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live animal trapping tips

Expert's Corner
Basic Trapping Tips


Live animal trapping is an effective animal control alternative that is both humane and earth-friendly.Whether you are successful in catching a live animal depends on choosing the right bait and location among factors.







Havahart® brings you expert tips for first time trapping, inside trapping, outside trapping, and feral cat trapping that will make the task simple!








Q:  What bait should I use for my target animal?


A:  The type of bait does indeed depend on the animal.


Armadillo bait: Meal worms, other worms, or insects enclosed in a little cloth bag, maggots, sardines


Stray Cat or Bobcat Bait: Fish, meats, oil of catnip, sardines or canned tuna, chicken.


Chipmunk Bait: Prune pits, un-roasted peanuts, corn, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, cereal, grains, popcorn.


Dog Bait: Dog food. Flying Squirrel Bait: Apples, seeds, red rubber ball, whole roasted peanuts.


Fox Bait (Red and Gray): Scented bait from a reliable fox trapper, chicken


Gopher Bait: Peanut butter mixed with molasses, spread on whole wheat bread


Groundhog Bait: Fresh string beans, sweet corn, lettuce, peas, cantaloupe, strawberries, cucumbers, peaches, vanilla extract


Mice Baits: Cheese, bread and butter, small nuts, cherry pits, oatmeal, sunflower or similar seeds. Mixed peanut butter and oatmeal is very good bait, also gum drops


Muskrat Bait: Fresh vegetables, parsnips, carrots, sweet apples, oil of anise, or musk from another muskrat


Nutria Bait: Muskmelon or cantaloupe rind, ripe bananas


Opossum Bait: Vegetables, sweet apples, chicken entrails, sardines, crisp bacon, canned cat food


Otter Bait: Fish


Porcupine Bait: Apples, salt, carrots


Rabbit Bait: Fresh vegetables (brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, lettuce), apples. In the wintertime, bread is a good bait, red fox urine. Spraying the inside of the trap with apple cider is also effective.


Raccoon Bait: Fish, fresh or canned, honey or sugar covered vegetables, smoked fish, watermelon, sweet corn, cooked fatty meat, crisp bacon. Special favorite is marshmallow!


Rat Bait: Cheese, chicken or fowl flesh, cereal grains, peanut butter and oatmeal mixed, peppermint candy


Skunk Bait: Chicken entrails, cracknels, fish-canned or fresh-insect larvae such as may beetles, crisp bacon, cat food


Squirrel Bait: Cereal, grains, nuts (especially peanuts) sunflower seeds, anise oil (a drop or two on bread), shelled corn, apples. Mixed peanut butter and oatmeal or peanut butter and molasses, popcorn. One trapper swears by almond extract on bread to tempt the nearest squirrel


Vole Bait: Peanut butter mixed with molasses, spread on whole wheat bread


Weasel Bait: Fish, fresh liver, chicken entrails


Woodchuck Bait: Fresh string beans, sweet corn, lettuce, peas, cantaloupe, strawberries, cucumbers, peaches, vanilla extract






Q:  Why should I buy Havahart® live animal cage traps? 


A:  Havahart® live animal traps are a great purchase – They’re Safe, Easy to Use, and Effective!  Not all live animal traps are the same. Listed below are some features that make Havahart® the leader in live animal trapping:


1.  Havahart® traps are constructed of durable wire mesh, galvanized for maximum resistance to rust and corrosion. Most people have their Havahart traps for years and years.

2.  Havahart® traps have solid plate coverings on the top and doors, which serve as a hand guard to limit contact with the animal.

3.  Sturdy door locks ensure the animal will stay put, while rolled metal edges protect it from harm.

4.  Fully assembled and ready for use, Havahart® cage traps come in models sized for a variety of animals.

5.  Havahart® is the only brand of traps where you can get the patented Easy Set® features, which allow you to set and release with one hand. It also keeps you away from the door opening so you can release the animal with limited contact.






Q:  The bait is gone, but the trap is empty. What happened?


A:  There are a few reasons for this occurrence … and it even depends on what trap you are using...


One common possibility is that, the animal was able to lightly grab the bait without touching the trigger. It’s important to place the bait in an area where the animal is forced to engage the trigger in order to recover the bait. One suggestion would be to place some bait on top of the trigger pan and some more under the trip plate.


Also, you can place the bait just above the trip plate on the ceiling of the trap. You can even secure or fasten the bait to the mesh by using string or a garbage bag twist tie. This forces the animal to stand on the trigger plate in order to reach the bait. Specifically with one-door traps, it’s important that the bait isn’t placed in an area where the animal can reach it from the back of the trap by grabbing the bait from the outside.


