Traditional skills of trapping and snaring go unnoticed by most people, but they are in great demand in the modern-day pest control.

The trap has become the bread and butter, if not the pension, of many a rural pest controller.

This is why I spent a day in the company of Steve Caple, a gentleman in every sense of the word, whose knowledge has helped me enormously over the years.

My friend and fellow pest controller Paul Sutton — or Sooty as you may know him from previous articles — accompanied me on my visit.

Catching squirrels
As we walked around the woods, we saw a few grey squirrels. After checking one of Steve’s traps, it was obvious that the squirrels’ inquisitive nature makes trapping them far from rocket science — so long as you adhere to some basic rules. Location, bait and an enticing entrance usually helps to bag a “tree rat”.

Laying a Fenn trap
Everyone should learn how to lay a Fenn trap, which is a craft in itself. Laying a Fenn trap in a rabbit burrow epitomises what trapping is all about. It involves laying an alien metal object in the hallway of the home of the rabbit, the architecture that it knows intimately. You must conceal it in such a manner that the rabbit, with all of its heightened senses, cannot detect it. Hiding it in accordance with the law is one thing, but you also have to ensure that it can operate freely, albeit not too freely. If the distance between the sprung trap and burrow’s roof is too great, the trap will jump and spring out the intended target to an unexpected escape — though it may have a clump of fur missing.