Technically called a body gripping trap, the conibear trap received it's name from the trap's Canadian inventor Frank Conibear.
The traps hit the shelves in the late 1950's and they have been popular ever since.
In fact, they are so popular that most trappers consider them one of the best trapping innovations of the twentieth century.
Why are they so popular?
The traps are easy to use, relatively inexpensive and they quickly and humanely kill the animal once the trap activates.
They're designed to close around the animals neck with enough force to quickly kill the animal reducing the chances of it suffering.
The trap in constructed of 2 metal squares designed to open and close like a pair of scissors. Depending on the size of the trap, one or two springs are used on the end of the trap to quickly close the trap when activated.
To set the trap compress the spring or springs and secure them with the spring safety latch.
Once the springs are compressed open the square frame/jaws and set the trap by using the trigger that is set with the catch or "dog."
The trigger can be baited or it can be bent into various shapes depending on the targeted animal.
The trap activates when the animal moves the trigger either by eating the bait or walking through the trap and moving the trigger.
The conibear trap is available in several different sizes. The 3 most popular sizes are the 110, 220 and 330 with the 110 being the smallest and the 330 being the largest of the three.
The size of the trap you should use depends on the type of furbearer you are targeting. Here's a few trap suggestions:
110 (5 x 5 inches) - Muskrat and Mink
220 (7 x 7 inches) - Raccoon and Opossum
330 (10 x 10 inches) - Beaver and Otter
Although most people can compress the 110 spring by hand, many people are unable to compress a 220 or 330 spring. These larger sized traps can be set using tongs that use leverage to easily compress the springs.
Body gripping traps are commonly used in water sets. Due to the "instant kill" trap design, many states prohibit the use of body gripping sets on land and require larger traps like the 220 or 330 to be submerged under water.
Some states allow the use of conibear land sets however the trap must be set several feet above ground. This helps prevent unwanted animals like dogs and cats from becoming accidental catches.
Water sets are very productive with a body gripping trap. To use one, locate a run or pathway and set the trap in the middle of the runway. To secure the trap in the runway, shove a long stick through the spring hole and secure the stick in the ground. If the trap has two spring use two sticks.
Next, place guide sticks on both sides of the set trap to "funnel" the animal through the traps opening.
Conibear traps are easy to use and they're one of the most popular fur traps available today.
Available in a few basic sizes, these traps can target a variety of different furbearers. For the beginning trapper or someone who's been doing it a lifetime, the conibear is a great choice!