How to Set a Conibear Trapline: A Step-by-Step Guide

Setting a conibear trapline is no easy feat. It requires a deep understanding of the process and, of course, a healthy dose of patience and persistence. Fortunately, the journey can be made a whole lot easier by following the right instructions.

So, whether you’re just getting started out as a trapper or are looking to hone your current conibear expertise, you’ve come to the right place. This helpful guide will take you through each and every step needed to set a reliable conibear trapline by yourself. There’s no need to hire a professional when the right set of instructions is right here in front of you!

So, buckle up trappers, and get ready to learn all the important skills needed to craft a sturdy, successful conibear trapline.

Quick Breakdown

Setting up a conibear trapping line requires careful planning and preparation. Be sure to research the regulations relevant to your area, choose your trap locations carefully, ensure traps are in good condition and place appropriate bait or lures before setting the trap.

Understanding How to Set a Conibear Trap

Setting a Conibear trap can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it is important to understand how to use the trap correctly in order to ensure success. Setting a trap incorrectly can result not only in failure but also in potentially dangerous situations for the trapper, the animal, and anyone else nearby. Here are a few tips to ensure you have a safe and successful trapping experience:

First, make sure you understand local regulations about trapping. This includes laws about what type of animals you can legally trap as well as any restrictions regarding where and when trapping should occur. Check with your local government office to make sure you understand these regulations before attempting to set a Conibear trap.

Second, it is important to choose the proper size of the trap for the intended animal species. A trap that is too small may not be able to capture larger animals, while one that is too large may cause unnecessary harm or endanger other species of animals. Additionally, if the weight of the spring mechanism exceeds those of the targeted species, they will be unable to trigger the trap and it will be rendered ineffective.

Third, take note of your environment while setting your traps. Be aware of any conspicuous elements around you that could alert an animal before they reach your traps. If there’s something out of place in their routine, they may become suspicious and shy away from your traps altogether. Additionally, researching common animal behaviour patterns can help inform your decision on where and how to set your traps for maximum efficiency.

Finally, consider using a bait or lure for increased success rates in trapping animals. Make sure you use baiting techniques that are within the regulations prescribed by local wildlife agencies and organizations. It’s also important to use bait that is attractive to the target animals while avoiding appeals to other species which may otherwise get caught in the trap unintentionally.

Taking all these points into consideration can help trappers achieve success and safety when setting a Conibear trap. Now let’s move onto understanding what exactly a Conibear trap is and why it is beneficial for trapping certain kinds of animals.

  • Conibear traps are widely accepted and used for humane trapping of wild animals due to their quick kill mechanism.
  • According to a joint study undertaken by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Texas A&M University, trapping with conibears results in fewer lost animals than with traditional traps, such as snares or leg hold traps.
  • The National Trappers Association states that the use of Conibear traps can be up to 95% effective when correctly set.

Top Summary Points

To successfully and safely use a Conibear trap, you must be aware of local regulations about what type of animals you can legally trap, choose the proper size of the trap for the intended animal species, take note of conspicuous elements around the trap so as not to spook potential prey and research common animal behaviour patterns. Additionally, using bait or lures is recommended in order to increase success rates.

What is a Conibear Trap?

A Conibear trap is a type of body-gripping live trap used by fur trappers and wildlife control professionals to capture animals quickly, humanely, and more efficiently than traditional traps. The most popular model of the Conibear trap is the 220 body grip trap, which operates through an intentionally-designed spring mechanism that allows an animal to easily enter the device but makes secure closure around the animal’s body once triggered.

The use of Conibear traps has been a source of debate in recent years, with supporters crediting the humane method of trapping as one of the key advantages. Its design typically ensures fast, humane killing, reducing suffering for both the animal and the trapper alike. Detractors point out that along with potentially causing unnecessary pain by closing on animals too large to be fully contained within the trapping device, it can also catch and injure non-target species such as threatened or endangered animals.

In conclusion, though there are valid points from both sides of the argument, well-trained trappers understand how to properly set and bait a Conibear trap in order to optimize its use for successful wildlife control. And with that in mind, we move on to discussing principles of Conibear Trap Placement.

