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Otter Traps Back In The Day? #7256785
05/03/21 11:10 AM
05/03/21 11:10 AM
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Pest's Dad Offline OP
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Gentlemen; I imagine most otters are trapped in 'Conibears', these days? I don't even know what the current rules are, regarding types of traps in USA. But, that's not my question. I'm looking at Historically. When things were, perhaps, different.

See; British otter traps ~ those Step In traps, specifically made to target otters ~ tended to have a square frame beneath the jaws. Best suggestion I can dream up is that this somehow stabilised the trap? Why? Dunno. Maybe they were set under water, where digging a bed wasn't the best option? I'd sincerely appreciate any opinions on That, to start with.

Another thing that strikes me is; The jaws tended to be smooth ~ in a time and place when teeth were the norm. Why might that be, please? Anyone offer any insight?

Because, finally; I'm looking at a trap (Or, sadly, what's left of it!) found in Ireland. Quite possibly Blacksmith Made. Jaws are eight inch. (That fits well with what I know of old otter traps) But, the teeth. They're more like a hacksaw than spikey / grabby. And they continue a bit down the sides too.

Strikes me such teeth might be more work to make than 'normal' ones. So, I'm guessing someone who Really knew what they were doing might have designed this trap? But Why???

Is it something about otters feet? I always imagined one would fight like blazes, in a trap. So, why ~ in a world where spikey teeth were okay ~ would anyone go after them with such fine teeth; Or indeed, as the 'Traditional' English designs show, smooth jaws?

Really appreciate any input here, guys. I'm a recovering Trap Collector. This is a purely academic exercise. But, it's still fascinating the carp out of me! grin

Here's the wreck in question. Note also, it has a Round pan? Most unusual in British Isles. And it has two holes drilled through it.

Views, please?

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7256792
05/03/21 11:21 AM
05/03/21 11:21 AM
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Wissmiss may have some insights for you.

All I can add (as an otter trapper) is that the tapered foot of an otter and the animal's strength put any trap to the test. Poorly made, weaker spring traps have no chance to perform against this furbearer to an acceptable standard for most trappers' expectations.

The trap in your picture being a single spring would not be a good candidate for an otter trap in my opinion.

Last edited by beaverpeeler; 05/03/21 11:22 AM.

"Hyar's the beaver. Whar's the likker?"
Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: beaverpeeler] #7256803
05/03/21 11:43 AM
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Exactly! Thanks, BP. The whole concept of British otter traps ~ even to me, who's genuinely never even Seen a real, live otter ~ just flies in the face of what makes sense.

I'd have bet - as you're saying: 'With an otter, you need all the help you can get!'

And, those old Flat Springs? Maybe " Old " is the operative word here? We only tend to find them on the oldest traps. Perhaps a century or two of being around weakens them? But, I've honestly never come across one that would scare me.

But, then again? They used to make Big Game / Man Traps with them ... Who knows? I guess, back then, before the Bow Spring was invented, they could have been forged to pack a whack. Dunno. Before my time. And the guys who would have used and known about them are, sadly, long gone now too.

We're just left to stroke our beards and surmise.

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7256805
05/03/21 11:44 AM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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The go to otter trap here before bodygrips was the dls #3.Teeth not necessary with a positive drowning system or under ice,which is the way all footholds here are set for otter.Otter fight like he-- and can escape a weaker or smaller trap or wreck their fur if held alive on land for any period of time.
I have seen otters at the end of a drowning wire in 1 1/2 single LS,#2 DLS and #11 DLS.
On a sidenote a DLS #11 is a bulldog of a trap.
The trap in the picture does not look like it would hold an otter for very long teeth or not.

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7256806
05/03/21 11:50 AM
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From a blacksmithing perspective that type tooth would be easy to stamp . If it is a otter trap its built to sell more than built to catch . It looks more like a chicken hawk trap than an otter trap .

