This is a wire box that we developed to help speed up the setting up process. This box has been attatched to the tree and is now ready to have a plastic cover put over it The box is made of 1X1 wire mesh and held to the tree by a pin about 10" long with the top bent over. Two fence staples are driven partially into the tree, the box is held to the tree and the pin is pushed down through the two fence staples pinning the box to the tree. We cut strips out of plasic garbage bags 8"X18" to cover the sides and top keeping out the weather. These plastic covers are held on by 1/2" wide rubber bands cut out of inner tubes. A small hook made out of trap wire holds the bait (preferably muskrat or beaver) in the back of the box. The trap is placed in the box and some lure put on the tree above the set.
This is the completed set with a few boughs added for more cover, mostly to camouflage it from people.
This box set had a pole added, and as you can see worked fine. I like to make sets in clumps of trees like this, the canopy above helps keep the snow to a minimum, some areas of the line get 10' of snow.
Wire Box Set
The Oldtimers Sets
These pictures are of sets I used that already existed on my line. They were made by nameless trappers from the early 1900's on. I would say this set was made in the 50's or 60's by the weathering of the wood. It is 2 slabs chopped off of a stump or block of wood, the bottom slab that holds the trap sets on two notches chopped in the bark of the trees. The upper slab just rests between and is held with a small nail at the top. Bait is wired under the upper end of the top slab, and covered with a bough to keep out the birds. A piece of debris from the forest floor makes a handy running pole.
Chopped Tree Set
This was a set I found on my line, and used to catch marten. This particular one was made entirely with an axe, others I have found were made with a cross-cut saw and an axe. Usually the square horizontal cut at the bottom was made with a cross-cut saw and then an axe was used to slab out the wood above. This particular set was about waist high to the bottom of the notch. Usually these sets were made in snags or in this case on what is called a dry side of a cedar, where the bark has peeled away. This particular tree is still very much alive. If they were made in green trees the tree would be oozing pitch and that would get all over the fur of the marten.
The trap was placed on the flat bottom portion and the bait in the top back of the slabbed out area. When I use these sets I use a fence staple to fasten a bough over the bait to keep birds out. You can see the fence staple I put in the tree to the right of the notch to fasten the bough and the trap chain too.
Another Two Tree Set
Note the piece of bark used as a running pole. This area had many dying white pine with the bark still barely clinging to them. They made handy covers over sets as well, this one has the traditional hemlock bough however.
The Short Pole Set
This is my favorite of the old timer's sets, I use it mostly without the wood pegs to hold up a roof of boughs like the bottom pictures show. The upper one is one of the best with a small tree to fence off one side of the trap. The marten usually move before a storm so the set is operable then. After the storm all you have to do is lift up the pole and stomp the snow down and reset your trap. I use an #0 or #1 jump trap on these poles as it is the same size as the top of the pole. A small stick under the loose jaw stabilizes the trap.
This is a short pole set used by another trapper I know. He uses a much larger pole and at a shallower angle. He also uses a #2 coil as he intends to catch cats in these sets as well.