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Thread: Catching Rabbits in a Box Trap

  1. #1
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    Catching Rabbits in a Box Trap


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    A lady living nearby wants to get rid of some rabbits she's seen in her garden. After looking at the area, I decided that cage traps were the safest option..... and that it was a good time to get around to making some rabbit 'gums'.

    Evidently this type of trap is sometimes called a gum because they have often been made from hollow gum tree trunks. I made mine from some planking I'd used as formwork for concrete. I don't think the dimensions on this type of trap are critical, although I think the box should be narrow enough to ensure that the rabbit has to brush past the trigger stick... and the box should be long enough to ensure that the rabbit is inside the box before the door is triggered.

    Some folks have made special tracks for the door, but I figured my simple construction was strong enough. I reckoned that the old timers probably wouldn't have made special door tracks on their hollow log traps. One thing I have found is that the trap needs to sit upright and level to ensure that the door falls freely.

    Here's what my traps look like:





    It has been suggested that this type of trap may not even need to be baited because rabbits might enter them out of curiosity or for shelter. And in the particular situation I'm working with at the neighbor's place, there is so much lush feed around, it would take an extra-special bait to coax the bunnies into the box.

    I've heard that carraway seeds are a good thing to try. Another suggestion has been salted slices of fresh apple. And of course carrots and lettuce get a mention.

    I haven't caught a rabbit yet, but I did get a brushtailed possum... which the dog thought was fantastic. The bait that I had in place on this occasion was salted apple, but these possums eat virtually any type of food.



    The rabbits haven't been spotted for a while and I've taken the doors out of the traps. Perhaps the bunnies have moved on, or perhaps I've disturbed them. We've got a few days of wet weather predicted, but when it clears up I hope to start a new trapping campaign.

    Does anybody have any suggestions for an irresistible rabbit bait? Thanks in advance... Coote.

  2. #2
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    Very well designed box trap coote! It's always hard to bate them when they have a full garden to choose from...is that garden fenced at all? Maybe placing the trap at a few choke points to funnel them towards the bate in the box?

    ROCK6

  3. #3
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    Unfortunately there is a lot of wide open space at and around this property, and most of the fences are wire that the rabbits can easily run under. I found a couple of 'runs' in the bushes, and I set some snares there, but the rabbits don't seem to be using them at the moment. There is farm land behind the place.

    Yep, that trap is a nice simple design. I'm guessing it originated in the USA unless the early pioneers there knew of it from their home country.

  4. #4
    Wow, that's a flashback! My grandpa used the same traps to keep rabbits and other critters out of his garden.

  5. #5
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    Coote,

    My Grandfather (God rest his soul) on my Mother's side use to catch rabbits in one of those, he would bait it with some lettuce and carrots and he always got one, I think he placed it on the rabbits run as well but his, had mesh wire on the back so when the rabbit looked into it he could see out the other side but guess what, once he got in and hit that litte stick to close the front door it was to late.
    RickJ

  6. #6
    Boy does that bring back memories i used to make those and catch rabbits all the time when i was a kid. I've also caught about every other small game animal that would fit in one at one time or another. I woud put chicken wire on one end so they could see all the way through the trap. That's a good way to catch food if you ever had or have too.
    Doug

  7. #7
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    I have an atic full of traps of that design. My brother used to trap rabbits and was quite adept at making those traps and knew very well where and how to place the traps for success.
    R.I.P Bill ( Maniacal Pete ) I only wish there was something we could have done to help...


  8. #8
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    Great post Coote!

  9. #9
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    Coote - Excellent trapping-pron. Been a big fan of your posts over the years, and I've learned a lot from you. Just saying.
    I have a couple of house bunnies, and I think I can give you some tips about what bunnies like to eat. You should have good results if you bait your traps with one or more of the following naturally occurring food items: laptop computer power cords, telephone wires, electrical extension cords, leather shoes and belts, books borrowed from friends, rolls of paper towels, the puzzle section of the newspaper, mechanical pencils, graphing scientific calculators, antique furniture, cardboard boxes, collard greens, dandelion greens and blossoms, cilantro, italian parsely, celery leaves, carrot greens, and the cheapest dry rabbit or guinea pig food you can get at the grocery store -- and oreo cookies. Hope that helps.

