Frequently asked Questions and Answers.
- Q- What are foothold traps and how do they work?
- Q- Are foothold traps legal?
- Q- Why use foothold traps instead of cage traps for feral cats, foxes, and wild dogs?
- Q- My traps get rusty very quickly. How do I stop them rusting?
- Q- When I received my new trap I set it and pushed the pan all the way down and the trap didn't go off.
- Q- Foxes keep digging up my traps and not setting them off, how do I stop this?
- Q- Do rubber jaw traps still hold the animal well?
- Q- What are the trap sizes?
- Q- How do I calibrate my trap?
Q- What are foothold traps and how do they work?
A- If you are unfamiliar with how they work we suggest you have a good look through our Trapping Guide section where you can find links and videos demonstrating how the traps work and how to set them for success. Using these traps does require skill on behalf of the trapper, and we recommend you educate yourself by reading and watching as much as possible (our resources section stocks some very good books and videos). A skilled trapper can be very successful with foothold traps. Foothold traps are buried into the ground in a shallow hole in the set positon. They are set off when the animal stands on the pan. This closes the jaws onto the foot of the animal holding it by the paw, until the trapper arrives to dispatch of the animal.
Q- Are foothold traps legal?
A- Yes foothold traps are legal in all states except for Tasmania. There are rules and regulations governing their use so please have a look at the State Legislation section to make sure that you meet the conditions that are set out for the area you live in. For example steel jaw traps are not legal in NSW but rubber jawed traps are.
Q- Why use foothold traps instead of cage traps for feral cats, foxes, and wild dogs?
A- Catching a feral animal in a cage trap is very difficult and on many occassions impossible. Cage traps are probably best used in urban areas for scavenging cats, foxes and dogs, or sometimes in rural areas for rabbits. True wild dogs, foxes and feral cats though will not enter the confines of a cage trap. Foothold traps in the hands of a skilled trapper have a very high trap success, and make the trapping of problem wild dogs, foxes, and feral cats possible. Unlike cage traps the animal is unaware that there is even a trap there, greatly reducing the chances of them shying away from the trap.
Q- My traps get rusty very quickly. How do I stop them rusting?
A - All traps should be treated to prevent them from rusting. Its called dying and waxing. This also help to take the odour out of your traps.
Trap Dying Method 1 - Local timber or Logwood Dye and boiling water.
- When you get your new traps, clean them in soapy water to get rid of oils etc. left on the trap from manufacturing or storage.
- Leave them wet and put them outside in the dirt until they get a light coating of rust (a week or so).
- Find a branch from a common local timber that is high in tannins. Put the branch into a large container of water and boil it for an hour (see paragraph below if you don't want to boil). Boiling the branch and leaves will bring the tannins out of the timber and into your water preparing a good brew for you to then boil your traps in. Remove your branch. Your water should be black/brown in colour. This is your dye. If you don't have any local timbers high in tannins or you want to do it in half the time, buy Logwood Dye and skip this step.
- Put your traps into the dye and boil them for an hour (rubber padding can become brittle if done often - see next paragraph). The tannins in the water bond with the rusty steel and make your traps black/brown in appearance. This wont work if your traps have not been rusted first. Rusting action in dyed traps will be greatly reduced extending the life of your traps and your springs. Another great benefit is that your traps now just smell like branches and animals wont detect strange smells that could put them off. You will need to repeat these steps when you notice your traps getting rusty again.
If you have time and don't like boiling then you can just leave your traps in the dye solution overnight or for a couple of days and this will have the same result. No need to boil the leaves for an hour previous either if you are doing it like this, just leave the branches and leaves in with the traps.
Waxing - Extra Rust Protection
After dying you can then wax your traps. Waxing provides 3 benefits for your traps. Extra protection against rust, less odour, and faster action. Some professionals consider it even more important than dying traps.
- Boil water and add a block of Odourless Black Trap Wax. You can also use paraffin wax, just make sure it is not scented. The Black Trap Wax we stock has a higher boiling point than the paraffin, which can be important in temperatures over 40 degrees C. It also has less odour.
- Once wax is melted set water to low boil and dip traps in. Leave traps in solution for a couple of minutes so the steel in the traps heats up to the water temperature. (If traps don't heat up to water temp, then once removed the wax will dry more quickly on the trap leaving them with a thick coating of wax, which is undesirable.)
- Remove traps, and hang to dry. They should have a nice light coat of wax on them.
- Store your traps in a covered box with small branches of your local timber. This helps keep trap odours natural.
- Once you catch an animal the trap will need to be cleaned again and waxed before taking to another location.
Q - When I received my new trap I set it and pushed the pan all the way down and the trap didn't go off.
A- Most traps do not come ready to go out of the box. They need to be modified by the buyer for their situation and preference. All Victor, Bridger, Duke and BMI traps need to be modified after purchase. It is very simple to modify the traps. One usually only needs a screwdriver, metal file, and a pair of pliers. Have a look at the following link(Modifing Traps) which is a set of instructions provided by Oneida Victor. WTS Dogless traps and Jake traps come ready to go out of the box.
Q - Foxes keep digging up my traps and not setting them off, how do I stop this?
A- Foxes, dingoes, and wild dogs will dig up traps if they can smell them. This usually means that your traps are not clean and the animal can smell them under the ground (which is not hard for canines with their incredible sense of smell). You need to boil up your traps and get them clean again. Look at the question above 'My traps get rusty quickly, how do I stop them from rusting', you need to follow these same steps to make your traps odour free.
Also I would advise against using newspaper as a pan cover. Newspaper smells enough for a canine to detect it, and is sometimes the reason why you can be dug out. Use something like a heavy plastic instead, and store it in a box with branches of your local timber.
Q- Do rubber jaw traps still hold the animal well?
A- There is no difference in the holding ability between rubber jawed traps and traps without rubber. The holding ability relies more upon spring strength. Your trap rubbers need to be maintained though. If they begin to perish they then can assist animals in pulling free from the traps.
Q- What are the trap sizes?
A- Please refer to the table below for all information on our range of traps.
|Trap Dimensions mm
|Trap Jaws (inside)
|Trap Jaws (outside)
(hinge to hinge)
(hinge to hinge)
|l x w
|Victor Soft Catch #1
|Victor Soft Catch #1.5
|Victor Soft Catch #3
|Victor Soft Catch #3 4x4
|Duke #1.5 RJ
|Duke #3 RJ
|Bridger RJ #1.65
|Bridger RJ #2
|Bridger RJ #3
|Birdger #3 OL
|Bridger RJ #5
|Bridger #5 OL
|WTS #3 RJ
|WTS #3 OL
|WTS #5 RJ
|WTS #5 OL
|MB 650 OL
Q- How do I calibrate my trap?
A- Not all traps need to be calibrated - the WTS#3 & WTS#5 do not need calibration. However, for traps with a dog (latch), the following is a guide on how to calibrate correctly. Thank you to Oneida Victor and the International Agency of Fish and Wildlife for the use of their figures.