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trenchfoot

fenn traps only half catching

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I run a few tunnel traps around the farm to keep the rat numbers at bay. The tunnels were getting well used but the rats were running up the side of the tunnel and missing the trigger plate. I then reduced the width of the tunnel in the middle to just wider than the trigger plate. This has done the trick and I am catching rats most days.

 

One thing I have found is that about 3/4 of the rats I have caught in these mk4 traps is that they are trapped around the back end only. sometimes only at the root of the tail. They are not dead in the trap and I end up finishing them off with the airpistol. I have removed half the width restrictor so that the rat has more room to get caught as the have to slalom over the trigger plate.

 

Anyone else had this problem? and any solutions would be welcome.

 

Cheers,

 

Yorkie

 

if your catching by the back end , you need to make the rats hit the plate with thier front feet, not their back feet, so either a jump stick front and back or set your trap more fickle, the laws covering traps and tunnels are a bit scetchy at the best of times, but setting in open buildings cannot be counted as a tunnel , i,m sure the laws have just recently bin re-worded , fenn have a guide line for setting a positioning fenns , in it , it says there should be no more than half inch clearence as the trap jumps, we all get foul catches from time to time , but placing in the correct sized tunnel reduces the foul catches by a long way

 

You're right about the laws being sketchy,especially with the word tunnel (for example I was once asked by a pest control operative 'so if I take that litterally, I can legally set a trap in the middle of the Tyne tunnel'), but setting in a building can be ok legally. If required to prove such a setting was legal you may have to convince a court that there was the absolute minimum risk of any non target species being caught. The view of an expert witness would likely be sought, this would probably be someone with many years experience of trapping and also prefferably a member of a recognised organisation. He would be asked his opinion on the likelihood of any non target species being caught.

 

Legal wording is mostly mumbo jumbo to all except barristers and judges, so we must use common sense, and when delivering training or I'm asked to give my opinion on legal issues relating to trapping, I usually give two examples:

 

Scenarion A:

The building is secure and the only access is via small holes through which no animal bigger than a Rodent can pass. No farm Cats, Dogs or children have access. Inside the building there is much evidence of Rats - clearly defined runs, droppings, damage. There is no evidence of Birds or Bats inside the building. For some reason it is impractical to set traps anywhere else, and baiting is not an option. Checking the traps once within every 24 hour period is also impractical, thus ruling out cage trapping.

I would confidently set Fenns on runs inside this building, though I'd place a clear notice that trapping was taking place inside, on any doors, locked or not. Though if possible I'd also place the traps behind some sort of screen. I'd be clearly taking every reasonable precaution to avoid non target species.

 

Scenario B:

There is the same ammount of Rat activity, but the building has one of the following slight differences: a broken window, a loose board on one of the doors which a Cat or Fox may possibly squeeze past. A few Bird droppings and/or feathers on the floor. A few smaller Droppings on the floor which look like Mouse droppings but could be from Bats (in this case I'm not able to determing which).

I would certainly not set uncovered Fenns in this building, as it would not only be unethical, but could (in my opinion) also leave me open to prosecution, as reasonable precaution to avoid non target species would clearly not have been taken.

 

I hope this helps :thumbs: .

Edited by kenny14

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if your happy with what your doing kenny , then you carry on, i have trapped tens of thousands of rats and other various varmints over the years and found that the size of the tunnel is vital to consistently get clean catches, because of how a fenn operates,meaning it jumps as it goes off resulting in a possible foul catch , i would be interested to know how often you have recorded a rat or anything else for that matter, foul caught, i used to use no covering at all in building like you described , but found too many live rats the following morning because they were foul caught , a simple wire tunnel over the top reduced this by a long way

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I think it's just a matter of opinion

if your happy with what your doing kenny , then you carry on, i have trapped tens of thousands of rats and other various varmints over the years and found that the size of the tunnel is vital to consistently get clean catches, because of how a fenn operates,meaning it jumps as it goes off resulting in a possible foul catch , i would be interested to know how often you have recorded a rat or anything else for that matter, foul caught, i used to use no covering at all in building like you described , but found too many live rats the following morning because they were foul caught , a simple wire tunnel over the top reduced this by a long way

 

I may have missinterpreted but it sounds like you're missunderstanding the principle of the trap jumping, and you think it's a flaw that needs to be countered by placing a ceiling over it. It is actually intended to jump in order to decrease foul catches, by ensuring the animal is fully enclosed within the jaws as they close. A low tunnel roof can reduce the efficiency of this operation. And they're certainly not designed to pin the animal against the roof as some people believe.

