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I am an advocate for LIVE animal trapping when necessary. When I lived in another town here in Wisconsin, out in the country, I raised kittens born from wild cats and they quickly became part of my family.
I had a swinging cat door placed on my enclosed porch for their benefit, plus the mommy cats would come at night and visit their young. I soon discovered that raccoons were visiting nights and eating all the kitty food. So, I borrowed a live trap and caught them, one by one. I transported them about 10 miles away and let them go. I never got entirely rid of the raccoons but it helped a lot. The thought later came to me that perhaps these raccoons had little ones to feed and then I regretted transporting them so far away.
Animal trapping began as early as the 4th Century BC. The North American settlers trapped fur-bearing animals. The Native Americans trapped with pits, rudimentary snares and deadfalls. Leghold traps were made in the 18th Century by blacksmiths on request by trappers. These are very cruel traps.
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Trading Posts were established with the natives of North America. The Hudson Bay Company was a successful Trading Post, trading rifles, pistols, frying pans, pots, knives, food and blankets, etc., in exchange for furs from the trappers and native Americans. The first European men to cross the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains in search of furs, were the trappers and mountain men. They learned the skills of hunting and trapping from the native Americans.
Beaver became a popular animal to trap as their fur was used for coats and hats. Trapping was mainly done for food and fur and sometimes for wildlife management. Some of the popular animals caught for fur are the raccoon, coyote, red and gray fox, beaver, wolverine, mink, ermine, bobcat, lynx and muskrat.
In many parts of the world, animals are trapped to prevent damage to personal property or to prevent the killing of livestock. Animals are also trapped for public display. In modern times, various types of trapping has become controversial because of its alleged cruelty to animals.
I could not find a book on making homemade live traps but in my own experience I tied the door shut in an ordinary cage using a large and strong rubber band. Then tied a string to the door and held the door open against the strength of that rubber band. The string was tied to a piece of food. My food of choice was a hard piece of bread that I wedged into the bars at the back of the cage. This held the door open until some critter went into the cage after the bread. Eating the bread released the string, which snapped shut the door because of the rubber band. This worked to catch a squirrel, which I released later. This ideal can be tweaked and made to catch bigger animals. The food holding the string needs to be protected from a animals eating it from the outside.
One time I caught a skunk in my live trap.. You can imagine the fun I had with this one. But actually it wasn't to bad to release it unharmed and me unsprayed. Here is the whole story for those who are interested.
How to Get Rid of Skunks in a Humane Manner.
This is my story of how I removed skunks from my property using a live trap. Skunks are really cute and I would enjoy having one for a pet but don't want them spraying me, my house or yard.
A couple of days ago I was watching a PBS documentary on skunks and they had an excellent way to encourage a skunk to leave an area like under your house or garage. The remedy was to first provide a way of escape for them from the building and then set a radio or player on the other side of the building and play loud rock music.
Skunks are really sensible and don't like that type of music and will leave. After they leave you can close up the building so that they won't get back in. I would also make sure they didn't leave any babies behind too.
My personal skunk removal trick was using a live trap. This may seem surprising because you would get sprayed if you get to close but I used a trick and caught several of them this way and never got hit. This is what I did.
First set up your trap with some bait like cat or dog food. Leave it out overnight when you have time the next day to remove them. Make sure there is a lot of room surrounding the trap. Don't put it next to a wall. You will need room to work. In the morning you will probably have caught one unless your neighbor cat was hungry.
Use an old blanket or something similar. (I used an old sleeping bag that didn't zip up anymore) Slowly approach the trapped skunk. Skunks won't spray if they can't see you and you move slowly. When you get close enough throw the blanket over the trap completely covering it. Run away because the skunk will spray at this point.
Wait about an hour for the area to ventilate. Then calmly walk over to the trap and grab the handle at the top of the trap through the blanket. Make sure the blanket is completely covering the trap. If the skunk sees you he will spray.
At this point you can pick up the trap and move it to a trailer or the back of your pickup. Drive to some spot at least 20 miles away to release it. I always took my skunks to the other side of a river. The only way back was a busy bridge.
Once you get to the release point remove the trap from your vehicle and place on the ground in a safe spot. Slowly open the trap door, working from behind the blanket. Make sure you are not seen as you open the door. The blanket will get in the way of latching the door open so bring a large jar or something that you can use that will hold the door open. Step back about 30 feet and watch. The skunk will slowly come out. Once he sees he is free he will take off and you will have the good feeling that you got rid of your skunk in a kind manner.