Beware The Conibear Trap!

Beware the Conibear Trap
They Make a Tool for That
By Keith Kibler


Chuck Bearden is one of my favorite people in the world. Chuck is the closest thing to John Wayne that I know. He is 75 years young and lives in Western Ky. He is a horseman’s horseman. He has been through two bouts of cancer and his bucket list includes two 50 mile endurance horse races with me next year and one 100 mile endurance 24 hour event. Chuck is a man any red blooded man would want as a father.




My Friend Chuck Bearden and Ratatouille Tex
This story was told to me and a friend recently on lunch break during a long training ride. We laughed so hard we were literally rolling on the ground. Chuck told the following story on himself and I will write this from his perspective.

Beware the Conibear Trap

Although I am a young man of 75 years, I know some older people. My brother in law is one of those older men in my life. He is 90 and lives in a decidedly non-metropolitan part of Tennessee. Think “rural”. My better half decided it was time to visit her sister so off we went, or rather, “down we went”. Being a 90 year old retired Doctor, my brother in law is not the most out of doors kind of guy.

He has a shed though, and it came to my attention while visiting that an industrious ground hog had taken up residence under the shed. I decided to demonstrate my knowledge of ways to get rid of pesky varmints by dispatching the intruder. I searched the shed and garage for tools to help me towards that goal and found a Conibear trap.


Conibear Trap


Having had a 100 acre cattle ranch in my younger days, I had experience with these traps. They are both effective and dangerous. I knew I could handle the trap and it would be just the right thing for the uninvited intruder. I set the trap. I adjusted it. Then I adjusted it one more time. Did I mention I used my hand? It sprung and I got my hand turned so that it securely rested across the widest part of my right wrist. I was definitely caught in the trap.

I called for my wife and told her I needed a hack saw. My wife and her sister then started searching the garage. Unfortunately, neither of them knew a hack saw from any other tool and their search left me a bit frustrated. I suggested my wife drive me for help. So off we went to a nearby large tool and hardware store. I cannot say what it was but let me hint that it rhymes with “Rowes”.

After a frantic car ride, after all, this thing was really starting to hurt, we arrived at the store. I decided to take the trap in with me since we had acquired a real attachment for each other. I hurried to the tool section and found a nice young woman to help me. I asked her if I could use a saw. She looked at me and her eyes got big. She said, “You need Ted, the tool supervisor”!  I stood there.  She looked at me and stared.  So I mentioned it might be good if she got Ted.  My hand was really hurting. I seem to remember marveling at my own restraint and patience.

Ted walked up at her call and then adroitly mentioned, “you have a Conibear trap on your hand.”  I tried to stay composed, after all I needed his help. I asked Ted if he might have a saw we could use. He grabbed a hack saw. Now I suppose that the makers of Conibear traps are concerned that trapped animals would chew themselves loose, but I really don’t think that is going to happen once we learned that a hack saw left this thing unfazed.


However, I was less than amused and really starting to hurt. I asked Ted if he might have something more effective that might be powered by say, electricity. He grabbed a reciprocating saw and inserted a new metal blade. I put the trap and of course my wrist and hand down on a counter and Ted got to work. Now I don’t know how much Ted knew about his job, but I pretty quickly decided Ted did not have much tool experience. The electric saw danced around the metal of the Conibear trap without so much as making a scratch. Ted started sweating as the dancing blade kept getting close to my skin.

Ted began sweating like he was running a marathon. He looked really worried. I was hurting at this point past the point of distraction. I realized that I was getting nowhere with Ted and “Rowes”.  I looked at my wife, who thankfully was being very quiet during my ordeal, and said “let’s go”.  The only thing I could think was the local fired department. After all, they have the “jaws of life” don’t they?

As we headed out the door I met a typical middle age couple that shop at “rowes”. I quickly assesed that this man might now a thing or two and stopped to speak to him. He rewarded my attention by the observation, “You have a Conibear trap on your hand!” I counted to about 1 ½ and asked him where the local fire department was. He started giving me directions that featured the phrase, “you turn right where the bar used to be”. I asked my wife if she knew where this was. She declined all knowledge of the fire department or more pointedly, the missing bar. I was really in pain and very close to the end of my patience. Fortunately, the spontaneous helpfulness of the local gentry sprung forth and the man said, “Follow us!”

The good Samaritan jumped in his care and off we caravaned. My wife drove as it is hard to drive when you are in a Conibear trap. Life is funny like that. I never did see where the missing bar was but we did find the fire department.


I thanked my benefactor and charged into the bay where their were two shiny firetrucks. The nearest fireman looked up and, you guessed it, said, “You have a Conibear trap on your hand”! I composed myself the best I could and asked if he might have a tool to help me. He said, “We are the fire department, we have every tool you can imagine, including the “jaws of life”.


He had the Conibear trap off me in less than 2 minutes. He asked me how my trapping incident occurred. I told him I was setting the Conibear trap and got caught. He said, “You know, they make a tool for that.”
I still hurt, so I thanked the nice fireman for his help and left. I also collected my Conibear trap, which was now in two convenient but non-working pieces and went to the local hospital. My wife drove as it is hard to drive after spending a long time in a Conibear trap. I had a long 2 ½ hour wait and eventually gave up and went back to spend time with my brother in law and think about the ground hog.

I never did see the Doctor, but I had plenty of time to left handed google “Conibear traps.” It seems the first warning about them is to never set them with your own hand. They make a tool for that and it costs $ 7.49.


Conibear Trap Setting Tool

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