Sping loaded animal traps

rayrose(8)June 16, 2012

I have a nocturnal varmint that has been raiding my peach tree and has moved on to my apples. I've set two live traps, but this animal won't go near them. My only choice is to buy a spring loaded bear like trap. I'd like to hear from those that have used these types of traps and give me your do's and don'ts. From a safety standpoint, I don't have any children or pets, so that's not a concern. Thanks


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alan haigh

I've only used them for woodchuck that wouldn't go into traps. Then I just push them into the holes a bit. In 25 years of trapping them I've never known of a possum or coon you couldn't lure into a trap by leading them with marshmallows- not that such a trap-shy animal doesn't exist.

When the animal control pros use them around here they put them into 5 gallon plastic containers which I assume makes them somewhat safer.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 7:32PM
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alan haigh

Sometimes tom coons are too big to go into a standard live coon trap- you may need to go one size up.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 7:43PM
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You might put a section of aluminum sheeting around the tree thereby making it impossible for the creature to climb? This is what they do in the forest to prevent squirrels from ascending some of the needed seed trees.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 7:43PM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

You can buy a critter cammera at places like walmart. They are motion sensitive and infrared. Then you will know what you are dealing with.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 8:20PM
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alan haigh

It's bound to be either coon or possum if it's at night. Bears break big branches and nothing else nocturnal filches fruit as far as I know.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 8:49PM
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dan_j(SE MI 6a)

Hi rayrose,

As a rule, I like to live and let live, so when I have a critter problem, I try to critter-proof first as riverman suggested. Depending on your tree, this may or may not be possible.

Next I move on to live traps. I've had good luck with a large plywood-box live trap that I made many years ago because I couldn't afford a HAH. I've caught cats, coons and opossoms in it. The main problem I've encountered with live traps is that the trap isn't large enough. The trap door drops on their backside and they back out. I've seen it happen many times with squirrels. Coons seem to like fresh corn-on-the-cob and honey.

When live traps don't work, I might move up to conibears. I have to think long and hard about setting a conibear. Conibears are a kill trap. Whatever sticks it's head in there is dead. It can kill your dog or cat same as it kills a problem critter. The defenders of conibears will tell you that it snaps the neck of the targeted animal and it dies instantly. My experence has been that it colapses the windpipe and the animal spends the last few minutes of its life trying to get the damn trap off it's neck. Sometimes they scream like babies in the middle of the night. Your neighbors will love you. I've only used a "conibear 220 bucket-set" on my roof when coons were ripping the siding off my dormer, and I hated every minute of it. Just wanted to let you know what you might be in for.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 5:51AM
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alan haigh

I agree that if you don't mind having a coon patrolling your property that 2' of aluminum flashing or 3' for very large toms is adequate to deter them climbing up the trunk if you have about 3.5' of branchless trunk to work with. You can also form a cone with the stuff if lower branches are fairly vertical. Smear on some axle grease and you can stop squirrels as well but you will probably need 4' of trunk.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 6:40AM
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I have both a large and small size live traps, so the size
of the traps that I'm using is not an issue, nor is the bait. I don't have enough trunk for 2-3 ft. of aluminum flashing, so that will not work. Believe me, the only thing that will work is a kill trap, one that will ensnare an animal's leg, when it steps on the trap.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 10:15AM
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alan haigh

How does ensnaring a leg kill an animal in itself? I shoot leg-snared animals ASAP.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 10:34AM
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dan_j(SE MI 6a)

A leg hold trap is designed to grab and hold it's victim by the leg, not to kill them. They're used by trappers that check their trapline daily and dispatch any trapped animals with a club or gun. I suppose it could kill a trapped animal by starving it to death, but they usually chew their leg off to escape. If you use a leg hold trap and catch an animal, you're going to be facing one pi55ed off critter. Suppose you catch a skunk!!!

I suggest that you might want to give the livetrap another chance. If the critters have already eaten all your peaches, set the trap with some nice ripe peaches & honey. I'd much rather eat that than a green apple. I would make sure that your live trap is large enough for a large coon and would tie the trap off to a tree or stake, so that a large animal couldn't roll the cage over and escape. You don't need to worry about human scent on the trap, it never stops them from digging in garbage cans.

If you don't mind me asking, what trap are you using, and what kind of bait? Has anything taken the bait and not tripped the door? Has the door been tripped?

Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 1:17PM
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alan haigh

and do you have bait outside trap leading animal in (not usually necessary for coons and possums but this may be a special situation)?

I trap on average about 25 coons and a few possums a year and have never failed to get my pest in over 20 years of doing this, although it took me a little while to get the hang of it. Now we have the internet.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 2:11PM
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I'm using the haveaheart type traps and the large one will accommodate a large raccoon, which I've caught in this trap before. I'm using the same ripe peaches that came off the tree that the varmint was attacking. I suggested the leg trap, because the trees are in my back yard and I can see the traps from my kitchen window, and I can shoot the animal, when I see him in the morning. If there is a better kill type trap, them tell me about it. That's why I posted this thread.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 9:05AM
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alan haigh

try marshmallows. Just because one large raccoon went in doesn't necessarily mean it's large enough for another's comfort zone.

Mack's Prarie Wings carry leg traps.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 11:53AM
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I've caught quite a few skunks in my live traps over the years. I've only had one major spray incident, last year, it didn't get my, just the nearby foliage, but of course I stunk, too.

Actually, I have found that, if I go very, very slowly, very calmly, talk to it soft, I can generally get close enough to release them without any problem.

Last year, I caught the same very, very young skunk five or six nights in a row in the same trap, near my garbage cans. It was rather amusing, because both of us became increasingly nonchalant about the entire thing with each passing time. By the last couple of times I caught it, it would just look at my like, "well, it's about time you came to let me out" and didn't even show me it's tail. Animals really are pretty smart in many ways. I was the dumb one, setting the trap in the same place and manner, but I was trying to catch the dumb coon!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 12:15PM
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dan_j(SE MI 6a)

That's halarious!!! Skunks really are pretty calm and confident animals. I don't know how many times I've almost run into one when I was running in the morning. Never had one point it's backside at me.

It sounds like you know what you're doing. Before you give up on the LT, please try a different bait. Both harvestman and I have had success with marshmallows. The last coon I trapped was a very cautious an it took me several days before he fell for fresh corn-on-the-cob with 2-3 tablespoons of honey on it.

I sent you an email through GW.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 1:23PM
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I know it's amazing what will finally get certain animals.
I've used marshmallows in the past with absolutely no success. I've trapped coons and possums with fruit, dead squirrels and rabbits and even bar bq chicken skin. And my squirrels won't touch nuts or peanut butter, but are suckers for sunflower seeds. Maybe it's the area of the country that we're in. Go figure.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 5:44PM
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alan haigh

coons go for meat and fish, I just don't like the fact that a lot of other animals do as well, including skunks. I rarely trap skunks with marshmallows except when there's a bad drought and they're very hungry.

I agree that animals behave differently, even from site to site in nearby areas.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 6:15PM
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