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Facts about body grip traps in MN

posted Aug 15, 2012, 11:43 AM by John Reynolds   [ updated May 25, 2014, 11:14 PM by Doglover System ]
Facts about MN body grip trap regulations.

Body grip traps with a jaw spread less than 7 1/2” can be set on the ground baited with meat or a grouse or pheasant carcass.  They can be set on nearly all public land including highway right-of-ways and on private land with the landowner’s permission.

220 body grips can be set anywhere on a highway right-of-way without getting the owner’s permission except within 500’ of an occupied home or livestock building. 

Body grips 160 or smaller can be set anywhere in a highway right-of-way including the driveway culvert without the permission of the landowner. 

Most property owners on county and township roads have the right to prohibit the use of body grip traps in their highway right-of-way but few know their rights.

Facts about body grip traps.

Body grip traps that pose a danger to dogs in MN include the 220’s (7”), #160 (6”), #155 (5”), and #120 (4 ½”w/ double springs).

Many states require trappers to set body grip traps elevated above the ground and safely out of the reach of dogs.  Trappers in other states and Canada set them elevated even if it’s not required because they are more weatherproof, the trapped animal and the bait is out of the reach of scavengers, and it’s easier to check from a distance to save time.

The main land animals taken with body grip traps in MN are fisher, marten, coon, skunk and bobcat.  All of these animals, with the exception of bobcats can be safely taken in body grip traps with simple changes to the trapping method. 

Fisher, marten, and coon are very talented climbers so traps set off the ground are very effective set locations and safe for dogs.  They can also be taken in foothold traps set on the ground.  Fisher and marten can also be taken in body grip boxes with opening size restricted to 3 ½”x 3 ½”.  Coons and skunks can be taken in body grip trap boxes with a restricted opening and recessed trap trigger fastened vertically to trees or posts or in foothold traps or cage traps.  Dog proof coon traps baited with sweet bait are virtually “Dog Proof” and have many advantages over body grip traps.

Bobcats are the only animal that can’t safely be trapped in body grip traps because any opening large enough to catch a bobcat can catch a dog.  Our website videos show the ‘roof’ on the box is ineffective at preventing dogs from reaching the trap.  Bobcats can be safely caught in foothold traps or cage traps.  Many bobcat trappers prefer the more effective foothold traps but DNR regulations encourage the use of body grip traps by giving the trapper 3 days to check body grip traps.  Foothold traps must be checked daily.  The 3-day check is the most common reason given for using the less effective body grip traps for bobcats so body grip traps are used more as a convenience than a necessity in MN. 

Properly set foothold traps are very weatherproof and more effective than body grip traps for bobcat. They also catch fox and coyote that visit the set.  Cage traps can also be effective for bobcat.  An added benefit of foothold and cage traps is that they allow the release of accidental catches including dogs, fisher, and bobcat kittens.  Fisher killed in body grip traps during the 5-week bobcat season may be a contributing factor to our declining fisher population.

Body grip traps are humane traps and we should continue to use them but not in ways that endanger dogs.

Contact for more information.   

Body grip trap ("Conibear" trap)