Best Bait for Trapping Marten

Baiting your traps is usually an afterthought if you’re dealing with an animal whose trail you can easily track. The muskrat is a prime example of an animal where bait is more of a hindrance than it is helpful. But when your target of choice is the solitary marten, then lures and bait are your best friend.

Some say that the bait you use is even more important than the trap that you select while trapping marten; they are naturally curious and will probably fall for your trap as long as they have any reason to enter the general vicinity, but they will probably not travel too far from their dens unless food is scarce. This article aims to list and briefly describe the best bait for trapping marten as well as some tips to get the most out of them.

For more information on the other aspects of marten trapping, please visit our articles on [Marten Trapping Sets], [Marten Trapping Tips] and [How to Trap a Marten].

Here are our picks for the best bait for marten traps, in no particular order:

Beaver Meat:
One might be surprised by this item making the list, but rather surprisingly beaver meat is just as effective at baiting marten as it is at baiting fisher cats. It probably has more to do with the fact that the musky odor of fresh beaver meat carries much farther in the cold air than the flesh of most other animals. Make sure that the meat is fresh, however, because while marten have been known to indulge in carrion on occasion, they will usually opt for almost anything else instead.

Another important point to note is that while you should try to leave the carcass whole if possible, the marten isn’t as fussy as the fisher in this regard. The last tip concerning beaver as bait is that you should always cover up the carcass in order to keep the birds away.

Pine Squirrel Meat:
The Pine Squirrel is the number one prey for the marten so it stands to reason that you would meet at least marginal success using one as bait. While it is our experience that beaver meat is usually better for the high elevations that marten inhabit, a live pine squirrel will also present a rather tempting target for any nearby marten.

Another plus is that squirrels are fairly easy to locate because of their habit of leaving shredded pine cones around the pine trees where they feed. Just make sure to secure the squirrel as tightly as you can before you leave the trap.

While not technically bait, lures are invaluable in trapping solitary creatures like the marten. There are essentially two lures that work with the most consistency. The first is a few drops of skunk essence added to a solution of fish oil.

The second and much more readily available option is strawberry preserve (aka jam or jelly). With either of these lures to complement your baited trap, you’re sure to catch that marten in no time.

How to Trap Marten: Easy Tricks and Tips

The Marten is generally an easy animal to trap. While not quite as trusting as the muskrat, it is nowhere near as trap-wary as the fisher. The real challenge when it comes to trapping marten is to travel to their isolated habitats and to locate their specific territories. Their curious natures will pretty much ensure that they’ll be drawn to your trap, especially if you use the right bait and lure.

This article serves to provide you with the basic knowledge on how to trap marten. For more detailed articles on the various aspects of marten trapping, please visit our pages on [Marten Facts], [Marten Trapping Tips] and [Best Bait for Trapping Marten].

The Where – Choice of Location:
While I mentioned earlier that locating the marten’s territory is a challenge, in truth it is more tedious than difficult. Since they prefer isolated and elevated coniferous forests, you’ll have to do some legwork to find what you’re looking for. The marten trails can easily be confused for those of other animals, so we have to take a different approach; we’ll track the marten’s prey instead.

Martens really enjoy squirrel meat, more specifically the Pine Squirrel. So all you have to do is walk around the woods looking for pine trees with disfigured and shredded pine cones littering the ground around them. That area is clearly populated by pine squirrels and therefore is the ideal place to set your trap for the marten as well.

The What – Choice of Trap or Set:
When trapping marten you essentially have two choices; do you trap them on the ground or above the ground? Each of the options has its own pros and cons. Trapping them above the ground requires a Leaning Pole set with a stout branch, log or pole. Nabbing a marten on the ground, however, requires either a Cubby set or a combo Box-conibear set. For all of those sets, you could use a foothold trap but the smaller body gripping traps like the conibear (model 110 or 120) tend to produce the best results.

If you’d rather capture the animal alive, you can easily use a live cage trap instead, since the marten is not very trap-shy. Just remember to check all your traps as often as you can, preferably once a day, in order to prevent your trapped marten from turning into free meal for any nearby predators. For more information on how to construct and set up these sets, please visit our article on [Marten Trapping Sets].

