In many states coyote trapping is legal with no bag limit, but regulations vary from state to state. If you don’t want to trap coyotes yourself, many state trappers associations and game departments keep a list of nuisance trappers in each area of the state who will trap coyotes, though most will charge fees.
A grown coyote can be 40 pounds of muscle and mayhem, and they are one of the smartest animals in the woods. Fasten your traps well and don’t ever assume that a cowering coyote won’t bite. Trapping coyotes should always mean catch and kill, not catch and release.
Before starting any trapping program learn the trapping regulations in your state. Most wildlife agencies have regulation books and some states require licenses or trapper education courses before trapping. Your state’s trapper’s association is another excellent place to get trapping training and pointers. Make an internet search for local contacts.
Becoming successful at catching coyotes means setting your traps where the canines travel. The best locations for coyote sets are in travelways, the edges of roads between fields, places where animals have obviously been crawling under fences and around barns, and stock feeding areas. Put your sets in places where domestic animals won’t get caught.
Leg-hold traps in a dirt hole set (the trap is covered with a light layer of dirt and duff) work best for coyotes. In snow country, #3 traps work best and in warmer climates #1.75 traps are big enough for coyotes.
“Generic predator sets work well for coyotes and will also catch coons and possums that may be part of the problem,” explained Jim Spencer, author of Guide To Trapping. “Make the set upwind of the suspected travelway, choose a low backing like a log, bunch of grass or rock that will attract attention, punch a slanted hole 4 to 6 inches deep at an angle under the backing. This is where the attractant, a scent or lure, will be placed. About 5 inches in front of the lure hole and backing dig a shallow hole just big enough to accommodate the trap. Either pound a stake into the trap bed fastened to the trap chain, or cable the trap to a nearby tree or log using 3/32nds or larger galvanized aircraft cable. Set the trap and then bed it firmly in the shallow hole and pack dirt around it until there is no wobble in the trap. Then pack dirt around the outside of the open jaws and sift a light covering of dirt over the trap and blend it with the surroundings. Finally, put either a meat bait or predator scent in the hole and stuff a few leaves in the opening to keep the bait dry. Apply a squirt of fox or bobcat urine to the backing. That’s all there is to it.”
To dispatch a coyote, simply draw an imaginary line from each ear to the opposite eye. Place your .22 sight where the two lines cross. Short, solid-point ammo is adequate for the job.
Traps, lures and other equipment can be purchased from many trapping supply companies online. Schmidt Enterprises and Kaatz Brothers Supply are two companies with full lineups of trapping products.
This article originally published in AMERICAN FRONTIERSMAN® Issue #191. Print and Digital Subscriptions to AMERICAN FRONTIERSMAN® magazine are available here.
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