American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Building a better mousetrap

Following on yesterday's post, I have not only built a 5-gallon mousetrap but I've deployed it to the crawlspace and, overnight, caught my first two mice in it.

A multi-catch trap set up away from the kids will be far more effective in the long run than the Victor snap traps that have to be set up and torn down every night and morning. There are also no snapping parts on the 5-gallon trap so my fingers won't be throbbing after setting the trap.

You can get complete directions in Buckshot's Ultimate Trapping Tips video but I'm going to attempt to describe the process to you here.

I built mine from scratch using materials found at the local Home Depot. You can obviously use materials you've got laying around the house and it'll cost even less than the $15 I've got tied up in mine.

Materials List:
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • 1/4" threaded rod 3' long
  • Copper tubing 1/2"
  • 1/4" nuts and washers (2 each)
  • 3/4" dowel rod
  • Sharpie or other marking instrument

Tools List:
  • Hacksaw
  • Tubing cutter
  • Drill
  • 9/32" drill bit
  • Reamer

Using the wire handle as a guide, mark two holes near the top of the bucket on opposite sides. On the Home Depot bucket I made these marks under the top lip and the first ridge.

Drill out those marks using the 9/32" drill bit and the hand drill.

Push your threaded rod through the holes and put one washer/nut on an end. Mark your threaded rod at the opposite side where you'd like it to terminate. Remove the threaded rod assembly from the bucket.

Using your hacksaw and some care, cut your threaded rod. This may go easier with the rod clamped in a vise but be advised that the threads can easily be damaged so be careful.

Using the threaded rod as a guide you'll want to make your copper tubing (Buckshot uses a bit of broom handle, dowel rod, or even wooden thread spools) just a bit shorter than the threaded rod and the inside diameter of the bucket. Remember it has to spin freely in order to work. Use your tubing cutter (if you've got one) or your hacksaw (if you don't) and cut the tubing to length.

Use your reamer to smooth out the burr on the cut end of the tubing. If you leave the burr your tubing may hang up on the threaded rod instead of spinning freely.

Run the threaded rod through the first hole, put the tubing over the rod, and then push the rod through the second hole. Add the second nut and washer and snug them up to the outside of the bucket.

Smear some peanut butter around the middle of the copper tubing and fill the bucket about 1/3 with water. Buckshot suggests adding some anti-freeze to the bucket if it's going to be unattended for some time as it cuts down on the decomposition smell. I won't be trying that as I intend to feed the owls in my back yard the mice I catch.

Now I set my bucket in the middle of the crawlspace where I've seen mouse sign. There's nothing to help the mice get to the peanut butter so I made them a little ramp. Using the 3/4" dowel rod, sand or carve off the bottom end so it sits (mostly) flat on the floor. You don't want the rod to spin while the mice are trying to get up or they'll never drown in the bucket. Next, notch the top end so it rests securely over the lip of the bucket. I added about a 2" overhang to mine.

Set your trap and you're done.

If you're going to use the anti-freeze option please find a safe way to dispose of the little bodies. They'll be poisonous to any animals that may eat them. I will feed my catch to the owls only because I'm certain they haven't been poisoned within my walls.

Thanks Buckshot for the directions and the motivation to make the trap.

Thanks for reading,



Post a Comment

<< Home