  10. #10
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    Thank you LittleHairyApe. I've got to say I've enjoyed your posts too... just having your wonderful screen name at the top of them makes me smile.

    I still haven't caught a rabbit. I think they may be elsewhere right now. Maybe I will coax them down from the hinterland if I bait the traps with some of those expensive HDMI cables.

  11. #11
    I've always had good luck with apples catching wild rabbits in my traps years ago. You may give that a try maybe they can better smell the sweetness of a delicious apple.

  12. #12
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    I have some apple in the traps currently. When I first set the traps maybe three weeks ago there were still a few apples on the ground under a tree in the garden, but I didn't see any apples that appeared to have been chewed at. Even though we get some cold temperatures around here, we don't have a situation where all the available grass dies off or gets covered with snow. There is plenty for a bunny to eat so maybe no matter what I put in the trap it is no big treat for the rabbits. I did add a couple of drops of oil of aniseed to see if it might help. I also must have spilled some on my clothing because I now have quite an aroma.

    I'd love to look for the rabbits at night with a spotlight and shotgun. But no matter how satisfying that might initially be, it would probably mean the arrival of men in uniform and the confiscation of my firearms licence.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by coote View Post
    Thank you LittleHairyApe. I've got to say I've enjoyed your posts too... just having your wonderful screen name at the top of them makes me smile.

    I still haven't caught a rabbit. I think they may be elsewhere right now. Maybe I will coax them down from the hinterland if I bait the traps with some of those expensive HDMI cables.
    Or if you have an older iPod...

    Seriously, getting my bunsters to eat an unfamiliar food is fairly difficult. I can do it, but only if I give it to them when they're really hungry. Sometimes not even then. Apples might not work where timothy or dandelions might work just, because they know those tastes are safe. Bunsters are big on safety. I haven't succeeded giving my bunsters any of the sweeter varieties of apples, but I did finally get them interested in celery. You know it's kind of hit or miss in that department.

    Sorry for the long-iced post

    If all of the grass and other browsibles are covered by snow, maybe you could try just putting some hay in the trap. True story: One of my otherwise gentle bunsters bit my finger hard enough to bleed, because he was so excited to get some basil leaves pushed through the bars of his cage. Only made that mistake once, ha ha. He wasn't starving, and he gets all kinds of fresh green herbs all the time. All the same, I'd say probably half the time he hits this type of thing like a big hammer on a little nail. I've since learn to keep my fingers well clear whenever small leafy green things are involved around this little guy.

    Green things and formerly green things are what an average tame bunny really joneses for nine times out of ten. It still amazes me how often one of my bunsters will see me trying to give them a "treat" as they pick up an old twisted dried up leaf off the ground and begin eating. Kind of makes a man feel small. Then if I throw away the treat and pull some leaves off a nearby tree branch, then he/she'll hop right over to me and have a nibble.

    Basil, mint, and cilantro have an enticing smell to rabbits, so if you mix something like that from their everyday environment with dried brown grass. Strong flavors are scary to bunsters, etc., etc.. And it still amazes me how much all of my buns love plain old pellet type bunny chow. Seriously. I've tasted it, and it tastes, to me, like the cardboard backing from a notepad, but bunnies crave it, so that should tell you something...not sure what tho. And frequently when I change their litterbox, the first order of business is to hop into the wood shaving and paper pulp and have a bite to eat, despite having a full spread of "real" food, fresh from the produce section of the store.

