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How To Use Live Traps

Live Traps

Live traps are a safe and humane means to catch, transfer and release unwanted animals from your land and buildings.

Click the links below to learn more on how to use live traps.

Live Trap

1. Features of live traps
2. Target animal and trap size
3. Tips on trap use and placement
4. Baiting techniques
5. What bait to use with what animal
6. What to do once you've got the critter

1. Features of live traps
There are several styles of live traps available, including single-door traps, rear-door traps and collapsible two-door traps.

Single-door traps:
There is only one spring-loaded door at the front of this trap; baiting, setting and releasing the animal are done through this single door. This trap is simple to operate and safe to use around children and pets.

Rear-door traps:
There are two doors on this trap – one in the front and another at the rear; baiting and releasing the animal are done through the sliding rear door, while setting can be taken care of through the spring-loaded front door or the rear door. This trap allows for quick access to bait and set it as well as safe release of the captured animal; it's ideal for aggressive animals. The rear door is equipped with a double latch and security lock.

2. Target animal and trap size
Here's a general guide on which size trap to use to capture the desired animal:

Target animals Dimensions Single Door Item # Two Door Item #
Squirrels, small animals in enclosed spaces 12"Lx5"Wx5H 167856
Easy Set® for small rabbits, squirrels, skunks, mink 17"Lx7"Wx7"H 224499
Chipmunks, rats and red squirrels 18"Lx5"Wx5"H RHV18 72818
Easy Set® for larger squirrels, rabbits, skunks, mink 24"Lx7"Wx7"H 224501
Rabbits, skunks, gray squirrels and large rodents 24"Lx8"Wx7"H RHV24
Rabbits, skunks, gray squirrels and large rodents 24"Lx7"Wx8"H 72824
Small raccoons, skunks and opossums 30"Lx11"Wx12"H RHV32 72830
Raccoons, cats, groundhogs, nutria, armadillo 32"Lx10"Wx12"H 133757
Large opossums, raccoons and woodchucks 36"Lx11"Wx12"H RHV36 72836
Burrowing chipmunks, woodchucks, opossums, etc. 36"Lx11"Wx12"H 217738
Large raccoons, foxes and coyotes 42"Lx15"Wx18"H RHV42 72842
Bobcats, foxes, dogs and jackrabbits 48"Lx15"Wx22"H RHV48 72848
Large dogs and coyotes 60"Lx20"Wx28"H 72861
Extra large dogs and coyotes 72"Lx20"Wx28"H 72872

3. Tips on trap use and placement
Before setting the trap, find out if any local laws prohibit the trapping of the target animal. Consider the type of animal, the time of year and potential risks involved in trapping it.

Wash the trap with soap and hot water before placement. Always wear gloves when handling the trap and bait to avoid transferring human scent to either.

Set the stage before setting the trap; scatter samples of bait in the immediate area of the trap. If animals enjoy the appetizer, they will be more likely to enter the trap for the main course.

When considering where to place the trap, think about the particular species. A successful trapper knows the habits of the target animal, including what they like to eat, where they look for food and the trails they use.

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4. Baiting techniques
Use baits or lures that will encourage and entice the target animal into the trap while discouraging others from poking around it. Spread a small amount of bait right outside the trap door so the animal can get another taste of what's inside. Place the bait under the trap pan so the animal will have to work a little harder to get at it and make it more likely it will spring the trap mechanism. Always bait the trap before setting it.

5. What bait to use with what animal
Here is a general bait guide for various animals:

Animal Bait
Cat Fish, meat or cat food
Chipmunk Peanut butter, popcorn, grains or sunflower seeds
Dog and coyote Dog food, meat or bones
Fox Chicken entrails, prepared scented bait or mice
Gopher Peanut butter and bread
Martin Meat scraps or chicken entrails
Muskrat Apples, carrots or parsnips
Porcupine Apples, salt or carrots
Rabbit Fresh vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, apples or bread
Raccoon Fish, sweet corn, crisp bacon or marshmallows
Rat Peanut butter, cheese, grain or sandwich meat
Skunk Chicken entrails, fresh and/or canned fish
Squirrel Peanut butter, sunflower seeds, oatmeal or bread
Weasel Fish, fresh liver or chicken entrails
Woodchuck String beans, corn, lettuce, peas or apples

6. What to do once you've got the critter
Always use extreme caution when releasing, transferring or moving a trapped animal. Wear heavy leather or padded gloves, a shirt or jacket with long sleeves, and long pants to help protect against being scratched or bitten.

Some animals will quickly bolt out of the trap, while others may be slow to leave; when exiting, they may flee the area or turn on the person who released them. Trapped animals – wild or domestic – can be unpredictable, so be prepared for any response.

It is important to release a wild animal in an appropriate habitat, one that provides sufficient resources for it to survive. Contact local natural resources personnel to determine where that is. If you have trapped a domestic animal, contact the local law enforcement office or humane society to determine your course of action.

Use live trap accessories to help make pest removal safer:
Live Trap Transfer Cage
Live Trap Fork
Live Trap Covers

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