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Hunting/can people get 'trapped' on a foothold trap?



this is a highly hypothetical question but I hope you can help me since I couldn't live further from anything hunt related and my internet searches get highly polarised results.

I was given a creative writing challenge which involves hunting and I'd hate it if my plot was based on something completely impossible. I decided I'd like to have a mad scientist set traps specifically to catch people (in a rural environment) but I'm not sure if it's a realistic scenario.

The scientist sets a determined number of traps randomly and see how many people get caught over time. There wouldn't be many victims (besides pets), so he would get impatient and adjust the experiment, setting the traps in specific locations to better target humans. He doesn't really intend to kill his test subjects, though.

Would scattering the traps and leaving them around for months adversely affect the mechanism? Would rust set in after a month or so under rain, dew or snow and render it useless? I was thinking about having the protagonists first think an irresponsible trapper had forgotten to get his traps back.

I was also thinking on having the criminal use beaver footholds (7.5 in) because they'd be big enough for a person's foot. A bear foothold would probably be too difficult to effectively disguise. The traps would be set in public spaces in areas with a lot of leaf cover (fall period), snow (over winter) or within patches of overgrown grass (I'm guessing that digging a hole in the middle of a path to hide a trap would be too obvious and people would avoid it).

I was also wondering if I should have him choose a 2 or a 4 coiled trap, since any (adult) person eventually being caught would need to get hurt (for the purpose of my story) but not get any broken ankles/shins or long-term tendon injury (although, naturally, a child would sustain worse injuries) and I'm afraid I couldn't find details over what type of force the coil difference would cause.

Thank you in advance for all your help.

Hello Sarah,

Yes, that is a rather "un-realistic scenario"... However, there ARE crack-pots and serious nut-jobs out there, so you never really know what some wacko has in his/her mind, and what they may attempt, whether it is an actual possibility or not... There are people out there who act on hear-say, made-up beliefs, half-truths, and even out right lies they have been told, or heard, and were ignorant enough to believe...with true facts being meaningless to them.

Yes, I suppose it is possible. However, the traps would have to be large, "bear sized" traps, and even setting traps of this size takes equipment that the psycho would have to carry around with him. And today, very few people even own traps of this size. Traps like this are mostly considered "collector items" today, and some are worth hundreds of dollars... And, it is highly unlikely that he could do something like this anyway, even in a rural environment, without someone noticing...or, very possibly, stealing the valuable traps... Because, first and foremost, people would have to be in the habit of regularly going there.

As to leaving them unattended for months... They would probably still "go off", even with a certain amount of rust... But, with much rain (or snow which melts), and wind, they would most likely become uncovered to the point that people could see them, and probably tell what they are... And no one, probably not even people who know nothing whatsoever about traps, or trapping, would believe that traps of this size, set in this manner, or in these places, would belong to, "an irresponsible trapper had forgotten to get his traps back."... In fact, today, I do not believe that setting traps of this size, even for bear, is legal in any state anywhere in the United States. Even government game rangers, or wardens, or Animal Damage Control Agents, when they have to remove a problem bear or large animal, use large "cage or pipe" type traps that the bear/animal enters... This entire scenario is simply not feasible.

I do not understand where you get the idea that a beaver foot-hold trap is large enough for a human... There is a large difference between measuring the trap and measuring the human foot... A person wearing a shoe, unless it is a small child, will simply have the trap snap on the shoe, but could easily be "kicked off". It will not "trap the person's foot... And, Sarah, I am not just "saying what some people may think". I am talking from experience here... Now, a small child, going barefoot, in the winter, and, if using a large beaver trap, then wading in ice cold frigid water, could possibly be trapped with a larger beaver size foot-hold trap... However, I have never been aware of anyone who has small children allowing them to go running around in the woods, in the winter, barefoot, wading in water....... My son has ran trap lines with me from the time he was old enough to follow me into the woods. (He runs his own lines now, is married, and in his mid 30's.) ... But, more than once, back when he was still very small, he has managed to step in a trap I had recently set, from small possum-sized traps, to larger beaver sized traps (Altho he was not wading water, barefooted, in the winter), and never had anything more happen than having to jump, give his foot a good shake, and the trap came off.

As to the use of 2 coils versus 4 coils, with coil spring type traps. The point is somewhat moot. All the extra 2 springs do is make the trap faster, and hold tighter. Neither would hold an adult's foot (with a shoe) any longer than it took for him/her to shake or jerk their foot and be free of the trap.... Except, of course, as I stated earlier, if it were a small child, running around in the woods barefooted, in the winter (and wading water, if as you say the psycho is using a beaver trap)...which, in itself, is a moot point as well.

Sarah...and this is not just on trapping, but this is on all aspects of life... There are of people out there who base their ideas or decisions on what they "think", or what they have been told, or what they heard, or what they "want the scenario to be", without any regard to the facts, without any experience, and without any input from people with actual experience and knowledge on the subject... And, as I'm sure you realize, there are also people out there who will flat out lie to you, just to get you to believe and follow along with their ideas, with no regard whatsoever to the facts or the truth. They just want "followers". These people are not only misguided, they can also sometimes be dangerous...... On ANY subject, ALWAYS check with a person, or persons, actually knowledgeable, and with real life experience on a subject, before forming your opinion on the subject. That way you know that what opinions you form are correct, because they are based on facts.

Now, Sarah, the reason you have never heard of something like this actually happening before (except maybe in a movie or on TV) is simply due to the fact that it is basically a scenario beyond the realm of reality... And, anyone who tells you that it is possible, is simply either lying to you, or completely ignorant of the facts, and obviously has no experience whatsoever in the matter............ I hope I've helped you, by giving you a few of the facts concerning this matter. And, my facts come from actual experience in the subject not hear-say, personal ideals, or conjecture.



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I can answer most basic questions concerning predator trapping and some water trapping. Questions about lures, baits, sets, traps, trap treatment, modification, sizes, equipment, usage, etc. I have been certified by the Okla. Dept. of Wildlife Conservation, the old First Okla. Trapper`s Assoc., and the Okla. State Univ. Extension Service as a trapping instructor, and in years past have given classes to people wishing to learn the sport...I also have a couple decades experience in predator calling and can provide some basic answers to these questions as well.


30+ years running my own traplines, and 60+ years experience as a hunter, shooter, fisherman, and outdoorsman.

I have been certified by the Okla. Dept. of Wildlife Conservation, the old First Okla. Trapper`s Assoc., and the Okla. State Univ. Extension Service, as a trapping instructor... I have also received personal instruction from two professional ADC specialists.

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As far as teaching what I know to others. I take this to be what you mean here... I have helped my son, and son in law, as well as given classes to a number of other people in this area, to help get them started in trapping and predator calling... I have had personal instruction from 2 professional government ADC specialists, and I have over 30 years experience running my own traplines, and 60+ years of experience in the outdoors...... I have a friend who is a troop leader with the Boy Scouts. In the past I have done several demonstrations on trapping and predator calling for the boys, and on a number of occasions have helped the troop to set up and run a trapline during the winter, with proceeds going to the troop.

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