Gone Outdoors

How to Degrease Steel Traps

by Dave P. Fisher

Steel traps come from the factory coated in a dark grease to keep them from rusting. Until the grease is removed from a trap, it cannot be used on the trapline. Furbearers, the targeted animals of the trapper, have keen senses of smell and can detect a grease-coated trap no matter how well it is hidden. Removing the grease is a simple procedure.

Set up the propane camp cooker and ignite it. Fill the metal container ¾ full of clean water and place it on the burner.

Prepare the traps while the water is heating. Open the jaws on each trap and place a nail or similar object between the jaws and close them over the nail. This is so the inside of the jaws will clean along with the rest of the trap.

Figure out how many traps can go into the container at one time and still be fully submerged. You can put several small traps in at one time, but possibly only three of four bigger traps. The number will depend on the size of the traps. Put the traps in groups and run a 2-foot length of wire through the chain rings of all the traps in each group and twist it closed.

Bring the water to a boil and keep the heat up so the water will continue to boil through the full process. Put on the gloves; lower one group of traps into the boiling water. Leave the wire hanging out over the edge of the container. Using the 3-foot stick, push any exposed parts of the traps around until no parts are showing above the water.

Let the traps boil for five minutes. Pick up the end of the wire and lift the group of traps out of the water. The traps should have a dull gray tint to them. Continue boiling all the groups of traps in this same manner.

Items you will need
  • 5- to 10-gallon metal container
  • Propane camp cooker
  • Wire
  • 3-foot long stick
  • Leather gloves

Tips

  • Putting a lid on the container will hasten the boiling time. Take the lid off during the trap-boiling process.
  • The boiling can also be done over an open fire. Put two steel rods over two cement blocks and build a fire between the blocks. Put the container on the rods over the fire.

Warnings

  • Do not remove the container of water from the burner while it is still hot. Turn the burner off and leave the water to cool before removing it.
  • Wear the leather gloves. The container will be hot, as will the wire holding the traps.

References

  • Trapping North American Furbearers; S. Stanley Hawbaker; 1969.

About the Author

Dave P. Fisher is an internationally published and award-winning Western novelist and short-story writer. His work has appeared in several anthologies and his nonfiction articles in outdoor magazines. An avid outdoorsman, Fisher has more than 40 years of experience as a hunter, trapper, fisherman, taxidermist, professional fly-tyer, horsepacker and guide.