Re: Conibears for muskrats on slides and baited sets??
Don't throw away the tools in the toolbox. Yes, bodygrips have their place on the trapline, just like footholds... but neither is a 'one-size-fits-all' solution.
On the slides; if the slide is already 'tight', as in there is guiding in place, such as weeds and twigs, set 'em up with those bodygrips. However, if the slide is wide open, there is no incentive for the 'rat to go through the trap when it can go around it. When you go into Megamart, do you use the wide-open automatic door or do you go clear over to the side and use the small push-open mandoor? If it's naturally fenced-in, no problem... but trying to force the muskrat to go through a trap by drastically altering the slide with guiding will just make the muskrat move to another approach. In this case, a foothold in the slide is a lot less unobtrusive and a much better choice.
Baited sets with bodygrips; in my experience you'll be quite disappointed. On bodygrip sets, you want the target animal moving so you get a suitcase catch. With bait on the triggers, Mr. Muskrat comes up and stalls out. He reaches for the bait with his front legs... SNAP!!! right in his face, maybe hitting him in the nose. You'll have a lot of snapped, empty traps. Again, on bait sets, a foothold is the way to go.
Wringoffs; muskrats are easy to drown. If you can get them into more than a foot of water, they will be there the next morning. Are you using slider drowners? For the first 20 years I trapped, I had no idea there was such a thing. The trap was simply wired to a stake or rock in deep water. 99% of the time, Mr. Muskrat was tail-up. Any wringoffs I had (which were very, very few) were due to the trap/chain/fastening system getting entangled in something in shallow water. Now my early trapping was on the Allegheny River, where we didn't have a lot of vegetation in or around the water, like you would have in a marsh. When I started trapping marshes, I had a LOT more wringoffs. Using a slider definitely helped, as long as there was a clear path down the wire. Stoploss traps were also a great help, as they definitely prevent wringoffs. Having that spring way up on the muskrat's shoulder prevented them from twisting. But remember, a muskrat's first instinct when something happens is to go for the deep water. Help him along by using a good drowning system free of entanglement and you'll have a 'rat to skin in the morning.
To this day, given my choice, I will still set a foothold over a bodygripper. Save those bodygrippers for dens and runs, where Mr. Muskrat is moving, and use those footholds for when he's putting his feet down. Give him a path to deeper water, with a good drowning system, and you'll greatly increase your catch.