Offset Traps

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The debate between the use of offset traps versus a standard jaw trap has been going on for years.  

Which style is better to use?  

Which style has more holding power?

Does the offset design really add extra protection to the animals foot?

The goal of the offset design is to prevent broken bones while still allowing blood flow to the animals foot.

In theory, the increased blood flow and injury reduction will minimize stress on the animal while still providing adequate holding power. 

So how do they work?  

What design features make them different from a standard trap?

The offset design creates space or a small gap between the gripping surfaces when the jaws are closed.  

This offset or gap is usually around 3/16 of an inch depending on the trap size.  

The offset jaws also allow the trap levers to come up further on the trap jaws.  

Because of the offset, the trap jaws actually close further than a standard trap.  

When the trap levers come up further on the trap jaws it makes the trap harder to open.

Many trappers also prefer laminated or wide faced jaws to reduce injury and improve efficiency.  

Lamination increases the surface area of the jaw which creates added gripping ability.

Should You Use Offset Traps?

In some states offsets are mandatory for land sets and you're required by law to use them.

If you live in an area where you have the option to choose between the two styles, it really just comes down to personal preference and opinion.

With pan tension set at around 2 1/2 pounds, a level pan and a properly bedded trap, you should not have any problems receiving a good high pad catch.

There's always the possibility that non target animals (like raccoons) could pull out of an offset trap.  

These lost "bonus catches" sometimes prevent trappers from adding the trap to their supply.


If your local laws dictate you must use an offset, the choice is easy.

Or, if a landowner prefers you use an offset due to local domestic animals, then it's nice to have a few offsets laying around.

Overall, choosing an offset over a standarded jaw trap is all about preference and what works best for you.