Trapping is a skill and you are guaranteed to make a lot of mistakes while mastering this essential survival skill. The tactics described so far are meant to be a general overview.
Successful trapping may vary depending on the region and the type of animal being targeted.
Only through practice and experience will you be able to learn these subtle differences and how to make changes to increase your likelihood of success every time you set or reset a trap.
That said, there are some common mistakes often made by inexperienced trappers that can have a definite effect on your success rate. Not using the correct tension on a spring pole, for instance, could allow an animal to escape even after it has been snared. In ideal conditions, a spring pole should lift the animal up just enough that they are unable to escape once caught.
The animal should not, however, die immediately if possible. This will spoil meat quickly in hot weather. Likewise, not enough tension and the animal may be able to chew its way through the snare and escape before you have a chance to check the trap and harvest the animal properly.
When using bait, it is important to always take advantage of the prevailing wind direction. A baited trap that i placed downwind from animals will be much less effective than one that uses the wind to its advantage to draw animals closer to the area. Failure to consider wind direction could make your trapping efforts a complete failure when relying on bait to lure animals into the trap line.
Trap placement is one of the most important factors for long-term trapping success.
Especially during a survival situation, you are only going to have a few traps at your disposal so it makes sense to use them in the most effective way possible.
The absolute best place to setup a trap line is in an area where multiple habitat features intersect. Since animals tend to always follow the path of least resistance, they typically use the same trails to get to and from various habitat features every day. By setting your traps along these trails, you greatly improve your chances of consistently trapping enough food to survive.
Never use too much bait. Excessive bait is more likely to educate an animal and make them trap shy because a large pile of their favorite food is not natural. Most animals will be extremely wary of such a large pile of bait. Bait should always take a backseat to proper trap placement.
In fact, many animals can be trapped without using bait at all assuming the trap is properly positioned. If bait is used, make sure to use only enough to attract an animal without making them overly suspicious.
Finally, always make sure to test your traps regularly both at camp and once they are set up in the field.
A trap that triggers too late or in the wrong location guarantees that the animal won’t come back to visit your trap line again anytime soon. Use natural cover to conceal traps whenever possible and be sure to eliminate as much of your scent as possible or most animals won’t even take so much as a second look at your trap or any bait you’re using.