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Bigfoot] #7256834
05/03/21 12:53 PM
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Many complain about how much worse the world is today than in the past, but to me the improvement in our harvest tools is a great thing.

Bryce

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7256836
05/03/21 12:58 PM
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Yep! Yep! Yep! grin See? Nothing Makes Sense!

I have well over fifty years of fascination with these traps. I've been an extremely serious and dedicated Collector, much of my life. But, this One example has led me to think; 'Hang about ....?' And now? I find myself needing to review a whole chunk of what ' We ' have always accepted.

The last men to have meaningfully Used these types of traps ~ this side of the pond ~ are pretty well gone now. Flat Springs being so archaic? I've absolutely no doubt there's no one living who would have chosen one over a (newer) Bow Spring.

Also, I suspect the Methods used, in trapping, may have become quite different between 'You and Us'? Dunno. Maybe 'Our' guys knew how to set a gin trap to catch a fox by which ever exactly played for foot? I certainly never heard of such, till I heard what you guys can do. Amazing, to me!

But, otters. A humongous ferret, on steroids? Yep. That's Seriously gonna jump and twist! Some weight behind it too. And chamfered feet?! Why then would they choose to use smooth jaws???

Drowning Rigs, by the way, are something just not heard of, over this side. Dunno. Perhaps just no one ever wrote about it? But, I've read some archaic Trapping Manuals and Never seen reference to it, that I remember.

Boco: I have a couple (?) of B&L Beaver traps here. Can't remember much about them now. Haven't looked at them in years. No idea the number / size / model. Something about the chains? One, I'm pretty sure I remember, has 'teeth'. Bit like clipped off little nails, stuck on under the jaws? Can't remember.

Best bit of thought food in a long time, gents! Greatly enjoying any and all in put.

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: bblwi] #7256848
05/03/21 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bblwi
Many complain about how much worse the world is today than in the past, but to me the improvement in our harvest tools is a great thing.


Bryce; That's Another point between 'You and Us'. Fur has always been, indeed, a 'Crop to Harvest', for you guys.

This side? Trapping has pretty much Always been about just getting rid of something. " Vermin Control ". (Usually, ironically enough, so that the rich could be left with more things to take out for Sport. Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse, primarily. Oh, and trout / salmon too. Which is where the otters come in)

I guess that's why 'we' have (Historically) developed such a blunt, hammer like approach? Basically; " Kill it! Before it kills His Lordships game. My livelihood. And I'm out of a job! " That's why many Gamekeepers focused on completely annihilating anything with sharp teeth or a hooked beak, see?

Last thing you guys would want to do would be wipe out every last fur bearer on your patch, of course. No one can harvest scorched earth.

Heh! But, none of that is explaining this divergence in styles of otter traps! And, now that I've spotted it? I may never sleep again, for wrangling over WTH?! grin

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7256867
05/03/21 02:21 PM
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Pest's Dad,

In my region, the traditional otter trap of choice, for many, many years was the #48 Newhouse. If you aren't familiar with them, they are a number 4 sized, closed jaw (not off-set like a #14 NH), double long- spring, with teeth. These traps were used almost strictly on dry land trail sets, between the ocean shore, and the den/ toilet sites. Bedded in moss, with a trap bed chopped out of the frozen dirt, and off-set to one side of the trail. The trap chain is tied to the end of a long, springy, strong limb, which acts like a fishing pole, in that the trapped otter cannot get a solid pull against the trap, since the limb just bends, and acts as a shock absorber. Some trappers also used some of the #14 Newhouse, and the #14 Victor Jumps/ undersprings, along with assorted other styles, sizes, and brands of footholds. Most serious otter trappers considered the #48 NH to be the best trap though. Many thousands of otters have been harvested this way, in my region. These days, the vast majority of trappers in my region seem to have switched to the more humane, and possibly more efficient bodygrips. I have personally harvested a few hundred otter with footholds, with the methods described though, so there are still some people out there who know how to use this method, to some degree...... Notice, I have multiple swivels, and also an added shockspring, right at the trap, since otters fight, and roll a lot. There is no such thing as to many swivels, for foothold otter traps smile

At one point, I had written up and posted a long tutorial post on here, about dry land otter trapping methods, but I think it is long gone now........ Oh, well, it probably isn't applicable to many trappers anymore, since most have switched to body grips, and not many trappers are even targeting otter, these days.......

