Beaver are one of the most sought-after fur-bearers. They have been hunted and trapped for centuries. Learning the skills to trap beaver have proven to be an invaluable skill for many trappers and homeowners. Any homeowners who has ponds and creeks on their property know all to well the destruction beavers can cause. Knowing these three simple highly productive beaver sets will increase the amount of beaver you harvest for years to come.
Under The Ice Beaver Sets
The big secret for this beaver set is to use 1/16” snare wire under the ice. Boil the snares in baking soda for 10 minutes, rinse off and leave outside until they become dull.
Now, take a dead branch 3-4 inches in diameter and nail on four pieces of poplar branches – partially peel so the white shows. You have to set this between the feed pile and the den. Chop a hole in the ice; put the stick in and measure the depth; you want the top of the snares about 4 inches below the surface with a 6” loop.
Four inches below the snares (one on each side), place two more. Nail the bait sticks on either side of the snare, so as the beaver swim around the branch to get the bait, they swim into the snares. Wire the snare tight to the pole and use a small piece of 14 gauge wire bent and squeezed shut to hold each snare at the correct height.
Now, wire the snares to the pole and run more wire up to a top stick; just in case it is some monster 65-pound beaver. After you set them, leave alone for 3 days. The beaver are sound shy so just hearing you walk around will sometimes cause them to stay in the den for days.
These type of beaver sets are one of the easiest and most effective sets every beaver trapper should have in his arsenal.When scouting for beaver sign always take note of beaver slides. These are areas on shore lines near water that beaver use regularly to make there way from water to land and back. They are usually near areas where you see a lot of fallen trees and stumps from beavers gnawing at them. The beaver slide or “runway” typically look like mudslides free of debris and grass and lead into the water.
This is the area you want to place your beaver sets. Typically, trappers use #330 conibears but will also use footholds. The image shows the proper way to make this set.
When using a foothold for a beaver runway set, traps will use a blind set. This is where the foothold trap is placed in the runway and on either side of the trap is placed a medium sized stick to force the beaver to step over it and place its foot on the trap. When using a foothold for this type of beaver set trappers will use a downer setup with it. This will allow the beaver to get back into the water and will not allow it to resurface, essentially drowning the beaver.
Top of Damn Sets
These type of beaver set are similar to the runway set. The key difference is it on a damn not on shore. When using this technique look for areas on the damn the beaver uses the most. Look for area free of debris and a path that has been worn down to the dirt or mud. In these areas both the #330 conibear and the foothold will be the most effective.
Most furbearing animals we trap use beaver dams to cross streams, swamps, or to short cut the edge of a lake. The beaver dams act like a natural funnel to direct the furbearers to a specific location. If it is legal to place traps on beaver dams, a very affective set would be the blind set A.K.A step over set. Check your state laws so you know what is legal in your area that pertains to trapping on or near beaver structures.
A narrow dam will have a more predictable line of traffic. This will help in deciding where to place the traps. If you are dealing with a larger dam don’t be afraid to put large sticks vertically on the edges of the dam to help direct the path of the furbearers.
Don’t overdo it though sometimes one large stick or log will be enough to direct the furbearer slightly off center of the dam to direct them toward the blind set/step-over-set. Your set should consist of two large sticks or small logs about 4 inches in diameter about 14 inches apart. This will act as your guide stick. The animal will have to step over these to get across the dam. You need to place your traps staggered on either side of the sticks. By staggering the traps, you will match the animals stride. The animal will step just before or just after the small logs or sticks.
If there is a spills way on the crest of the dam place your traps on either side of the gap. Any furbearer will be forced jump or step over the gap.
To dispatch the animal, attach one-way locks to a drowner wire running out to deeper water and anchored. If beaver is your target animal place foot hold traps on the upstream side of the spill way also with drowner wires running into deeper water.
Remember to check your local laws before placing any of these beaver sets. Laws tend to be very strict when it comes to beaver trapping in some states you may not be able to place beaver sets in certain location near beaver habitat such as huts.