First year trapping... traps dug up - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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First year trapping... traps dug up

Hi all,

I've been lurking the forums here for a few years and have posted here and there, but mostly I like to take in all the great information everyone on this forum provides. After watching the trapping forum for the past few years I decided to give it a shot this year. I've done a ton of research and watched many videos on trapping properly. Here are a few things I've noticed I've been doing wrong and a few questions I have on how to get better.... Anyway here it goes...

1.) I had some sign of critters walking up to to my traps but not working the set. Fox scat around the set, but it did not seem that the animal actually moved in on the set. After doing more research I realized that maybe my set was not bedded solid and that I needed to do a better job of making sure my traps don't move.

2.)I noticed the third week (still no catches) I set my traps I had sign of critters walking on my trap but it not firing. I attributed this to using the wet dirt that was in the ground and covering my traps with too much dirt. When temps dropped down to the 30's I'm assuming the dirt froze/hardened and my traps did not go off. It could also have been the fact that I was not using pan covers and the dirt may have got under my pan. Numerous times my bait would be taken out of my dirt hole and there would by fox scat right next to my trap.

2.) To make sure this didn't happen again I decided to bed and cover my traps in Peat Moss and use wire screen pan covers. So I dug my trap bed, bedded my trap by pushing in the existing dirt around the jaws and putting a pan cover over my pan and then covering with Peat Moss until it was level with the ground. I arrived at this very set two days later and the trap was dug up, mostly right around the pan.

Any idea why my trap got dug up after using peat moss? I hear something about animals (fox, coon, etc.) liking to dig where there is peat moss. Is this true? If it is, to the guys that use peat moss how do you get around that? Should I mix some regular dirt in with my peat moss? Heck maybe the peat moss isn't even the problem. Sorry for the long post and long list of questions.

****As a note, I had left my traps out all winter in the woods. I purchased them last year at the end of the season and left them out in the woods behind my house so they wouldn't pick up any scent. When I dig the trap bed and bed the trap I use gloves. When I put my bait and lure in the hole I take my gloves off to make sure I don't contaminate the trap with scent.****

Thanks for all of your help.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 01:12 PM
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Re: First year trapping... traps dug up

I suspect your traps are still rocking a bit when stepped upon. there are some good videos on youtube showing how to bed your traps. Pan tension may also be an issue if your pan tension is too high. Pictures of your sets might also be helpful.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 01:14 PM
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Re: First year trapping... traps dug up

Peat moss will blow away when it is windy and this past Friday and Saturday were really windy around here. Just a possibility I am far from an expert.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: First year trapping... traps dug up

BUZZZZZ - Thanks for the response. I left the traps as is, as I didn't have time to re-make them last night. I will take a few pictures and post them up when I get home from work tonight. I'll try and re-bed them afterwards. I took my time with these sets and thought I had them bedded solid. Maybe not. Maybe you are right about pan tension as well. I didn't make any modifications to them. What are your thoughts about nite latching them?

Swampfox- Thanks for the response. It was kind of windy this past weekend so you're right that could have been an issue.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 01:29 PM
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Re: First year trapping... traps dug up

while i'm no expert, i AM a peat moss/screen pan cover guy. while you have animals working your sets- which is good- the thing that stuck out at me was "putting a pan cover over my pan and then covering with Peat Moss until it was level with the ground."

you just laid it flat across your pan and covered? if so, that's your main issue. peat moss does give a different feel, so you need the positives of it while neutralizing the negatives. first, you used existing dirt to pack around the jaws to help with a solid bed that peat wont give you- nice work there. but with my screen pan covers, i bend the screen all the way around the pan-> think of putting a piece of plywood on a card table versus throwing a big tablecloth over it- you want tablecloth not plywood. you can have TOO much dead space which makes it obvious something aint right. all you need is dead space UNDER the pan, thats it. anything more than that, and it creates excess unstability that will cause them to dig and see whats up. by bending the screen around the pan you allow the entire trap- minus just under the pan- to be back filled and packed some.

plus always sift existing dirt back over. ideally my peat level is just beneath flush, and then sifted a touch of existing dirt level with ground for blending. not only does it look more natural, but regular dirt will keep peat from blowing away. only need about 1/8", just enough to cover/blend.

