Figure 1 The Made in the USA Cinch Gopher and Mole Trap
Care and maintaining Cinch Gopher and Mole Traps
The Cinch gopher and mole trap is probably the most effective trap of all. I have been using them for more than 20 years and have been able to get a service life of 4-5 years. The trap is most effective when it is new, the action is smooth and strong. After a few months of soil and moisture there are parts of the trap that break down.
First, and most importantly are the trip wires. These wires must be able to slide past each other and also move out of the way for the action to be quick. If they are not clean, they can and will stop the trap from closing. This is frustrating and time wasting as you may have set the trap correctly but missed catching the animal due to a malfunction you could have avoided.
I keep the trip wires clean and lightly sand them when they get rusty and coat them with a silicone spray lubricant. Be sure to sand any burrs at the end of the trip wires smooth as well. Work them around the holding tabs to make sure they don’t stick. Often, when I have time I will replace the trip wires with ones I make myself from 12 gauge galvanized wire. This is a soft wire and can be bent easily into a new trip wire that will never rust. The wire is a little soft but I haven’t had a problem with using it. I just use a pair of diagonal cutters to make the new trip wire.
Figure 4 12 ga galvanized wire from hardware store Figure 5 Cut wire longer than pi
Figure 6 Carefully bend loop Figure 7 Loop should look like this
Figure 8 Top is stock pin, next is good replacement, loop too large and loop too small
Figure 9 Install new pin and cut to length
Figure 10 Install next pin and cut to length
Figure 11 New pins in place
The other place I constantly have to work on is the alignment of the two jaws as the ferrule at the jaw end of the trap wears. Sometimes the spring pulls the movable jaw down a little and the jaws don’t close properly. I unhook the spring and tap the large lever at the end of the moveable jaw back into place.
Figure 12 Trap with misaligned spring and moveable jaw
Figure 13 Rebend spring and move jaw back into place
Figure 14 Re attach spring
Also as the traps age the jaw does not always open completely when the trap is set. I will take a pair of pliers and open the jaws all the way again. Note where my thumb is keeping the trap from an accidental closing that can be dangerous.
Figure 15 Bending jaw back to wide open position
I lubricate the trap with silicone spay to avoid any strong odors and to prevent getting petroleum products into the soil.
Figure 16 Lubricate the spring
Figure 17Lubricate the pins and especially the pin holders
Figure 18 Also the trip rod and hole
These are all very simple ways to keep your Cinch trap working as it should. Sometimes it is best to just replace the trap for the best action.
Trap Setting Tips
If you have a new trap or an old rusty one there are some tips that can help to make sure the trap springs and catches your pest animal. First be sure that the trip pins are pushed all the way to the holder stops to prevent sticking.
Figure 19 Pin pushed all the way to stop
Figure 20 Pin not pushed to stop sticking
Also there is a sensitivity setting on the actual trigger that will allow a half inch of movement prior to firing and also the trap can fire instantly. I almost always use the “fire instantly” for gophers and I like some play for moles as they are usually pushing some soil in front of them.
Figure 21 Not sensitive good for moles
Figure 22 Sensitive, good for gophers
So keep your trap in good condition and they will last many years. My traps are mostly in the ground year round and take a lot of rain and abuse, but with these methods , I average about five years of use out of each trap.