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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Repeating Box Trap

When I lived in town I had the damnedest time with raccoons getting into the trash. Every morning I would wake to ripped trash bags and garbage strewn about. They would push over the cans to get to the goodies inside. I tried everything I could think of. I poured bleach into the bags, mothballs; I even sprayed the contents with coyote urine with hopes of discouraging the little bandits. Nothing worked.

I could have made an awesome coonskin cap from the hide, but nosy neighbors, game wardens and not wanting to go to jail again for poaching kept me from pulling the trigger. My best option was to catch and relocate the critters far enough away that they would not find their way back to my trashcans.

I am sure most of you have seen or heard of the live traps sold by Havahart. These work great but are expensive running upwards of $30 for the smallest models intended for squirrel or similar animals. Sizes for raccoon run $97 dollars or more depending on the retailer. I didn’t want to spend that kind of money for a trap, especially when I can make one for little or nothing.

Box traps can be constructed using any solid wood. Start by building a long rectangular box from two feet to for feet long, with an opening of at least six inches squire. This size works well for squirrels, rabbits, muskrats and mink. For medium sized pray such as coons, possums, cats, skunks, groundhogs and foxes construct an eight inch opening. Beaver, coyotes and badgers need a twelve inch opening and a trap that is three to four feet long.

Some trappers construct these traps with a door at each end of the box. They can also be built with only one door, the other end covered with heavy gauge wire or grating to block the animals’ escape, while at the same time giving it the illusion of being able to move straight through the box from one end and out the other.

Most traps of this type can only catch one critter with each setting; these work well but limit the trapper. The repeating box trap can continue catching game until the box can not hold anymore or the forest has been empted.

The repeating box trap is simply a box with one way doors or door depending on construction. Doors can be made from aluminum grating of the type found in old refrigerators that has been cut to size and arc welded back together for strength if necessary. The door swings up and into the trap but not out.

The animal pushes into the box past the door and once inside it can’t get back out; the door is automatically reset allowing the next critter to be trapped in the same manner as the first. Keep in mind that the four foot boxes work best for trapping more than one of any given species.

Bait depends upon the game. Muskrats are attracted to sweet corn and carrots, coons like sardines and peanut butter; squirrels seem to come into buckeyes and freshly crushed acorns, cats like sardines etc. Place the bait in a small jar with perforated lid, so the first critter caught in the box doesn’t eat the bait and spoil your chance of a subsequent catch.

My favorite bait when going after predators like fox, coyote and bobcat is a live mouse in a jar. Punch holes in the lid and put in a handful of grass and a bit of grain. Catching the live mouse seems to present the most difficult challenge.
Homemade box trap

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1 comment:

  1. How do you make the door so they cant get back out?