We are busy with last-minute preparations for running the trap line in a few weeks. I bought new traps that still need preparation. The kids and I prepared 6 #11 double longsprings and 1 MB-550. The longsprings are for land and water sets for coon and mink. The MB-550 is to manage the coyote and fox populations which prey on my backyard chicken flock.
MB-550 with rubber jaws on top, Blake and Lamb #11's below
New steel traps have a coating of factory grease that prevents rusting while in storage or shipping. The kids wash them in a bucket with Dawn dish soap. If you are a bachelor, you can also run them through the dishwasher but that carries a major risk of marital catastrophe.
It is traditional to let the traps rust out a bit before further treatment. Some folks spray white vinegar on them to accelerate this process. I've never exactly understand the theory that you want rust to prevent the traps from rusting so I just hang them up in the barn for a couple days. They have a slight patina of rust on them at this point.
There are many options for trap treatment, including some from materials you can forage in the forest. I will provide an overview in the off-season, but since I am short on time, I used Speed Dip. It is a product that you mix with gasoline. It is controversial since some old timers would never put it on a canine trap (like I am doing with the MB-550) because gasoline of course smells strongly, and canines have an amazing sense of smell. I can safely say though that many, many coyotes and foxes are caught every year on traps treated with Speed Dip. I am going to let them air out a few weeks, and I think this will be fine.
I mix Speed Dip with ethanol-free gasoline using a 1:5 ratio. This is a weaker solution than that suggested by the can. I dip them in, making sure every part is covered, and then immediately pull out and hang outside. No soaking needed. We have dry weather for a few days so I'll leave these under a cedar tree and then put in the barn before the rain comes back.
After they aren't tacky, I will add cable to stake the trap, which I will cover in my next trapline post.