The Best Conibear Traps, Sets, and Sizes for Survival Trapping

Conibear traps are easy to use and popular with trappers. They are available in a wide variety of brands and sizes, and you can set them in a variety of ways based on your target. Their versatility makes it difficult to find the best trap- but we’ve put in the legwork to get it done.

Besides finding the best conibear traps for survival trapping, we explain what conibear traps are and how to use them. We also give a few options for various budgets, and look at how each bodygrip trap size matches up to specific animals.

We have conducted hundreds of hours of research and testing on conibear traps, finding great values and the best-of-the-best along the way. If you want to trap- whether its a hobby or for survival- one of our conibear trap recommendations will get the job done.


Contents (Jump to a Section)


Bridger Conibear Traps

The Best Conibear Traps

Bridger Conibear Traps

Well Designed, Well Built, Rugged

Bridger traps are incredibly well-built for the price. The no-frills design combined with quality materials makes our job easy: this is the best conibear trap.

*Price at time of publishing for a 110 bodygrip; check for price changes or sales.

In many of our reviews, it comes down to a close call with many close competitors. Conibear traps all have the same design, for the most part, so we expected the same here. We were wrong.

Bridger pulls far ahead of the rest of the pack by using superior materials and by caring about their products and customers. They are based in Minnesota now after Minnesota Trapline Products bought Bridger in 2010. They were smart and didn’t change a thing about the traps, and just added their stellar customer service. They support the military and veterans too, which we see as a bonus.


Duke Conibear Traps

Budget Conibear Traps

Duke Conibear Traps

Popular, Affordable, Tried & True

Duke bodygrip traps are well-known and come in a wide variety of sizes. Even though they are inexpensive, they can get the job done.

*Price at time of publishing for a 110 bodygrip; check for price changes or sales.

Duke Conibear traps can be found all over the place. Plenty of hardware stores carry the Duke brand, and several online outlets. They are inexpensive, basic, and catch critters with no muss and no fuss. Duke makes all sorts of traps and trap accessories including:

  • Coil Spring Traps
  • Long Spring Traps
  • Body (Conibear) Traps
  • Cage Traps
  • Bear Traps
  • Coon Traps
  • Snares
  • Fur Stretchers

And, of course, many of these come in various sizes and configurations. Duke has been in operation since 1938, originally selling pecans and fur skins. They only added traps in 1986 to their catalog, but have gained plenty of market share since.


Oneida Conibear Traps

Upgrade Conibear Traps

Oneida Conibear Traps

Strong, Superior, Proven

Take it a step further with the most powerful springs on the market. This makes for quick work of the animals, in a lightweight and versatile trap.

*Price at time of publishing for a 110-2 bodygrip; check for price changes or sales.

Oneida takes traps seriously, with it’s 110 trap one of the only 110 traps that you will need a trap setting tool for. Oneida’s Conibear line up sets the standard for bodygrip traps high. Besides the high-powered spring, the rest of the design is sturdy making for a good, solid trap.

‘Conibear’ is actually a registered trademark of Oneida, and they are one of the original producers. They manufacture in America, and are based in Ohio.


Everything We Recommend

Bridger Conibear Traps

Bridger Conibear Traps

Bridger traps are incredibly well-built for the price. The no-frills design combined with quality materials makes our job easy: this is the best conibear trap.

Where to Buy

$13* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Duke Conibear Traps

Duke Conibear Traps

Duke bodygrip traps are well-known and come in a wide variety of sizes. Even though they are inexpensive, they can get the job done.

Where to Buy

$12* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Oneida Conibear Traps

Oneida Conibear Traps

Take it a step further with the most powerful springs on the market. This makes for quick work of the animals, in a lightweight and versatile trap.

Where to Buy

$23* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing


What are Conibear Traps?

Conibear traps are two metal squares that snap together in a scissor motion to grab the body (bodygrip) of the target animal. It is designed to be a ‘kill’ trap, so they usually kill the animal quickly after collapsing on it by crushing their body or neck.

One or two springs on the side of the trap power the scissor motion of the trap. Compressing these springs, and then setting the catch primes the trap. The trigger can be bent into various shapes or have bait added to customize the trap for the target animal.

Bodygrip Conibear Trap Drawing

Frank Ralph Conibear revolutionized the trapping world when he invented these traps. He was a meticulous trapper with a line over 200 miles long near Fort Smith. He saw the need for a quick-kill trap when mink fur pelts were $40 each in 1928. The animals were chewing their legs off to escape traps, which was inhumane suffering (and costing him some big money!).

