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Types of foothold traps are described and illustrated below.


Underspring or jump traps are an old style of foothold trap. They are no longer manufactured.

Underspring or jump trap

Longspring traps are commonly used.

  • These traps are large and heavy. The size is a disadvantage in hiding the trap. The weight is an advantage when used in a submersion set.
  • Single longspring traps are best for small animals like muskrat or mink.
  • Double longspring traps are better for large animals like beaver.
Longspring trap

Coil-spring traps also are common.

  • These traps are smaller than longspring traps. This is an advantage when space is limited.
  • Coil-springs have two small springs and are the fastest type of foothold trap. Their speed, strength, and small size make them good traps for fox, coyote, and bobcat.
  • Some trappers add two extra springs to increase trap strength and stability. This is known as "four-coiling."
Coil-spring trap

Guarded traps have a spring-loaded guard attachment. This attachment prevents a trapped animal from escaping or injuring itself while trying to escape. These traps often are used when seeking muskrats in shallow water, where a killing device will not work. However, killing devices or submersion sets are preferable for trapping muskrats whenever possible.

Longspring trap with guard

Enclosed foothold traps are designed for particular species, especially raccoons and opossums. The animal must reach its foot through a small opening to be trapped. This eliminates almost all unwanted catches.

  • These traps come in various styles and are available from many different manufacturers.
  • Some states require you to use enclosed foothold traps.
Enclosed foothold trap