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The best all around trap
By Buckshot, author of "Buckshot's Modern Trapper's Guide"- www.buckshotscamp.com

Only one trap

Asking a trapper what is the one trap he would take into a camp is kind of like asking a gun nut what is the only gun to take. I thought long and hard on the subject before coming to the conclusion that for someone who didn’t know a lot about trapping, the conibear trap is the best. Beginners have the best success with this trap and I have some small ones I have used for over 20 years and they’re still catching animals. First off, I will explain what the trap does and the different sizes and their use.

The conibear was developed by a Canadian fur trapper, Frank Conibear. He wanted a trap that would kill the animal so that he could run more traps with only checking each set every 2 or 3 days. With a leghold trap you should check every day to be humane to the caught animals. Well, his trap took off and is now a household name in the trapper world. There are currently 6 different sizes ranging to cover all the popular fur animals but for this article we will stick with the 3 basic ones to avoid confusion.

The first trap is a #110 conibear, this trap is 4 ½” by 4 ½ “ with a single spring. This trap is very popular among muskrat trappers because they’re easy to use and reliable quick kills. This trap can also be used for mink, rabbit, squirrel, and some of the bigger weasels. The traps are relatively inexpensive ranging from $50 a dozen new.

The second trap is a #220 conibear, this trap is 7” by 7” with double springs and requires a setting tool to compress the springs. This trap is popular among the raccoon trappers. Care must be used with this trap because if a dog or house-cat sticks his head in there, they will die quickly just like a raccoon. Some states have regulated this trap. If set on land they have to be in dog proof boxes or at least 4 feet off the ground. This trap has been used to catch raccoons, otters, muskrats, minks, squirrels, rabbits, and ground hogs (woodchucks). They run about $109.95 a dozen new and around $75 used.

The third trap is a #330 conibear, this trap is 10” x 10” square with double springs, this is the most powerful and is NO kids toy. The same setting tool that can be used for the #220 will work for the #330. THE SAME CARE MUST BE USED WITH THIS TRAP BECAUSE NO DOG WILL LIVE THROUGH AN ENCOUNTER IN THIS TRAP! What a wonderful beaver trap. I have trapped 100’s of beaver with this trap. The trap was designed for beaver but can also be used for otters, raccoons, and snapping turtles. They run around $200 a dozen new. I’ve had some for over 10 years and they’re still catching beaver every year.

“What the heck is he talking about, I thought this article was supposed to be about one trap not three.” Well, just like the one perfect gun, it all depends on where you are in the country. What animal has the highest population in your area? A great beginners set-up would be 6 - #110 for the smaller animals, 4 - #220 for medium size animals and 2 - #330 for beaver size animals. This batch of only 12 traps should keep you in meat and fur just about anywhere in America.

The one trap I personally would have is the #330 because of the amount of beaver in my area. For other parts of the country I would take the #220 because of the high raccoons, ground hogs, possums, and muskrats. With the #110 traps so cheap, every one should have a couple at their camp. This is really hard trying to predict what your area has the most of. You are the best judge of that. What are the top road killed animals in your area? This is a good reliable indicator of the animal population in any given area. Just use your head. If you see 2 beaver lodges and 4 dams, there can be from 4 to 12 beaver but after you trap them out then what’s left to trap? You see, it all depends on your area. I am trying to provide you, a beginner, with the tools that beginners have their most success with.

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