[Linked Image]



Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7256883
05/03/21 03:25 PM
05/03/21 03:25 PM
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Thanks, Trapped4ever. That's a great bit of input, about the 'Benders' ~ as I'd know them. Springy sticks.

See; Now I'm actively looking back on it? Otters are probably The Least discussed creatures to ever have been trapped in UK. Foxes? Badgers? Even Wildcats. I've read, in antique books, how they used to target them.

But, ye know what? I honestly don't recall I've Ever read about how to catch an otter. Other than one mention of this insane thing, involving a big, packing case type wooden box and a dam. I actually once owned the exact trap. It was mental! laugh

But, yeah. So, I've read 'nothing' of otter trapping. I therefore know nothing of their trapping. All I have is the memory of what's, historically, been known as an " Otter Trap ". With its smooth jaws and that weird, square frame under them.

Fair enough. British Trap Collectors aren't as interested in chains as you guys seem to be. Dunno why. But, that might explain, partly, why our traps seldom enough show up with chains on. (Repurposed, maybe? Why waste a good bit of chain?)

And so, I can't say these " Otter Traps " didn't normally come with several pounds of chains and swivels. Or, maybe they Were set to a bankside Bender???

Oh! Here we go! Now we're talking! grin (Sorry. My head's been busy. But, now I've had my dinner and settled down with a short, smooth, Irish one ..... More myself! cool )

Here's an example of the very 'British Otter Trap' I've been alluding to all along!

[Linked Image]


And, looky there! Dang me if This example doesn't have the very, 'Hacksaw' teeth I've been talking about! See the teeth going over the sides too? Pretty amazing how my old Trap Collectors 'Mind Muscle Response' managed to join all those pieces, fifteen years after I stopped bothering about such things!

But, look at that ~ seemingly original? ~ Chain, peg and swivel. Crazy! Unless they were supposed to be thumped down, under the water?

Back to what I said above: I never got any sense that our guys could trap like You guys do. I remember you use a set ~ I forget the name of it now (Forgetting So much, these days! blush) ~ very common, well known, basic set. 'Bottom Edge'? What ever. Beneath a river bank side. Under the water. Where a mink will investigate the 'wall'.

Wonder if our boys did that, with these traps? Just trying to figure out how such a seemingly weaker trap, with such a short chain and peg held a live otter.

So, there we have it, my highly experienced otter trapping friend. We're about on the same page now. How would You think 'we' used to use these weird traps?

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7256937
05/03/21 06:08 PM
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When the Wisconsin DNR was introducing otters back to Wisconsin they trapped them in #11 longs, that's all I know on otter trapping.


“We will visit the Holy Land and see those places hallowed by the footsteps of the Savior,”
-Lincoln
Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: NorthenTrapper] #7256945
05/03/21 06:23 PM
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NT; You know more than me! I just Collected the things! laugh

Honestly; The only otter I've Ever seen, outside of a film? Been in a glass case! Truth!

I did actually trap one, once though ~ if ye could call it that? Set about a 5" square (? I'm sorry, I've never got to grips with this " 160 " etc talk) body gripper beside this barely moist little trickle that passes under the track here. Found a dead finch and thought I'd put it to use, looking for a mink.

Hang me! Next morning? Finch was gone. Trap was fired. Three foot long 'footprint' of crushed grass told me all I needed to know!

