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Best Snare Wire for Making Traps | Choosing the Correct Gauge

Using snare wire to catch small game is a major part of hunting and an excellent solution for finding food with relatively little effort. The problem is that so many people choose the wrong size by incorrectly assuming that any wire will do the trick. The truth is that you have to pick the correct gauge if you don’t want the animal to escape.

The best snare wire for making traps should be between .20 gauge and .24 gauge. This size range is thick enough to hold small animals but thin enough to prevent them from seeing the shiny silver reflection. Steel, copper, and brass are all common and popular materials for snare wires.

For most small animals, snare wires like these will do the trick nicely. They are .20 gauge steel with hardened plastic around the edges.

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following info about snare wires for hunting traps:

  • The correct gauge range for small game
  • The perks of each common material
  • The best snare wire on the market for the price
A Variety of Wire Snares

What Gauge Is Good for Trapping Small Game?

Small game requires a specific gauge to prevent them from escaping or seeing the wire. You need to be able to hide it in their natural environment, so stick with a wire gauge between .20 to .24. The higher the number (.24 in this case), the smaller the wire’s dimensions will be.

.20 vs. .24

Working with extremely thin wire can be a challenge for people who have big hands and fingers. If you’re considering .24 gauge, you might want to think about moving it up a bit to prevent tangles and frustration.

The good news is that some wires are bound and wound together to make it easier to handle. This pairing creates a rough texture that promotes grip, even though it’s only .20 gauge wire.

Wire Length

Remember that the length of the wire is also important. If you’re handling thin snare wires, you need a lot of room to make traps with it. There’s no point in having an ultra-thin wire that can’t be fixed in any which way.

When you’re searching for the right size snare wire for making traps, shoot for anything from 48 to 60 inches in length. It’s enough to make all sorts of traps, but you can also cut the wire shorter if you want to. Keep in mind that some of the wires, including the best one below, have special attachments that preset everything for you.

Note: The smaller the animal, the smaller the gauge. Keep this simple phrase in mind when you’re choosing a new snare wire for making traps. For example, small rabbits can be caught with .24 wire, whereas larger game require .20 wire.

Closeup of a hare or rabbit on grass in the forest

Does the Material of a Snare Wire Matter?

Snare wires are made out of all sorts of materials, but the best three are copper, brass, and steel. They’re all equally as valuable, but there are definitely pros and cons to each type. 

You wouldn’t want to use steel in a rain-soaked environment unless it comes with an anti-rust coating. On the other hand, copper would be a poor choice if the area is covered in snow since it’ll reveal itself too easily.

Let’s break down each of the metals in detail below.

  1. Stainless steel snare wire is one of the best choices around because it’s durable, it blends in with the surroundings, and you can use it multiple times. There’s no need to worry about bending steel too far since it won’t break. The only real issue with steel traps is that they can rust if there’s too much moisture in the air.
  2. Copper hunting snare wires are also a good choice if you want a long-lasting solution. Unlike most other types of metals, copper can’t rust. You can use it in virtually any weather without it breaking down or corroding too quickly. The problems with copper are that it’s a bit pricey, and it can be an obvious trap in white-out weather.
  3. Brass is a budget-friendly option for those who want to cut down on their total price. It’s not quite as good as copper or stainless steel, but it can hold its shape very well. Another benefit of using brass wire is that, much like copper, it can’t rust. However, brass can develop a tarnish that dulls the color and adds a green-brown tint.

Regardless of which material you use, proper placement is crucial. Luckily, the stainless steel snare wire in the next section does all of the hard work for you.

Related 7 Ways to Find Food in the Wild | Must-Know Techniques.

The Best Snare Wire for Hunting Traps

Having the right tool is half the battle. That being said, there are countless snares on the market, so how do you know which one to choose? These snare wires are what I recommend. They are .20 gauge wires and made out of steel, but they also have hardened plastic around the edges.

This combination of lightweight, highly durable materials is just about as good as it gets. You don’t want to settle for too many metals that’ll end up rusting out, which is why the coating comes in handy.

Rather than only getting one snare as you might in other packages, this one comes with several. Keep them in their original packaging, and they won’t be subject to an expiration date. They also come with spiraling ties to prevent them from falling apart or loosening, as you’ll see in lower quality wire snares.

Each snare should be at least 48 inches long, making them useful for all sorts of projects. Keep in mind that they’re designed for animals no bigger than fox-sized animals and other similarly sized small creatures. You’ll be able to slow other animals, but it’s unlikely that it’ll create more than a simple distraction. Nonetheless, having a multi-pack of them stored in your survival kit is a great way to ensure your food supply.

