Having found a good site for my Multi Larsen trap and left it to acclimatise for a few days, the next step is to catch a call bird. I have learned from bitter experience how potentially difficult this first stage can be, so I have been calling on every piece of advice to carry it out successfully and progress to the easier stages.
In my opinion, no matter how well you hide a Larsen trap, if it is in a good spot, crows will always find it. I like to make the trap look as though I have tried to completely conceal it, leaving a few obvious hints that will lead these intelligent birds to believe that they are getting “one up” on me by finding it. Maybe I read too many human characteristics into their thinking, but it always seems that crows are much more inclined to take something that they think you have tried to hide than they are to take bait left out in an obvious spot. Clearing a small area at the top of the pine strip, I heaped some brash in a loose circle around the trap site so that it was invisible to everything on ground level.
One disadvantage that I have found to the Solway Multi Larsen Trap is that the side entry door system relies on the ground being fairly open and level. If a crow shows interest in the bait, he will want to carry out a thorough inspection of the trap before he commits to entering it. It seems unlikely that a bird that is naturally fearful of enclosed spaces would be prepared to duck his head and enter by stepping down into a trap that is partially buried in vegetation. To make the trap seem a little bit more transparent and “above board”, I built a wooden rack to raise the trap nine inches off the ground. Thin wooden perches were installed on the rack so that the crow can jump up and down from ground level to carry out a complete inspection of the trap and the perches make it easy for him to hop inside and trigger the mechanism. These adaptations would not be important in any other environment, but it seemed that, where the ground is extremely rough and undulating, the side entry trap system would need a helping hand to get started.
On my way up to the Chayne, I collected a freshly killed rabbit from the verge of the main road and cut it into quarters. I left a hind leg on the roof of the trap, another on a nearby gatepost and I placed the remainder of the body in the largest catch compartment. In the time it took me to walk five hundred yards, build a simple style for the new heather enclosure and return, a fox took the leg from the gatepost. A telltale line of tufted fluff led off into a thick patch of trees, and I wished that I had kept an eye out with the .243. With so much vermin going around, it is simply a matter of time before the new trap starts to make an impact.