Trap Placement

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    The question that is asked numerous times during a trapping season is “Where do I place my trap?” That is a good question. There is also a lot of different opinions about that topic.
       The style that works for me is basically a walk through method. I am just wanting the target animal to walk between the attractor and the loose jaw guard. I’m not too worried about catching it by the front or back foot, I just want to catch it. I want the animal to “work” the set long enough to get caught.
       What is a walk through set you ask? It’s nothing more than making the animal to walk around, more like step around, the area until it is caught.
        We will start with a dirt hole set. (it works with any type of set.) I don’t get caught up in all the hype of setting the trap back an exact distance and then off setting it an exact distance. No animal in the world is going to walk directly into your set, take a sniff, and then back out in a straight line. I understand the theory, and it is true, that if a fox or coyote is standing and facing directly at the dirt hole, then his front feet would be back so many inches and off set so many inches. But the animal does not walk directly into the set. The animal is going to stop and look at it from a distance at first. The animal is going to try and smell it, and then cautiously approach. (Now you will have the occasional animal just come right in.) The fox or coyote is going to try to circle the dirt hole but since we dig it in a 45 degree angle we prevent him from working it from the back side. We want him to come around to the front and walk between the dirt hole and the loose jaw guard. It doesn’t matter if he walks from the right to the left or from the left to the right. You do need the trap back a couple of inches but don’t worry about the “exact science” of it having to be back 7 inches and off set 4 inches for coyote or whatever some people think the magical numbers are. The animal is going to sniff from several inches back but, he is eventually going to walk right up to the hole and stick his nose in it to try to find out what the smell is. You want to get in and make the set and get out as fast as possible to try to decrease the amount of human scent that you are leaving at your set. Worrying about numbers to off set your trap just slows you down and gets you thinking about unnecessary steps.
          What is a loose jaw guard? That is the jaw that does not have the dog on it.
          There are dogless traps out there. I am taking about a small pebble, stepping stick, etc to be placed very close to the jaw. This helps guide the animal where you want him to step. The dirt hole acts as the other guide on the opposite side of the trap.
          If you have access to a trail cam, video would be even better, use it. Watch the animal approach and work the set. Another good tool is bring your dog with you and watch him work the set. Make a set exactly as you would as if you was trapping but do NOT put in a trap. When you get about 50 yards away, turn him loose and continue to walk normal. The dog will smell and find your set. Watch him approach and work it. You can learn so much from watching.
         Let’s picture you are coming to the dinner table. You walk up to the table, then pull your chair out. You then slide in from the left or the right of the chair. You don’t walk directly in and sit down. The chair acts like the loose jaw guard and the table is the dirt hole. You sit down by approaching from the side of your chair and then sit down.
         This is just some information to think about. Once again, as I always say, If what you are doing now works for you then keep doing it.
    Thank you and good luck!
    Deric Beroshok
    Trappers Education Coordinator for the Indiana State Trappers Association
    Owner of Wildlife Control Services, LLC

     

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