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Coyote Traps (Making Purses out of Sows Ears) and some QUALITY time with my son...

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    Coyote Traps (Making Purses out of Sows Ears) and some QUALITY time with my son...

    Noah and I have been staying out in the garage late at night tinkering on a couple boxes of old "junk" traps we bought at flea markets this summer. You know what I am talking about, the kind where there probably aren't more than two or three decent traps in the whole box, but you had to work hard to get a fair price for the box of a couple dozen mixed sizes and models in various stages of "disrepair."
    I am a bit of a frugal trapper, just getting back into this. We have some medical matters to save our pennies for so I decided to show Noah how to make VERY good coyote traps out of some of those units in the box. All you need is a good file, a hammer, flat screwdriver, some new chain, and a few "new" 4-way swivels.
    Take those #1-1/2 longsprings you might find in the box. Actually, nearly every box of old traps I ever picked up seemed to have a few of them in it. The 1-1/2 longspring is a single-spring trap with a jaw spread similar to the 1-1/2 coilspring, depending on the brand. Some of the older models have jaws that are symetrical and you can add another spring to the other side. Others have jaws that are not symetrical and on those models you cannot add another spring. Not a fan of longsprings, you say? Most coyote traps touted today are stout coil springs, maybe 1.65 on smaller side up to #3 and #4 coils on the larger side. I like those models, too. But, I have put in about 30 years trapping coyotes and a high percentage of my arsenal is the #2 longspring. There are only one or two companies that even build a #2 longspring now (Sleepy Creek is one) but there used to be many more. Northwoods had a very nice one, thick jaws and strong double springs, and an adjustable pan.
    You can still make a #2 long, with a couple of 1-1/2 longsprings. The one you are converting, again, needs to be the style with the symetrical jaws, they look like this...
    see how the jaws are semetrical? Just needs another spring on the other side. Oh, and I am not a fan at all of those factory "spring clevis" chain attachments. Nothing binds more on a stock longspring than a spring chain clevis. Noah, would you mind cutting that darn thing off for us?
    Yep, a hacksaw and a vise is a great way to remove that clevis. And this is the QUALITY time thing with your son I mentioned. Talk about a 10-year old full of questions during the time we have been spending working on old trapping equipment. This is awesome stuff to hear these questions.
    Now, where can we find another 1-1/2 longspring to rob another spring off of?
    Wow, check this one out. A VERY old victor 1-1/2 long in that box. Jaws are bent, trap is rusty, frame is weak and pitted, and a crappy old chain that has seen better days. But that spring, that beautiful spring spare part there...that's the good stuff that brought some value out of this old trap for us.
    Put that old spring on the other 1-1/2, center-mount a new chain with 3 swiveling points, and this thing is starting to look like something pretty cool here. Need to work on that el-cheapo pan and dog assembly that Victor was notorious for on their old longsprings. The notch on the pan was typically just a stamped out notch, somewhat WAY TOO DEEP and too rounded. We started out by crimping the dog loop a little more to take some of the slop out of that dog. Then file the end of the dog off nice and square. Most of them factory made are machine cutoff and are not very square. A perfectly matched dog and notch will equate to a very crisp-firing trigger on this trap.
    Take the file and work on that notch on the pan now, shorten the "throw" up so the pan doesn't have to travel down very far before the trap fires. Should look like this when completed...
    If the pan still has too much travel down in it when pressed, take more off of the back of that notch until it is where you want it. Notice the dog crimp has been compressed even more a bit to take the slop out of the dog, and the end of the dog matches the pan notch a lot better now.
    Still not a believer in the #2 longspring on coyotes?
    Here is a hind-foot catch, post set, on a large male. Notice the perfect pad catch, not too high, not down on the toes, either. Where we trap we also have coon, fox, and an occasional cat. This model and size easily handles all of these species at our land sets. The #2 longspring is a bit large for coon, but is comparable in jawspread to the 1-1/2 coil which is a standard coon size model.
    This is a mangy old female, but this pic also shows the hold from a #2 longspring, front-foot catch, dirthole set under an old rotting log. This trap also has "booster" springs added, though those are not necessary for additional holding power...the design of the longspring doesn't allow for the jaws to open once the springs are fully popped up on the jaw ends. I add boostes occasionally to old longsprings just to make them a bit faster, that's all.
    A little elbow grease, a bit of new chain and some swivels, and some serious quality time with Noah. We have about $3 in these traps, a fraction of what new #2 coils are running.
    This same concept can be applied to the old-style #1 longsprings, again, those models with the symetrical jaws only can receive an additional spring and become #11 longsprings, which are an awesome little coon trap.
    Here is an old-style #1 long, common find in the flea market arena.
    This is a victor #1 long. Add a spring robbed from another older #1 long, and this trap becomes a nice little #11 longspring, which now is a serious little coon trap.
    Again, I had Noah cut that spring clevis off. Center mount some new chain, add a mid and end swivel to the chain, file that notch and dog, and now you have a piece of equipment that will surprise you time and again with tenacious holding power.
    After a while you might find you end up with a few extra swivels. Try making some sliders. (In water sets, these are drowners, on land sets they are sliders). We use these to slide a catch one-way back over a ridge of ground, or back behind something to hide the catch. They work great.
    Here are a few sliders Noah made. We bought a roll of 3/32" cable and some aluminum ferrules. He pounded the ferrules into place, I cut the cable for him. He added the slide locks, too (trap swivels, make great slide locks).
    Anyway, if any of you are interested in some tips on modifying old traps, shoot me a PM.
    Jim

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