Proceedings of the Eleventh Midwest
and Seventh Southeastern Furbearer
Workshop ~ Apr. 12-16, 1993, Wagoner, . Oklahoma. Page 16.


G. Proulx, Wildlife Section, Alberta Research Council, P.O. Box 8330, Edmonton, Alberta T6H 5X2, Canada.
G. F. Hubert, Jr., Illinois Department of Conservation, Hinckley, IL 60520.
L. L. Hungerford, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801.R. D. Bluett, Illinois Department of Conservation, Springfield, II 62706.

Raccoon (Procyon lotor) trapping is an important activity in the United States. The standard leg hold trap is still used by the majority of trappers but previous studies have shown that self-mutilation was common in captured animals. On the other hand, recent research recommended the EGGTM trap (EGG Trap Co., Ackley, la.) as an alternative trapping device because it could hold limb-captured raccoons for 24 hours without serious injury. The objective of this study was to compare the capture success of the No.1 coilspring leghold trap (Woodstream Co. Lititz, Pa.) to that of the EGG trap.

The study was conducted in November 1992 on 5 traplines in Illinois. Traps were set in pairs (approximately 3 m apart) along streams. Legholds were submerged
(15 cm deep) at the entrances of baited pocket sets. The EGG traps were set in holes dug into the streambanks. The same bait and lure were used for all paired sets. All traps were checked daily, beginning early in the morning. Approximately half were equipped with timing devices to determine how long the animals were captive. Observers accompanied trappers throughout the study and were responsible for recording data and collecting carcasses.

Each trap model was set for 376 trapnights (50 to 94 trapnights/trapline). A total of 101 raccoons was captured: 37 in the leghold and 64 in the EGG traps. Both traps captured a similar number of raccoons (range
= 9 to 13 animals) on 3 traplines. However, on 2 other traplines. the EGG (15 and 16 raccoons) was more successful than the leghold (3 and 4 raccoons). Overall, the EGG trap captured a significantly (X2 = 6.693, 1 df, P < 0.05) greater number of raccoons than the No.1 coilspring leghold trap. No difference (X2 = 0.045, 1 df, P > 0.05) existed between the number of nights that animals failed to visit the leghold (282 nights) or the EGG (275 nights) traps. On 14 occasions, raccoons disturbed the leghold set without firing the trap. This also happened 16 times with the EGG trap(X2 = 0.033, df, P > 0.05). However, trap firing without a catch was recorded 38 times with the leghold but only 11 times with the EGG trap (X2 = 13.796, 1 df, P < 0.05). The No.1 leghold captured 3 opossums (Didelphis virginiana), 1 mink (Mustela vison), and 1 dog (Canis familiaris). The EGG trap captured 9 opossums and 1 cat (Felis catusl. There was no difference (X2 = 1.067, 1 df, P > 0.05) between the total number of non-target captures in the No.1 leghold and the EGG trap.

The duration of capture was determined for 39 raccoons (32 in the EGG tap; the timing devices of the leghold traps often became submerged and were not reliable). On average, raccoons were held for 5.1 hours (range
= 0.4 - 11.6 hours). The majority of raccoons captured in the leghold (89%) and the EGG (90%) traps were alive when the traps were checked. Most leghold captures involved a front paw (81 %); raccoons were commonly captured by the phalanges (32%) or metacarpals (57%). All EGG captures involved front paws; the majority (79%) of the animals were captured by the metacarpals. The proportion of self-mutilated and non-mutilated raccoons in the No.1 leg hold (9 and 28 animals, respectively) was significantly different (Fisher's exact probability test, P = 0.008) from that observed with the EGG trap (3 and 59, respectively; 2 unknown).

Overall, the EGG trap was more successful than the No.1 coilspring leghold trap in capturing raccoons in non-drowning water sets. The capture success of the EGG trap in these sets should be further compared to that of other leghold models. The EGG trap should also be tested with different baits and sets as well as in other areas.

Study funded by the American Veterinary Medical Association Foundation. The Research protocol was approved by the Laboratory Animal Care Advisory Committee of the University 0f Illinois.