Principles of Conibear Trap Placement

The number one priority when it comes to the principles of Conibear trap placement is safety; for both people and animals. For example, traps should never be placed on public trails or in places that are easily accessible by humans, as it can cause extreme injury or even death. Similarly, traps should not be placed in areas that non-target animals frequent, as this can result in the death of unintended species.

Conibear traps should also be placed far away from structures such as buildings and houses, as the chance for domestic animals to be caught and injured is much higher. If a person does choose to place traps close to structures, they should be monitored often to ensure no unwanted animals become trapped.

Additionally, if an individual wishes to set up a Conibear trap line, they must first have permission from the landowner and check any relevant local legislation to make sure they are within the confines of the law. Lastly, all traps must be correctly labelled with information regarding who set them up and when they were put in place; this helps if the traps need to be monitored or if any legal problems arise later on.


Opponents of Conibear trapping argue that because these types of traps are so powerful they can sometimes cause unnecessary suffering. Furthermore, opponents suggest that these traps can only be used effectively with a good knowledge base of animal behaviour and tracking habits which inexperienced trappers may lack.

Proponents suggest that when done correctly, Conibear trapping is an efficient way for trappers to catch their desired target quickly and humanely. Proponents also indicate that using such a powerful trap reduces the risk of other non-target species being trapped or injured due to smaller traps malfunctioning or having been left unchecked for too long.

Now that we’ve discussed the important principles of Conibear trap placement, let’s now look at where exactly individuals should place their traps in order to efficiently capture their target species whilst also abiding by safety guidelines.

Where to Place Traps

Once the conibear traps have been purchased and the necessary paperwork is obtained, you are ready to set up your trapline. This involves selecting an appropriate felling point where the animal will be trapped and determining the proper placement of traps. Although animals are restless and constantly on the move, they often return to familiar paths with established scent trails. Paying attention to these preferred areas when setting up a trapline offers an advantage to the trapper by increasing their chances of capturing the animal.

When selecting a felling point, some key points to consider include: distance from water, proximity to potential den areas, landscape features such as hills and ridges, as well as existing trails and rubbings. Additionally, look for shrubs that can provide dense cover for trapping blinds; bear in mind that a larger animal may need a wider coverage living space compared to a smaller one. Traps must also be placed strategically so as not to harm any non-target population such as endangered species or pets. It is important to avoid these traps while also leaving enough room between them in order to provide adequate spacing betweeen each trap.

Setting multiple traps along a path where an animal frequently travels is beneficial in ensuring that you catch something. Placing two traps close together helps to eliminate any unexpected outcomes such as only one part of the animal being caught in one single trap or even catching the same animal twice due to its wandering behavior across the path. By having multiple traps laid out, this helps disperse any potential harm and increase your chances of succeeding in trapping the animal successfully. Ensuring that the traps are placed correctly is essential in giving yourself a greater probability of trapping success.

Now that you have determined where best to place your conibear traps, it is time to start setting them up with the proper technique (as outlined in the next section).

Setting the Traps with the Proper Technique

When setting a Conibear trap, it is important to use the correct technique. Proper technique will ensure that the trap is set correctly and that animals have a safe experience when in the trap. Here are some tips for properly setting your Conibear traps:

1. When placing a Conibear Trap, make sure you position it at the proper angle so that the jaw spread is maximized and the animal doesn’t injure itself while trying to escape. Place it at least three feet off any base object, such as a tree, log or rock.

2. Determine where the animal will most likely be traveling and place the trap close to that path. Make sure that you also check local regulations on traps before setting them in certain areas. This can help prevent any unexpected inconveniences later on.

3. Securely stake your trap down so that it won’t move around due to external forces like wind or a live animal’s struggle for freedom. It is also important to always wear gloves when handling the traps as their sharp edges can easily cut the hands or fingers of an unsuspecting operator.

4. Bait your trap with something appropriate for your target species, such as nuts, grains or fish livers; be sure to only use bait specified by your local game regulations. Once you’ve set your trap, check around it frequently for any signs of animals that may have been trapped.

