Just To Be Safe… Just In Case


I’ve read thru and been part of numerous discussions on the topic of bodygrip traps and spring strength when it comes to offseason storage with springs left depressedĀ versus springs stored in the “closed” position. Some guys swear it makes no difference to overall spring strength which way they’re stored, because spring steel does not have “memory” to bend regardless how it’s left. Others swear that storing a load of pressure in spring-set position rather than unset will weaken the spring over time simply because.

I’m in no position to debate the scientific aspects of this chicken & egg controversy, except to say that my own experiences over time with many different sizes and makes of bodygrip traps does suggest to me that there is a difference over time.

A most recent lesson happened few years ago. I loaned out a half-dozen #220s that were almost new and very strong to someone who wanted them for off-season woodchuck control. One thing led to another and I never got them back until two years later. They had remained with springs latched in “set” position all that time. When I prepped them for the fur line that fall, spring strength had weakened to a point where I wasn’t sure they were fast enough lock time for snappingĀ muskrats.

The standard in this equation was the other six traps bought at the same time as one dozen. Those traps were used on the line for two seasons, only remaining set wide open for a week or three before snapped and waiting to be deployed elsewhere. Whereas the loaned-out six which were unused and practically new had springs degraded to borderline use, their “sister” traps which had caught fur for two seasons in the elements but stored offseason in relaxed-spring position remained plenty strong enough.

Now if that were an isolated example, I probably wouldn’t give it any further thought. But it’s been my experience over and over and over again that #330s, and #220s and #160s will weaken if springs are left compressed over long periods of time. Have noticed that with my own gear thru the years, all various makes and models so we’re not talking any specific brand of trap or grade of steel, nothing like that.

Again, I’ll make the point that I don’t have any scientific knowledge on the properties of spring steel and how it holds form versus changes form under tension, etc. All I’m working with here is what I’ve observed and experienced several times in the past. With that in mind, I now take the extra step to release all bodygrip springs before offseason storage.

It’s not something I lay awake at night worrying about… been a couple of weeks now since I trapped, and I’m just getting around to doing with single-spring 7″ and 6″ rat traps. My #220s and #330s are already stored and waiting for the dry heat of summer before everything gets dip-treated again. Been a few years since my older bodygrips were dipped, time to layer on several thin coats to last them another few years of hard use before they need my attention again.

That’s just one of the many “little things” I’m doing between now and next season to come. Only six more months until I’m cracking open steel for muskrats and coon… it’ll be here before we know it! <laugh>



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  1. Jimmy johnson says:

    I would have to agree . I have noticed the same effect on some of my bodygrips of several different brands. Agree or disagree one thing is for certain. It most certainly could’nt hurt to release the spring load pressure. With the cost of traps ever rising it only makes good sense to do all you can to preserve and protect your traps and equipment as to the best of your abilities.

  2. Dale says:

    There was a good post on Hal Sullivans site quite awhile ago that went back and forth to whether it weakened them or not. I’m not sure either but I unset my springs on all my body grips after the season just because I feel that will help them last longer. I set them a week or two before season again so they are ready…..with a firm grip always on the setting tongs now:)

    • aptrapper says:

      that’s good… without a careful grip on those setters, a friend of my dotted himself between the eyes :)

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