What Can You Use For Snare Wire?

The use of snares as an animal trapping device is very controversial throughout most of the world. Most countries have laws that govern the use of snares. Being incredibly simple to make using virtually any suitable length of wire. Snares are probably the most frequently used animal trapping device ever invented. Animals of all sizes can, and have, been trapped utilizing a snare, including elephants.

A snare can be made from most thin, strong wires. Best to use is multi-strand steel wire followed by stainless steel wire, but animals can see it as shiny. Copper wire is good to use as a snare wire but is weaker than steel or stainless steel wire, requiring a thicker gauge wire.

The type of wire used when making a snare will depend on the animal that is targe

ted. If the wire is too thin, the trapped animal can break free from the trap, most likely taking it along when escaping if the wire is too thick. The animal will most likely pass through the wire without being trapped. Let us have a look at some options.

What Are The Best Types Of Wire To Use For A Snare?

The best type of wire to use as a snare is a thin steel cable measuring 0.2 to 0.24 of an inch in diameter.

The type, size, and strength of the wire you use to make the snare from will depend on the quarry you’re hunting.

Of course, other types of wire can work, the smooth wire will do, but the woven type is best.

The small ridges formed on the wire when the fine strands are twisted together assist in keeping the loop closed around the animal.

The multi-strand snare wire is made from steel, stainless steel, or copper.

These are the three best wires to use for snares:

1. Steel Cable As Snare Wire

A thin steel cable is amongst the best wire to use for the making of a snare. The non-coated wire is best as the rubber or plastic coating could prevent the loop from closing if it becomes tacky when exposed to the sun.

The cable is made of multiple thin strands that evenly take the strain placed on the wire. Multiple strands are less likely to break when the animal is thrashing about trying to pull free. Cables are more flexible than solid wires and thus less likely to break. 

Steel wire does rust, but if checked regularly, this is not a problem. The discoloration of the wire over time dramatically reduces the visibility of the wire itself, making it less visible to the intended prey animal.

Steel wire cable is easy to tie when forming the loop that slides on the mainline and also assists in securing the snare to the anchor.

2. Stainless Steel Cable As Snare Wire

Stainless steel cable is great to use as a snare wire. Stainless steel cable can be of a thinner gauge than steel wire as it is more robust, making it less visible.

Stainless steel wire is shiny and less prone to rust or corrosion, so it is well suited for wet climates or underwater use. The high visibility of the stainless steel wire means the wire has to be disguised when setting the snare.

Stainless steel wire is less flexible than steel wire, which requires a swivel at the anchor point of the snare to ensure the wire doesn’t twist and break when the prey animal tries to pull free.   

3. Copper Wire As Snare Cable

Multi-strand copper wire can be used effectively as a snare. Single strand copper wire may be more prone to breaking when placed under strain due to weaker copper wire than steel or stainless steel wire.

Copper wire is softer than steel, or stainless steel wire requires that the loops attach the snares onto the anchor, and the mainline needs to be tied securely to avoid them from being pulled open.

A swivel at the anchor end of the snare is needed. To avoid twisting and breaking the copper wire when the captured animal tries to escape.

Copper wire ages well; therefore is best left to dull before being set as a snare. Copper wire is shiny, so it would need to be disguised well if used.

How Does A Snare Work?

A snare is a lasso made of wire and is used to catch mainly fur-bearing or edible animals.

A snare is a piece of wire that is tied back onto itself, forming a loop.

Snares are positioned in pathways or game trails that are known to be used by the target animals. When the animal walks through the wire loop, the wire tightens around the animal’s head, neck, leg, or body.

The snare works on the principle that the harder the animal pulls on the wire trying to pull free, the tighter the loop closes, eventually killing the animal.

Most snares are made of wire that won’t spring back open when the tension is released or are fitted with a non-return device to prevent the wire from releasing the animal.

What Can You Use As A Snare In A Survival Situation?

A snare used to catch small to medium-sized animals such as rabbits is a loop attached to itself with a slip knot.

In a survival situation, string, twine, or even fishing line would most likely be more readily available than wire.  Items such as a shoelace, nylon or cotton cord, or even nylon fishing line can be turned into a make-shift snare.

The string-type snare will have to be held open with small branches or twigs to ensure the target animal can walk into the loop created.

Rabbits and hares would most likely be the most common species you’d expect to catch, so you don’t need super strong twine to restrain the prey.

What Animals Are Commonly Caught In A Snare?

Snares in various forms are used all over the world. As such, the types of animals caught in traps vary widely.

In the United States, the most commonly snared animals are those associated with the fur trade and meat for self-consumption.  These include Badgers, Foxes, Beaver, Marten, Muskrat, Mink, Weasels, Skunks, Raccoon, Coyote, Bobcats, rabbits, and hares.

Is The Use Of Snares Legal In The United States?

The use of snares is legal in almost all states in the United States. Stringent laws, however, govern the use of traps.

A permit is required to use snares. Snares must be checked at least once daily. State laws also dictate how close to built-up areas a snare may be set.   


Snares are made from many different types of wires. When having a choice, the best is the multi-strand type: thinner, the better to avoid the prey animal from seeing the trap. The multi-strand wire is also more flexible than single-strand wire and is less likely to break when twisted and turned. 

The choice of wire in terms of strength or breaking strain depends on the animal species targeted. The bigger and stronger the animal, the stronger the wire will need to hold the animal securely.

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