The What Else – Choice of Bait and Lures:
While the marten has a fairly extensive and varied diet, the one bait that seems to be more effective than most is beaver meat. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the musky smell of beaver meat travels further in the cold than other scents but whatever the case, it works well. Try to leave the beaver carcass whole and also cover it up to keep the birds away.

The use of live bait is usually not worth the hassle because marten are not the most aggressive predators. Now as for lures, any skunky or fishy smell is ideal. A few drops of skunk essence in fish oil works best overall from our experience.

7 Marten Trapping Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Marten are a nice change of pace when it comes to the trapping game. Marten trapping affords one the opportunity to take a scenic drive or hike into the chillier elevations that they inhabit; the breath-taking view is usually almost as much fun as trapping the marten is.

Marten are also quite unique among furbearers in that they have several variations to the color of their fur depending upon the exact area where you’re trapping them. Whatever your reason for seeking the marten; this article aims to provide its reader with helpful marten trapping tips that could save them several months of frustration.

For more detailed information on the various other aspects of marten trapping, please visit our articles on [Marten Trapping Sets], [How to Trap a Marten] and [Best Bait for Trapping Marten].

So without further ado, here are our top 7 tips on trapping marten, in no particular order:

Since the conibear trap is what you’ll be using for most of your marten trapping sets, it is important to choose the right model and size for the job at hand. Since the marten is not generally as aggressive as the fisher cat, it is a good idea to stick to the 120 conibear trap if you have the opportunity, or perhaps even the 110.
The leaning pole set is a very useful set for trapping marten during the winter, when they are generally more inclined to climb the pole to take a break from plowing through the snow.
Beaver meat is the ideal bait for marten trapping sets. Keep the carcass whole and the meat as fresh as you can manage.
An important point to keep in mind when using beaver meat as bait with the leaning pole set is that it is best to nail or tie down the meat as securely as possible. Also, it would be a good idea to keep the bait covered to keep any nearby birds from getting too close to the trap.
Marten trap locations can be identified by tracking their favorite prey, the pine squirrels. Just look around for pine trees with several shredded pine cones strewn around them. The base of these trees make for ideal cubby set locations and the trees themselves are ideal as the supports for leaning pole sets.
A few drops of skunk essence mixed with fish oil is the ideal long range lure for trapping marten. However, you could use strawberry preserve in a pinch with similar results.
If you’re using a live cage trap to capture marten as a means of pest control, do keep in mind that they can get a bit rowdy when you’re trying to release them. It might also be a good idea to pad the inside of the cage with some suitably soft material because they can sometimes kill themselves by repeatedly ramming into the sides of the metal cage.
One last thing to keep in mind is that marten can be rabid on occasion, so wear gloves when handling them and get any bites or scratches looked at by a doctor immediately.

How to Trap a Fisher: Fast and Easily

The Fisher cat is a challenge to trap, even for fairly experienced trappers. And catching one fisher is no guarantee of catching another because they are notorious for learning rather quickly from failed attempts. Their omnivorous diets, their generally trap-wary natures, their aggressive predator instincts all contribute to their trapping difficulty.

In addition, they are arboreal creatures that can easily climb trees; while this allows for another avenue to trap them, it also means that they have more escape routes to avoid your trap. And they are not exactly afraid of the water either.

But with all that said, the fact remains that they are popular furbearers in the eyes of trappers and there are ways to get yourself a fisher pelt on your own. This article serves to highlight the ways in which one would go about trapping fisher cats. For more information on the various trap types, please visit our article on [Fisher Trapping Sets].

The Where – Choice of Location:
This is actually a fairly complicated issue when it comes to fisher cats. While several common furbearers such as the beaver and muskrat are semi-aquatic, the fisher cat is also semi-arboreal. What this means is that they spend a lot of their time climbing trees, thereby complicating their trails quite a bit.

So essentially you have 3 major choices as far as trap location goes. You could use a leaning pole set to take advantage of their tree-hugging ways.

