During the Great Depression, one of my dad’s childhood chores was to check the family’s series of box traps. In those days, if there was any meat to be found on the dinner table, it was rabbit or squirrel – courtesy of those box traps. Jump forward 70 years, and a homemade box trap is still a viable option for meat on the table during challenging times. You can even build the traps yourself with a few tools, a little scrap lumber and a few odd bits of stick and string.
Step 1. Gather together some lumber and tools. You’ll need boards, a handful of small nails and screws, a few feet of string, a piece of wire mesh, 2 pencil-diameter sticks, a hammer, a drill and a saw.
Step 2. Build a box that is shaped like a tunnel, with both ends open. Nail or screw four small wood strips at one end of the tunnel to act as guides to allow the door to side down securely. Nail the mesh at the other end of the tunnel.
Step 3. Drill a hole near the mesh end of the box for the trigger. Whittle a notch on the trigger peg, and tie your string to the other end of it. Attach the free end of the string to the top of the wooden trap door. Set your string to the top of your longer stick.
Step 4. Now comes the tricky part – adjusting everything. The trigger stick may need to be re-carved to get it more or less sensitive. Bait with species appropriate food or scent baits, and check twice daily (before they chew their way out).
These tips, and many more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s books: Prepare For Anything – the Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual – How To Survive Anything – the Ultimate Winter Survival Handbook – and How To Survive Off The Grid
Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch
And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.
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