Bal-chatri trap

Bal-chatri, or BC, traps are one of the more common traps used in falconry.   They are especially effective for trapping red-tailed hawks and are often the first trap used by an apprentice falconer.  They consist of a dome that holds bait and is covered in small nooses.  When a bird attempts to catch the bait it’s toes are caught in the nooses.  The falconer trying to trap the hawk is typically a short distance away and can run to the bird before the nooses damage it’s toes.

BC traps are quite easy to assemble.  All you need is some 1/2″ hardware cloth, 20 lb fishing line, a bit of plywood, and an old hose.

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Getting ready to form the dome

Begin by forming the hardware cloth into a dome shape.  I formed it be hammering the cloth in a large mixing bowl.

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Formed dome

Next, attach a bottom to the dome.  I’ve seen many BC traps with a wire base, but I wanted a bit more weight so used a plywood base.  Remember to add a door to the base where you can put the bait in.

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I added some custom lead weights to the base.  I accumulated the lead by picking up tire weights on the side of the road for the last few years.

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Weights added to base

Next, attach monofilament nooses to the trap.  I like spiderwire brand fishing line as it is stronger than other monofilament of the same diameter.  Twenty pound test is probably hte minimum you can use for a RT.  It took me approximately 8 hours to cut and tie all of the nooses.

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BC with nooses attached

My trap needed a bit more weight.  I’ve seen some suggestions to attach a solid metal ring, but I don’t have anything to bend like that.  Instead I cut a length of garden hose and filled it with sand.  I attached one end of the hose to the other and then tied the ring to the trap.  This added a bit of weight, hopefully making the trap heavy enough to restrain a red-tail, but not too heavy that it will cause harm.

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Finished BC with weighted hose added.

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