Or perhaps you prefer getting them when they feel relatively safe; if so, you should set your trap just outside the hollow trees, crevices and bushes where they make their dens. The last avenue we would suggest would be to set your trap along their trails, because while they aren’t quite as predictable as the muskrat, they are still creatures of habit.

The What – Choice of Trap or Set:
The choice of trap type is a fairly straightforward process, at least for trapping fishers. During the summer they are more likely to stay on the ground and are reasonably susceptible to conibear, cage and foothold traps along their trails or just outside their dens, assuming that they are well camouflaged, of course.

But when winter hits, especially with heavy snowfall, they are loathe to plow their way through said snow and will be more likely to climb the nearby trees to get around (a notable exception is if it is able to feed on deer guts first; a fisher with a full stomach will not want to partake in tree-climbing). Thus, the leaning pole set is a good choice for a snowy winter.

The What Else – Choice of Bait and Lures:
This is even more straightforward; use a skinned but whole beaver carcass as your bait of choice. Other smaller creatures like hare, mice and squirrels will also do, but beaver meat works best. Live bait is also worth considering. As for lures, fishers react quite favorably to fishy odors like skunk oil and fish oil.

Don’t get be wrong, learning how to trap a fisher can and will take time. The real question this is if you’re willing to put in the time. More often than not, you can only take these tips with a grain of salt as it will vary from person to person and place to place with trapping. With this in mind, the more time you are willing to put into it, the higher chances you’ll actually trap that pesky fisher.

Top Fisher Trapping Sets: Don’t waste time trying others!

So you’ve finally decided to graduate from novice trapping and move on to the big leagues. Fishers (or Fisher cats as they are also known, despite the fact that they aren’t feline) are not what you’d call easy prey. They are some of the most aggressive and large furbearing predators from the weasel family in the North American continent and they are quite clever to boot.

Few animals learn from traps as quickly and efficiently as the fisher. And while their fur is quite thick and soft depending upon the season, there are usually easier pickings if fur is all you’re looking for. The real reason to trap fisher is the fact that they are difficult to catch and their pelts mark you as a veteran trapper.

They’ve been trapped to near-extinction multiple times in the past; as a result their seasons tend to be short and require extra attention to detail to be taken advantage of. This article serves to list and briefly elucidate the top 3 fisher trapping sets. Obviously this will vary from trapper to trapper, so just take it as a general guide; maybe you’ll end up succeeding too!

Leaning Pole Fisher Trapping Set:
A leaning pole set is one that utilizes a thin (relative to a tree trunk) branch or pole fitted with bait and a trap, usually a conibear. The pole is secured to a nearby tree at an incline so as to offer a simpler path to the tree-climbing animal. This set is fairly useful for trapping fisher during the summer when they are more likely to climb the pole for the bait; during winter they are usually quite lethargic unless starved, but this set can be effective then as well. The point to keep in mind is that the tree you’re leaning the pole on must have a fairly thin trunk; otherwise the fisher might get to the bait through the tree instead, completely bypassing your trap.

Live Cage Fisher Trapping Set:
This set utilizes a cage or box trap and attempts to capture the fisher alive. Since fisher cats are quite intelligent and trap-wary, you must pay special attention when camouflaging your trap to avoid any suspicion. Fisher cats will avoid unfamiliar material such as metal if clearly visible. You will need bait, usually in the form of beaver meat and preferably whole. Care should also be taken to use a large cage trap because a fully grown fisher male can be about 3 feet long. Try to place your trap in an isolated location with trees nearby. Use of a fishy or skunky lure is also recommended.

Box-Conibear Fisher Trapping Set:
This set is a combination of a box trap and a conibear trap. Use a large and fairly thick wooden box trap and cut open two grooves in the sides trailing from the open end of the box, roughly the size of the conibear hand holds. This will allow you to comfortably place a medium sized conibear trap inside the box trap; a combination that is quite deadly for the fisher. Trap placement is similar to other fisher sets; simply locate an isolated area of the fisher habitat with trees around. Bait is a necessity as well and our recommendation is beaver meat, preferably whole.

