Buckshot's Trappers Tales

Waxing and Dyeing Traps

First off, I would like to thank all the wonderful people that I have e-mailed me. All your questions and comments have helped me. Two comments that have come up were waxing traps and homemade dyes for traps. I planned on writing just one article this week, but this has come up enough that I think I should address it now: DONíT WAX CONIBEARS.

Please listen to me, waxing traps is used to preserve the traps and to make them lighting fast. This is something you want when you are trapping predators on land and the traps are buried under the grounds for weeks at a time. The wax is very good to have on the traps then. Water leg-hold traps that are waxed pose two problems. The first is, the wax makes the jaws of the traps slippery and a large powerful coon can pull his foot out. Two, on bright moon-lit nights, the wax is shiny and sometimes a coon will grab the jaw of the trap, setting off the trap without getting caught.

Raccoons are very curious animals and they just love to grab shiny things in the water. One of the oldest methods of trapping coons is to wrap the pan of a leg-hold with tin foil. The coon will see the shiny foil and grab the pan setting the trap off on his paw. But, if they grab the outside jaw of the trap, the trap will fire without the coon getting caught. The biggest reason you donít want to wax conibears is, they become so touchy that sometimes while you are setting them, and they will fire off spraying you with water. Or, if you are unlucky, firing off and whacking your hand. This safety reason is why I didnít even mention it. I waxed conibears one year and had traps firing off in the water as I tried to set them, I swore I would never wax conibears again.

Please, for your own safety, donít wax conibears. For you people that are new to trapping, waxing traps was considered the only way to go years ago. The reason waxing is good for land traps, is the wax makes the trap faster, it comes up through the ground better, and to preserve the trap. If you are land trapping with leg-holds this method is still recommended. There is no reason to wax your conibears or your water leg-holds. Donít wax conibears.

Homemade Trap Dye

This was sent to me from one reader that preferred this method of dyeing traps. I would like to thank Blue Skies for sending this to me.

In early fall, collect black walnut hulls that are soft and black, when theyíre breaking apart off the nut. Collect 1 gallon, place in a 5-gallon pot, fill the pot with water and bring to boil for 30 minutes. Place your traps on a wire and lower into the pot. Remove the pot when cool and place outside. In two days, remove the traps and make sure you hang them in a tree to air dry. Once dried, pack in a clean box until you are ready to start trapping.

A warning from Blue Skies: Donít get any dye on your hands, or you will wear it for a week because you canít wash it out. That is why you wire the traps together and leave some wire hanging out of the pot. Then, you can just grab the wire and pull the traps out when they are done.

This is a good natural dye and scent for your traps. Another good one is, staghorn sumac berries. Do the same process as described above. I have found if you are just hobby trapping, a few traps here and there for a couple of weeks each year this is all you need. You still degrease your traps and rust as described before. The old thought on natural dyes was you would catch more animals. I have caught too many animals next to rusting farm equipment not to be convinced that rust doesnít scare animals. But in a survival situation, it is good to know how to make natural dyes to keep your traps in top working order.

Trapping is a lot like politics; some people are convinced certain ways are the best, and others believe different. I go by what works for me. Natural homemade dyes are just one more method to dye your traps that will help you get twenty years use out of the equipment. So please try this method.

Why Conibears

The question ďWhy conibears,Ē also came up in a recent e-mail, and I just thought I would share my knowledge with you. Recommending traps is a logical guess on my part. I look at what a beginner would have success with and what are the most animals to trap. Muskrats, beavers, raccoons, are just about everywhere in the US. All three are fairly easy to trap. With conibears, just about anyone can catch them. You see, I was thinking long term, and the most reliable way people could prepare and actually catch fur and meat to provide for their families.

Connibears are the best trap for beginners because:

  1. There is no trap adjustment.

  2. All you need to carry is wire instead of stakes, which also means no hammer to carry.

  3. Once the animal is caught, within 4 to 6 minutes the animal is dead.

  4. The concept is easy to understand. The animal is trying to go through the trap.

  5. Snares can get knocked over, but a well-stabilized conibear will not.

  6. A leg-hold on land must be buried. This causes you to carry a sifter and anti-freeze.

  7. Less of a theft problem, because a dead animal is harder to spot then a live one.

  8. Snares and leg-holds must be staked or grappled, again more equipment to carry.

The disadvantages
  1. 1. You must use care and caution when setting to avoid catching dogs and cats.

  2. 2. You will not catch many fox and coyotes with them.

  3. 3. You must use care and caution when setting, because these traps hurt more then leg-holds if you get hit with one on the hand.

  4. 4. Some trap-shy animals will walk or swim by without going in the trap.

I hope you enjoyed this and go out and try, it is a lot of fun. No better feeling in the world then knowing that if there is muskrats, beavers, and raccoons around you know you can eat. Just a dozen traps and freedom. E-mail me with any questions and there are no dumb questions, only the ones that havenít been asked .

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