Width rather than height of tunnel is far more conducive to consistent clean catches. More foul catches will happen within a wider tunnel, if the animal crosses off centre of the trap it is flipped sideways by one jaw as the trap jumps, which can sometimes result in leg catches or the animal not being fully 'grabbed' by the trap.

 

Yes, I have had foul and non target catches (in probably every different setting situation) but given the length of time I've been trapping and the ammount of pests I deal with annually that's only to be expected, but thankfully they've become very few and far between, and have decreased dramatically over the years (I've only had two cases in the last few years, and one of those was with two half grown Rats in the same trap. One cleanly caught and dead, the other around the back end).

 

And just to make it clear, I only trap without a formal tunnel if the situation dictates, and always ensure that every possible precaution is taken to avoid non target species, and that every legal obligation is fulfilled.

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Kenny 14 ,i think you foul caught your self with that last post ,as its now become obvious to anyone who uses Fenns on a regular basis,that you don't!

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Kenny 14 ,i think you foul caught your self with that last post ,as its now become obvious to anyone who uses Fenns on a regular basis,that you don't!

 

:hmm: :hmm: :hmm:

 

Care to elaborate?

 

 

Or would you find it easier to understand if I re posted in words of single syllable? :laugh:

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When talking tunnel size we all know that the width is critical, this ensures the target species is funnelled directly onto the traps plate ensuring a clean catch and humane kill,now the traps do jump when fired., they were never specifically designed to do so but it's a consequence of several things such as spring power, trap weight ect.... The animal is already in the perfect position as it's triggered the plate but the "jump" can cause it to be thrown of or indeed for the trap to move from underneath it., to combat this a tunnel was recommended by the manufacturer,they ideally need to give 1/2" clearance above the trap.., the tunnel is designed to restrict the traps movement both vertically and horizontally there by ensuring the target animal is on "the sweet spot" before, during and also after the traps been activated., these measures almost guarantee the rabbit / rat is struck in such a way to cause a clean catch.

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When talking tunnel size we all know that the width is critical, this ensures the target species is funnelled directly onto the traps plate ensuring a clean catch and humane kill,now the traps do jump when fired., they were never specifically designed to do so but it's a consequence of several things such as spring power, trap weight ect.... The animal is already in the perfect position as it's triggered the plate but the "jump" can cause it to be thrown of or indeed for the trap to move from underneath it., to combat this a tunnel was recommended by the manufacturer,they ideally need to give 1/2" clearance above the trap.., the tunnel is designed to restrict the traps movement both vertically and horizontally there by ensuring the target animal is on "the sweet spot" before, during and also after the traps been activated., these measures almost guarantee the rabbit / rat is struck in such a way to cause a clean catch.

 

I don't understand some of that. Any tunnel or restriction needs to be wide enough to accommodate the open/set trap including the safety. The traps width reduces rapidly and dramatically as it is sprung, so the horizontal restriction doesn't really come into play for this point.

Also, the 1/2 inch clearance (recommended or not) would ensure the trap hit the tunnel roof when sprung, slowing down the closing time, and cause several other potential problems, all of which would reduce it's catching efficiency.

 

My intention is not to argue points or claim to be better than anyone else. My findings are backed up not only by years of experience, but also by exhaustive research and testing. In a nutshell, my original point was that if the Rat goes over the centre of the trap, a high tunnel roof will not reduce it's ability to catch (with the exception of rusty, dirty traps).

 

No matter what we're told to the contrary regarding Fenns and tunnels, the fact is other than to funnel the quarry, they are purely to reduce non target catches and make them less conspicuous.

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What about Fenns findings and research, they must have put an hour or two into a bit of research and testing,are you saying they have got it wrong too ? answer in as many syllables as you like ,i can get one of the grandchildren to explain it to me, and then ,perhaps spend a few moments explaining to you, on the correct way to set a Fenn.

