How to Setup a Spring Run Muskrat Set

Photoby usfwsmtnprairie / CC BY / CC BY

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.