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For land sets to work, the trap must be bedded properly.

Follow these steps to bed a foothold trap.

  • Dig a shallow hole. The hole should be deep enough to set the trap at or just below ground level.
  • Drive a stake or stakes to anchor the trap.
  • Sift loose dirt into the bottom of the hole.
  • Place the set trap in the hole. Press down firmly.
  • Check for wobble using the four-point system.
    • Press on the loose jaw.
    • Press on the other jaw.
    • Press on one lever.
    • Press on the other lever.
  • If you feel any wobble, pack more dirt under the wobbly area. Repeat the four-point check.
  • Pack dirt around the outside of the trap.

After foothold traps are bedded, they must be covered.

  • Use dirt, leaves, or grass to cover the trap.
  • When covering with dirt, use a trap pan cover and a dirt sifter.

Using Enclosed Foothold Traps on Land

Enclosed foothold traps are highly selective. They are designed to catch particular species, especially the raccoon and the opossum.

  • To trigger the trap, an animal must reach through a small opening. Larger animals cannot get their feet through the opening. Smaller animals cannot reach the trigger.
  • The raccoon and the opossum have small feet and long legs. When one of these furbearers reaches into the trap for the bait (placed below the trigger), the trap fires. A small spring arm captures the animal's foot.

Procedures for setting and using these traps vary. Some are anchored in the ground. Other types do not need to be placed in the ground. Special tools may be required to set and release the trap.