Animal Traps

Some hunters shun the use of animal traps. To some extent, they can take the skill out of hunting. But some sportsmen find them useful in hunting and other situations.

Setting an Animal Trap

By definition, a trap is any device designed to catch animals. This ranges from contraptions that kill the animal from the moment the trap is sprung to those that simply keep the animal from escaping. Trapping also refers to situations in which bait is laid out for the prey, and the hunter simply awaits the perfect shot.

Steel-Jawed Bear Traps

Most of us are familiar with the old-fashioned bear trap with the steel jaws and spring-loaded trigger. These bear traps are designed to snap onto a bear”s (or some other animal”s) leg in a sharp vice-like grip. The other end is staked down securely so that the animal can”t escape.

Animal rights advocates complain that these bear traps subject an animal to an unnecessarily prolonged and painful death. They claim that some animals actually chew their legs off in order to get out. Petitions have been numerous, and these types of bear traps have been outlawed in most countries, including several places in the United States. Several of these legislations came about due to accidents in which a hiker or pet was accidentally caught in a bear trap and suffered a serious injury.

You can purchase certain types of traps that work like bear traps, but don”t have the teeth. The spring-loaded action is enough to restrain the animal, and so it”s still as effective as the old bear traps. For example, there are several places in Alaska where wolves are a problem to civilians, so the toothless wolf trap is put in place to prevent attacks.

Humane Traps

If you”re hunting smaller prey such as raccoon, bobcat or birds, you should consider cage traps. These are available at many Web sites for $20 to $50.

These cage traps are usually meshed metal, with two spring-loaded doors. One to let the animal in, the other traps it in until the hunter checks it.

Snare Traps

Snare traps are designed to simply wrap around an animal”s neck and hold it in place until the hunter arrives.

Laying an animal trap like a snare is simple. It should be placed in the animal”s path. The animal gets its head or foot caught, and when it pulls itself free, the snare locks into place. Snaring is very low cost, versatile and easy to use.

Scent Traps

Many hunters use scents to lure deer and other animals into easy-kill zones. Scents can be bought from any hunting store, and usually contain doe or buck urine as the primary ingredient. They”re most potent during mating season, and the deer follow the scent in search of a mate.

The hunter who wishes to use this strategy should invest in camouflage gear. A purchase of scent eliminator is also necessary to remove the human scent from the trapping area. The hunter should prepare to develop a lot of patience, for it may take hours before the prey catches and follows a scent.

How to Clean a Trap

Any type of trap should be cleaned every time it”s used. Animals can carry diseases as well as other scents that could dissuade the next potential catch. You should periodically check your trap for wear and replace it when it shows any signs of deterioration.


Nepa Newsletter (n.d.). 3 Types of Traps. Retrieved December 4, 2007, from the Nepa Newsletter Web site:

Ban Cruel Traps (2007). Types of Traps. Retrieved December 4, 2007, from the Ban Cruel Traps Web site: