Gone Outdoors

How to Build a Bird Trap for a Dove

by Frank Whittemore

Doves can be caught relatively easily using an age-old bird trap known as an Arapuca trap. The trap can easily be created from sticks and string. A basket is formed to trap the bird and a trigger mechanism with bait will spring the trap. With practice, this trap can be assembled in minutes. It is a good idea to condition the doves to be trapped to feed in a certain area by enticing them with food for several days. Then the trap is set. When the doves come back to feed, the chances of trapping a dove are greatly improved.

Construct the Basket

1. Cut two straight sticks, approximately 1/2 inch in diameter and 12 inches long. Cut another set of sticks 11 inches long. Repeat this procedure, making sets of sticks that are 10 inches long, 9, 8 and so on, down to a set of four sticks that are 4 inches long.

2. Take a pair of the 12-inch sticks and tie a 14-inch length of string from the end of one of the sticks to the end of the other stick. Repeat this with another piece of string with the other ends of the sticks.

3. Flip one of the sticks over to form an X with the strings between the sticks. Lay the sticks on the ground with the strings stretched between them.

4. Insert an 11-inch long stick under the strings and across the 12-inch sticks. Pull the 11-inch stick toward the ends of the 12-inch sticks until the strings tighten. Repeat this with another 11-inch stick, pulling it to the opposite side. This will form a square of sticks, held in place by the strings.

5. Repeat the previous step with the 10-inch sticks. Continue to repeat this step, using consecutively smaller sticks, until you have formed a pyramid. To top off the trap, insert all of the 4-inch sticks in the same direction to form a lid. The trap should be held tightly together by the tension of the strings.

Construct the Trigger Mechanism

1. Cut a branch with a Y in it. Trim it so that the stems that form the top of the Y are each about 2 inches long and the bottom of the Y is about 3 inches long. Cut a notch in one side of the stem that forms the bottom of the Y, just below and toward the junction in the Y.

2. Cut a stick approximately 1/4 inch in diameter and 12 inches long. Trim one end into a wedge. This stick will act as the support stick the hold the trap open.

3. Cut two sticks approximately 1/8 inch in diameter and around 10 inches long. These will act as the trigger sticks.

Setting the Trap

1. Place the basket part of the trap on the ground with the open end facing down. Lift one side of the basket up. Place the Y stick under the front stick of the basket, so that the fork in the Y is holding the stick.

2. Insert the wedged end of the support stick into the notch in the Y stick and place the other end on the ground. Hold both sticks securely with one hand.

3. Place the end of one of the trigger sticks against the back corner in the basket. Place the other end of the trigger stick against the bottom end of the Y stick. Repeat this with the other trigger stick in the other corner.

4. Carefully let go of the trigger mechanism. Adjust the sticks in the mechanism accordingly to ensure it will remain in place. When a dove enters the trap, it will touch a trigger stick, releasing the Y stick and causing the trap to fall.

Items you will need
  • Sticks
  • String
  • Sharp knife

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images