The Camtrip Cage Trap Story
When California trappers lost the right to use leg hold traps in the late ‘90s, they were left with no real effective way to harvest bobcats and fox. Many former trappers spent the first few post-ban seasons at home rather than in the field. Prices on finished fur were down so to most trappers there was not much incentive to be trapping anyway. Luckily, a couple of guys from Northern California immediately started work developing cage traps and techniques to replace leg hold traps. I was fortunate to have met one of these two gentlemen in 2001 and his name was Reid Aiton. I purchased a couple of the early model cage traps from him, marketed under the name “California Cage Trap Co.” and I have since developed a very close relationship with Reid.
About the same time I met Reid, my desire to get out and trap cats again began to grow so I purchased a few more cages from various manufacturers. Not completely pleased with what was available and feeling that I could “build a better mouse trap,” I set out to develop my own cage trap designed and built to suit my needs of harvesting cats and fox with the same efficiency that I was accustomed to with the leg hold traps.
The work of figuring out how to get large numbers of cages into the field had already been solved by the California Cage Trap Co. and the “nesting” sets of frameless lightweight cages. The cage size (10” wide X 36” long) had already been dictated by the California Cage Trap Co. and the numbers of cats Reid and his friends were harvesting with these cages. At that time, there were no other cages on the market specifically designed for bobcats so I chose the California Cage Trap Co. design as a starting point.
My profession as a journeyman sheet metal mechanic gave me access to any tools, machinery and materials that I needed. Coming up with various prototypes was a cinch. The real work, and the thing that took the most time and energy, was testing cages in the field.
My goal never was to build cages for sale to the public my only goal was to build the absolute best cage I could and at the same time figure out the best way(s) to get the cat in them. Thanks to a fellow named Tracy Truman from Las Vegas, Nevada, those tasks became a bit easier with his advice to use trail cameras at my sets. I took his idea and ran with it, soon having as many as ten cameras on my line at any given time. Over the course of a few seasons this camera footage, along with footage from a few others, gave me the insight to make the needed adjustments and design changes that are incorporated into the Camtrip Cage Traps I sell today. I have amassed a tremendous amount of on-the-line video footage of cats working sets, entering the cages, and getting caught. I have also witnessed the failures and short-comings of some of my ideas. In the end, I feel I have developed a cage that fills all of the needs forced upon me by the trap ban initiative. I have a cage that is both lightweight and durable. The cages nestle into a compact package that makes it easy to get plenty of cages in the truck. I have also designed what I believe to be the most efficient and dependable trigger/pan mechanism that exists today. The linkage is wholly outside of the cage and beyond the animal’s reach, providing me with an adjustable, bullet proof mechanism to fire the cage door with a simple overall construction using few moving parts.
The name “Camtrip” comes from the tripping mechanism used to link the pan rod to the trip pin causing the door to drop. Shaped like a cam, it is unique and original in design and function, providing a smooth and consistent door trip every time.
The work on getting the cats into the cage of course continues and will likely never end. It is the most enjoyable and intriguing part of the entire experience. With the help of the trail camera footage, I feel I have made some real gains in this area.
In 2008 Reid Aiton had about had his fill of building and selling cages of his California Cage Trap design and asked if I had ever thought about fabricating my design for the public. I told him that while the thought had crossed my mind, I never wanted to “step on his toes” after all that he had done for me over the years. He told me that it was no problem and began to refer his cage sales to me. At about the same time, Mr. Truman came through again and featured my cages in one of his trapping videos. The phone hasn’t stopped since and keeping up with cage orders has become a little difficult at times.
My goal is to get these efficient, lightweight and efficient traps into the hands of trappers so they can not only make profitable catches of cats and fox, but also contribute to the many trapping associations fighting for our rights to be afield doing what we love to do.
Thank you sir!