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How to Trap a Beaver (9 Easy-To-Follow Beaver Traps)

To trap a beaver, you first need to buy the right trap. You can buy beaver trapping sets from many outdoor stores. You also have to set it up in the right location, place it strategically, bait it, and cover it.

If you live in an area where beavers are common, it’s important to know how to trap them. It is a challenging, but effective, way to control their population size. 

In this article, we’ll provide 12 easy-to-follow traps and tips for trapping beavers.

Most of the following traps are used for live beaver trapping. A few are also used to kill the trapped animals.

How to Set a Beaver Trap

If you’re looking for a way to get rid of beavers on your property, a trap is one way to do it. 

Beavers cause a lot of damage to trees and shrubs, so it’s important to take action if you see them on your property. 

Here’s how to set a beaver trap:

1. Choose the Right Trap

Choose the Right Beaver Trap

There are a variety of traps available, so consult with a professional to find the best type of trap for your needs. 

2. Choose a Location

The first step is to choose a location for the trap. Beavers are most active near water, so look for signs of beaver activity near ponds, lakes, or streams. Once you’ve found an area where beavers are active, set the trap in a path that the beavers are using.

3. Clear Debris

Clear away any debris from the area where you’ll be setting the trap. Debris can interfere with the trapping mechanism, depending on the type.

4. Place the Trap Strategically

Once you have the trap, set it in a strategic location so that the beaver will walk into it.

5. Bait the Trap

Bait the Beaver Trap

Bait your trap with something that will lure them in. Some good options include branches, leaves, or logs. You can also use beaver castors: the natural scent of another beaver is the best bait.

6. Cover the Trap

Once the trap is baited, cover it with leaves or branches. This camouflages the trap, making it more likely that the beaver will walk into it.

7. Check the Trap Daily

Check your trap daily to see if you’ve caught a beaver. If you have, contact a professional to remove the animal.

What Do You Need to Trap a Beaver?

If you’re looking to trap a beaver, there are a few supplies you’ll need:

  • A specially-designed beaver trap: The first and most important thing you’ll need is a specially-designed trap. Beavers are large and intelligent animals. A mouse trap isn’t going to cut it.[1]
  • Patience: Beavers are nocturnal animals, so you’re not likely to see them during the day. This means you’ll need to be patient and wait for them to come out at night.
  • Bait: Beavers love to eat trees, so using bait that mimics this will help attract them to your trap. The best bait is the castor scent of another beaver though.
  • The right location: Beavers are creatures of habit. Once you find a spot where they’re active, that’s where you’ll want to set your trap. Look for signs of beaver activity, such as gnawed trees or fresh chewing marks.
  • Rope or twine: Once you’ve caught a beaver, you’ll need to secure it. Rope or twine will work well for this.
  • A knife. You may need to cut the rope or twine if the beaver is too strong for you to hold onto.

Types of Beaver Traps

Now that we’ve discussed how to trap a beaver, let’s take a look at the different types of traps available:

Trap No. 1: The Bailey Trap

Bailey Beaver Trap
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Bailey traps are suitcase-style traps. They are square with a trigger in the middle. This types of trap triggers when beavers swim over it, whereafter it will close.

Bailey traps are known for misfiring often.

Make sure the trap sticks out at least 15 cm above the water once triggered. This is done to allow the entrapped beaver to breathe by raising its head out of the water.

Trap No. 2: The Hancock Trap

Hancock Traps are much like bailey traps, but they are often more powerful.

This kind of trap requires some force to set the springs that release the trap. There is a chance that the trap could close suddenly and harm the operator. 

It is also crucial to wear a helmet when utilizing this type of trap because of this.

Branches pulled by the beaver don’t press hard enough to release the Hancock trap, making it harder to spring than the Bailey trap. 

The release plate typically needs to be pushed by one of the beaver’s back feet for the trap to spring.

Trap No. 3: Landing Nets

The landing net has the same general shape as a landing net used for fishing, but it is larger and stronger to fit a beaver. The net has a fine mesh and is constructed of durable plastic netting. 

You can also use steel netting as an alternative option. However, there is a higher risk of the animal being hurt.

The process can change a little depending on the exact trap. 

One strategy is to keep the net submerged in the water in front of the lodge exit, while another person makes numerous attempts to get the beaver out. 

You can also scare the beaver away from the lodge or den by stomping on it or jumping on top of it, shouting, or shoving wood or other objects into the lodge.

