This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The Kent Garden Tube and Board-top Mole Traps, Fig. 78, combine the advantages of the common wooden ones with the substitution of a steel spring for the ordinary spring stake, and dispensing with pegs; otherwise the construction is the same.
Fig. 78. - The Kent Garden Tube and Board-top Mole Traps.
D, tube trap: v, tube; w, forked piece or table; x, table and spring string-hole; y, flat eye to receive lower end of spring; z, knot on main string where snare strings secured; a, point where wire-snares affixed to snare-strings; b, steel spring; c, loop of main string affixed on hook of spring, thus the main string held by table is tight and the snare strings slack so as not to disturb wire snares inside tube; d, slope made in soil so as to admit spring of trap. E, board-top trap: e, ½ in. board, preferably hardwood; f, bows; g, main string and table hole; h, snare holes; i, wires placed inside bows; 7, forked piece or table; k, flat eye for spring; l, main string (tight); m, snare strings (slack); n, steel spring; 0, loop of main string passed over hook of spring. F, detached spring: p, wedge end; q, hook end.
The Kent Garden Tube Mole Trap, Fig. 78, D, is constructed the same as the Common Tube one, Fig. 77, A, but has an eye at y to admit the steel spring. The Kent Garden Board-top Mole trap, Fig. 78, E, is made like the Common Board-top one, Fig. 77, B, but has a flat eye, k, formed of galvanized wire (ends clenched on under-side) to receive the lower end of the spring about 7/8-in., the eye 1 in. wide inside. The spring F is formed of 1/16-in. steel plate and the shape shown; scale 1/6 in. equals 1 in., formed to fit the eye of the trap at the lower end p, with a hook at the small end q.
The trap, whatever the form, is set in a run of the mole, taking care to disturb the run only enough to allow the tube or loops (Fig. 77, B m) to enter it. To set this trap (the directions applying to the other forms), the wires are passed through the holes (0), opened out and led along inside the wooden loops and kept in position by a little moist earth pressed down with the thumb; then the knot of whipcord is placed through the centre (n) and the forked piece (q) thrust upwards rather tightly so as to wedge the string with the knot just below the board, and, in the case of the spring being a stick, the four pegs (r) thrust in at the respective corners so as to keep the trap in place against the upward force of the bent stake. This (t) is thrust into the ground (u) at such distance that when bent over the trap, its end, where the whipcord loop is passed over, will be as nearly as possible perpendicular over the middle of the trap. In setting the Kent steel spring trap the main string loop has only to be placed over the hook of the spring after adjusting the snares and table, and then merely requires placing firmly in the mole run. If the run be deep, it will be necessary to take out a channel in the soil so as to admit the spring of the Kent trap.
In either case the central string (s) will be tight, but the snare ones (ft) slack, when the trap is set. A little grass or bits of turf will need to be disposed on the trap to exclude daylight, using soil if necessary, yet keeping the space beneath the trap clear, and so as not to interfere with the action of any part. A mole passing through the run has to go through the loops, and in its passage displaces the forked stick or table, when the main string is forced upward by the spring drawing up, and at the same time the snare strings, between the wires of which and the board the mole is caught.
The chief art in setting a mole trap consists in choosing the run. In soft ground a mole makes numerous runs just beneath the surface, and in such soil would as soon make a new run as use an old one; but moles generally have main runs between their hunting-grounds (soft and moist soils) and nesting-places (banks and dry ground), hence trapping in these or in runs through hard ground proves most satisfactory. When a run is near the surface, as frequently occurs in hard ground under an inch or two of comparatively loose soil, the mole sometimes avoids a trap by passing on one side; in such case tread the run in crosswise, when the mole will make a new one through the firm soil, and a trap carefully set therein will usually prove successful.
Be careful not to use elder for the fork or table of the trap or anything in connection with it, otherwise the mole will pass alongside, under, or turn back to avoid the trap.
The Kent garden tube trap (Fig. 78, D), besides acting as an effective mole trap, can be used at the mouth of rat-holes, even in buildings, by placing it between two bricks, within holes in the ground and even in over-ground runs, for capturing rats and other vermin;
Small size, 1 in. diameter, traps of this pattern, with spring of lesser strength, are excellent for catching field-voles, either by placing in their mossy runs, or at entrances to ground holes, also for capturing field-mice.
The Kent board-top steel spring mole trap (Fig. 78, E) may be set at the mouth of rat-holes in the ground without exciting suspicion, a little soil being taken out so as to admit the trap level with the entrance, and in operation is humane, as are all the forms configured, the animal caught being quickly strangled.
Similar traps to the Kent with steel upward springs are the Climax Mole Trap (after fashion of the board-top), Wood-board Mole Trap (after the style of the tube), and the New Patent Self-acting Mole Trap (tunnel fashion with open bottom), respectively 7s., 10s., and 12s. per dozen, supplied by Wm. Burgess & Co., Malvern Wells, Worcestershire, and possess its advantages pre-eminently.
Cast-iron and galvanized iron mole traps of " crab-claw " pattern,1 procurable of ironmongers, prove more or less successful for capturing moles. The improved double spring Fast-setter Mole Trap (Fig. 79) is self-setting, and most suitable for deep runs, very reliable and moderate price (5s. 6d. per dozen), also supplied by Messrs. Wm. Burgess & Co.
Fig. 79. - Improved Double Spring Fast-Setter Mole Trap.
Moles have a decided objection to the smell of the green leaves of the common elder (Sambucus nigra), therefore the very old practice of placing little bundles of these in the mole runs effectively drives moles from the place. A more drastic measure is sometimes employed, that of putting in their paths worms which have been placed in a vessel containing a small quantity of carbonate of barytes (a poison).