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>> DANIEL: Many folks enjoy interacting with species like deer and turkey. Of course, a lot of us enjoy hunting them and so do four-legged critters. So as wildlife managers, many times we need to balance the number of prey species with the number of predators that are in the woods. And trapping can be a great tool to accomplish this.

>> DANIEL: During past episodes, we’ve shared that turkey numbers have declined in many areas. And there is several factors.

>> DANIEL: One being habitat loss, but another factor is that predator numbers are definitely on the rise and a big part of this is that trapping isn’t as popular or used as much to help keep those predator numbers in check.

>> DANIEL: We recently shared a video explaining some very basic techniques for locating trap sites. This week I wish to share some tips and techniques that we use when it comes to baiting those traps.

>> DANIEL: So let’s just start with, “What type of bait do I use?” Even if you’ve just started trapping, you’ve probably already heard about all kinds of baits that folks are using. There are pre-packaged baits, urines, lures, and there’s all kinds of stuff to put on the ground. And you’re wondering, “What do I use to target specific critters?”

>> DANIEL: As we start talking about baits and our baiting techniques, I’m going to kind of break it down into two categories. And there’s a lot of information that could be put into both categories, but I’m just going to share the basics.

>> DANIEL: Remember – baiting and baits, we’re appealing to that predator. And that predator primarily uses two of their senses, their nose and their eyes.

>> DANIEL: When we start talking about the baits that we use to attract a critter by its nose, well, I like to split those into two categories. Your sweets and your meats.

>> DANIEL: When you look at the basic biology of predators, well, they’re going to seek different food sources during different times of the year. Now that’s not to say they’re not going to go out of their way to snag a meal any chance they can.

>> DANIEL: But as a rule of thumb sweets typically are more preferred during the warmer seasons. Maybe you’re in an area where you can trap during the summer.

>> DANIEL: That’s a great time to use sweets as your primary bait. That’s not to say sweets won’t work during the winter and aren’t attractive to predators like raccoons and opossums. Gosh, I like eating a candy bar year around. But during certain times of the year, they’re going to prefer those sweets over other food sources.

>> DANIEL: During the winter months, when those cold temperatures hit, critters – they’re not needing those sweets. They’re not needing that sugar. They’re needing a lot of energy to really maintain their body condition. They’re looking for protein.

>> DANIEL: During the winter months meat can be key to bring critters into a trap site.

>> DANIEL: A lot of meat and sweet bait is fairly cheap and is pretty common, easy to find. So sometimes we’ll mix and match this time of year to try to appeal to both a critter’s stomach needing that protein and their sweet tooth.

>> DANIEL: Some of the sweets we use are brown sugar, we’ll even add some Kool-Aid into the mix, a candied orange slice and maybe some marshmallows.

>> DANIEL: When it comes to meats, some of the basic baits are some peanut butter, which also has a little sweet taste, mackerel, sardines and even cheap cat food.

>> >> DANIEL: These are the primary baits that we use here at The Proving Grounds and they work great in both in Duke Dog Proofs and the box trap.

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>> DANIEL: Let’s hop over to coyotes real quick. It takes a little more technique and so I just want to touch on a few things.

>> DANIEL: If you’re going to use meat, a lot of trappers like to use beaver meat and you make maybe a dirt hole set. You put some beaver meat down there. You want to make sure that meat isn’t rancid. That rancid meat will cause those coyotes to roll and they’ll set that trap off by rolling right over the top of it and you won’t catch your coyote. So you want to make sure that meat is fresh and it smells really good for those coyotes.

>> DANIEL: A big part of coyote trapping is getting that coyote’s feet to move. You want his feet moving as much as possible to increase the chance that he’s going to step right on the pan of your trap.

>> DANIEL: With that said, we’ll often use two, maybe three, different scents at a coyote set. Try to get that coyote in there; have him moving around smelling those different smells; moving those feet and increase our chances of catching that coyote.

>> DANIEL: Just like we consider a coyote’s foot movement, when we’re setting our trap, we’re doing the same thing when we’re setting our dog proofs and our box traps.

>> DANIEL: Once we’ve got our bait, it’s time to consider where to place that bait to get those critters moving their feet to trigger the trap.

>> DANIEL: Let’s start with a box trap. It’s got a door in the front and in the back of the trap, there’s a pan. And when that pan feels pressure, it shuts the door.

>> DANIEL: When we go to set and bait our box trap, we want to set that bait behind the pan. That way the critter goes into the trap and he for sure steps on that pan and closes the door.

