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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2012, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Peat moss

I have heard a lot of people saying that they are using peat moss to freeze proof traps. I don't understand how this works because peat moss absorbs moisture and in freezing temps will also so freeze. If anybody uses peat moss for their traps let me know how it works
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2012, 05:54 PM
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Re: Peat moss

Peat moss will take SOME moisture...better than dirt.....and if its dried before use, and you dont get rain or freeze/thaws with snow, it will stay dry and functional....

But you get a thaw or rain, and its probably slightly better than dry dirt...

Last season was brutal...freeze/thaw/heavy rain/snow/freeze/thaw..every week...i used peat..i used dry dirt...i used both mixed...i used it with flake antifreeze, glycol, etc....still couldnt win....

This year i feel "ready"....i was told to.make waxed dirt....i did....i tested it with a light shower with the hose.....water beaded off like no other....it was amazing...looks like dirt...smells like dirt....but seems to be about water proof....and it wasnt very hard to make...
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 01:52 AM
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Re: Peat moss

Mauser is right on. Peat doesn't absorb water like dirt does. It's put on top of flowerpots to let the water go down through it and keep water from evaporating out of the potting soil. Ron Marsh introduced me to waxed dirt about ten or twelve years ago, and I've used it ever since. However, one year I decided, after doing a lot of research on peat, I decided I'd try it, mainly because it's lightweight. That year, I had the same weather as what Mauser is describing. I had great big 25-pound pancakes of peat with a trap frozen somewhere in the middle. Meanwhile, it looked like the aftermath of coyote 'Dancing With The Stars' in the snow on top of the pancakes. I switched back to waxed dirt and never looked back. I believe if you're in a more moderate climate, like you are, it wouldn't be bad... but up here in NW PA I'll stick with my waxed dirt. There are also some bedding issues with peat; it doesn't pack, and it can blow around in wind. There are quite a few big-time trappers that use peat with good success though.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 04:51 AM
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Re: Peat moss

should add, Ron has GREAT instructions for making waxed dirt on his web site!

i used the double boiler method...i already had dry dirt ready to go...i had blocks of wax so i used a cheese grader to get it to melt nicely..flake or bead wax would be better..probably more expensive than blocks of wax..i never looked..had blocks handy and didnt take long to grade it...


i cant wait to try it!

lugging dirt (or peat for that matter) around can be a pain if trapping on foot like i often do...but, i typically only trap later in the season...dry dirt from a set just doesnt exists..


i think it was #17 on here that turned me onto using long timber spike nails to bed a trap solid..they work well..and if using straight peat, its almost a must IMO because like Bob said, peat just doesnt pack worth a dang for me which always leads to a wobbly trap for me...
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 11:02 AM
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Re: Peat moss

One thing I've never tried even once was using wax dirt....so it might just be the cat's meow, I'm not sure.
But, I have never had any issues with straight peat moss freezing other than forming a thin crust on steps down dirtholes where the water had nowhere to evacuate.
I've snapped traps that were ponded over with water, 3-4" of water in the bowl, and when I fired them to pull them a big plume of dry peat came flying up out of the bed.
In last years sloppy conditions all season long I didn't have a single issue using straight peat.
And yeah Mauser, those spikes are essential to my method of using peat. Once the trap is spiked down, you can pack peat between the jaws, and around the jaws tight to the edge of the bed. Glad it works for you.


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:24 PM
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Re: Peat moss

I bed in peat moss from the beginning to the end of season.... Dig trap bed properly, not oversized, line bottom of bed including where the levers touch the ground. Fill bed half way with peat moss, place trap in bed and wiggle down into the peat. If the bed is properly sized the trap will be in contact on all sides and lever of the trap, there is no movement of the trap. Hand full of peat on top of the pan and inside the jaws. Scrape the peat to find the pan, once the pan is located, touch your index fingerss and thumbs together on both hands creating a circle, place circle over the pan and lean and push hard compacting the entire trap and peat inside and outside the jaws. Light sifting of native dirt to hold the peat in place, once again, scrape and find the pan, repeat the above process again, compacting the light covering of native dirt. Final light sifting and off you go. As 17 stated above, and I can attest even in hurricane conditions with inches of rain, when the trap is set off dust flies out of the bowl....I don't understand the what's and why's, but if you just accept it, you can sleep at night knowing the trap will fire if the pan is hit. Also, the initial covering in the trap bed and under the levers will prevent freeze down as the jaws and levers are not in contact with any dirt..... When done properly the only soft spot in the entire trap bed is the pan. Oh, before I forget I do not use pan covers, I use polyfill under the pan to prevent any obstructions under the pan.

Work with it and don't give up on it. Peat moss is a gift from the trapping gods. Good luck.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:35 PM
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Re: Peat moss

Wardog, how deep are you digging your beds?
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 10:14 PM
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Re: Peat moss

I have had the same experiences as #17 and wardog. The only thing I do is when freezing and snow is in the forecast I use plain old table salt that you buy at the store for .79 cents per pound. Sprinkle a little in the bottom of your bed pre-peat. Add a little peat and sprinkle again. Bed trap add & pack peat sprinkle salt again and then cover with native sifted dirt and sprinkle a little more salt. Never had one freeze, never had one not snap and puff dry peat up at your face and I have never had deer or critters come licking the ground as some say happens. Theres not that much salt per layer. Maybe a teaspoon at the most. And I to use polyfill. I dig my bed deep enough so when the set is finished the finished grade of the final sifted native dirt is the same as whats outside the bed.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 04:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Peat moss

Mauser does waxed dirt pack better than peat moss does?
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 09:20 AM
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Re: Peat moss

Yes waxed dirt will pack better then peat. The trick with peat is to not cut your bed any bigger then the trap. And to sift your peat to get any sticks or large pieces out. I also use a trapper's cap ( using a cap you can pretty much stand on the trap to pack without it firing) and before the trap is put in the bed put just enough peat down to keep the trap from touching any dirt. But none of this matters if your trap is not bedded tight and has no wobbles. Thus the reason 17 uses a spike to stabilize his. All depends on your soil quality. If your trap wobbles you are not gonna catch much no matter what you pack in and around your trap to keep it working in the cold, white or wet conditions.

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