Another reason for missing bait is if the animal is too large for the the trap and cannot fully fit inside the trap. This is a problem because the door will fall on the animal’s back, not allowing the door to fully shut.  The animal can then back out and exit the trap.






Q:  How can I avoid catching my neighbor's dog or cat?


A:  Bait your trap with something sweet. Wheat bread with peanut butter spread on it is always a sure attractant, oil of anise, sweet corn and grape jelly are also suggested for nuisance animals. The majority of domestic animals are not attracted to this type of bait.






Q:  What should I do if I catch a skunk?


A:  Most importantly, do not cause any undue annoyance to the skunk. This will immediately create alarm and potentially get you or your property sprayed!

  • First, find an old cloth, towel or sheet that can be used to cover the trap.

  • Next, approach the trap cautiously holding the trap covering in front of you.

  • Make sure that this covering extends to the ground while holding it - don't let the skunk see your feet coming as this may alarm him. When you're close enough to the trap, gently cover the trapped animal--trap and all.

Since skunks are nocturnal, den-dwellers this covering will help to calm him. He may even go to the corner of the trap and relax. The covered cage can then be lifted by the handle without fear of being sprayed.






Q:  Okay, I've safely caught the animal, now what do I do?


A:  We recommend that you contact the Humane Society, or the local or state game commission to determine the lawful method of releasing a captured wild or nuisance animal before setting the trap. Many species are protected by law in various states.






Q:  What are the advantages of using a 2 door trap versus
      a 1 door trap?


A:  It is actually a matter of preference. Our consumer feedback shows most people will use two-door traps with more cautious animals like squirrels.  The thought is that if the animal can see an unblocked path through the trap (since both doors are open), they will have more confidence entering the cage.


Havahart® offers both one-door and two-door traps to satisfy all consumers. One door traps allow the animal to walk further into the trap and past the trip plate, resulting in fewer escapes.






Q:  What size trap do I use to catch my target animal?


A:  The experts at Havahart® have put together an animal trap guide which will help you to choose the right trap size for your specific need.






Q:  What is the warranty on a Havahart® live animal trap?


A:  Our Havahart® live animal traps are covered 100% due to manufacturing defects or workmanship for up to 1 year.


Please contact our Customer Care division at 1-800-800-1819 or Email us at consumercare@woodstream.com if you have questions.






Q:  Is there anything extra I can do to assure I catch my
      target animal?


A:  Visit our expert tips section for professional tips on how to maximize the results of your live animal cage trap.






Q:  I've caught a wild animal in a trap. What should I do with it?


A:  Each region of the country is different.  Please contact your local or state game commission or call the Humane Society for their recommendation.






Q:  How do I set my trap?


A:  It's easy! All of our cage trap instructions are located on our web site. Please visit the Manuals & MSDS pages for more info.






Q:  Do you offer anything specifically for stray cats?


A:  Yes, we offer the Stray Cat Rescue Kit. It’s one of our hottest selling kits and always gets rave reviews from consumers. Check it out>>






Q:  I noticed you listed fox urine as a bait. Why does it attract


A:  Red Fox urine works as a lure, drawing rabbits to the trap. We're not sure exactly why it works but it's an old trick used by experienced fur trappers for quite some time.






Q:  Will my Havahart® squirrel trap catch a rat?


A:  Yes, traps small enough to accommodate small squirrels should work equally well on rats. See our complete list of cage traps for various sized animals.






Q:  What would I use to trap live moles, rather than kill them?


A:  Moles cannot be trapped live in an effective way. The best way to manage or eliminate a mole infestation is through the use of lethal traps. Victor® sells a variety of mole traps that will help solve your problem.






Q:  If I catch a mouse, how should I release it?


A:  You should release the mouse 3-5 miles away, reducing the possibility of a return visit.






Q:  Will animals still go to the trap if they can smell human
      scent on it?


A:  If you handle the cage with gloves, or have limited contact with the cage, there should be no human scent. Please see our trapping tips for more information.






Q:  How far away should I take a live trapped squirrel so
      that it doesn't return to the house?


A:  It is recommended that you take a squirrel at least 3 miles away and preferably beyond a body of water or a major highway.







havahart expert trapping tipsAll Havahart® live animal traps are constructed of sturdy wire mesh that is galvanized for maximum resistance to rust and corrosion.



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