Muskrat Slide Set: Best Tips and Techniques to Muskrat Trapping

Photoby katechka / CC BY / CC BY

What is a Muskrat Slide Set?
Muskrats are rather bold creatures, and they have little problem travelling quite far from their dens for food should the need arise. And since they are semi-aquatic, they are as comfortable in the water as they are on land. The point where these topological preferences meet is also a perfect spot to place a trap for the muskrat.

When a muskrat leaves the water to get onto land or vice-versa, they carve out channels into the earth. These channels are colloquially referred to as “slides” and any trap that takes advantage of them is called a Muskrat Slide Set. This article will provide basic setup instructions as well as the boons and banes of using this set.

Basic Setup of a Muskrat Slide Set:
Since this trap, like most muskrat sets, is named more for its location as opposed to its construction, you could theoretically use any trap designed for a muskrat. Practically, however, some traps are far more effective than others. And for this set, heavier Foothold traps are ideal, especially when aided by support and tangle stakes.

Since you are using a Foothold trap, it is important to submerge the trap about 3 inches or so under the water’s surface, just where the slide begins. Lay the trap such that when triggered it is parallel to the bank. The support and tangle stakes should be placed a few feet away in deeper water depending upon the length of the chain on the foothold trap.

The support stake keeps the muskrat from being able to drag the trap too far away, while the tangle stake will ensure that the muskrat’s wild struggle will only serve to drown it faster. The heavier traps are better for this set because in addition to downing the muskrat faster, it also serves to trap larger animals that might accidentally trigger it.

Advantage of this Set:

These traps, like most Muskrat sets, do not require baits or lures. In fact, using bait will only serve to attract other unwanted species to the trap. Another reason for the absence of baits is because the muskrat is hardly left wanting for food except during the dead of winter.
They are quite easy to set up after the slide has been located. All you really need is to buy a foothold trap from your local hunting store or online if you prefer.
Disadvantages of this Set:

While locating muskrat slides is child’s play for the experienced trapper it can still be something of an issue for the novice. Since this set doesn’t allow for the usual standby of baits or lures, locating the exact slide spot is all the more important. So expect to do at least some legwork before you actually get to deploy the trap.
At least the locations are restricted to the banks of water bodies known to house muskrats, so simply follow the bank until you see a patch of earth that has been flattened out by something roughly the roughly the size of a muskrat.