Sniff. Snap. 'What In Hades?!'. Spin. Gone! Must have been one cheesed off otter! laugh He deserved that finch. Taught me well. Never Again! shocked

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7256953
05/03/21 06:32 PM
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5 inch bodygrips will kill an otter stone dead.
I have got plenty of pictures of otter-some pretty big dead right there in 120's set for mink.
As far as bodygrips go,the 330 is a poor otter trap when set on dry land.

Last edited by Boco; 05/03/21 06:33 PM.
Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7256957
05/03/21 06:36 PM
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Ditto Boco, even in the 160s


RdFx
Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Boco] #7256970
05/03/21 07:06 PM
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Boco; This was probably an old one I had laying around from my Collecting days. I have a few, I think, knocking around in my tool room. Single springs I'd imagine.

I Also have a bunch of 'new' ones. About five inches? Double spring Belisle's! They scare me to death! shocked I don't know How you guys set them by hand!

I grew up used to gin's and other traps that set with a pan and dog sort of mechanism? Squeeze, tread or kneel on the spring. Flip the loose jaw, etc. No danger.

But, these BG's? Nope. I sweat blood just being around them. Thought of being caught by an Spring horrifies me! And these 220's I have here ~ 'for scientific experimentation'? Lawd, no! Pul Eease don't make me ever fiddle with Those again!!!

Anyway, I feel we're about to start veering away from the discussion of an old trap and into the realms of " Just who Is this strange, Limey seeming, guy who comes up with weird subjects?! " laugh

That's okay, guys. I'm cool with that. Any concerns? PM Paul. He can PM me. I can then remind Him of about a couple of decades ago, when I was active on here. Another handle. And known to some handles I, sadly, no longer see here. Absent Friends frown

But, yeah; I'm really only asking for views on this particular trap. I post from the hip. I perfectly understand - and accept - that I may be seen as a bit of a gate crasher at a somewhat insular gathering.

Cool.

Now, can we Please just get back to historical otter traps? laugh

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Boco] #7256972
05/03/21 07:08 PM
05/03/21 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Boco
5 inch bodygrips will kill an otter stone dead.
I have got plenty of pictures of otter-some pretty big dead right there in 120's set for mink.
As far as bodygrips go,the 330 is a poor otter trap when set on dry land.


Yep!
You have seen it also. Not legal in wa


Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7257214
05/04/21 01:39 AM
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Pest's Dad,

Quote
'Hacksaw' teeth I've been talking about!


These "hacksaw teeth" would actually improve the grip substantially, since there are all those little gripping nodules to increase surface area, and create pressure points. Some of the old time trappers up here, used to achieve essentially the same thing, by clamping a standard #4 size traps jaws, in a bench vise, and drilling small diameter holes, spaced a bit apart, down the entire length of the jaws, between the spring eyes. This definitely improved a standard footholds holding power, on the otters tapered feet.

Your trap looks similar to the old #2.5 Newhouse, or the #21.5 Newhouse for size. These two traps were marketed as an otter trap, along with the #3.5 Newhouse, and were originally sold with a breastplate, that attached in an arch, to the trap pan. These were supposedly meant to be set at the bottom of otter slides, with the idea that the toothed jaws on the #2.5 & #3.5 would grab and hold the otter by the chest, if it didn't get caught by the foot. I don't think that idea/ design worked out to be very effective in reality, but that was supposed to be the idea...... Perhaps your trap was intended to be used in such a manner as well? The "spike" on your trap appears to be a bit to long for a tree spike, and to short to use as a stake, driven into the ground? Maybe it was intended to be driven part way into a log, lying partially in the water, the butt of a log, or a large pole? However, it would be pretty hard to recover, if driven very deep into a solid log....

For my much larger than average otter, I WOULD NOT ever set any rotating jawed traps, as small as the previous posters mentioned, targeting otter. My preferred size, for rotating jawed traps, used to target otter on dry land, would be the #280 sized trap, which will strike just behind the skull, and kill very humanely, and rapidly. This is only applicable to my larger sized otter, and would probably be less applicable in regions with smaller animals, where a #220 may be a better size choice? I have caught and held several dozen otters, over the years, in both #0 and #1 long springs, and jump/ underspring traps, but I would NEVER set a trap that small, intending to target otter!!

