Wednesday, May 1, 2013


WHEN YOU DO BUSHCRAFT, one of the skills that you would need to use and practice is hunting.  There are many ways how to supply yourself food or furs from wild animals but trapping is the most efficient and is the easiest.  All you have to do is carry a survival knife and, perhaps, some cords or wires, although when you are proficient you could manufacture cords from nature.

Compared to hunting an animal with a rifle, trapping ensures that you have enough meat to eat where a bullet hole will, otherwise, waste some of it away and it also ensures you the best part of a fur caught unscathed where a weapon would, altogether, damage it.  Besides that, a rifle sound will scare away game and would give away your presence.

Catching prey with traps and snares does away of staying inert in a place for a long time so you could get your chance.  You just set up a good number of these and leave and then return the next day.  But setting up traps and snares are not done randomly.  It is like playing chess.  You have to lure prey where they are most likely populate or where they most likely pass by.

Traps are simple contraptions that take form borne out from natural terrain or done by taking advantage of the habits and instincts of wild creatures.  The single most important element here is luring.  You must lure your prey to get into your trap and it must appear convincing else it is just another form of “civil works” gone to waste. 

Food and water are the most important reasons why creatures are likely to be lured into and they have their own ways of getting these and, in the process, they leave traces of their presence.  Another strong impulse to lure your prey out of their comfort zones is thru mating.  Otherwise, if your prey are not into these conditions you lure them to flight into a predetermined location.

Trapping devices could stand on its own but they work better with snares.  Snares are more complex and these contraptions use a mechanism that is initiated by the prey.  It has a trigger system that employ a spring mechanism that is drawn taut to achieve effect when released.  A loop made from either a cord or a thin wire and bait are attached to the trigger and completes this simple, but made from nature, machine.

This blogger teaches people about bushcraft and survival through his Grassroots Bushcraft Teaching Series for members of the Camp Red Bushcraft and Survival Guild and other interested individuals.  Ten people availed of this free event on March 10, 2013.  This outdoors lecture is taught at the Babag Mountain Range and, this time, this blogger will talk about how to identify a trap zone on rivers, how to employ traps and how to make a simple snare.

As always, the journey to the range start from the grounds of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.  Tailing behind this blogger are Jhurds Neo, Silver Cueva, Dominikus Sepe, Ernie Salomon, Nyor Pino, Benjie Echavez, Kulas Damaso, Antonette Bautista and Patrick Calzada.  From Napo, we follow the route towards Lower Kahugan Spring and rest for a while and replenish water bottles.

Along the way, I show the participants of the possible areas of the creek where traps could be constructed and used.  Catching fish by trapping is very easy and river creatures are most easy to lure even when you do not place bait.  As I have said before, traps make good use of the natural elements where, on a river, the flow of current will lure the fish there to look for food.

A classic example of a river trap is to make use of a row of boulders and divert some water from the main current into a deep cul-de-sac or dead end.  Such trap is very efficient and would be converted as a cage once a number of fish are trapped and it would be your source of food.  To sustain your existence in a survival situation, twenty or more of these placed along the length of a creek is adequate.

Where streams are narrow and natural traps are scarce, a piece of bamboo pole three feet long is enough.  One end is opened and the other end closed but a small hole is bored through it so water current would flow through the bamboo and remove buoyancy.  You place a weight at the closed end and some bait and it becomes a hidden sanctuary of a river creature.  Twenty or more of these placed along the length of the stream would ensure you food a day provided it is not washed by a rain-fed current.

After a half-hour of lecture, we proceed on to higher ground.  We reach the Roble homestead at 10:45 AM and prepare our noontime meal.  Food are taro sprouts mixed with red beans, sliced eggplants and gumbos and fried in oil; milled corn; rice; pork adobao; and canned tuna.  Fele Roble provided us green coconuts for dessert.

After the meal, the lecture proceed on to making a basic snare.  The mango tree and, later, a Mexican lilac branch, provided the spring device.  The trigger device is made from a guava branch while the cords are discarded shoe laces.  A dead branch half-buried on the ground is used as the “Guinea pig” which was caught when the trigger is released. 

Equipped with the knowledge of this very basic mechanism, all one have to do is improvise and include other devices and components or extend its reach.  The bigger your prey, the thicker your spring device will be.  For the lack of a spring device, you may substitute it with a deadfall.  The weight of a stone or a tree trunk strung up high is sufficient to that task.

Lastly, I advise all to never leave a man smell on all their undertakings.  Cover and camouflage all surfaces touched by hands and remove all human refuse indicating your presence.  The activity end at 3:30 PM and we retrace our route back to Napo and then Guadalupe.  We proceed to the Red Hours Convenience Store for our traditional post-activity discussions and socials.

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3 Writer

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