(The drawings and photo on this page are courtesy of James Grant Krause)
|Muskrat sets are numerous and I can't cover them all here,
but I'll try to show some basic sets.
This first set is the shallow pocket set. It has a 110 conibear at the entrance of the pocket and a piece of apple in the back of the pocket. The conibear has two small sticks through the jaws to stabilize the trap. Make sure the apple is exposed and can be seen by muskrats swimming by.
A good place to catch muskrats is at their den entrances. These can usually be seen as you walk along the bank of a pond or stream. You can tell many times which dens are being used frequently, because the water at the den entrance will be murky from the muskrat stirring up the mud on the bottom as it entered or left the den. During periods when ice is on the water, you can tell which dens are active by the bubbles under the ice. An active den will have a distinct bubble trail coming out of the den. Placing a 110 conibear at the entrance to this den is a very good muskrat set as shown below. Also, this set has been known to snag a mink on occasion.
Another good place to catch muskrats is in their runs. The run is made by the muskrat constantly using the same path to go from one place to another. These runs are usually pretty easy to pick out as they look like trails going through the vegetation in the water. Here is an example of a set in a run using a 110 conibear.
Here is a before and after picture of a set made in a muskrat run with a 110 conibear..
Other places that are good muskrat sets are at their feed beds and where they have their toilets. The feed beds look like floating mats of cut vegetation. This is where the muskrat takes its food to sit and eat. Some feedbeds can be as small as a few inches wide and others can be a couple feet wide. A feed bed set is shown below using a small longspring trap.
Muskrat toilets can be on floating logs, on rocks protruding from the water and on the bank. They tend to use the same places over and over and this makes it a good place to set a trap for them. Shown below is a set using a small longspring trap on a log protruding from the water where the muskrats are climbing on it to use it for a toilet.
The basic pocket set is also a good muskrat set. You can see the pocket set by going to the Basic Sets Home page and clicking on Pocket Set.
Anytime you make sets with footholds for muskrats, make
sure you anchor them like you were setting for coons because coons do
tend to get in muskrat sets made with footholds. Also when using
conibears, anchor them pretty good too because mink tend to get in them
occasionally too and they may go aways with a 110 if it's not anchored