due to forest fires.) When you harvest trees for firewood, make stacks out of the remaining small branches. Make a lot of brush piles across your property, as this gives rabbits more protection. More protection equals more rabbits.
        You can also plant “rabbit favorites” like raspberry bushes, crab apple trees, hawthorn bushes and Russian olives. If you are planting food for your family to eat you want to keep them separate: plantings towards the back part of the property for the wild game, and the fruit trees and berry bushes close to the house for you and your family. The rabbits learn to stay out of the open, to use cover and to hide in something with overhead protection.
        Some like to build 6” x 6” x 24” boxes out of scrap wood instead; increasing the size to 8” x 8” will attract the larger Snowshoe Hare in Northern climates. Place the boxes out before you use them as traps; this allows the rabbits to find them, get used to them and begin to use them. Then simply place a 110 on both ends of the box or a snare and you are in business.
        Other options are to use old culvert or other pipes up to two feet around; just narrow the entrance with brush down to 5-6 inches. If you want to increase the attraction, you can feed them a little corn now and then. Place the boxes or pipes in the edge of the brush piles. Now if you were paying attention I also just gave you a big tip for set location. Culverts-both dry and wet-are used by animals all the time. But realize you will often have a variety of animals all using the same culvert for shelter. You may set a rabbit snare in front of one and come back to find a torn up snare with no catch. You just ran into a raccoon.
        And just because there is a culvert under a road doesn't automatically mean that animals are using it. You still have to have the rest of what an animal needs in area for the culvert to attract game. A culvert in an open area may not have a single animal using it; whereas a culvert near a stream, woods, or crops may be used by several animals. One of the hardest things for people to understand about trapping and snaring is that there are no hard and fast rules. You have to be flexible and learn to adapt to your area just as the animals do.
        Trapping the other predators-fox, raccoons, coyotes, weasel and mink-will also increase your rabbit count. But remember: owls and hawks are protected species and cannot be hunted, trapped or snared! 
        Once you start to think like a rabbit you will begin to notice rabbit trails through the grass, heading towards the thicker brushy areas. These trails make great set locations; especially under a branch with two narrow down sides. An issue that often comes up is, “I can't find a spot like that in the woods.” The answer is simple: make it. Add sticks on both sides of the trail and an overhead branch that sits 7-8 inches off the ground. Set your snare two inches off the ground with a 4-5 inch loop.
        Rabbits live most of their lives in a one square mile area. They’ll have literally hundreds of trails within that one square mile. How do you know which trail they use every night? Figuring that out takes knowledge; and knowledge comes from practice. You could spend a lifetime just studying the rabbits in that one square mile, and still not be right every time. That is why I say traps & snares are a percentage game. The more you have out the better your chances of success.
        So, what goes wrong with snares? Lots of things. Other animals come through knocking them over. You didn't work the snare (loosen it up) enough and it didn’t close properly leaving you with a partially closed snare. The rest of the snare moved because you didn’t secure the support collar correctly and the animal backed out of it. The rabbit jumped the snare because you didn’t have a branch or other overhead cover or the overhead cover wasn’t thick enough to block his way and force the animal through your snare. What equipment should I use? The 110 is by far the best trap for rabbits, but don't miss your chance at practicing your snaring too. Every animal you catch will teach you something.
        So I caught a rabbit…now what? Rabbit: the other white meat. Because they are wild rabbits have little to no fat. My favorite recipe is baking them. Clean the rabbit-making sure to wash all the fur off. Season with whatever you like (I like lemon pepper, salt garlic, and I add a can of stewed tomatoes-making sure some stays in contact with the meat.) Bake at 350 degrees for two hours; check every half hour and baste with tomato juice from the pan. Man I’m getting hungry! You can also cook rabbit like fried chicken with flour and seasoning; cook in a nice stew, or slowly roast on the BBQ.      
        Have Fun; and “be the bunny!”
        Bruce Buckshot     

"Buckshot" Bruce Hemming

About "Buckshot" Bruce Hemming and Bruce Hemming Articles
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The thinking behind the Emergency snare kit