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What about Fenns findings and research, they must have put an hour or two into a bit of research and testing,are you saying they have got it wrong too ? answer in as many syllables as you like ,i can get one of the grandchildren to explain it to me, and then ,perhaps spend a few moments explaining to you, on the correct way to set a Fenn.

 

micky, you don't know anything about me, other than what you seem to have read from between the lines. If you did know me I seriously doubt that you'd be discrediting my experience or ability (the largest part of my professional life is spent representing a very well known national organisation. The ecology and habits of British Mammals, animal management techniques, wildlife and countryside laws are just some of the subjects that I'm regularly called upon to give 'expert advice' on), so perhaps you have come across me in some capacity after all, but just don't realise it. I don't know you, hence I've not tried to discredit you, so knock the poorly veiled insults on the head eh?

 

Over the years I've worked with, taught, and shared experience with many, many people, some of whom were as you appear to be, which is unable or unwilling to 'think outside the box'. Trapping, just like most other skills, is a constantly evolving and improving art, and it pays never to close our minds to change, after all, animals adapt and learn, why should we not follow suit? None of us know it all.

 

As for your comment on time and research, I could name many cases, lots of which are regularly debated on here, where we're told by those supposedly in the know that extensive research has shown that 'species X is not a particular problem' or a particular method of tackling a problem is better than another. I'm sure you'll know what I mean.

 

Just remember if you can, I never told anyone they were doing things wrongly, I simply stated a few facts, and clarified a very vague legal point.

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Scenarion A:

The building is secure and the only access is via small holes through which no animal bigger than a Rodent can pass. No farm Cats, Dogs or children have access. Inside the building there is much evidence of Rats - clearly defined runs, droppings, damage. There is no evidence of Birds or Bats inside the building. For some reason it is impractical to set traps anywhere else, and baiting is not an option. Checking the traps once within every 24 hour period is also impractical, thus ruling out cage trapping.

I would confidently set Fenns on runs inside this building, though I'd place a clear notice that trapping was taking place inside, on any doors, locked or not. Though if possible I'd also place the traps behind some sort of screen. I'd be clearly taking every reasonable precaution to avoid non target species.

 

So you do not check your traps within each and every 24 hours? This is a legally mandated necessity for humanity if nothing else ...

 

I have written evidence from the inventor of the Fenn trap that whilst it was designed to be used within the confines of a tunnel, and its use is implicitly determined by the tunnel dimensions, it would also work adequately as an uncovered trap, for rats.

 

The original Ministerial approval that they were given back in 1957 dictated that they should be used within 'a purpose built artificial tunnel' but also 'for the taking of rats or mice and set in the open on their runs' . The wording of this approval order was not changed until after 1970 when the Fenn Mk 4 Vermin trap was approved, when the open trapping of rats and mice using the Fenn and other traps was made illegal.

 

Fenn's own written setting instructions provided with the Mk 6 Rabbit traps back at the time of approval (1982) states that 'the jaws should almost touch the top of the hole when sprung ... Failure to do this can result in rabbits going over the top and being foul caught. It is a waste of time setting outside holes, apart from being illegal.'

 

The Fenn trap is now not manufactured by the inventor who is long since dead, and as such the setting instructions issued by DB Springs is only a guideline as they are simply metalwork fabricators and not inventors or trappers, as Fenn was.

 

OTC

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Thinking about it ,it does seem that the tunnels too big a fen catches by scraping its catch off the tunnel ceiling into the trap jaws if the tunnels to high its going to make for bad catches ?. i only make my wooden tunnels a inch taller than the trap or two bricks high ?.

 

:no:

That's not the intention, and though they are designed to jump when sprung, they shouldn't be hitting the ceiling. A correctly set Fenn should be able to catch no matter how high the ceiling.

 

The Fenn trap was designed to kill within the confines of the tunnel or hole, not to be used with free space above it. I have categoric proof of that in the form of development documents written by the inventor (amongst other things)

 

So, the Fenn does have to be set so that it can fire cleanly but no more, big holes or tunnels are no good, simple as that.

 

OTC

Would agree with that a correct size tunnel and lightly set trap and you fail, make your tunnels to fit the trap width and height check the trap springs cleanly without catching and you should be okay

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Scenarion A:

The building is secure and the only access is via small holes through which no animal bigger than a Rodent can pass. No farm Cats, Dogs or children have access. Inside the building there is much evidence of Rats - clearly defined runs, droppings, damage. There is no evidence of Birds or Bats inside the building. For some reason it is impractical to set traps anywhere else, and baiting is not an option. Checking the traps once within every 24 hour period is also impractical, thus ruling out cage trapping.