    One more thought...even my house bunnies eat in shifts. For example, when a pair of them are outside, one will eat while the other watches, then the second one eats while the first one keeps watch, so, long story short, a solid trap might not work simply because the bunny loses sight of his buddies or her mate in a solid wooden trap. I'm saying *might*, because bunnies have their own code that they live by. I call it "bunny rules." If you had a trap with more wire mesh and less solid wood, that might feel safer, and it be more inviting to a wild bunny. Who knows? Bunny rules.
    Last edited by LittleHairyApe; 07-11-2011 at 06:12 PM. Reason: verbal dee

  14. #14
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    Nice Box Trap, Look's easy to make also. Thank's for sharing the picture's and Trap making Instuction's,

  15. #15
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    "Seriously, getting my bunsters to eat an unfamiliar food is fairly difficult" ....... yep LittleHairyApe, I think this hints at the crux of my problem.

    Our countryside is covered with rabbit food. Sure, I could pull a handful of their favorite dandelions or grass and throw it into my trap, but that doesn't provide outstanding motivation to make the critters hop into it.

    I know that rabbits can happily squeeze under man-made woodpiles or dive into concrete pipes, but that doesn't mean that all bunnies everywhere are comfortable entering man-made objects that have newly appeared in their territory.

    I imagine that if I leave my traps in this lady's garden long enough, the rabbits will eventually get used to them and maybe start to play in and around them. And like has been suggested, if I removed the wooden slats at the end of the cage and covered it with netting it might give the bunnies more confidence. What I've arranged to do is to leave the traps set and baited.... and the lady will keep an eye on them and tell me if the doors have been sprung. She has actually sold her property and she moves out next month. She just wanted to get rid of the rabbits so the new owners wouldn't be bothered by them.

    But it has been fun playing around and chatting about it here on the forum. I like this place, and it has been a big part of my life.

    I'd probably have better luck if I found where the little critters were coming through the fence and then used my iPod cable to make a snare to hang over the entrance.

  16. #16
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    My pleasure Kicking Bird. Welcome to the forum.

  17. #17
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    I would build something like this but used hardware cloth for the door and back end and wired it to a stake to keep it from rolling works really well when you can track rabbits in the snow. I would set one in ever rabbit hole that had track going in
    roy
    http://mdc.mo.gov/sites/default/file.../4529_2248.pdf

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by coote View Post
    Does anybody have any suggestions for an irresistible rabbit bait? Thanks in advance... Coote.
    peanut butter mixed with saltanas.

    mind you, it's also pretty irresistable to possums.

    personally, i prefer a 70lb compound bow for bunny control.
    Last edited by sambo.; 07-11-2011 at 07:48 PM.

  19. #19
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    SWEET !!!!

    We've had about 4 chickens killed last week, then a few days later a couple chicks... a bunch of eggs eaten and scattered.. figured it was coonz, my wife's friend lent us a wire trap similar to this... but as of yet the only thing I caught (the first night) was our cat...... the coonz haven't been back and its been about 5 nights now and nothing....

    we also have problems with coyotes, I wonder if I built a larger one if it would work for a yote??

    thanks for the post I'm going to make several as we cant keep her friends trap forever...
    BeckerHead #13

    "I am not a Number, I am a Free Man"- Maiden

    "The moments we share today, Inspire the stories we tell tomorrow"

  20. #20
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    That plan looks like a good design Roy. It was interesting to read in the notes that bait may not be necessary. I think that would be right. If there were enough rabbits around, one of them would be bound to go into the trap out of curiosity after they'd gotten used to it being there.

    I just rebaited the traps with peanut butter and raisins. Didn't have any sultanas, but I guess raisins are close enough. Dang, I hope they like chunky peanut butter, it is all we had. It was made in Australia though, so I have high hopes. But like you say Sambo, if a possum wanders by he's likely to squeeze into one if the traps.

    One of these traps built big enough might easily catch a coyote if it thought there was something tasty inside. Just curious though Battle Creek, what would you do with the coyote if you found one in the box? You can grab a bunny wearing a leather glove, but I imagine that a coyote would be likely to sink his teeth into your fingers. I guess being in America you will have something convenient nearby that goes bang. Can you shoot in your neighborhood? Or would you have to drive to somewhere secluded?

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