Many people have asked why the assortment of snares in your kit, what were you thinking. That is simple. The idea was to make a kit that weight under 3 and 1/2 pounds.   Enough snares to supply a person with food if lost in the woods or a small plane crash for month or longer of food. Kind of general kit to cover as wide variety of animals as possible. Squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, possums, ground hogs, marmots, deer,  feral hogs, You could even use the small snares for ducks and geese too.
The movie The Snow Walker where a small plane crashed up in the Yukon territory.  An Inuit girl and a bush pilot fight to survive. There was caribou that could have been snared. The fake running them down and spearing caribou part made me laugh. Why did I laugh because I have seen caribou in Alaska and you would have to be the six million dollar man to run one down so you could spear it. For the younger reader the 6 million dollar was a old TV show where they rebuild a man to be stronger faster super hero type. He could run 60 mph.
Another great movie ( not for children because of the R rated scenes) is "Into the Wild" Sean Penn movie of a young man that try his survival skill against the wild wilderness of Alaska.
My Review of Into the Wilds
Sean Penn put the story of Alexander Supertramp story to the big screen.
The movie starts with a quote that ends with It is not that I don't love man by I love nature more.
I think Sean Penn spend and wasted way to much time trashing the young man parents.  Instead of harping over and over and over about Supertramp parents he could have brought it up once and drop it the movie would have been ten times better. The great parts of the movie was the scenery the sense of adventure the need to touch and feel nature. What the common person has missed is the feeling of being in  harmony of nature. Not the flowery bubbly nonsense the environmentalist talk about. The one part in the movie that is so true a scene where he shot a moose and was unable to preserve it in the wild the wolves were eating it, I am paraphrasing- Nature is cold, uncaring, merciless and does not care if you are prepared or not. My feeling is just that Mother nature has a bounty but it is constants struggle if you are going to survive in it.  You see him carrying a fishing net but yet not once in the movie do you see him catch a fish. The movie ending is powerful and moving Sean Penn really capture it well. Not a children movie but a good 18 and up movie.
The scene with the Forest service is priceless. This I have been saying for years the attitude of the people who work as Park Ranger is like we the American people are invading their private property. They forget we are paying their wages and they should be helping in every way for the American public to have the most enjoyment out of visiting the park. Their attitude should be thank you for paying my wages so I can enjoy this great life. Here is where to go fishing here is great camping spot. The kayaking part is awesome  and his grand adventure down the river really capture the feeling.
Alaska is wonderful, beautiful, vast wild place. A cold un forgiven place for those without the advance knowledge of survival. Going "INTO THE Wilds" carrying a book on what wild plants are safe to eat is not the way to learn wilderness survival. When you set off and start your grand adventure it is much better to take it slow and work your way up into it. Practice practice practice. I can not stress this enough Mother nature had provide him with the moose enough food for one man for 1 year. He was in harmony with the land nature provide her bounty but nature did not care if he did not have the knowledge to preserve it. When nature turns cold and uncaring there is no lonelier place on earth. That is why I made my Survivor 3 video on how to properly smoke meat. It was base on the finding of this movie. What 3 DVD's cost is nothing compare to paying the ultimate price of losing your life. When that feeling hits you and you realize you are in serious trouble is your most critical time in survival.  Mother nature doesn't care you are just another person so what if you made a mistake that cost you your life. The sun is coming up in the east and setting in the west. The young man learn in the end nature beauty is best shared with other people. End review
If he had the emergency snare kit chances are he would have improved his chance to survive greatly. What can the snare kit do for you.
Depending on where you are in the country you could catch 6 rabbits or squirrels, 3 beaver, 3 raccoons, 2 deer or 2 feral hogs if they are in the area. What does this add up to in pounds of meat? Figure 1 pounds each for the rabbit and squirrel 6 pounds, 3 beaver at 35 pounds each 105 pounds 3 coons at 15 pounds each 45 pounds and two deer or feral hogs at 130 pounds each for 260 pounds. So your little 3 1/2 pound snare kits could if the animals are there provide you with 416 pounds of food. Now add 1 repair kit and you could do it again. Now of course not everyone can just go buy the snares and catch this much food. There is learning curve behind snaring. But with my DVD's most people can catch some animals with this snare kit. Experience is the best teacher. I can only provide you the tools and a knowledge base to get started it is up to you to actually go practice and learn the art. Thinking of trapping and snaring like hunting. If someone buys a gun that does not make him her a hunter. Only after actually hunting does the person learn to become a hunter. Trapping and snaring is the same way.  They are awesome wilderness survival tools if you have the knowledge base to go with them.
When you are starving that raccoon in the snare looks like the best tasting steak in the world.

This coon was just shot in the head with a 22. Note the snare cable by his back leg. He was body snared and still alive.
But what else works 24-7 for you weights this little bit that can provide this much food? Nothing on the market even comes close. Now think about this what gun could you carry to do all this that weights 3 1/2 pounds. Are you going to stay awake for 24 hours a day? What happen if you miss?
Once you learn the art of snaring you will have a great understanding of how to quietly quickly efficiently harvest wild game for food. With the hard times that are coming down on the Untied States I highly recommend you learn this skill while there is still time to prepare.

