Trapping or snaring is a simple process. Your goal is to capture, hold, contain, or kill the intended target species. Without the use of real traps or snares, you have to use your head and rely on primitive trapping skills. You have to know and understand the animals. The better your understanding of the wildlife, the better trapper you will become. The better trapper you are the better your chances at survival.
I have a friend who just started trapping and she told me she used to think you just put traps anywhere in the woods and the animals would be caught! This is a very important statement if you are a beginner. To understand trapping, you have to understand what real estate agents say all the time – “Location, location, location.”
To become an expert trapper, you must study every piece of written material on the target animal. I am not just talking about trapping books and videos, but real wildlife studies. We have 50 states and all 50 states have done some form of wildlife study every few years. These studies will teach you a lot. For example, an Iowa raccoon study found that the average raccoon family of two adults and four pups live their entire life in a 160-acre area. The Canadian beaver study found that you can trap two beavers per den every year, and not hurt the population. The Texas coyote study found out that you have to trap 70% plus of all the coyotes in a given area to hurt the population. These same studies also found out that if the population was really trapped down, the surviving families will have more pups in their litters. This is a natural rule that “Nature will always fill a void.”
Have you seen the movie with Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins called “The Edge”? I think that is what it was called, Anyway, on to the point here. This is the movie where they are stranded up in Alaska. They make that little cage trap out of sticks and twine to catch the squirrel. Then when they catch a squirrel. The funny part was that the squirrel the movie shows getting caught in the trap doesn’t even live in Alaska and I laughed my head off when I saw that part! Furthermore a trapped squirrel would have jumped and pushed at the cage. That cage, having no weight on it would have fallen open, and the squirrel would have escaped. Don’t rely on Hollywood to teach you any survival skills! Learn from the experts and learn the right way. If you wish to learn primitive trapping skills then we will share with you some of the tricks we have learned over the years.
Pine Sap and Birch Bark Trap.
One of my favorites from my “10 Homemade Traps” video is a century old way of trapping birds. For centuries, the Indians knew that trapping fed them better than hunting, and they developed this trap.
You use a smooth, easy-to-form type of bark, like Birch or any pliable, soft, inner bark. Form a cone like an ice cream cone, and tie strips of inner bark around the cone to keep it together. Score a pine tree by cutting off a 4 x 4 inch square in the bark, until you can see the inner bark. The sticky sap will flow out. Take a stick and get a good glob of sap, then smear it onto the inside of your cone. Using whatever the birds – like grouse or pheasants – are feeding on (berries, corn, etc…), make a small trail leading into the cone, and fill the inner cone with the bait. The bird will eat the bait and follow the trail right into the cone! Once they stick their head in, the pinesap will stick to their feathers. The bird is now blind. But, just like a bird in a cage that you place a cover over, these trapped birds will lay down, thinking it is night time, and go to sleep. It is very important to make sure no light can be seen inside the cone. Approach the trapped bird slowly and quietly. Once you grab the bird, hold on tight, because it is going to freak out! Quickly grab it and wring it’s neck.
A Pit Trap
This is a neat trap. A friend in England told this me about this one, on catching pheasants. You dig a hole 6 inches in diameter, 10- to 12 inches deep. Make a trail of corn leading to the hole, and cover the bottom with corn. The pheasant, or grouse, will come up and reach down to get the corn. Then, they fall into the hole. Their wings are stuck at their sides, and their feet are hanging up in the air! You just pull them up by the feet, and wring the neck.