I would confidently set Fenns on runs inside this building, though I'd place a clear notice that trapping was taking place inside, on any doors, locked or not. Though if possible I'd also place the traps behind some sort of screen. I'd be clearly taking every reasonable precaution to avoid non target species.

 

So you do not check your traps within each and every 24 hours? This is a legally mandated necessity for humanity if nothing else ...

 

I have written evidence from the inventor of the Fenn trap that whilst it was designed to be used within the confines of a tunnel, and its use is implicitly determined by the tunnel dimensions, it would also work adequately as an uncovered trap, for rats.

 

The original Ministerial approval that they were given back in 1957 dictated that they should be used within 'a purpose built artificial tunnel' but also 'for the taking of rats or mice and set in the open on their runs' . The wording of this approval order was not changed until after 1970 when the Fenn Mk 4 Vermin trap was approved, when the open trapping of rats and mice using the Fenn and other traps was made illegal.

 

Fenn's own written setting instructions provided with the Mk 6 Rabbit traps back at the time of approval (1982) states that 'the jaws should almost touch the top of the hole when sprung

... Failure to do this can result in rabbits going over the top and being foul caught. It is a waste of time setting outside holes, apart from being illegal.'

 

The Fenn trap is now not manufactured by the inventor who is long since dead, and as such the setting instructions issued by DB Springs is only a guideline as they are simply metalwork fabricators and not inventors or trappers, as Fenn was.

 

OTC

 

So you do not check your traps within each and every 24 hours? This is a legally mandated necessity

You're quite correct............ if using live catch traps. Fenns are a 'kill' trap, thus there is no legal requirement to check them at least once in every 24 hour period (though I personally do if possible, and always advise this practice, for ethical reasons and the fact that if a trap has a catch, it's redundant, and efficiency is reduced). It should be remembered that best practice guidelines, and legal requirement quite often differ. This is a law I'd like to see changed, making it a legal requirement for all traps.

 

work adequately as an uncovered trap, for rats

I fully agree. But success rates in these situations will be directly linked to the operators knowledge and understanding of the target species' ecology and habits.

 

in the open on their runs

The setting I describe in scenario 'A' could not be said to be 'in the open', therefore perfectly legal.

 

'the jaws should almost touch the top of the hole when sprung'

You refer to Mk 6 traps and Rabbits here, the original post, and my advice have been on the subject of Rats, and my experience, which includes managing a three year project during which many hundreds of catches and misses were filmed and analysed, has shown that a tunnel roof should be high enough not to allow the jaws to touch during the 'jump'. An increase in this height did not reduce the clean kill catch percentage in any way. In cases where the jaws could touch the roof, the clean kill catch percentage was significantly lower.

 

Another thing that the filming of traps proved (which most people with trapping experience will already know) was that many Rats showed a much greater reluctance to enter a wire mesh tunnel than a solid, 'natural' tunnel.

 

I do hope we've now cleared up these missunderstandings and grey areas, as the OP was simply asking for advice to help with what must've been a frustrating situation.

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I often went out with my Father, laying Gins for rabbits... the traps were set in the mouths of burrows, and did not 'jump up' in the manner of the Fenn. Trapping rabbits for us, was akin to farm labouring (as was the ferreting) and it was often hard, dirty work, more so in the wet and cold weather. :yes:

The Gin was an extremely efficient trap for catching rabbits,.but unfortunately, it was not a humane tool to work with :whistling:

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I often went out with my Father, laying Gins for rabbits... the traps were set in burrows, and did not 'jump up' in the manner of the Fenn. The Gin was an extremely efficient trap for catching rabbits,.but unfortunately, it was not a humane tool to work with :whistling:

when i was at school there was a golf course over the back, me and a mate use to set gins in burrows daily, we had always got a rabbit or two in our pockets and bags. on the subject of fenns jumping, i dont believe they were ever intended to do it as a design feature but rather a consiquence of the spring design, the tunnel i believe was added as an aid to protect against non target species later on, when things had to be seen to be more humane, the same with lockable and chained rat bait stations and the like.

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