Trap No. 4: Seines

Seine Trap
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Seine traps are not exactly traps, but more of a fishing method. A 3×4 m long piece of netting with a mesh size of 3×3 cm acts as the seine’s primary construction material. 

Each long edge of the net is connected by a line, and one of the long edges is attached to a log or pole that is about 1.6 m long and 5 cm thick with the line.

Keep in mind that it should be as dry as possible for the log to float. 

Each mesh opening in the net’s short ends is connected to a pull line, which is then threaded through them and fastened to the appropriate end of the floating pole.

Trap No. 5: Conibear Trap

Conibear Trap
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The Conibear trap is one of the most common types of beaver traps[2]. It gets its name from its inventor, Frank R. Conibear. 

The trap is designed to kill the animal instantly, which is why it’s also called a body-gripping trap.

The Conibear trap is a steel-jawed trap that comes in different sizes, depending on the animal you’re targeting. For beavers, the recommended trap size is 220 (9 inches). 

The trap must be set underwater, and the jaws must be placed perpendicular to the bank so that the beaver has to swim through them to trigger the trap.

Trap No. 6: Beaver Foothold Trap

The beaver foothold trap is one of the most common types of traps used to catch beavers. It gets its name from the fact that it traps animals by holding one of their feet.

It is a steel-jawed trap that comes in different sizes, depending on the animal you’re targeting. For beavers, the recommended trap size is 15 inches. 

This trap is much like a conibear trap, but it doesn’t kill the animal.

When the beaver triggers the trap, the jaws snap shut and hold the animal in place. The beaver can then be pulled out of the water and removed from the trap.

Trap No. 7: Snare

snare trap
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A snare is a loop of wire that is placed around the neck of an animal. The wire is attached to a stake, and when the animal tries to move, the wire tightens and strangles it. 

Snares are illegal in some states, so be sure to check the laws in your area before using them.

To set a snare, you will need to find a beaver trail. The snare should be placed in the middle of the trail so the animal will walk through it. 

When the beaver walks through the snare, the wire will tighten around its neck and choke it.

Trap No. 8: The Breathe Easy Trap

The “Breathe Easy” trap is made up of a cage and a net. After getting trapped, the beaver will be stuck underwater. It can then lift the netting to breathe easily, hence the name.

You can use this fully underwater trap for beavers and otters. You simply blind set the trap by placing 1-2 inches of water over the top of the cage so that the beaver won’t smell or see it. 

The majority of a beaver’s body is submerged, which causes significant heat loss and discomfort for the animal. There’s also a considerable chance that the beaver will drown if the water level rises a small amount.

Trap No. 9: Pits

Pits are large holes that are dug in the ground and covered with a piece of wood or metal. When an animal walks over the pit, the covering gives way, and the animal falls into the hole. 

Pits can be used to catch beavers, but they are more commonly used to catch other animals such as rabbits.

To set a pit trap, you will need to find a beaver trail. The pit should be placed in the middle of the trail so that the animal will walk over it. When the beaver walks over the pit, the covering will give way, and the animal will fall into the hole.

Is Beaver Trapping Illegal?

Beaver trapping is a common practice, but it’s important to be aware of the laws in your area before setting any traps. In some states, snaring is illegal, and Conibear traps must be set underwater. 

Check the regulations in your state or province to make sure you are following the law.

Is Beaver Trapping Illegal

What is the Best Time of Year to Trap a Beaver?

Beaver trapping is most effective in the spring and fall. Dams are constructed and repaired during this time of year, which is why beavers frequently visit them. 

After spending the majority of the winter cooped up in the lodge or den due to ice and snow, the animals become more active and are easier to catch in the spring.

What is the Best Bait for Beaver Traps?

The best bait for beaver trapping is the scent of another beaver. You can achieve this by using beaver castor, which is available online or in some stores. 


To trap a beaver, you need to buy a special beaver trap, bait it, place it somewhere beavers hang out, and cover it up. After that, you have to wait.

Beaver trapping is a popular activity in many states, and it’s generally considered to be legal. There are some restrictions on when and where you can trap beavers, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the laws in your state before heading out into the woods. 

About Misfit Animals Staff

The Misfit Animals staff consists of animal lovers, pet enthusiasts, veterinarians, zoologists, and other animal experts. Our goal is to provide people with information on proper animal care.

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