He developed his inspiration for the bodygrip trap from an egg beater, knowing if he crushed the mink’s bodies they would die quickly, humanely, and he would have more effective traps.

I have a dream- a dream that someday my trap will become the SPCA of the forests.

-Frank Ralph Conibear

Frank’s trap became massively popular in the 1950s, and he received awards from the American Humane Association in 1961 for his invention. Many trappers recognize the conibear trap as the best trapping innovation in the 20th century.

Victor was the manufacturer, which is owned today by Oneida (our upgrade pick for the best conibear traps). Technically, Oneida Victor traps are the only ‘conibear’ traps since that is a brand name. Bodygrip traps are the type of trap, but conibear has become synonymous with a bodygrip trap much like Kleenex, Velcro, or Band-Aid.

Mousetraps are a type of body grip trap, but it is not what we typically talk about when we are referencing bodygrip or conibear traps. Unlike mousetraps, conibear traps can be regulated in your area so be sure to consult local rules and laws about trapping so you can responsibly and humanely deploy traps.


What to Look For

The design, materials, and construction of the trap can all make a difference- whether you are looking for the best-of-the-best or just something functional.

The main design difference in conibear traps is all of the various sizes, but design differences also include the trigger mechanism, anchor chain, and spring which can be specific to the trap type or brand. You may find yourself tempted to get a trap with all of the features available, but it may not be the right call. If you add too many bells and whistles to the simple trap, it become heavy, easy to spot, and harder to set. The setups the pros prefer shows that keeping it simple is best.

Various types of steel are used for the traps, and even some aluminum can be found here and there. Twice-tempered steel is best, which prevents the steel from warping as easily over time. Tempering is pretty much standard for springs, but it is also important for the trap itself.

The carbon content of the steel can also affect the trap: stainless steel is exceptionally expensive though. Galvanized steel is a treated steel that works well in weather conditions, but and exposed weld points will quickly rust. This is why construction also matters.

Welder working metal traps
Even on something as simple as a trap, people make or break the quality of it.

Messy welds on traps can be the main quality pitfall. The weld can’t just be good out of manufacturing- it has to hold up in the field since it is usually one of the first spots to fail. Rust and corrosion are the main enemy here. You can spot a suspect weld by it’s overly lumpy appearance, if there are any jagged edges to the weld, or even a crack. There is not much to get wrong when constructing a conibear trap, since they are bent steel wire, assembly, and welds. But a bad weld will ruin it quick.


The Best Conibear Sizes

The 110 size is the workhorse for survival situations, with the ability to catch high population critters: squirrels, rabbits, muskrats, opossums, and more. The size of your bodygrip trap will greatly affect your success rate with certain animals. If you go too large, the critter could be able to slip through. Too small, and it will not be powerful or big enough to kill.

Because size is so important, here is a table to help you select your trap:

Trap SizeTarget AnimalsBridger TrapsDuke TrapsOneida Traps
#50Mink, Muskrat, Rabbit, Squirrel, Weasel(Find One)
#60Mink, Muskrat, Rabbit, Squirrel, Weasel(Find One)
#110Mink, Muskrat, Opossum, Rabbit, Skunk, Squirrel, Weasel, Various Large Fish(Find One)(Find One)(Find One)
#120Marten, Mink, Muskrat, Opossum, Skunk, Weasel(Find One)(Find One)
#160Fisher, Marten, Nutria, Opossum, Raccoon, Skunk(Find One)(Find One)
#220Badger, Beaver, Fisher, Marten, Nutria, Opossum, Otter, Raccoon, Skunk(Find One)(Find One)(Find One)
#280Badger, Beaver, Bobcat, Fisher, Lynx, Nutria, Otter, Raccoon(Find One)(Find One)
#330Beaver, Bobcat, Lynx, Otter(Find One)(Find One)
Trappers use a wide variety of traps for various game. Survivalists should be able to make do with the versatile #110 size.

Why Use Conibear Traps?

Conibear traps are an extremely versatile kill trap. Unlike snares and foothold traps, they can effectively kill a wide range of animals quickly and humanely.

You may expect them to be more expensive, dangerous, or heavily regulated- but they are not any more of these than a foothold trap.

Conibear traps are a great consideration for survivalists because they are low profile, lightweight, and mechanically simple. They make a great addition to any long-term food storage plan as a way to capture and consume protein. In the same way that a survival garden can help you during long-term disasters, hunting and trapping equipment can help you add fresh variety to your food staples. A competent survival skill can outperform abundant resources. And trapping is one of those skills.