Fisher Trapping Tips, Tricks and Techniques

The Fisher is one of the more difficult furbearers to trap in North America. The reasons for why are myriad; they are semi-arboreal, they are excellent swimmers, they are omnivorous and can feed on carrion, they are quite trap-wary and they are not exactly married to their trails. Therefore, it only stands to reason that trapping them consistently would be quite the reputation booster in the trapping community.

This article aims to provide you with pointers that could well save you several months of experience with failed traps. For more detailed information on the various aspects of Fisher Trapping please read our articles on [How to Trap a Fisher], [Fisher Trapping Sets] and [Best Bait for Trapping Fishers].

So let’s get started with the Top 8 Fisher Trapping Tips, in no particular order:

During winters with heavy snowfall, the leaning pole set would be your best bet for catching a fisher, especially if there isn’t much carrion around for it to feed on. The fisher is not fond of trudging through the snow, so it will take any opportunity to take to the trees…and into your trap.
On the other hand, during summer it is usually best to go for the wooden box-conibear combo set that has been detailed in our [Fisher Trapping Sets] page. The wooden box serves to funnel the fisher quite well, not to mention dispel its suspicions regarding the metal conibear trap waiting inside.
When using conibear traps, the general rule of thumb is that bigger is not always better. Given the aggressive predatory nature of the fisher cat, it is actually preferable to use a smaller gauge conibear trap to ensure that the fisher is securely trapped. Several veteran trappers swear by the 160 model for the male fisher and the 120 for the female.
A consensus when it comes to the best bait for any kind of trap or prey is a very rare thing in the trapping community; the closest you’ll get is that beaver meat is the best bait available for trapping fishers. So go with the flow and try your best to procure some beaver meat.
If you use beaver meat, make sure to leave it whole and not just use the innards or parts of the animal. For born predators like the fisher cat, a whole beaver is best, either skinned or otherwise.
Should beaver meat be unavailable to you for some reason, then you could try to make do with smaller animals like hare, mice, voles and squirrels. You might even consider using live bait if you can manage it.
Despite the near complete absence of fish in their diet, fishers are strangely intrigued by fishy odors. So get a few drops of skunk oil or fish oil and use that to compliment the bait in your fisher trap.
When attempting to locate fisher dens, be on the lookout for hollowed-out tree trunks, inside isolated crevices and under logs and bushes.
Obviously some of these tips will vary from trapper to trapper, but maybe a few of these tips will be helpful.

Trapping Muskrat Under the Ice

One of the more interesting things about the Muskrat is that it is active pretty much all year round, all over the USA. What this means is that, theoretically anyway, you could trap them any time you felt like it. Of course you should still consult hunting and trapping laws in your State first.
Trapping muskrat on land is a fairly straightforward venture; they’re so trap-friendly that you could probably just use a trap made for any other animal as long as it’s big enough.

And there are several other articles on this site that pertain to trapping them in or around the water. But what if it happens to be the dead of winter and all the streams, lakes and ponds in your area are frozen over, effectively hiding the muskrat dens and trails? This article aims to provide you with a unique way to help you figure this out and trap muskrat under the ice with only marginally more effort than you’d need during the summer.

Locating the Trail:
The first order of business is to locate the den and/or trail. An easy way to do this is to mark out their locations during the summer months before the ice shows itself and simply follow your markers to the trap site whenever you want. But let’s assume that you didn’t display such foresight and now find yourself staring at a frozen lake with no idea where the muskrat are.

You need to ascertain exactly how thick (and therefore, how safe) the ice is. You can do this most easily by visiting a hunting store nearby and asking them, or just measuring the thickness yourself using a drill, an ice auger or an ice chisel and tape measure. If the ice is anything less than 4 inches, consider this a lost cause and wait till the summer. If it is 4 inches or thicker, then you’re in luck. Note that these figures only apply to new clear ice. White ice is not as structurally sound and is therefore not safe at 4 inches. You have been warned.

You’ll need to do some legwork at this point. Look for tiny air bubbles just under the surface of the ice. They are accurate indicators of the exact trail that the muskrats travel to and from their dens. They will only be visible if the ice isn’t too thick, however. Caution, you must be extra careful when trapping muskrat under the ice. Plenty of stories of people falling in..

