Survival Skills: Winter Trap Tricks

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.