Let's hope that your survival never depends on your ability to catch game with little more than a blade, cordage and natural materials. But if it does, here are five of the best primitive traps, as shown on YouTube.
And by best, I mean functional but easy to make. This kind of survival is a calories game - you want to take in more than you expend. Many trap designs require intricate whittling and a lot of time to build. Why spend 2 hours of whittling when you can get the same results with 10 minutes of work? Trapping, especially primitive trapping, is often a numbers game - the more traps you have, the better your odds of catching something. 2 hours for 1 trap or 2 hours for a dozen traps?
Also - primitive trapping isn't something that most of us practice a whole lot. Simpler designs that you can remember and execute independently are preferable to complex designs that you can't, or only partially can.
1. Treadle Snare
Dave Canterbury runs through the basic treadle trap/snare in this video, plus several variations on the design using a similar trigger system. This variety of trap requires only cordage and can be built without tools. Size can be adjusted up or down depending on the target game.
2. Two-Stick Deadfall
From Sigma 3 Survival School. I made a variation of this trap when I was all of 14-ish - used a bucket instead of a rock to make it a live trap. Didn't think it had a chance of working...but, next morning, found that it had caught a rabbit. Mr. Bunny dug out and lived. Super simple to make.
3. Treadle Deadfall
More treadle action from Dave C., this time as a deadfall. Here's another design - different trigger and angle, same idea. Prey steps on the treadle, trap is triggered, weight crushes prey.
4. Heavy Deadfall
Here's an example of a heavy/weighted deadfall for catching larger game. The simple trigger can be used as a treadle or covered in bait, as shown. The deadfall/weight shown is a bit complicated, but does provide an ample platform for adding weight. A simpler trap would simply rely on a large log or two, as shown here.
5. Twitch Up Snare
Though Rob from Sigma 3 uses wire in this set (wire being always preferable - picture wire is popular), you could use whatever cordage you had on hand. Slightly different trigger system, still fairly simple, using a bait stick.
There you have it! Those are my five picks for primitive traps. Simple and quick to make with minimal resources.
Did I miss one of your favorites? Disagree with one of these choices? Let me know!