To kill or not to kill. That is a good question. Preserving meat, as you know, is normally no big deal. Just build a smoker and make jerky. Boom, problem solved. Or, to get by for a few days, you can cook and recook meat, or even store it raw in an earthen fridge. While surviving Alone on Vancouver Island for the History Channel my Gill Net regularly caught more fish than I was able to eat in a single day. So, to avoid spoilage, I cooked and buried them in an earthen fridge. They kept for three days (and probably would have lasted for three more if I hadn’t eaten them). But sometimes, depending on the climate, conditions, and circumstances, preserving large quantities of meat can be problematic. Making jerky is time consuming, and time is a commodity in short supply when surviving alone.
Water, firewood, shelter, and food take up the majority of daylight not leaving enough time to make jerky. Catching animals alive, therefore, is the solution. It is very difficult to trap large game alive so, more often than not, it is best to live catch smaller game – birds, minks, weasels, squirrels, etc. Foot and leg snares are excellent but also require close monitoring so as not to lose the critter. Pit traps are effective but can be next to impossible to dig in rocky or root ridden soil.
The box trap, however, is versatile and fairly universal (just need strong, straight sticks to make the box and trigger). The live animal trap in the video was fashioned out of Shin Dagger Yucca stalks and Seep Willow sticks. It’s usually a good idea to stake down the back of the trap to minimize the risk of escape.
Over the years people have successfully trapped birds and animals alive in box traps. While surviving on Alone I set out several box traps and repeatedly caught mink and squirrel. Sometimes they would dig themselves out and get away, but most of the time I had to set them free (we were not allowed to kill animals with fur or feathers). I so desperately wanted to tame a mink but, unfortunately, the rules forbad it. So I survived alone.
While training to become a Survival Instructor for the U.S. Air Force we learned how to catch and process all kinds of creatures – fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and fur bearing mammals. One time, during a Solo Survival Exercise, I made the mistake of making friends with a Cottontail I had live trapped. Killing “Hoppy” to eat was heartbreaking.
Have fun making the live animal trap featured in the video below.
If you run into any problems please do not hesitate to ask for help. Or, better yet, come and join one of our classes and we can work on it together. Take care and God bless. Show your support like, share and subscribe.