Beaver hunting is a great sport, made all the more interesting by the fact that it is pretty challenging. Beavers are graceful and intelligent aquatic mammals, prized for their pelts. But they are also captured to prevent flooding, tree loss and human attacks.
Lastly, beavers are hunted because many beaver meat to be delicious game meat and a good source of protein.
No matter what your reasons may be to hunt beavers, one thing is certain; trapping the beavers is the fastest, easiest and most convenient way to get the job done.
If you do a quick search online, you’ll find over a dozen different types of water traps and land traps for beavers. But the most effective type of trap are the ones designed as a body clamp. This is why Conibears, or body grip traps, are the most popularly used traps to hunt beavers around the world.
Before I go on to reveal instructions on how to successfully kill a beaver using this multipurpose hunting tool, let’s learn a little about it first. What is the Conibear trap and what makes it such a useful hunting tool?
Conibear History and Rise to Fame
The Conibear trap was first invented in 1958 by Frank Ralph Conibear. It took him three decades to successfully construct a working model that other hunters would adopt. Trappers and hunters of the 1950s remember well how the Conibear revolutionized trapping.
Frank Conibear grew up in Ontario, Canada, and was a trapper by profession. He had a prototype trap made from tempered steel in 1929. He was dissatisfied with the results, but could not afford to have another prototype made. However, Frank found a patron who heard of his invention and backed his future attempts. But for 18 long years, Frank was unable to create the perfect body grip trap.
He was however, prompted to continue working on the trap, and with input of trappers who tested out his prototypes, Frank improved his design. By March 1955, Frank Conibear’s trap was fully functional. There were other body grip traps in use before the Conibear, but it was the Conibear trap that was heralded as the best one.
In 1958, Frank Conibear sold the rights to his body grip trap to the Animal Trap Company of America. Currently, Conibear traps are manufactured by Oneida Victor, Inc., Ltd. of Euclid, Ohio.
The Conibear traps of today are very similar to the original creation, with slight changes for optimizing trapping and ensuring a quick and humane death of the animal trapped inside.
How Does the Conibear Trap Work?
The Conibear trap is made of 2 metal squares which open and close like scissors. They are available in different sizes, and either one or two springs are located at the end of trap to rapidly shut the trap as soon as it is activated.
To trap a beaver, set the trap by compressing the spring or springs, and secure the springs with the spring safety latch.
When the springs are compressed and latched, the square frame or jaws of the trap are opened. Now, the trap can be set by using the trigger set with the catch. Place the catch, or dog, into the notch of the trigger. You can bait the trigger, or bend it into a shape ideal for beaver size and body shape.
The Conibear trap recommended for Beavers is the largest size, size 330, which is 10 x 10 inches. You cannot set this size of Conibear trap by hand; use tongs to provide leverage to easily compress the springs for your own safety and convenience. Secure the trap with ropes to prevent beaver escaping with the trap.
How to Trap a Beaver in Water
To set a Conibear trap underwater, the best place to set it is at channels or runs where beavers swim frequently. These runs are like depressions along mud channels where the water can be quite deep.
Simply put, what you have to do is place the Conibear trap directly in the run and wait for a beaver to get caught in it. In a shallow run, part of the trap may be jutting out of the water, which is not an issue. However, sometimes, beavers are smart enough to detect and avoid the Conibear trap’s square outline.
In that case, you need to go for a dive set. A dive set involves a Conibear trap planed inside a run with a log or stick on top. The log or stick acts like a bait, encouraging beavers to dive. When they dive, they go right through the trap. Use a large stick, about the size of your arm. To keep it firmly in place, it is advised to wire it in place so it doesn’t float away.
The important thing is to stabilize the trap with 2 inch sticks in the mud, keeping them angled towards the center of the trap. Then, position the springs to put pressure against the sticks, making the trap solid.
How to Take the Trap Out of Water
Once a beaver has been trapped and killed inside the body grip trap, it is time to remove the trap from the water, take the beaver out and clean the trap thoroughly before its next use.
Remove the trap from the water by holding the sides of the frame carefully, while wearing gloves.
Lifespan of the Conibear
After using the trap, you need to disinfect it with a bleach solution. Add 1 part bleach to 9 part water in a tub and soak the Conibear trap for 20 minutes. Thoroughly rinse the trap after each capture.
As long as you prevent your Conibear trap from rusting by proper care and maintenance, and use it according to the provided instructional methods, you can use your Conibear trap for years before it is time to buy a new one.
Conibear trap is one of the best ways to hunt and trap beavers. Follow the proper instructions and you’ll soon be walking away with your prey successfully hunted down and bagged.
Different Ways To Hunt Beaver
If you want to know different ways to hunt beaver check out this article!