Is it true worth someone's time to learn survival trapping in case of an emergency situation to get food, especially in the winter months?

My gut feeling is that this is not worth my effort to learn this skill because animals can eat through the rope or cord that they employ in setting up their traps. Is my gut feeling correct? The survival trapping websites never show a successful trap catch either.

I am not asking about professional trapping, where trappers use very technical equipment.

2 Answers 2


Trapping can be effective with very simple equipment and a properly designed and constructed trap should either kill the animal outright (preferable) or not be easy to escape from.

Also bear in mind that in many cases improvised traps may be illegal (in a non-emergency situation) so it may not be possible to test them in real world conditions.

Trapping is not just about being able to build the trap itself, you also need local knowledge of animal behaviour and geography to have a decent chance of a trap being effective for example knowing what species are in a particular area, which are worth targeting and where to place a trap for it to be effective.

The big advantage of trapping it that it can provide you with high energy food for relatively little physical effort. Equally in a longer term situation just the fact of doing something positive to improve your situation can be an important psychological factor and any success at all will be a big moral boost.

Whether or not it is worth your time to learn is really up to you to decide. It is fairly unlikely that you will end up in a situation where lack of food becomes a life or death issue and you also have the opportunity to set up traps.

Certainly I would say that it is a fairly low priority as a survival skill compared to things like making fire, finding water, navigation and medicine.


Food is not a priority in the short term (1 week). The body is quite capable of functioning properly without food for a week. So for the majority of the survival scenarios there is no need to forage for food.

Now for the long term (months) food is the main priority. But a few squirrels or rabbits won't be a relevant sustenance. Still good traps to consider learning are the figure 4 deadfall trap, paiute deadfall trap, ojibway bird trap (this one is great because it even works without bait.

If you really want to gather lots of calories from traps and make it worth the effort and have a sustainable food source then you must focus on big game. Deer snares, bear deadfall traps etc.

Having a rabbit a day is just a morale boost. It provides no relevant sustenance in the long term.

I spent six months living in the boreal forest. Brought less than half the calories I needed for food and foraged the rest. Six Months in The Boreal Forest

  • Welcome to the site! Excellent job for your first answer, after you get a little bit of rep it might be worth coming back to this answer and editing in some links to the specific traps you mention.
    – Malco
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 19:50

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