Setting the Trap:
Once you’ve located the bubble trail, simply find a convenient spot anywhere along the trail to set the trap. You’ll need to cut a hole in the ice that is wide enough to allow both the muskrat and the trap to be pulled out. The trap that is ideal for this scenario is the Muskrat Board Set. For details on how to construct and set one up please visit our article on the [Muskrat Board Set].

The ice will freeze over and steady your trap later, so just make sure that it is firmly affixed into the earth below the ice.

Retrieving Your Catch:
Since the Ice is clear and part of the Board Set serves as a marker, you should have no trouble telling if the muskrat has triggered the trap. You will probably have to loosen the ice around the top of the trap once again to retrieve the Board Set with the drowned muskrat in tow.

How to Setup a Muskrat Float Set

What is a Muskrat Float Set?
When water conditions are turbulent or water levels fluctuate markedly, the muskrat is not above using floating logs or other detritus as a serene island of calm in the storm. Food and rest are a premium for the muskrat during times like these and an enterprising (not to mention innovative) trapper can take advantage of this.

Any set that is designed to trap a muskrat while it is resting on these “floaters” is called, not surprisingly, a Muskrat Float Set. This article aims to provide tips to set up your own Muskrat Float Set and the boons and banes of using them.

Basic Setup of a Muskrat Float Set:
Since the muskrat is not very trap-shy, you need not bother with camouflage or foliage when designing your Float Set. You do, however, need to decide whether you will be using an existing log as the trap site or if you’ll be building your own floater.

If you’re going with the former, remember to test the strength of the log before you set the trap up. The last thing you want is the log to break under your weight as you prepare the trap. You can go ahead and use a conibear trap for this set, though a foothold trap will be fine as well. Bait is unnecessary but will help a little; use raw carrots in that case. And don’t be shy with the nails when you attempt to fasten the trap to the log; there are few things more vexing than a lost trap.

Making your own floater takes more effort, but affords a great deal more versatility as a result. You could let your imagination run wild and form patterns with wooden planks and boards to best suit your tastes. We would recommend a cross pattern formed from two 1×6 boards, but the choice is up to you.

Try to set multiple traps, preferably one for each arm of the cross, because you could catch multiple muskrats this way if you’re lucky. Whatever you do, just make sure that the float is very firmly attached to something on the bank unless you want to end up loosing your trap.

Another tip is to possibly attach some sticks or twigs around your trap in order to keep ducks and other birds from interfering with it. Don’t overdo it though, as you still want the muskrat to be able to trigger the trap.

Advantages of the Muskrat Float Set:

Fairly easy to construct once you’ve located the approximate area of a muskrat den. Since you can use bait with this trap, the trap site need not be exact.
The Float Set might be your only option if the water is rough because muskrats have been known to abandon their usual trails in such instances.
Disadvantages of the Muskrat Float Set:

Because this set is normally used when the water levels fluctuate, they are not the most effective traps during the calm when most Muskrats simply stick to their own trails. Also, the presence of bait could result in other animals or birds interfering with your trap.
If you are still having trouble, here is a video that may help you out when setting up your Muskrat Float Set:

Top Muskrat Traps That Actually Work: Don’t waste your time

If you’re reading this article then it’s fairly evident that you’re at least considering turning to the adaptable Muskrat for your trapping needs. This semi-aquatic burrowing rodent does offer an interesting new experience for trappers that have only restricted themselves to more traditional burrowers such as rabbits or weasels; primarily because of their amphibious nature.

The fact that you can just as easily trap them in the water as on land gives you a lot of options for the kind of trap or trapping method that you can use. This article aims to provide a very basic and general description of the best types of muskrat traps, in no particular order. Each of these traps (also known as “sets”) will be explained in much greater detail in their respective articles; feel free to click their links if any of them catch your fancy.

keep in mind though that Muskrat traps will vary depending on where you are planning to go trapping along with the season. Some traps have been proven to be better than others so you might need to try a few different things in order to succeed. Also note: Make sure you check for what seasons your state allows to trap in as you don’t want to be out illegally trapping.