Spike and Pit Trap
This trap is a lot like the above and used for coon. Use the same directions as above to dig the hole but in this one you want to catch the leg of your quarry. Once you have the hole dug out you want to find about eight long sticks approximately the size of a dime and about 3/4 the length of the holes depth. It may take some trial and error to get the right size sticks. Sharpen one end down to a slender sharp point making sure not to slim it down enough that it will break. Now drive these spikes in a 45 degree angle into the edges of the hole. Start far enough out from the edge that the dirt will firmly hold the sticks in place. The idea here is to get the sharp points about half way from the bottom leaving a small hole between the sharp points. Make sure the hole is slightly smaller than a coons leg or hand as some will call it. I say hand because these little boogers are nimble with them. Now place your bait in the hole below the spike points. The cook will reach in to get the bait and when he attempts to pull his “hand” out the spikes will dig in holding him. This trap doesn’t always work mind you, because sometimes the cook can break the spikes out of the dirt. Trial and error will help you find the sweet spot on this one.
V Trap Method
One of the oldest methods of catching fish is used in small creeks and streams. You find a shallow spot next to a deep hole. At night, the fish come out to feed, and will swim in the shallows. To take advantage of this, you can narrow down the opening into a “V”. Behind the “V” is a solid wall of rocks. The fish will swim in and get caught or confused, and lay in the trap until daylight. When you go to check the trap, approach quietly from the front. Place a large rock, or rocks, blocking the hole in the “V”. This is to keep any from escaping.
Netting is the best way to catch the fish in the containment area. If you don’t have a net, make a spear. Clubbing fish is a waste of time in the water. All that happens is you get very wet, and the fish could get so scared they will jump over the back wall to escape. Yes, I found that one out first-hand.
Remove the oxygen from the water
This can be done with black walnuts. During the summer, when the black walnuts are green in color and starting to ripen, you can strip off the green part from the nut. Grind or pound this into a fine powder. Sprinkle a couple of pounds of this mixture in a hole, and walk downstream. The powder removes the oxygen from the water, and the fish float up to the top. Collect in a……. (CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE)
Repel Mosquitoes and Stop their Bites from Itching!
I recently found a way to repel mosquitoes and treat their bites naturally! Needless to say, this is a game-changer when it comes to spending time outside. It’s really hard to enjoy a picnic or get weeding done in the garden when these pests are buzzing and biting.
I hate getting mosquito bites but there is plenty of work to do outdoors in the summer for busy homesteaders. However, I don’t like using toxic chemicals on my skin and the repellents with DEET are really nasty. I’m not sure which is worse, the repellent or the bugs!
Cooling Eucalyptus Mint Body Spray to the Rescue!
Earlier this summer I mixed up a small spray bottle of Cooling Eucalyptus Mint Body Spray as a refreshing way to deal with the heat. Little did I know that it would also repel mosquitoes just as well as the toxic repellents!
Sure, I still get a few of these nasty critters buzzing around me as I work in the garden and I need to reapply it if I get sweaty. But I am so much happier outside after spritzing my skin with this cooling spray that repels mosquitoes!
Peppermint Oil also Stops the Bites from Itching
In addition to repelling my arch-nemesis, this spray also stops the itching when I do get a bite! My husband swears by it too. He is usually bothered by mosquitoes even more than I am, and when he gets a bite he scratches it until it bleeds.
Not anymore. Now he reaches for the bottle of cooling eucalyptus mint body spray and gives the bite a spray…no more itching!
The active ingredient in stopping the itch is peppermint oil. So you don’t need the eucalyptus oil to treat the bite. You can just dilute the peppermint oil with some witch hazel, almond oil, or rubbing alcohol and rub this preparation on the bite to quell any itching. Treat again if you notice any itchiness later on, although we haven’t needed a second application.
To repel mosquitoes, you may try using just peppermint oil in your homemade spray and see if it works for you. I like the scent of the eucalyptus and mint together so I haven’t attempted making repellant with just the mint. I included lavender oil in my recent batch but I’m not really sure if it works any better.
Essential Oils that Repel Mosquitoes
Other oils you might like to try include geranium, citronella, lemongrass, basil, lemon, clove, and thyme. All of these oils are reputed to repel mosquitoes but I haven’t tried them yet. I plan to place an order for additional oils to see if the repelling properties are stronger with them. (CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE)