Apples as bait, differences

Home grown apples appear to be better bait in hav-a-hart traps than do store-bought apples.

This is an observation I’ve made after a few months of usage, not a scientific study, but here are my findings.

Our fencing has kept out deer, but not smaller critters. In addition to the orchard, also in the fenced-in area we grow garlic, potatoes, squash, sweet corn, beans and peas, and more. Rabbits were doing great damage to young bean and pea plants, especially.

I read that the best bait for rabbits was apples, so when none of our apples were available, I bought a bag of Empires at the supermarket – they were the cheapest. I caught no rabbits or other varmints. Once I discovered some drops and damaged apples in the trees, I added them to the traps. I caught three rabbits in a week. In the interest of experimentation, I then bought a bag of McIntoshes, the cheapest that week. I stopped catching bunnies. Two days ago I added more drops. Yesterday I caught another young rabbit, and this morning I caught an opossum (in a trap not in the orchard). I also caught a skunk at one point, with drops, not store bought apples.



Commercial fruit is often sprayed with preservatives and has residual pesticides on the skin. Perhaps it just doesn’t smell right to animals with a keen sense of smell.


I think you are correct with your assumptions/observations, my grandfather knew the old farmer on the next property; he has since passed that farmer, but he always spoke about his Dexter cows not having ANY interest in store bought apples, would not touch them, but my grandfathers apples, grown organically and naturally, the cows ate them all, this was the same with my grandfathers goats as well.

I’d like to know what I should be spraying to get deer and rabbits to not touch my plants.

My theory is the critters like the ripe-to-overripe, aromatic fruit over the fruit that was picked underripe and sat in cold storage for a few months.

1 Like

Can’t speak to rabbits, wife uses crabapples for deer bait. Rake them up, freeze them, then use them. Like crack to them after have been frozen. Don’t seem to like them much unless they’ve been frozen.
Perhaps that makes them sweeter??

I don’t have much trouble in the orchard with rabbits, kind of enjoy watching them play, …unless they go near my blueberries, then I get out the .22

1 Like