Types of Muskrat Traps:
Spring Run Muskrat Set:
Named more for the location of the trap rather than the trap itself, a spring run muskrat set is any kind of trap (usually a foothold or body gripping trap) that is located in the narrower sections of a stream that flows into a larger body of water. These spots are usually frequented by raccoons and mink as well, so spring run traps can easily be modified to catch those animals too. We consider this to be one of the top muskrat traps to use due to how versatile it is.

Muskrat Runway Set:
The muskrat is a creature that doesn’t really do very well with covering its tracks. They usually leave deep furrows or “runways” in the shallow parts of the stream that they most frequent. Body gripping traps deployed at these locations are quite successful at catching the creatures.

Muskrat Slide Set:
In the same vein as the last set, the muskrat slide set also takes advantage of the rodent’s complete lack of concern for its own trail. The spots where the muskrat officially earns its semi-aquatic descriptor are usually quite distinctive and these “slides” that link water with land are ideal sites for your traps.

Muskrat Den Set:
Once you’ve located the muskrat’s primary abode, it should feel quite natural to set a trap at the place it feels most safe. Muskrat den traps are even more appealing than the others because they do not require the use of lures or bait. All they need to do is simply swim on in and they’ll be trapped in no time. Some trappers find this to be one of the top muskrat traps simply due to the ease of trapping it offers. Assuming you actually find a den though thats suitable for the trap.

Muskrat Board Set:
These sets take advantage of the harsher segments of winter when the water over the muskrat trails has frozen over. One would nail both trap and bait onto a narrow wooden board and plunge it into the earth under the ice at an incline (after cutting out a small hole in the ice, of course). The closer the board set is located to a muskrat trail, the better the trap works.

Muskrat Float Set:
Muskrats must be the surfers of the animal kingdom because they seem to enjoy riding floating logs and other detritus. Setting traps on these “floaters” can be an interesting way to trap yourself a muskrat, even if this particular set is somewhat challenging to get right.

How to Setup a Spring Run Muskrat Set

What is a Spring Run Muskrat Set?
Muskrats are rather bold creatures and are quite comfortable moving very far from their dens in search of food. This quality, coupled with their amphibious nature, allows for rather long trails that pass over both land and water. The point in the trail where a smaller stream joins a larger body of water is ideal for setting a trap because it is nature’s way of funnelling the target into a narrow underwater channel. Any trap that takes advantage of this opportunity to nab muskrats is called a Spring Run Muskrat Set.

Basic Setup of a Spring Run Muskrat Set:
Since this trap is named more for its location as opposed to its construction, you could theoretically use any trap that is designed to catch a Muskrat for this set. Practically, however, you will want to either use a Conibear trap or a Foothold trap as they are usually the most effective. If the water at the trap site is on the deeper side, then the Foothold trap is the better choice. For shallow water, the Conibear trap does wonders. Be sure to look up the laws in your state pertaining to legal trap types, just to be safe.

It is crucial that you fasten the trap firmly at the narrowest point of the spring run. And remember that the slower the flow of water, the better your chances of catching that muskrat. Retrieving the trapped muskrat (or racoon) from the set is a straightforward matter, but gloves are always a good thing when handling a trap.

If you have difficulty locating the trail in the water, look for evidence like droppings or trampled vegetation and more visible signs from nearby land. Or you could be infinitely more patient and simply observe the spring run for the entire day to see which animals use it to travel.

Advantages of thethis Set:

They do not require bait, which is a very good thing when it comes to muskrat trapping. Muskrats may not be trap-shy, but they are quite resistant to bait outside of winter time owing to their omnivorous nature.
Easy to set up once the ideal site is located. All you have to do is buy the Conibear or Foothold trap from your local hunting store or online.
Disadvantages of the this Set:

It is very easy to inadvertently trap other animals with this set. Raccoons and even mink are all potential red herrings, keeping you from your muskrat prize. Therefore it might be a good idea to set multiple traps just to hedge your bets.
This set requires a bit of legwork before it can be deployed. While muskrat trails are some of the easiest to locate, it can still be something of a challenge to newcomers. Also, the lack of bait means that the trap must be set in the exact path of the muskrat, or it will almost have to be directly near it unlike traps that use bait.
For the most part, this video provides a good overview once you watch it thoroughly.