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Trapping Tips: Use the Right Bait For Each Critter

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January 13, 2012
Trapping Tips: Use the Right Bait For Each Critter - 5

When it comes to trapping, you’ve got to have the right bait to catch the right critter. Sure, cheese or peanut butter will work on a mousetrap, but what if you’re not after mice?

To be successful, you need very specific baits to lure in specific animals. Here’s a how to get started.

Trap Bait For Herbivores
There are some great baits for plant eating animals that can be harvested in the wild, or picked up at the local market.  When I’m after groundhogs, I have the best results when I use really sweet apples, cut into pieces so their fragrance is released.  You can skewer an apple slice on a trigger component, or just leave some cut pieces in a box trap.

Squirrels are very fond of whole peanuts, or roasted peanuts.  And in field, they have a hard time resisting sweet pecans and hickories. I’ll crack several into small pieces to use in box traps.  For more primitive traps, I’ll crush the hickories into a paste to wipe on the trap’s trigger mechanism. Just don’t use them under a tree full of those nuts. The animals will not want to go for the bait that is tainted with human scent when there is plenty of the same food choice lying around.

Trap Bait For Omnivores
Omnivores, by definition, will eat anything. This can make them easy to bait, or hard to bait – depending on the type of animal. For raccoons, I like to use canned tuna. The fouler and cheaper the tuna is, the better it seems to work.  I’ll often trap for coons alongside creeks and streams, and pour the tuna juice into the creek in hopes that they’ll follow the creek up to get their fishy treat.  

Possums seem to love lunch meat, hotdogs and other processed meat foods. Although, I did once catch a possum on the chunks and a tail of another possum. 

Trap Bait For Carnivores
Meat eaters do have their preferences. The bait has to be something enticing to the animal. Coyotes love beaver meat.  Foxes love rotten, hardboiled eggs. Mink, ermine and fishers love fish.  Bobcats love fresh organ meat like liver, lung and other guts. You can also have good luck using various scent baits that are available at some hunting and outdoor stores.  Bait doesn’t always have to be food. Coyote scent can be used on coyotes. Beaver scent can be used on beaver, and for coyotes. Coon urine can be a useful cover scent against other animals, as well as an attractant for raccoons. Just remember the following:

•    Don’t bait with something that is already available to the animal (like corn in the cornfield).
•    Meats and other perishables may need to be replaced daily
•    Bait stealers may take your bait without setting off the trap.  Ants, mice and little birds can pick the bait clean in a short time.
•    Be prepared to catch a different animal on any given bait.
Are you running a trap line this winter?  Let us know your favorite baits in the comments.

Photo: qmnonic

Comments (5)

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from Bob Hansen 1/14/2012 at 05:36pm

I usually don't trek very far,
when all around me black bears are.

Hi...

Some other good baits for carnivores and omnivores are: canned cat food, mice and sardines.

Some of the above are also attracted to honey and anise, as are muskrats.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from floridahunter 1/13/2012 at 08:16pm

My go to never fail raccoon bait is a honey bun with honey poured on. they will come for miles to get it and the cats wont get it

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from martybob 1/13/2012 at 04:48pm

Over the years I have had trouble trapping nuisance skunks in my live trap. I would always catch the stray cats in the area with tuna or mackarel before the skunk could get in the trap. One day I asked the state trapper what he used and to my surprise he said he uses marshmallows for skunks. The cats don't care about marshmallows and go about their business but skunks love the marshmallows. Works every time.
Marty

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM 1/13/2012 at 04:15pm

This morning we trapped a grey fox using some left over egg casserole. We didnt expect to catch anything with it, but didnt have any bait prepared so we figured it was worth a shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

from Bob Hansen 1/14/2012 at 05:36pm

I usually don't trek very far,
when all around me black bears are.

Hi...

Some other good baits for carnivores and omnivores are: canned cat food, mice and sardines.

Some of the above are also attracted to honey and anise, as are muskrats.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM 1/13/2012 at 04:15pm

This morning we trapped a grey fox using some left over egg casserole. We didnt expect to catch anything with it, but didnt have any bait prepared so we figured it was worth a shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from martybob 1/13/2012 at 04:48pm

Over the years I have had trouble trapping nuisance skunks in my live trap. I would always catch the stray cats in the area with tuna or mackarel before the skunk could get in the trap. One day I asked the state trapper what he used and to my surprise he said he uses marshmallows for skunks. The cats don't care about marshmallows and go about their business but skunks love the marshmallows. Works every time.
Marty

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from floridahunter 1/13/2012 at 08:16pm

My go to never fail raccoon bait is a honey bun with honey poured on. they will come for miles to get it and the cats wont get it

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

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