How to Make a Trigger for a Cage Trap

by Nathan Fisher
Cage traps are commonly used to remove animals that have become pests.

Cage traps are commonly used to remove animals that have become pests.

Unlike leg-hold traps that snap closed on the animal's legs, cage traps catch animals unharmed so they can be studied or relocated. Also called "live-catch traps," cage traps have a door that closes when the animal enters the trap, usually after bait. While commercial models are available for purchase, cage traps can be inexpensively fabricated from many types of wire. Once the trap is constructed, installing a properly designed trigger mechanism is critical to a successfully capture.

1. Cut a 1/8-inch diameter steel trigger rod with a hacksaw. With the door in the "open" position, make the rod long enough to run along the top of the trap from the bait pan assembly to 2 inches past the bottom end of the door.

2. Bend one end of the trigger rod into a small 1-inch loop with a pair of pliers.

3. Twist two split-rings, to support the trigger rod, around the bars in the roof of the trap. Install the rings along the center line of the length of the trap, from the trap's entrance to the bait pan assembly. Place the rings so they are evenly spaced between the door and bait pan.

4. Hold the trigger rod by the loop. Slide the rod through the split rings from the bait pan assembly to the door. Connect the loop in the trigger rod to the top of the bait pan assembly with a split-ring.

5. Bend the end of the rod, at the door end, over with a pair of pliers, creating a 1-inch "V"-shaped downward-facing hook at the end of the rod. When bending the hook, leave a 1/2-inch space between the end of the hook and the main section of the rod.

6. Open the trap's door and place the hook on the end of the rod under the edge of the door. Reach the through the bars with a stick and push down on the bait pan to test the trigger.

Items you will need

  • Steel trigger rod
  • Hacksaw
  • Pliers
  • Split-rings
  • Stick


  • If the trap has a wooden roof, use eye screws instead of split-rings to hang the trigger rod.


  • "How to Trap and Snare"; William Carnegie; 2005

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images