"Buckshot" Bruce Hemming

About "Buckshot" Bruce Hemming and Bruce Hemming Articles
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Thinking like the animal you want to trap-snare!

In this fast pace world people forget to slow down stop and think. It is easy to get caught up in the rush of life and expect the world to be the same. When you step off into the woods you must first learn to slow down. You must learn to look and notice details. But you must also think like the animal you are after.
For instance a rabbit most people think of as survival food. Rabbits are the other white meat and quite tasty. Well worth learning how to trap/snare. Now you have a good tasting target. How in the world do you think like a rabbit? All animals need the same survival requirements that we need. Food, water, shelter and mates. Rabbits breed I know big surprise it is not uncommon for 3 batches of little ones to be born in a single year. 4-6 new rabbits each time. Just on paper you are now looking at say on average 15 new rabbits per mating pair per year. Wow awesome right?
But this is where you must start thinking like a rabbit what are their predators? Hawks, owls, feral cats, weasels, mink, fox and coyotes. By the time the hunting season rolls around you will have 30-50% new rabbits left to harvest. Predators are not perfect and make mistakes missing the prey animal. The prey animal then learns to protect itself better. This is where you understanding the need for shelter can be used to your advantage.

110 conibear quickly kills the rabbit
Notice the first 2 predators I listed was hawks and owls? There is a reason for that because they take a lot of rabbits. The rabbits learn to stay out of open spaces. They learn to use cover and to hide in something with an overhead. Build boxes out of scrap wood 6x6-24 if you are in the north with the larger snowshoe hare 8x8. Place the boxes out ahead of time. The rabbits well start using them. Simply place a 110 on both ends of the box or a snare and you are in business. What else can you use old culvert pipes, heck you can even use pipes up to 2 feet round just narrow the entrance with brush down to 5-6 inches.  If you want you can feed them a little corn now and then.

Modern snare works like a champ.
Now if you are paying attention I also just you gave a big tip for set location. Culverts dry and wet are used by animals all the time. But you have variety of animals using them. Say you set a rabbit snare in front of  a culvert and come back to a torn up snare with no catch you just ran in to a raccoon.
Rabbits also live most of their lives in a 1 sq mile. They have hundreds of trails in that sq mile. Which trail will they use every night? That one take practice and knowledge to figure out. In fact you could spend a life time studying them and still not be right every time. That is why I say trap-snares are percentage game. The more you have out the better chances you have of success.
Even with all my knowledge I still can't be 100% I figure 4 snares per 1 catch. But when you are just starting out it may take you 12 snares per one catch. There is a learning curve to this. Some folks buy some snares and put them out thinking I can figure it out. Most end up disappointed because they fully did not understand how to set the snare properly. A few tips and tricks they missed cost them no animals.
But you need to understand how a modern professional grade snare works. They are awesome survival tool because they are light weight easy to carry and can be connected to a tree for a field anchor. That is why I highly recommend carrying them.

Emergency snare kit
First a small fanny pack, basic instructions, support wire to hold the snare at the correct height off the ground, 2 emergency only deer/hog snares, 6 medium snares used for raccoons, possum beaver coyotes fox, 6 small game snares used  for taking rabbits, squirrels, marmots ground hogs.
The modern snare is an awesome tool the parts are the swivels this allows the snare to swivel and not bind up, a washer to keep the swivel from tearing up the stop button kind of like a bearing, then a support collar you hook the support wire to this keep the snare set at the correct height off the ground and a self locking snare lock. Self locking this is the cool part the snare lock are designed to only close once they hit the animal they lock and will not re open until you arrive. Two different type of locks are used one is a relaxing lock designed to back off a little and the animal is just restraining like a choke collar on a dog, the other is a kill style to quickly put the animal down.
Of course setting these you must be careful not to catch dogs. The relaxing lock on a dog that has never been placed on a leash may fight it until he dies. Most of the time the dog just sits down waiting for you to let him go. But that is another article all together on dogs letting them go and dogs if the world comes to an end. It is up to you take responsibility for your own action you set the snare don't blame me if you catch a dog. :-)
I taught a survival class in Vermont a few years ago. With only 10 minutes of instruction on how to set a snare a young man left and caught the ground hog that was tearing up his garden the first night. We BBQ the ground hog over a open fire and was surprising tasty. :-) You see protecting your garden from critters is a must in true survival.
I hope this gives you an idea on snaring. Please feel free to email me at
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