other than that though, you seem to have good processes so you're right there, just gotta firm thing up a touch- figuratively and literally.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 01:33 PM
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Re: First year trapping... traps dug up

"What are your thoughts about nite latching them?"

yes. too much creep otherwise, pending what brand you use. i just have dukes so they definitely need it. all my traps are night-latched, from #1's-#4's. very easy to do with a standard file.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: First year trapping... traps dug up

Quote:
Originally Posted by South872
while i'm no expert, i AM a peat moss/screen pan cover guy. while you have animals working your sets- which is good- the thing that stuck out at me was "putting a pan cover over my pan and then covering with Peat Moss until it was level with the ground."

you just laid it flat across your pan and covered? if so, that's your main issue. peat moss does give a different feel, so you need the positives of it while neutralizing the negatives. first, you used existing dirt to pack around the jaws to help with a solid bed that peat wont give you- nice work there. but with my screen pan covers, i bend the screen all the way around the pan-> think of putting a piece of plywood on a card table versus throwing a big tablecloth over it- you want tablecloth not plywood. you can have TOO much dead space which makes it obvious something aint right. all you need is dead space UNDER the pan, thats it. anything more than that, and it creates excess unstability that will cause them to dig and see whats up. by bending the screen around the pan you allow the entire trap- minus just under the pan- to be back filled and packed some.

plus always sift existing dirt back over. ideally my peat level is just beneath flush, and then sifted a touch of existing dirt level with ground for blending. not only does it look more natural, but regular dirt will keep peat from blowing away. only need about 1/8", just enough to cover/blend.

other than that though, you seem to have good processes so you're right there, just gotta firm thing up a touch- figuratively and literally.
Thanks for the suggestions. Now that I think about it, I did exactly what you just said. Being that I have never used pan covers before I just laid it over the pan and covered with Peat Moss. So it makes perfect sense that there was too much dead space around the pan. That's probably why the animal dug right around the pan. I'll try sifting a light dusting of the existing dirt over the peat as well. Thanks again for the info. It definitely sounds like I was not using my pan covers properly.

I'm currently using Bridger #2's. I'll be taking your advice and nite latching them asap. Thanks again.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 03:13 PM
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Re: First year trapping... traps dug up

A couple thoughts,,,

The traps you said you have, sitting out in the woods since last season. Not sure of their condition but for canines they should really be dyed and waxed with out any signs of rust on them. If there are any signs of contamination, that might be causing some of your problems.

I think a must is a solid bedded trap. Set the trap in and pack the dirt up tight against the outside of the jaws. Before I cover with dirt I make sure it doesn't wobble at all when I apply pressure at any point of the trap.

I use a wad of polyfil under the pan to prevent dirt/rocks from getting under it and it won't freeze in cold temps.

When covering with sifted dirt, I usually firmly press that in around the trap as well. I want the ground in and around my set to as firm as the undisturbed ground outside the set. The only place that is "softer" is basically inside the jaws. If night & daytime temps aren't consistently in the 30's and below, you shouldn't have much issues with the dirt freezing as long as you aren't cover traps with to much, and to me dirt is better to use than peat/hulls, etc. Screens, peat and hulls create a different ground feel than most set surroundings that I think alert the smarter critters to potential danger. Trapping anti freeze can be mixed in with the dirt as well.

I'm not trying to knock any other methods as many people like them and use them with success. I went thru a learning curve and found something that I liked, that works for me. You have to do the same for you. Listen to all the the advice and take it out with you.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 03:26 PM
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Re: First year trapping... traps dug up

Peat will not blow away of used properly. You MUST cover the peat with no more then 1/4" of sifted dirt. Also I never use pan covers. Use polyfill under the pan. About the size of a golf ball at best. Cover trap with peat, then sifted dirt. Touch up with the back of uour hand, bait or lure and walk away. Another thing... Dig your trap bed in the shape of the set trap and slightly bigger and like a cereal bowl.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 03:30 PM
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Re: First year trapping... traps dug up

if you notice the peat is blowing off and SLIGHTLY revealing your trap, cover up with a little bit of dead dry grass. works kinda like camo clothing, breaking up any kind of outline the trap has. not an expert here by any means still a newbie myself. and as a sidenote peat is a must! i had the absolute worst time trying to keep traps firing last year because of freezing. dry peat and a lil dead grass seemed to have fixed that for me.

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