>> DANIEL: Going back to the coyote – that foot movement, if you will, how do you increase a raccoon or a opossum’s foot movement inside a trap? Well, one way that we do that is that we use a can. We put most of our bait inside just a tin can – an old soup can, if you will. Put it in there, set it in the back so those predators, when they go in, they’ve got to grab that can, kind of flip it around and look in to start grabbing their meal. They can’t just reach in, grab and take off.

>> DANIEL: When they start rolling that can around, that’s when they’re stepping on the pan.

>> DANIEL: The can not only increases foot movement, but it also protects that bait from the weather. Say some rain moves through – that means you don’t have to rebait the next day. You’ve still got fresh, working bait inside the can.

>> DANIEL: Here’s another little tip for you. It’s a bit more advanced, but I believe it will help you increase your catches and maybe save a little frustration on the trap line.

>> DANIEL: You’ve often seen us use a Hansel and Gretel trail. We’ll take maybe a handful of cat food, put a little in the trap and then spread the rest across the trail or an interior road where we know predators are traveling.

>> DANIEL: This is a great way to get critters to put on the brakes. They smell that and then work back up to the trap site where there’s a tasty meal inside the trap.

>> DANIEL: Now here’s the secret: when you make your Hansel and Gretel trail, don’t start right at the opening of the trap. Give it a few feet and then toss it out.

>> DANIEL: The reason is, you don’t want bait right under that door. You don’t want a critter coming up, working the bait, kind of sitting there, moving around and risk him bumping that trap door, letting it fall and there’s no critter in sight. It will also reduce birds coming in, bouncing around, hitting the trap and closing it before critters ever make it to your trap site.

>> DANIEL: Now let’s talk dog proof traps. One of our main baits in a dog proof is cat food. But we’ll also take a candied orange slice or a marshmallow, slide it over the trigger and then fill it in with cat food.

>> DANIEL: This is an important step because when that critter reaches in, they’re not reaching in and touching a cold trigger. They’re reaching in and they’re find a candy slice. And who doesn’t want to pull that out? When they grab that, you’ve got your critter.

>> DANIEL: Just like we use a can in a box trap, we also use a can on a dog proof. We’ll just set it over the top and that keeps that dog proof bait working for us no matter the weather.

>> DANIEL: We’ve talked about how those meats and sweets appeal to a critter’s nose. Now, let’s talk about eyes.

>> DANIEL: I’m going to touch on coyotes here real quick. Now there’s a bunch of different types of coyote sets out there. In fact, we share several great videos on how to make flat sets and even dirt hole sets on our channel. If you want to see those step-by-step videos, you can check ‘em out.

>> DANIEL: But today, I’m just going to share a few things that can be used for that eye appeal for coyotes.

>> DANIEL: If you’re setting a dirt hole set, fresh dig, that dirt laying on top of the ground, that’s eye appeal. Don’t brush that away. You want to keep that fresh dirt there. Because as a coyote runs by, he’s saying, “Whoa. Something just buried a meal there. I want to taste it.”

>> DANIEL: Some other great eye candy for coyotes, well, it can be a bone. You can hammer it into the ground there next to the trap. They catch that white – catches that eye – and gets them to your trap site.

>> DANIEL: When we’re talking about nest predators like raccoons and opossums, well, like I just said, they’re nest predators. So, a big eye appeal for them – it’s a shiny, white egg. So, take those eggshells that you cooked from breakfast – take them out on the trap line and use that eggshell right in front of the trap; catch those critters cruising by; they see that egg and they think there’s a meal.

>> DANIEL: Remember when you’re trapping, you’re appealing to a critter’s eyes and also their nose. So really consider where you place that eye appeal and where your trap is located so that scent is carried across the trail or path that critters tend to use.

>> DANIEL: Most critter activity is during the night. And that’s when air is the coolest. Cool air is sinking to the lowest point. So as kind of a rule of thumb, really basic here, set your trap on the uphill side of where you think critters are moving and let that scent whiff across their trail.

>> DANIEL: In summary, appeal to a critter’s nose and eyes; get them to the trap site; get their feet moving around to set off that trap – well, you’re going to be bringing in a lot of fur from the trap line.

>> DANIEL: If you’re looking for more advanced techniques, check out our trapping playlist on our channel and you’ll find a lot of great information there.

>> DANIEL: Trapping is a great way to get outside, balance those predator and prey numbers and also hone those outdoor skills.

>> DANIEL: No matter how you get outside and enjoy Creation, I hope you slow down, listen to what the Creator is saying to you and the purpose He has for your life.

>> DANIEL: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.