How to Set a Conibear Trap

There are a wide variety of ways to set up a conibear trap. A few of the more popular ones include:

  • Bucket Set: Use a bucket so that the animal has to reach through the trap to get to bait inside of the bucket. The bucket can be upright or on its side, depending on your target.
  • Leaning Pole Set: This type of set can limit your prey to specific animals that like to run on branches, making it especially good for marten and fisher.
  • Hole Set: This set is the same in principal as the bucket set, but you are using a hole in the ground. Using a hole in the ground instead of a bucket can make the trap work better if the target animal is sensitive to smells.
  • Water Set: Conibear traps are popular around water, whether you are setting them in the water or above the water. Aquatic animals and large fish are good targets for a bodygrip trap. This type of set can be more difficult to anchor, so it does take a while to prepare.

Picking the right set up is important because even simple conibear traps can be useless if they are not set up correctly.

Once you decide your target and how you are going to set your trap, the rest is easy to do:

  1. Remove all machine oil from the trap.
  2. Dress the trap with wax if you need to mask or add any scents.
  3. Set up the trigger in the shape of your target animal. Add bait or flags to attract your target animal.
  4. Open the trap. You will need to use a trap setting tool on larger conibear sizes or ones with more powerful springs.
  5. Carefully place the trap. You should use a bodygrip safety tool. Even experienced trappers use one- without one it’s just a matter of time before a trap bites your fingers or hand.
  6. Anchor your trap with the anchor chain.

Now that your trap is set, you need to check it at least once a day. Some areas have rules to check them every two days since bodygrip traps are ‘kill’ traps, but it is best practice to check them daily anyways.

A quick video walking through the conibear trap setting process.

The Best Conibear Trap Setting Tool

On larger conibear traps (220, 330, etc) you will need a trap setter to set and open the trap. Even some of the heavier duty small traps will have powerful springs, and a trap setting tool helps save time and your hands.

There are a few different types, sizes, and brands- but the best conibear trap setting tool is a straightforward pick:

Funke Trap Tags Model 3 Bodygrip and Longspring Setter

The Funke Trap Tags Model 3 Bodygrip and Longspring Setter is the best option and isn’t ridiculously expensive. It is made of aluminum, so it will not rust and only weighs 10 ounces. It works on the entire range of bodygrip traps and a few of the longspring traps (#1 and #2 sizes). The red grip handles will help save your hands, even if you are setting without gloves.

Many states require that new trappers take a Trapper Education Course before they can get their trapping license. There is a Trapper Education Course online for $35 if you are looking to learn more and knock out that requirement.


Who Needs Conibear Traps

Conibear traps have been proven effective for long-time trappers, but are some of the easiest instant-kill traps to use. This makes them ideal for survivalists and preppers to use as well.

They are a great trap to learn on, because they are easy to set, work on a wide range of animals, and are inexpensive. Many people are under the false impression that traps are illegal in the United States, but the only states that restrict the use of traps are New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, California, and Washington.

Trappers have been using bodygrip traps for decades, but they are a great inclusion for survivalists and preppers in one type of kit:

Some preppers will argue that conibear traps are a good inclusion in a bug out bag, due to thier fold-flat profile and ability to deploy anywhere. This may make sense for an INCH (I’m Never Coming Home) variant of bug out bag, but otherwise we generally do not recommend bringing these with you unless you are an experienced trapper.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

An objective look at the best conibear trap is useless without sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our practical military experience and prepping acumen.

Bevington, A. (1976). Frank Ralph Conibear. Arctic Profiles – University of Calgary. (Source).

Collier, E. (1957). Revolutionary New Trap, Parts I and II. Outdoor Life. 68-80.

Tingley, V.E. (1998). Successful Conibear Trapping. Self Published. (Source).


The Final Word

There are a wide range of skills associated with prepping and survival with many of them in danger of becoming ‘lost arts’. As supermarkets and supply chain dependence has grown, survival skills are being left behind as society moves forward.

It is important to recognize the power of being self-reliant and having the ability to sustain yourself if the situation requires it. Learning and practicing survival skills- even if it is not your trade- can help you in this pursuit.

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing settled on Bridger Conibear Traps as the best option given the functionality, durability, versatility, and value.

Your specific situation may call for a different solution. We also gave a shout out to a few others options that work well in other conditions and various budgets.

Take care of your gear and it will take care of you. Don’t stash it away, but get it out to get familiar with it if you are not using it every day.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.


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The Best Conibear Traps, Sets, and Sizes

Rusty

I am an engineer by day, but a prepper 24/7. I am an Air Force veteran that developed emergency and disaster plans as an emergency manager and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters worldwide. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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