By Kim Smith, hunter, trapper and nice bloke.
I was first introduced to trapping by my grandfather at the age of about 7. I used to carry his traps for him to mole jobs he was working on. The traps were basic though I still use some of the same traps even now in my work as a pest controller. At that age I was into bird egging and spent days on end walking woods, fields and even cemeteries looking for bird’s nests.
What this did was to open my eyes to nature and it was only a matter of time before I started noticing animal tracks and their homes. I joined the army at 15 and stayed for 16 years, in this time I was taught survival skills that included traps and trapping. I was always interested in hunting and had lurcher’s, ferrets and traps. On leaving the army I bummed around in jobs until I started a pest control company called Little 2 Large pest control. I remember like yesterday when I set my first mole traps and the excitement I had checking them twice each day.
The first day a couple of the traps had sprung but the traps were empty, I looked at the way I’d set the traps and set them again learning from my mistakes. On the second day one of the traps had been sprung and a mole was in there. The feeling was amazing knowing that I had caught my quarry and I still get that same feeling some 27 years later. As my business grew I was asked to control different species, id study there habits and read up on as much information about the prey that I could to learn my enemy.
Traps come in different groups. The dead fall or kill traps and catch-alive. Both have their uses, good and bad points. Traps that fall into the first group include things like break back mice and rat traps, most mole traps (although there are catch-alive mole traps on the market some that I designed though not for this reason). Then you have things like spring traps i.e. Fenns and the like.
Spring traps have been used for years and I’m sure we all know of Gin traps and these went from small ones for rats up to larger ones for foxes (Wolves when they inhabited this country) and even man traps. (All now banned for use).
One of the problems with these kill traps are they tend to be indiscriminate and will catch anything that steps into or onto them, sometimes holding the animal and not killing it out wright and this was and is deemed cruel. Snares also fall in this category and if set correctly are very useful. Remember traps work 24 hours a day when set, this is an advantage.