Building a Better Mousetrap

Mice were always a problem in the cook tent. They were a bigger nuisance than bears. Bears are big and loud, and they scare away easily. Mice were worse. They came in undetected in the middle of the night and ate their way into the food supply. Supplies like bread were kept inside a cage build specifically for protection, but mice always seemed to find their way in. They always came in too quietly for the KP sleeping in the tent on bear watch to hear.

One day Jose and Glen decided they were going to do something about it.

They took and empty one-gallon Blazo can and cut the top out. This gave them a can with a rectangular opening on top. Then they took a round tuna can and opened it just enough to empty the tuna. Then they punched holes in the top and bottom of the tuna can, and in the sides of the Blazo can just below the top edge. Next they doubled up some twine, passed it through one of the holes in the Blazo can, through the top and bottom of the tuna can, and then through the hole in the other side of the Blazo can. They secured the tuna can in the mouth of the Blazo can and made sure that it would spin freely. They filled the Blazo can about a third of the way with water, and then spread peanut butter on the tuna can. They put this contraption in the cook tent near the bread box, and built a ramp up to the edge.

The idea was that a mouse would climb up the ramp for the peanut butter. The mouse would have to lean out on the wheel to get the peanut butter. The wheel would spin on the twine through its axis, dumping the mouse into the water in the bottom of the can. The water in the can was deep enough so that a mouse couldn’t touch the bottom of the can, but not deep enough so the mouse could swim to the edge of the Blazo can and swim out.

Jose and Glen named their contraption The Wheel of Fortune.

It caught eighteen mice the first night we used it! They never caught as many again, and the mouse problem became much more tolerable.

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Categories: Backcountry, Camping, Vogelsang, Yosemite | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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