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Author Topic: Body Grip Safety
Georgia Trapper
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Member # 5884

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It finally happened. I got "bit" this morning by one of my new Victor 330 conibears. Yes, it hurt like hell! It caught me by the thumb between the 2nd and 3rd joint. It is bruised and swollen but I am hopeful nothing is broken. A couple of "lessons learned" have prompted me to share this experience. Of course, these were lessons that I thought I already knew. But it is easy to come up with excuses of why I made such a stupid mistake.
These are brand new traps that I plan to add to my arsenal. Ran them through the dishwasher and instead of letting them get a light coat of rust followed by dying in logwood crystals (as is my custom), I decided to do things differently. I went with primer and rustoleum camo paints. To better reach all the nooks and crannies with the spray paint I decided to compress the springs and latch them with the "safety" latches. This would allow the jaws to partially open, exposing more metal to the spray paint.
Now when you compress and latch the springs on a body grip, the springs are not fully compressed because the "safety" latch will slide up on the spring, letting the springs open a bit. To prevent this from happening I would wrap plastic insulated wire through, and on either side, of the latch. This works pretty good keeping the latch in place on a compressed spring, yet still allowing me to slide them up or down to release them when completing a set. I believe I learned this trick here on the forum. I had not done this yet to these new traps.
With the "safeties" set, I got sidetracked and decided to check out the trigger sensitivity. I was curious what the difference was between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dog notch. I always used the last notch. Anyway, I went and folded the jaws over and set the trigger. Holding the jaws together with my left hand, I toyed with the trigger with my right hand to determine the break point where the trap would fire. Here's the problem: Distracted by what I was doing (and a bit complacent as I had just completed doing this to all my older 220s), as I folded the jaws over into the set position the springs became fully compressed, and I did not notice that the "safeties" fell away and were no longer holding the springs. So when I tripped the trap, I was caught off guard by full closing force of the jaws bearing down on my left thumb. Yeeoowh!!
After the shock of what happened here is the next surprise, something I don't think I ever considered: How do you compress a pair of springs using only one hand? The tong setters were right there next to me on the workbench and I was able to rest one side on the bench top and use my free hand and body weight to compress the spring. Next dilemma: Holding the tong setters together with my free hand (not so easy on a 330), how was I going to position the "safety" latch back on the spring? With my mouth? I ended up shaking and flipping the loose latch into position. Then I had to repeat the process with the other spring, all the while in a state of extreme pain and duress.
Thinking about it now, it scares me to wonder how I would have handled the situation if it were to happen while I was standing in 2 feet of water on a soft mud bottom, with the trap cable-staked into the bank and my packbasket and tong setters 10 yards away.
Here is what I plan to do in the future.

1. Even if the trap is not set, if the springs are compressed treat the trap like you would a loaded gun.
2. Use them dang grip safeties. Put them on the trap as soon as you open the jaws and set the dog/trigger. Do not rely solely on the spring latches.
3. Practice using a length of nylon rope to set the trap in the old school fashion. Have one end looped so you can use your foot and one hand (your one free hand)to compress the spring. Carry this length of rope on your person whenever making sets.
4. Carry a pair of wire cutters in a holster on your belt. Being able to move to solid ground would make it easier to free yourself.
5. Carry a cell phone at all times. Hopefully you'll have the use of one hand to use it.
6. Don't get BOTH hands caught in the trap. You are really screwed then.

Did I leave anything out? What like to hear other ideas.


Posts: 19 | From: Georgia | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 6494

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Sorry to hear you got hurt. I thought I read somewhere about the rope method of setting large bodygrip traps. I checked the archives & could not find it. Probably just missed it. Could you remind us of how that is done. As a newbe I'll be messing with these in Jan & Feb of 2014 & while I hope I don't screw up, I'd sure like to know how to get out of it if(when) I do.
Posts: 49 | From: TN | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dale F
Member # 255

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Even if the safety hooks are on I never trust them, they fly off pretty easy. You went wrong by holding the jaws with one hand while testing the trigger with the other. Holding the jaws and not squeezing them too tight so not to take away from when the trigger fires is asking for trouble, two hands doing two different things and one in a bad spot. Hope you didn't break anything.
Posts: 452 | From: prophetstown, il | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
D. Sullivan
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Setting with a rope can be found in the Traps and Equipment archives. Below is the link.;f=6;t=000378


Posts: 22 | From: Blue Creek, Ohio | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 3203

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Well, you bring up a very good point: When you're using bodygrips, you need to concentrate! It's not a toy, and before you take that "death grip" off of the jaws, you need to check the spring latches. Make sure they're both snug on the springs.

I'd rather practice caution and safety, instead of how to get un-stuck.

Back before you could buy these "spring-loaded" safety latch gizmos, I'd take a piece of tie wire and wire the jaws open. Once the trap is set, and your other hand is in the clear, I'd take my wire snips and clip off the wire. Then slip the spring latches off.

Once you fully open the jaws, and set the trap,the wire will be loose. With your wire snips, you can go between the jaws, on top of the trap and clip the wire. Both hands are in the clear. [Smile]

Posts: 969 | From: WV | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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That is why I use Belisle traps. The safeties can not slip off, no matter how you move the trap. I also use a safety gripper that springs over the jaws, and is much easier to place and remove than the ram safety. Check out the Belisles, you will see what I mean.I got caught once this summer, and had only got one safety on when it fired. Hurt like hell, but would have been worse with no safeties. Now I use the safety gripper all the time on 330's, but not on the 120's, as they are small enough that I can get a death grip on them. Of course, that will only last until I get one wrapped around my hand!
Posts: 6 | From: Ontario | Registered: Nov 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
brian lane
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Sorry not familiar with the safety gripper please advise
Posts: 18 | From: Boone co KY | Registered: Feb 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 31

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Safety Grip

[ 04-17-2014, 07:17 PM: Message edited by: Ric ]

Posts: 3441 | From: Wellington,OH=USA | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
larry smith
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What I use is a peace of metal strapping about 8 inches long. Bend in a v shape and drill a hole through both sides big enough for a four inch. nail. Then tie a string on the nail and the back of the v so when you pull on the string the nail can pull from the holes. Then after you have your trap opened up put this horseshoed on your trap then if it fires can only go as far as the nail and if you have made it right it only can move about 1 inch. Then when you get it all set where you want it just pull the string and slide it off and walk off. Good luck
Posts: 1 | From: Michigan | Registered: Feb 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Brian, the safety is about 7" long and has a spring on one end. You squeeze it and slip it over the trap. Easy to take off and works on all size of trap. Will try to figure out how to post a pic of it.
Posts: 6 | From: Ontario | Registered: Nov 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I believe this safety is made by Savageau.
Posts: 6 | From: Ontario | Registered: Nov 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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