Bait with Cables - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Bait with Cables

I know you can not have any exposed bait when using legholds, but what about the cable restraint season? I have seen deer carcass in the snow with coyote trails coming to them. Can you setup on those trails? How close to the bait? What if you put the bait pile there? Appreciate any comments....

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 11:29 PM
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Well, let me tell you my experience with your question. Several years ago I attended a CR class to get my certification. An officer from the PGC taught the class along with some PTA district officials. The PGC officer stated that the law doesn’t differentiate between traps and CRs when using exposed bait, so therefore it was illegal to use. When it was the PTA guy’s turn to instruct, he went into great detail how to construct CR setups using a goldenrod field, a quad and a roadkilled deer for bait. Neither the Game Warden or the PTA guy commented on what the other had said. So 25 people left that class uncertain as to what the law is.

To me, I’m still uncertain. I tell folks, if possible, to to talk to their local warden and deputies as to their interpretation of the law. I believe if you were to call a Regional Office, they would tell you baiting with visible bait would be illegal.

One option would be to put out a large bait and cover it with some spruce branches or something similar to shield it from being seen from the air.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 07:15 AM
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This question came up in when I took the cable course also, and no one seemed to have a definitive answer.

Isn't the intent of the prohibition geared toward preventing birds of prey from being enticed to close proximity of a foothold? Cables operate differently....intended to capture using forward movement of the target animal. I can see not placing exposed bait directly with a cable, but exposed bait within a certain distance giving birds of prey a buffer zone from accidentally being cable captured? I never could see what the big deal was.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 08:23 AM
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Remember from your cable restraint course that:

Have stops affixed to the cable to ensure that the circumference of the cable which makes up the loop is not greater than 38 inches when fully open or less than 8 inches when fully closed.

The purpose of this 8" stop is to prevent the target animal, or non-target animal from choking to death. So, should a bird of prey somehow (hey....stuff happens) "trip" into a cable restraint, the cable will stop and prevent the cable from closing around the small neck of a hawk, owl, etc.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 08:26 AM
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The way I read it...No Exposed Bait while trapping, that's the law.

Bait Stations are spots where bait & lure is placed in a hole or depression, then covered with dirt or nearby debris. Buried bait will attract predators if placed in the right locations. Place bait stations to your advantage. Meaning, on a travel route or stalling out area where predator feels comfortable.
My area, certain Groundhog holes are prime bait station locations. Maintaining bait stations is a lot of work.

Cable Restraints & Bait Stations
In my area, bait stations seem to work best during extreme weather conditions. As in extended cold or extended deep snow cover.
Predators will visit or pass nearby, but may never actually eat during most of the year. I reason because they have an full stomach most of the time. But they do visit and this keeps them in the vicinity for trapping/predator calling season.

Using Cable Restraints (CR) with bait stations I've had problems. One was total avoidance from Coyotes. I learned I was setting too close to the prize. As Coyotes drew closer, they were more cautious and found me out. Dang.
As I hung more CR's further from bait I caught Coyotes. I set 100-200 yds. from bait.

Let me point out, CR's are designed to catch an animal while it's trotting and traveling in a natural manner. No bait or lure is used, it's strictly a blind set, on a travel way. We want animal to keep moving as it passes through the loop.

Before CR's in Pa. I used foothold traps to blind set predators with bait station. One method I used was a hanging bait station.
I placed tainted meat or fresh fish & call lure in a sock, tied off with long cord. I would hang over branch or wedge in crotch of tree branch above ground 6'-8'. Predators head & nose was raised so footholds are effective. This same method I still use today with CR's, but set further back on approach.
In Pa., keep your bait covered.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 10:30 AM
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Good post Hern.

I have a small 7 acre patch of woods that runs behind my home. In the winter when we have snow on the ground, I can pretty much count on seeing a set of fox track where the fox is traveling at his natural "walk pace". I'm sure the fox does this "circle" on a daily basis and uses his keen nose to smell any scent coming from the wood. And I can only think if he smells a food.....he's off to investigate.

OTOH, if there is a dead deer carcass in a field or the woods, I would think it would be difficult to "cover" this "bait." Then again, the CR's are set on the travel paths and not close to such a dead carcass. Birds of prey are not going to use any foot path like a coyote or fox.

Last edited by Steeltrap; 06-19-2019 at 10:32 AM.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 10:14 PM
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2361. Unlawful acts concerning taking of furbearers.
§ 2361. Unlawful acts concerning taking of furbearers.
(a) General prohibitions.--Except as otherwise provided in this title, it is unlawful for any person to:
(13) Bait a trap with meat or animal products if the bait is visible from the air.

§ 141.66. Cable restraints.
(f) Cable restraints will be considered traps for the purposes of the section 2361(a)(3), (4), (7), (8), (10), (12) and (14)—(16) of the act (relating to unlawful acts concerning taking of furbearers).

I agree with the other posters that cable restraints are used differently than for foot hold trapping. Using restraints on trails to the bait are key to success. Reading the regulations above, my interpretation of the law says that bait does not have to be covered for cable restraints, but I have been wrong before.
Section 2361 (a) lists item number (13) illegal to have bait visible from the air. Section 2361 for cable restraints does not list it as an unlawful act concerning furbearers.

Email to Harrisburg and get the answer in writing to be sure.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 06:06 PM
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There is nothing in the law that gives you a set distance for bait and CR. I guess it is up to the discretion of the Warden. If I would like to set cables over bait I will as there is no set distance on how far bait has to be from a cable. If I am wrong then I need to see the regulation that tells me the distance.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 08:40 AM
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Thanks Steeltrap. Hanging tainted bait in a sock (mentioned above), I learned from Johnny Thorpe.

Another variation of a bait station I used for years and to this day-
Suet Cakes
I've attracted many Grey and Red Fox with plain, old suet cakes, placed in a suet cake holder hanging from a branch.
I don't consider suet cakes as an exposed bait, but it attracts birds.
With concentrated bird activity, this spot attracts predators.
In recent years, Bobcat have moved into my area. Concentrated bird activity sure attracts Bobcat as well as Fisher.
Suet cakes are used to get predators to stall out and working my sets or hitting a blind set or closing the loop on my CR's.
Placing bait stations, picking great spots, requires some thought and knowledge of target furbearer(s).
Build it and they will come...NO.
Put bait stations under their nose. Use your skills, knowledge and woodsmenship to make predators feel comfortable.

I learn the suet cake attractant trick from Wiley Carrol form Sparks, Nevada. I learned from him I could use flagging to attract Grey Fox.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 08:51 AM
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Even using a bait or lure in a dirt hole and then set your cables at well worn paths to the dirt hole would likely work. I've never done that but I would think setting C\R's perhaps 20 yards out may work.

Baiting in a dirt hole meets the rule of not being seen from the air. I do "drill" some dirt holes when using leg traps. Years ago I picked up an "antique" hand drill and some 2" or better drill bits. That cuts a nice dirt hole fast. Then I've seen video where some guys use a battery drill with a wide flared bit to do the same.

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