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Survival Skills: Winter Trap Tricks

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February 01, 2013
Survival Skills: Winter Trap Tricks - 4

Cold weather can wreak havoc on your trapping activities, freezing triggers shut and imprisoning footholds in frozen dirt beds. But there are a few ways that the cold can help us, whether you are trapping as a pastime or trapping for food during a wilderness emergency.

Frozen Baits
Successfully baiting traps is an important part of the overall art of trapping. Unless you have a creative and effective motion-activated trap, the bait is the only reliable reason for an animal to visit your trap. In weather above freezing, your quarry and plenty of other critters can steal your bait. But a frozen block of bait will take some work for your target animal to chew up, and it will be a lot harder for little bait thieves (like mice and birds) to eat the bait out of the trigger or run off with it.

Easier Tracking
Even if you have never spent much time tracking, snow and frost can make it much easier for you to find clear footprints and trails, and identify animal species and routes more quickly and more definitively than you could in warm weather.

Limited Food Resources
Some advice never goes out of style. I remember a few old timers telling me, “Don’t bait with acorns under an oak tree”, meaning that I shouldn’t use something as baits that is readily available. But when the ice and snow set in for winter, those remaining acorns get buried and the trap bait I present starts looking a lot more attractive. High-calorie baits will provide extra enticement during the cold, lean trapping season.

Baits From “Out Of Season”
Animals can get bored of a monotonous diet, just like we can. If you use some foods that are naturally unavailable during your trapping season, you are almost guaranteed to get more attention from your target animal species. Fruits can still work, even if they freeze on you.

Are you running a trap line this winter?  Let us know about your favorite baits and tips in the comments.

Comments (4)

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from vaTRAPPERMAN247 wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Im not here to bust chops or anything,but in my years as a trapper I have found that frozen baits are almost useless unless the animal is right on top of your set.Afrozen piece of beaver or muskrat meat(my most common fox and coyote bait)has almost no smell where a fresh,thawed chunk is very strong.Now I know wild canines have a much better sense of smell than me,but when trapping for them you want to be able to draw them from a distance,not just get lucky now and then and catch the ones that trip over your sets.You can use all the frozen stuff you want,but im gonna' stick to what works for me.Thats really all I got for now.And to all you trappers out there,may all your traps be full!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Hey ILikePike, did you drink too many cups of coffee or what...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ILikePike wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Sorry for posting twice, but, WoW.............. I think you might be one of those people that agree with Obama that all people should join Boy Scouts, regardless of choice. What a way to lose out on becoming a great journalist, Have you ever seen a Winchester model 70?

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ILikePike wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

What kind of advice are you morons trying to give to people that trap for a living? Wow? And you professionals are asking for advice in this article? Just what the hell are the winter trap tricks that are advertised in the headline of the article? That acorns will catch everything and anything in your traps? Come on, college graduates, help us out. Don't ask questions, give advice, that's why we are buying your magazine. Holy crap. And where do you Einstiens come up with "Animals can get bored of a monotonous diet, just like we can,'? Who and where did you come up with that? Wow....... Please give me the location of your education Mr. MacWelch, so I can brcome as equally as stupid as you are. Escuse me if this sounds sarcistic, but Holy God, educate the people that are paying you. Oh, by the way, can traps really freeze in the cold?

-3 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Hey ILikePike, did you drink too many cups of coffee or what...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vaTRAPPERMAN247 wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Im not here to bust chops or anything,but in my years as a trapper I have found that frozen baits are almost useless unless the animal is right on top of your set.Afrozen piece of beaver or muskrat meat(my most common fox and coyote bait)has almost no smell where a fresh,thawed chunk is very strong.Now I know wild canines have a much better sense of smell than me,but when trapping for them you want to be able to draw them from a distance,not just get lucky now and then and catch the ones that trip over your sets.You can use all the frozen stuff you want,but im gonna' stick to what works for me.Thats really all I got for now.And to all you trappers out there,may all your traps be full!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ILikePike wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

What kind of advice are you morons trying to give to people that trap for a living? Wow? And you professionals are asking for advice in this article? Just what the hell are the winter trap tricks that are advertised in the headline of the article? That acorns will catch everything and anything in your traps? Come on, college graduates, help us out. Don't ask questions, give advice, that's why we are buying your magazine. Holy crap. And where do you Einstiens come up with "Animals can get bored of a monotonous diet, just like we can,'? Who and where did you come up with that? Wow....... Please give me the location of your education Mr. MacWelch, so I can brcome as equally as stupid as you are. Escuse me if this sounds sarcistic, but Holy God, educate the people that are paying you. Oh, by the way, can traps really freeze in the cold?

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ILikePike wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Sorry for posting twice, but, WoW.............. I think you might be one of those people that agree with Obama that all people should join Boy Scouts, regardless of choice. What a way to lose out on becoming a great journalist, Have you ever seen a Winchester model 70?

-3 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)