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How to Make a Springing Net Trap

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

A springing net trap is a primitive trap that can be used in a survival situation to catch a meal. It is illegal in most areas so it shouldn’t be used for regular trapping. This is a great trap to catch birds and is effective all year round because many birds do not migrate in the winter. The only downside to using this trap in a survival situation is that you will need a net and the trap needs to be baited. These two things can be hard to come by in a survival situation.

Needed Materials

The first part of making a springing net trap is to collect the different materials that are needed. You will have to put in a little work to create most of the materials from things you find in the forest.

  • 2 notched stakes cut from two forked saplings

You need to find two small saplings that branch off creating a “Y". The forks of the “Y" will be used to hold your crossfire piece in place, so one side of each of the forked branches will be sharpened and pegged into the ground with the union of the branches facing down. Cut off the other side of the “Y” branch leaving just enough (a couple inches or so) to keep the crossfire piece in place. You can cut off each sapling right below the fork.

  • 1 board

You will need to create a board. The easiest material to use would be a large, fallen, dead oak branch or something similar about 2 to 2 1/2 feet in length. Split the branch in half and then keep splitting each side off until it is flat like a board. The best way to do this is to baton it using your knife and a small log.

  • 1 stake

Next you need to create a regular stake that doesn’t have a notch. Find a sapling similar in length and size as your notched stakes but without the fork. Sharpen the top as you did with the previous stakes.

  • 1 crossfire piece

The crossfire piece is a stick cut to size, approximately 2 - 2 ½ feet long. You want it to be able to fit across both notched stakes while each end nestles under the notches.

  • 1 toggle

The toggle is just a small stick about a few inches in length. You will need to cut a groove into the toggle right at one of the ends.

  • 1 net

This part of the trap will be used to capture the animal.

  • 1 parachute cord

You will want to use a colour of parachute cord that is more natural. Bright colours are probably not the best choice because some small animals such as birds can see in colour. If that is all you have then you can use it because you will be baiting the trap so it will still attract a catch.

  • 1 live sapling

Look for a sapling in the area where you want to set your trap. The sapling will be used as the “spring” part of the trap. Do not cut it down.

  • 1 axe

The butt of the axe will be used to beat the stakes in. You could substitute a rock or other heavy object for this if you don’t have an axe available.

Setting the Trap

Now that we have all the materials needed to create our springing net trap, let's get started!

Step 1:

Take the top of the live sapling and tie the end of your parachute cord to it. Bend the top down by pulling on the parachute cord. Make sure it’s tied securely. Get an idea of exactly where the top of the tree will bend down to.

Step 2:

Now that you know where the top of the sapling will bend down to, you know where to begin assembling the pieces of your springing net trap. You need to first assemble your notched stakes. You will need to take your axe (or other heavy object) and beat the sharp end of the notched stakes into the ground. Use your crossfire piece to judge the distance you need between each stake. The crossfire piece needs to fit across the stakes nestling under each notch.

Step 3:

Grab the sapling and bend it down again using the parachute cord. You need to cut the cord just above where it reaches the ground. Tie the end you just cut to your toggle. Tie it on the end without the carved groove.

Step 4:

You will need to measure where your third stake (not notched) will be driven into the ground. You will do this by taking your board and putting one end under where the crossfire piece will go. Your third stake should be driven in a spot so that the other end of the board will rest against it. Once you figured out where it needs to go, use your ax (or other heavy object) to drive it into the ground.

Step 5:

Take your crossfire stick and hold it under the notches of your first two stakes. While holding it in place, take your toggle stick and pull the parachute cord so it comes down in front of your crossfire stick and then go underneath it and secure the toggle stick so the side that has the cord tied to it sticks up behind the crossfire stick and the end of the board rests in the groove you carved on the other end of the toggle stick on the ground. The other side of your board should be balancing on the third stake. The goal here is to use the crossfire piece to hold the pressure on the toggle to in turn put pressure on the board and your third stake. Because your toggle is attached to the spring (your sapling), you want it to be released as soon as your target walks onto the board.

Step 6:

Take your net and lay it over your board. You need to do this to get an idea of how long of a cord you would need to travel from each corner of the net back up to the piece of cord tied to your sapling. Cut four pieces of cord. Tie one piece of cord to each corner of your net and secure the other ends of each cord to the cord tied to your sapling. Then lay the net back down over the board.

Step 7:

Make sure one end of the board is resting on the third stake and the other end is resting in the groove on the toggle stick to ensure the trap is set. You now will want to test your trap. You can easily do this by throwing something heavy, like a rock, onto the board. This should trigger your trap by knocking the toggle stick down. The sapling should then spring up pulling the net and whatever you threw on it for the test up along with it. If the trap is not sensitive enough you can shorten your toggle stick. You want to make sure that the toggle stick is not touching the ground at all.

Step 8:

Now you are ready to bait your trap. This trap is perfect for catching birds so you can spread seed along your board. You can also use crushed nuts or anything that will attract a bird or other small animal you are looking to catch.

Your trap is now set! When you come back to check it, you will hopefully find something inside. This trap is to be used for a survival situation only because it is illegal in most areas. It’s always a great idea to check your local laws before going out and setting traps.

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