Nov 04

Trigger systems on dog proof or pet proof raccoon traps.

by Clint Locklear, Predator Control Group

This may get some guys tore up, but sit back and just breath. If you disagree that’s fine. These are my opinions and observations. Dog proof or pet proof traps have become a common raccoon trap in the last 4-5 years. Most raccoon trappers have added these to their equipment list in varying degrees. The concept is simple, but the baiting of the trap and the trigger set up has been talked about a lot over the last couple years. Today, lets look at the triggering of the dog proof (DP) trap.

The first traps were set up with a simple lever as a trigger. Most trappers found this not as productive as promised in the real world. The problem was that a lever trigger allowed the raccoon to rob the trap of bait. The concept of a lever as a trigger has a major flaw. For it to work, a raccoon has to mistakenly grab the lever instead of the bait or have their paw hit the trigger while pulling out the bait. On the Teachers of the Night video, it is clear that a coon can spend a lot of time in the trap before or if the raccoon gets caught. Don’t get me wrong, thousands of coons have been caught with this system, but is it an efficient trigger to use? That should be the question, not brand loyalty. The reason every one of us know this is true, how many different trigger and bait modifications have we each tried and talked about. I have used tooth picks, sticks, stabbing something on the trigger. Some try to have a large bait that a raccoon can not pull out with out the bait firing the trap, just think about that for a moment. I have went to making a metal screen “pan cover” to cover the bait under the trigger. If the coon tries to get the bait out, the screen will fire the trigger. Do you see a pattern here?

This is why, when I designed the Alcatraz, no lever trigger would be found in the trap. If you have never seen an Alcatraz, there is a pan. The concept is easy to grasp and very effective. The coon can NOT reach the bait without firing the trap. A coon has to push his paw around the outside of the pan or through the small hole in the center to reach the bait. The coon fires the trap, not added sticks, large bait, screen or a gimmick of some kind. Will there be a better trigger made in the future, probably. Trappers are always building better “mouse traps”

Most trappers that uses a lever style trigger DP Trap, have their “pet” way to “make ” them work. New traps are always coming out with different add on’s to the lever trigger. Some will spend days arguing over a push or pull trigger. Some companies are combining both push and pull lever trigger in the same trap. Why is this? The reason is simple, the lever trigger is no an efficient trigger in a dog prof trap. If it were, why is there a such a rush to sex up the lever style trigger?

Maybe the focus of trap builders should be to come up with a efficient trigger set up to begin with. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

What are your thoughts on DP trap triggers? please leave comment.


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  1. daniel jacob carlson

    I went to using the duke dog proofs and I agree the triggers are not the best. I tried about everything possible to increase the catch percentage. I put plastic minnows on the triggers (bait gone minnow still on trigger, used big marshmellows under the pan(bait be gone trap still set) used coon crush with a washer on top of bait under trigger( traps still set bait gone and washer in bottom of trap) sheep wool in bottom with lure or bait( trap set off and sheep wool hanging halfway out of trap)
    I own 288 duke dp traps so this testing wasn’t done with only a couple of traps and I believe of testing that the modifications I do on the dp traps improves them tremendously. Besides the staking end modifications, I cut the trigger pin and take out the trigger and weld a washer on it and then use a nut and bolt to attach the trigger back-. one if they want your bait they will have to move the washer trigger to get to it and second it lets the trigger move side to side a little so if a coon hits it and it moves to the side a little I believe they feel it.s movable and will try to move it out of the way. This coming season I will be running all of them like this. One question i have is- If we go to push triggers in dps aren’t we just using a more expensive foothod? I use the dps close to houses and if others do and if they use fish baits cat dog food and use push triggers are we going to be in the future be rstricted so far away from houses because of people catching cats or even small dogs.

    1. admin

      I don’t see them as a high priced foothold. Cats will work a pull trigger with the right bait. So will skunks and slick tails. No matter which trigger is used, the bait is very important to keeping out cats. I have never caught a dog in the Alcatraz traps or when I played with Coon Cuffs. The may rub, roll, knock over and pee on the trap, but don’t seem to be in their nature.
      Have caught grey fox in Alcatraz, but the are more cat like than dog like. At the same time, know of trappers that caught greys in pull triggers.

  2. Darren Cheek

    I think that I saw a DP trap in the O gorman Catalog about a push and pull trigger design and that was the the (Coon Dagger) by Sudden Vally trap supply. I have never used this trap and dont know for sure but I think they use this design

  3. Danville Raccoon Removal

    Awesome stuff!. Thanks!

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