5. Finally, never touch an animal after it has been caught in a Conibear trap, as this could potentially cause harm to both you and the trapped animal alike. If you need to remove an animal from its constraints, do so safely with pliers or other appropriate tools; gloves should still be worn during removal procedures so as not to transmit any potential diseases from yourself or the trapped animal into another environment.

Following these steps will ensure that you are using proper technique when setting your Conibear traps and will help minimize any potential harm done to either yourself or nearby wildlife while trapping. Now that we have discussed how to properly set a Conibear trapline with the right technique, let’s examine how to choose the best bait and lure location for success in catching our intended species in our next section!

Bait and Lure Location

When setting a conibear trapline, it is important to consider the correct location to place bait and lure. There are several things you need to take into account when making this decision. Depending on your particular situation, you may opt for either the traditional or modern approach.

Traditional bait and lure methods usually require more of an effort to set up, but they often yield better results. These techniques often involve placing bait in certain locations around the edge of a pond or other water source. This can attract animals like beavers, muskrats, and mink which will become lured in by the bait’s scent. Lures can also be used to further increase the effectiveness of the trap line by emitting small amounts of scent in an animal’s path.

Alternatively, some trappers opt for a more modern approach when baiting and luring their trap lines. Instead of using traditional means such as lures or bait, these trappers generally rely on scents that mimic those found naturally in their environment. This type of trapping combined with the use of digital cameras can provide a more efficient way to observe animal behaviors before setting traps.

Ultimately, it will be up to you as the trapper to choose which method best suits your situation. Regardless of which approach is taken, make sure that you choose a spot where the baits and lures will be most effective in attracting wild game. Don’t forget to securely attach them so they don’t get lost or eaten by other animals.

Before moving on to securely attach and keep the traps moving, it is important to decide where you will locate your bait and lure so they remain effective throughout the course of your trapline.

Securely Attach and Keep the Traps Moving

Once you have set your traps, it is important to make sure they are securely attached and will stay put. The Conibear has two jaws that must be held apart by pressure from a trigger wire, or spring when triggered by an animal. This pressure must be applied evenly and kept constant with the help of an anchor system. The best anchor system is one that secure locks the trap in place while allowing for some movement around the anchor point. This will allow the trap to remain in the same place it is set, but also give it some mobility so that it can move with the animal as its passing over it.

There are many types of anchors used for different types of habitat. In areas of rocks or roots, anchoring a tie-off stake with a metal ring or cable may work best as these materials will grip well into the substrate. In marshes, ponds or lakeside habitats, staking out metal anchors and tie-offs with a floating line is often most effective due to lower or uneven terrain. If you are trapping in open terrain such as fields, roadsides or woodlands, set up your traps on the edges of existing snow banks or dirt piles and secure them with 2-3 stakes driven into the ground around each trap to keep them anchored securely in place.

It is also important to remember that land can change quickly depending on weather conditions like heavy rains or rapid melting of snow banks which can cause stakes and cables to drift away from their original locations if not fastened down securely enough. Therefore, always double check your anchors to ensure they are secure enough to stay in place for extended periods of time in changing conditions.

Finally, it is essential to monitor your traps regularly to ensure they are always operating correctly and to uphold responsible ethical practices in trapping. By recording all your data such as location of traps and number of animals caught (if any), you can create a more efficient trapline management plan over time and anticipate where along your line will yield better results on future sets.

Now that you know how to securely attach and keep your traps moving, let’s move on to understanding your target animals’ areas of travel which play an important role in managing an effective Conibear trapline.

Know Your Target Animals’ Areas of Travel

Setting a Conibear trapline requires a good understanding of the area and the target animal’s behaviors. The weather and food sources can influence where they travel, as well as other scents they pick up when moving around. It’s important to research the habits of the type of animal you’re targeting and understand their preferred habitat, travel corridors, or choke points. When scouting the trapline area, look for signs such as trails, tracks, scat, or gnaw marks that could indicate recent activity.

For example, if targeting mink on a stream course, determine which banks are being used most frequently and set traps accordingly. Make sure to note any cuts or depressions in the bank that mink use for path finding purposes—this is an indicator of a higher probability of success. Additionally, focus on areas with reliable water sources such as springs or pooling streams since mink need access to water when looking for food sources like frogs or crayfish.

