Buckshot's Trappers Tales

Bagging Beaver with the Conibear #330

The #330 conibear is the best beaver trap ever made. I have taken people and taught them to trap. The following year after I taught one of them, and he was only using 6 traps, within his first week he caught 18 beaver. That is really good for a beginner. I had one friend that used to joke that we could trap bear with them. Of course, this is not possible; a full size bear would pull right out.

You can use the #330 for ground hogs. A recent e-mail I received said place the #330 over the ground hog hole and the next day the problem is solved. I know of one trapper that used them for culvert trapping in the country. He was trapping wilderness logging roads where dogs werenít a concern. His catch was impressive, raccoons, otter, and beaver.

The #330 Connibear
The whole idea of using conibears is to give the animal a reason to stick his head in or try to go through the conibear, like in a culvert.

If you want to trap beaver, the best set is the dam cross over. Beaver will dam the creek or river in a spot with slow-moving water.  They will have a path along the top of the dam that they use to cross over the dam. This path is easy to spot and sometimes it is so muddied up from the beaver sliding down, it is hard to mistake. The beaver even provide the stabilizing sticks. Make sure you use old sticks because if you grab green sticks with bark on them the beaver might try to grab the stick instead of going through the trap. Just go up to the crossover and place the trap in so that half is in the water. Take two sticks push
them through the set springs at a 45 degree angle so the two sticks form an "X" over the trap. This prevents the beaver from knocking over the trap. Take about 6 feet of wire or more and wire it to something solid. Then take your next trap and set the bottom side.

On the bottom side if there is a fallen old log or branch the beaver are swimming under, make sure you set there. I have had beaver walk around my top set and them swim into the bottom set, because it was fully under water. The reason for the long wire is to give the beaver enough room that as he is fighting the trap he pulls out into deep water and sinks. This hides your catch and it doesnít spook the other beaver. When I first start taking large numbers of beaver, I didnít do this and after the first beaver was caught on the pond sometime the rest of them would refuse to swim near any traps. Or worse, one would come up and slap the trap with his tail until it fired. This would leave you with a sprung empty trap. Wire is cheap, so use it to give the beaver plenty of room to reach deep water and sink out of sight.

The next best set for beaver is where the beaver have dug a channel about 18 inches wide up to quarter of a mile long. This will have anywhere from 2 feet of water at the beginning down to just mud at the other end. Find a spot all narrowed down along this path and set the conibear there. After you set the trap, take grass, leaves and small sticks to help camo the trap. Remember to blend the trap in. The only problem I have had with this set is predators eating the dead beaver. I have had black bear run off with my traps and I find it hundreds of yards away with a half-eaten beaver. Bobcat have pulled the beaver out, eaten and clawing it up. Remember the predators, so if you can, set near the main water edge and give the beaver plenty of wire to reach deep water. If it is too deep of water then you can place what is called a dive stick over the trap. Say you have 18 inches of water and the trap is set on the bottom with 6 inches of water over top. Just take 3 or 4- 1 inch in diameter sticks shove in just above the trap, and then place a larger 4- to 6-inch diameter stick on the very top. This will cause the beaver to dive under the sticks right into the trap.

Buckshot and Beavers Beaver are a wonderful animal, and I trap the Canadian way of two beaver per den. This way, every year you can go back and take two beaver. This is of course a general rule because I have trapped two beaver and that was it. But with good line management you can keep the beaver there year after year. I call it money in the bank.

If you are trapping a wilderness area where dogs arenít a problem, you can build large boxes out of sticks and branches 18 to 36 inches long all narrowed down to just the size of a #330 at the front and bait in the back. One thing with conibears you always must remember: If you are trapping on dry land you will have to deal with freezing conditions. The trap can freeze to the ground and it will not fire. To prevent this, place small sticks under the trap jaws just enough to get the trap off the ground. Some wilderness trappers have this style of sets all over and they catch, bobcat, fisher, raccoons, some fox and coyotes. Always remember the wind when making this type of set. The trap has to be in the right direction for the wind. If the animal is coming into the sides or back of the box, then you have the door facing the wrong way for the wind. . The wind should always come from behind the box, so that the smell of the bait is coming out the front. The wind is a gamble all you can do is play the percentage of time. For example, the wind in November in my area typically comes from the, so that is how I set up.

Donít Catch Dogs

If you have any doubt in your mind never, ever set a #220 or #330 on the ground if you think you may catch a dog. I look back over all my years trapping and the number one problem is people and their dogs. Iím legally trapping and the owner is irresponsible and allows his or her dog to roam free and the dogs get caught in the traps. Whose fault is it? I have caught dogs 8 miles away from the nearest house. This is a sore subject with me. Because people tend to stretch the true story, like one guy I met that was yelling at me when he found out I was a trapper. Here is his story. "You damn trappers, my dog was caught in a trap for 9 days before I found him. I fixed that trapper I busted his trap all up." Here in Michigan, it is illegal to allow your dog to roam free. Nobody checks their traps once every nine days, the law states every 24 hours. But because of all the negative press on trappers, people just love to join in stating trapping is cruel, mean and heartless. Later I heard from someone else that the loud mouth I ran into was walking his dog when it got caught. The dog was released UN-harmed from the leg-hold but of course the story got bigger with each telling until the guy actually believes that is what happened to his poor dog.

Thatís all for now, of course, please feel free to e-mail with any questions, Iím enjoying answering them and I hope I cover all your questions satisfactory. God bless.

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