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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Rat Trap

 In 2011 I wrote an article on rat traps, that same year we held a Dirttime event. During that event I held a class on traps and how the rat trap is often overlooked as it is so common. So we held a contest and anyone could use the trap they wanted to. The winner would get a bush knife. 
The winner used a baited rat trap, they caught a ground bushy tail. So I thought it would be nice to publish the article here ... but it is not to be as I cannot find the article from 2011, so here is a new article.

 The rat trap is so common that if we need one, we just pick one or two up the next time we go to market. I feel this trap is so important for small game I always have a few of them in my kit. I feel it would be a wise move to have 50 to 100 of them in your stock pile, at present they run about 2 bucks. I prefer the traps by Victor over all the rest as they have a stronger spring to hold the critter and it is very fast. The knockoffs just do not do the trick. I have caught cotton tails, bushy tails and birds and a lot of ground critters that add up for a fine stew, including snakes. 

                                                                                 THE SET UP

I drill at least 3 holes in the trap to hold it in place with cordage or wire, that way it cannot be dragged off and lost for the critter to suffer. I paint some of them but it doesn’t seem to be something you have to do. Bait it with food scraps or peanut butter or seeds. You can set them on a tree limb and tie in place, they do not have to be flat you can even set them on edge against a tree or a bush. The rat trap is very good at catching small game. I do test each trap to make sure the spring is in good condition. The time could come when you might need them to catch vermin in your house, I set a few on my engine block when some ground critters decided the engine was a nice warm place to nest, they chewed some wiring and cost me about 6 bills to fix it.    

Rat traps are light and take up little space in a pack. Rat traps are very effective. Just be sure not to
leave any set when you leave the AO. I have never done this, but have heard you can catch birds with a rat trap, makes sense to me, might be something to experiment with. Keep in mind the laws in your area, many birds are protected, but in a true survival situation I would not hesitate, your call.  Like all traps location, location, location is all important. Set traps along runs where the critters go. You will have a better chance of a meal. Rat traps can be used over and over again, this is a plus when compared to most snares. Sure the meals are small but 6 or 7 small critters add up to some real eating. You can practice on rats and mice. It is much easier to catch small game that larger critters. Set them around oak trees also, as may critters like acorns, any fruit bearing tree will be good.

I feel that a cache of rat traps is a major item to be set aside as a time might come when none are available at the local hardware store is the shtf. Rat traps are cheap enough to stock up on while they are available, Rat steak anyone? Not too bad in reality. Chipmunks are easy to catch. I have never caught a jack rabbit with a rat trap, too big unless it is a very young one. Sometimes your trap will be sprung, look for tracks to see what it might have been and reset plus set up a snare, you might make a catch of a bigger critter. Stock up now!!!

By Dude McLean


  1. Having done my tour in Southeast Asia, I can vouch for the need of a good rat trap. When we first arrived, they were everywhere. Our cooks first used a large mousetrap and the rats were too big. They would get caught in it and run away. Once we went with a bigger quality rat trap, our rat problem went away.

    1. Danny, thanks for comments and your service... thats why I tie down the traps you can get and keep bigger game that way..