On the other hand, if targeting beavers it’s best to focus on areas where there is ample cutting material available; beavers will build dams near sufficient sources of trees with straight branches and trunks like willow or cottonwood. Further, study old felled trunks or stumps they may have damaged in past feeding frenzies to prime locations for trapping them. Pay attentions to patterns in substrate shape or composition; dirt mounds before dams are typical telltale signs of beaver activity.

While scouting for potential areas to set traps keep an eye out for possible hindrances like overhead vegetation hazards (vines/limbs) that could involve an unsuspecting animal upon triggering the trap. Also consider time factors; it takes beavers longer to reach prime areas compared mimicking so check current traps often—usually once every few days—while monitoring the statuses of previous ones throughout each visit.

In conclusion, setting a successful Conibear trapline involves great deal of knowledge about both its surrounding environment and your target species’ behavioral patterns. By actively identifying areas frequented used by animals and avoiding any potential hazards you can increase your chances of success when setting a trapline. In the following section we’ll discuss how these principles should guide your efforts regardless of which species you’re targeting when setting your Conibear trap line.

Conclusion: Following These Principles to Set a Conibear Trapline

Setting a Conibear trapline can be an effective way to manage and protect the local animal population, when done correctly. To ensure that your trapline is successful, consider the factors discussed in this article; choosing the right location, properly setting your traps, and carefully monitoring and checking traps are key in engaging in safe trapping practices. Be sure to learn the fundamentals of trapping so you can safely carry out your trapping activities. Additionally, check with local wildlife agencies for any regulations or laws on trapping before getting started.

By following these steps, you can feel confident that you are taking all necessary measures to both effectively and responsibly set up a Conibear trapline. It does take practice and research to set up a successful trapline, however, it is worth the effort to ensure that you set out a safe and efficient trapline.

At the same time there is debate over whether or not trapping is ethical at all. Advocates of trapping believe it is the most effective way to manage the population of certain species while minimizing damage to local ecosystems. However, those who oppose trapping argue that it can lead to unnecessary animal suffering by inadequate protections on different types of animals. Debate will likely continue as more people become informed about both sides of the argument.

Common Questions and Responses

How do I choose the best location for a conibear trapline?

When choosing the best location for a conibear trapline, there are a few things to consider. First, you want to look for areas where animals are likely to pass through. This may include trails, dens or water sources. Additionally, research the type of animal you are hoping to catch and consider the habitat and behaviors typically associated with that species. Research local regulations as well, since trapping is often prohibited in some places. Finally, look for signs of previous animal activity in the area. Tracks, droppings or leftover food can all be indications that an animal may frequent that particular area.

What bait should I use to increase my chances of a successful catch?

The best bait to use when setting a conibear trapline depends on the game you are targeting. For smaller game such as muskrats, rabbits or mink, using a combination of fish and fruit is often effective. Fish like herring, salmon eggs and trout eggs work well, while apples, grapes and cherries can also be used. Larger game such as beavers and otters require larger baits – whole pork hindquarters, beef tail heads, or beaver carcasses are excellent choices. If you’re not sure what kind of bait to use for a specific species, the best bet is to consult a local wildlife biologist or expert trapper in your area.

What size of conibear should I use for different types of animals?

The size of conibear trap you should use for different types of animals depends on the size of the target animal, your trapping skill level and the desired outcome.

For smaller animals such as muskrats, mink and marten, a size 220 or 330 conibear is recommended if you are an experienced trapper. Generally, these small animals will be caught quickly by a well set trap. For the beginner trapper, a size 110 is suggested to give more time to react if needed.

For larger sized fur-bearing species such as raccoons, river otter and fishers, a size 330 or 440 is usually recommended. These traps provide more power, coverage and strength to handle larger targets. However, they also require more experience and precision to set properly. Regardless of which trap size you choose, always use bait designed specifically for that species

In conclusion, it’s important to research the animal type and habitat before selecting your conibear size in order to increase your chance of success when setting a trap line.

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