Trap baiting is a science in itself. In order to know where to
place a trap and what bait to use in a survival situation, a person must be a
First of all, he must find himself a location that is heavy with animals. A
location in a transition area, where forest meets field or field meets stream is
always the most ideal location. Transition areas are where most herbivore
animals live -- where there are herbivores, there are always the carnivores.
Once we find a transition area, we must read the general sign of the landscape
to figure out the ebb and flow of life, which trails and runs are heavily used,
and put into our mind where we will set our snares and deadfalls. We must look
around the area very carefully, taking note of what the animals have been
eating. Winter time is one of the best and easiest times to bait animals because
animals such as rabbits and deer are going to be hitting the higher buds -- the
buds of bushes and trees. Eventually they are going to eat up to what we call a
browse line, which is as high as they can reach.
To bait a trap, find the plant that is most heavily browsed upon, collect the
upper buds and bait your traps with that. The same principle holds true when
baiting traps at any other time of year. Simply find out which plant or plants
in the area have been totally eaten, and find out which plants have not. Their
favorite plants will always have been eaten first. For instance, if you find
that a groundhog has eaten all the alfalfa in an area and is now starting on the
clover, you would not attempt to bait your trap with clover because there is too
much of it. Instead, bait the trap with alfalfa.
Baiting is a science, a combination of tracking, nature observation, knowing
the ebb and flow of life of each of the animals, and knowing what foods they
eat. Before trapping, you should take careful note of what has and has not been
eaten and to what degree this food reserve has been eaten. The one that is
always eaten first seems to be the best bait material.
One of the baits that seem to attract most herbivores is cooked grain that
has been crushed and pounded into a semi-doughy-like mass. This breadstuff, or
primitive bread, makes excellent bait for most herbivores.
From The Tracker magazine, Summer 1982,
published by the Tracker School.
For more articles from The Tracker magazine, visit the
Tracker Trail website.
For more material by and about Tom Brown Jr. and the Tracker School
visit the Tracker Trail