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: trapped4ever] #7257261
05/04/21 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by trapped4ever

Your trap looks similar to the old #2.5 Newhouse, or the #21.5 Newhouse for size. These two traps were marketed as an otter trap, along with the #3.5 Newhouse, and were originally sold with a breastplate, that attached in an arch, to the trap pan.


I remember those!!! grin Wow! That's taken me back! Not sure I've ever even seen a photo of one? Don't remember. (Don't remember which day I go into town, now! laugh Seriously! I'll have to ring my mate, tonight, and ask him LMBO!) But, yeah. I used to have Gerstell and so forth. F&B. I was absolutely aware of those breast plate attachments.

So; With the grippy little teeth, and all else; 'My' trap plainly is an otter trap. Only, as ye say, there's still so much mystery surrounding it. Like that 'wrong for purpose' spike :|

It's so sad. I was saying ~ on the original thread about this trap, elsewhere ~ how I knew a guy, forty years ago. He was in his seventies then. But, he'd used traps like this, most all his working life. He'd been a Gamekeeper. He knew all the answers to the stuff that torments me, today.

Now, look, I'm left floundering around, trying to make what sense I can of things we may never again fully understand.

As an aside, a little anecdote for ye: In England, around about the mid fifties or so, they had a rabbit trap called the Juby Trap. After the man who came up with it. Well, pushing twenty years back now, I got on the case of a certain variation of that trap. Someone had ordered them made a certain way.

My tireless research actually led me to pin pointing a certain country estate. I then contacted that estate and asked if I might talk to their then Head Gamekeeper. They said Certainly. I could barely breath! I'd found The Grail of British Trap Collecting! This man could, possibly, confirm it!

Guy came on the line. I introduced myself and asked if he recalled the Juby Traps the estate had bought in. " What's a 'Juby Trap'?! " He asked, incredulously. frown I knew then, it was game over.

Anyway; The Size of some of those otters!!!!! That's It! I am Never going near any water again! shocked

Do you know; I've heard of a grave, somewhere in Ireland, said to be of a woman who was ~ so legend has it ~ killed by some long beast that came out of the water and got her. This was hundreds of years ago. Now, of course, we scratch our heads and think; " Well, it's obviously an otter they're referring to. But; Made up story, of course. Because, while a handful, otters just don't get That big. "

Then you show me things like that. Nope! As Freddie Lounds said: 'Now I'm scared!' laugh

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: Pest's Dad] #7257292
05/04/21 08:41 AM
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Best otter trapper I knew as a kid always used 48 Newhouses when he was setting for otter. Personally I never owned any so I got by with Blake and Lamb and Victor #4 double longsprings. I like teeth on my otter traps, but I know in a lot of places you can't use traps with teeth. Unlike Trapped4Ever (who has caught truckloads more otter than I ever have, or will) I never set non-drowning sets for otter, although I knew you could, usually almost every toilet I ever found was close enough to water to make a drowning set. Bodygrips are a great tool, but they really limit your options on sets. I would hate to have to choose between the two, I like to have both in the bag, but if I could only use one or the other I think I would choose footholds over bodygrips.

I have some old traps around here (I think some Victors and some other brands) that have those meshing hacksaw like teethed jaws. Never have used them though, always something I picked up in amongst some other old traps.

Re: Otter Traps Back In The Day? [Re: bearcat2] #7257303
05/04/21 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bearcat2

I have some old traps around here (I think some Victors and some other brands) that have those meshing hacksaw like teethed jaws.


Well, That, in and of itself, is fascinating! I honestly don't remember Ever having seen an American trap with such teeth.

Ye know, I'm a bit distracted, right this minute. But, I feel I really should pull down the box I have my B&L traps in. Have a look at the Beaver Traps I haven't seen in almost twenty years! shocked

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