Most forest have an abundance of animals like rabbits and squirrels. Hunting these animals is actually quite easy, it is the patience to do so that most people have trouble with. Small animals are abundant where ever you go, so in reality you should never have a lack of food supply unless you are in a deserted area. One thing to remember when searching for small animals is not to narrow your focus to just rabbits or squirrels, but be open minded to eating a variety of animals such as raccoons or small birds.
The notion for some about eating rodents is a disgusting nature. However looking at them from a different point of view such as survival eating a raccoon or a rat is just the same as eating a squirrel. The difference is only in the mind. Now I do feel it is pertinent to point out that when cooking rodent meat I personally like to burn the outer layer of the meat just to ensure that disease is not present in the meat. Though the meat might be crunchy it will also be safe.
The hardest part about catching small game is locating an area to place a snare. Finding a game trail, a rubbing, a small rodent hole or any signs of small game can increase your chances of snaring a small animal. The truth is best method for snaring an animal is not where you put the snare, though that is a small part of it, but placing many traps only increases your chances of snaring that small meal.
Now Finding the animal is one thing, but how do you catch him? Shooting an animal with a gun is one thing, point, aim, shoot, and eat happy. What do you do however if you do not have a gun then you will need to snare your prey. For every personality there is a snare. From the classic pulley snare where you have a rope on the ground to the Dead Fall snare. There are tons of different types of snare and way to many to demonstrate so I will choose only a few to illustrate. Perhaps in time I will compose more.
The first snare we will look at is a switch up snare or pulley snare. There are several ways to build this snare but the simplest is to pull a sapling bent over and secure it loosely to where when the animal pulls the rope the slip knot becomes taunt and holds the animal in place. Personally I have never had much luck with this snare and small game such as squirrels or rabbits but it works wondrously with animals such as wild hogs.
Another type of snare is the figure four dead fall. This type of snare is quite good at snaring smaller game. The principal of this snare is based off of gravity. The weight used in this snare, typically a large rock, should weigh approximately 4 times the weight of the prey. This snare uses pressure to keep it self in place and can rather be a pain to fix in place. It is rather difficult to master but it is worth the effort. I have had fair success with this snare. I warn you though it can be damaging to the fingers and hands to make.
*By the way don’t forget to bait the trigger stick.
Like the figure Four Dead Fall, the Paiute Dead Fall is also difficult to make but in my experience typically pays off. In order to make this Dead Fall trap you are going to need some twine, 4 sticks, and a big heavy rock. The basic mechanics is that the string acts as a counter weight and when the animal trips the trigger stick bam, dinner is caught.
My Personal favorite snare works quite well when there are a bounty of squirrels around. The Squirrel Pole has the potential to snare up to 20 squirrels in a given day when used properly. The squirrel pole is utilized when you have a small to medium sized log and some snare wire. The general idea is that you lean the log up against a tree leaving a gap between the log and the ground large enough for the animal to hang. Then you place the pieces of the snare wire with a slip knot around the log. As the squirrel climbs the log he snares himself and bingo dinner is ready for the grill. A friend of mine holds a record of 13 squirrels. If you do better I would like to know, Good Hunting.