One of the most convenient features is the quick-loading wire. It’s designed to pull the second it’s tripped. The result is a nearly instant wire pull that drastically increases the chances of you catching the prey. As the loop closes, it slides along the plastic rather than dragging and chipping away at the steel.

As you can see, there are numerous reasons why so many people choose these snare wires. They’re incredibly easy to use, even if you’ve never worked with anything like them before. You can throw them in your bug out bag or start hunting with them right away.


  • Comes in a multi-pack
  • Designed with long-lasting steel and plastic to prevent wear and tear
  • Over 48 inches in length
  • Quick closing snares to catch animals right away

What Should You Look For?

When you’re buying new wire snares for survival, it’s important that you know what to look for. Rather than buying the first product that you see, you should keep an eye out for the different factors mentioned below.

Here’s what to look for when you’re getting brand-new wire snares:

  1. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Don’t settle for low-quality snares, and definitely get more than one snare per pack. The wire snares mentioned above are top of the line, not only because of quantity but also due to their high quality. Whichever snares you purchase, settle for the best!
  2. Inspect the materials used in the snares. Some snares are simple, thin, and made with aluminum with nothing else. If you get such thin snares, you’ll only be able to catch small rodents. Another issue with non-coated snares is that they’re eventually going to rust, break, and bend.
  3. Don’t forget to look at the overall length. Some snares are shorter than others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re weaker. The width, material, and coating of snares are also worth checking out. These snares, in particular, are over 48 inches long, making them about the average length of wire-trapping snares.
  4. How quickly do they close? The primary purpose of a wire snare is to close quickly and trap the animal that steps in them. As mentioned above, the snares in this article are designed to close immediately with the motion of the prey. Some of them close a bit slower to prevent them from being aware of what’s happening.
  5. What is the functioning mechanism of the snares? Some snares close by twisting, while others use hooks and barbs to hold the prey. If you intend to release them or prevent inhumane pain, then twisting snares will simply hold them in place. You can remove the snare without causing harm.

My recommended snares meet all of the criteria above.

Final Thoughts

Having a good set of wire snares are great for emergency or hunting kits because they keep you prepared for a variety of circumstances. They are also inexpensive, incredibly effective, and they don’t take up much space at all. However, choosing the correct snare wire gauge is the key to a successful hunting trip.

Whether you’re out on a survival trip or you simply want to catch small game around your house, .20 to .24 gauge is the way to go. For such a small wire, you’ll be able to possibly feed yourself in an otherwise very dangerous situation. You also should ensure that the wire sits between 48 to 60 inches in length to give it enough pressure and resistance to escaping animals.

Here’s a quick recap of the post:

  • Steel, copper, and brass are the most common materials for snare wires.
  • Choosing the correct length and gauge, as mentioned throughout this post, is the best course of action.
  • Snares are an effective way to trap animals to eat or even relocate.

Common Newbie Questions & Concerns

Now that you’ve seen what to look for and you know the best snares around, you’re almost ready to pick them up. Some of you might have a few questions or concerns about picking out new snares, so let’s check them all out below.

Here are the most frequently asked questions about wire snares:

  • How do wire snares work? Wire snares work by looping around themselves. Once something steps in between the loop and nudges the opposite end of the line, the snare closes around its arm or leg. It gets trapped and can’t move since more force only increases the strength of the snare.
  • What are snares made out of? The snares mentioned in this article are made out of steel coated in a plastic sleeve at both ends. However, some snares are made out of aluminum, while others are made with different types of metal alloys. Always make sure that the metal is treated to prevent rust.
  • How long do they last? Wire snares can be used repeatedly until they break or show signs of corrosion. The problem with using them for too long is that breaking can allow your prey to get away. You’ll start to see that they’re dried out and fragile, which is when they’re due to be replaced.
  • How many wires are in a snare? Most snares only use one long wire, but some of them have 3 or 5 wires wound around each other. More wires usually increase the durability of the snare, but they also pose the risk of coming undone. Neither choice is better; It’s simply a personal preference.
  • Do you need snares for a hunting survival kit? Having a high-quality set of snares in your kit will allow you to trap small animals in the event of an emergency. If you’re not near a grocery store and you need food fast, snares will be worthwhile. In most cases, you can catch something within 24 hours.

Thanks for reading!

For more, check out What Can Deer Smell? (How To Avoid Detection).


Friday 24th of November 2023

Jim thanks for the advice What best gauge of wire for a groundhog? Thanks Tim

Jim James

Monday 27th of November 2023

A #11 should do the trick nicely.