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Coyote hunting can be an exhilarating experience.
You, a predator, are matching wits with a coyote, also a predator.
They’re smarter than deer. More challenging. More satisfying.
But sometimes the experience of hunting is not what’s important. You need the coyote dead, and how does not matter.
So here are the best ways to trap a coyote.
Why You Would Want to Trap a Coyote
Coyotes? Why would you want to trap a coyote instead of, say, a rabbit? Aren’t rabbits easier to trap?
Here are a few reasons why you might want to know how some coyote trapping techniques.
Perhaps the most common reason to trap coyotes today is to control their numbers.
Coyote populations have been increasing in recent years. The more predators there are, the more prey they have to go after.
Deer and wild rabbits are not the only animals at risk. They will go after livestock and even pet dogs.
There have even been attacks on people by coyotes, even in the city!
Controlling the coyote population will ease the pressure on deer, sheep, and your neighbor.
Though the fur trade is far from its heyday, there is still a market for coyote pelts.
Coyote fur makes for nice warm mittens, scarves, and other clothes. Re-enactors in particular like to use the fur from coyotes.
Taxidermists and fashion companies also sometimes have uses for coyote pelts.
Though not worth as much as in years past, you can still make a pretty penny off of a dead coyote’s fur.
Coyotes are scavengers, but they are still made of meat.
If you are lost in the woods and are starving, a coyote steak can seem like a meal at a 5 star restaurant.
So it’s good to know how to trap a coyote just in case it ever becomes important on how to.
After all, they might eat your trapped rabbits before you can get to them…
Trapping Techniques for Catching a Coyote
As predators, coyotes are more clever than prey animals such as rabbits. Trapping them is not quite as easy.
But they can still be hungry. They can be territorial. They can even be curious.
Take advantage of these traits and you will catch your predator.
One of the cheapest ways to trap a coyote is the snare trap.
Though often thought of as a trap for small game, you can scale snare traps up enough to catch a coyote.
If everything goes well then the snare will choke them. As they struggle, the snare will close even more, quickening the process.
Even if the snare misses their neck it might still catch a limb, in which case you can show up with a weapon to finish the coyote off.
If you’re interested in making your own snare traps for coyotes, we have covered that before.
Resembling the bear traps of old, these are also called foothold or paw traps.
A set of steel jaws triggered by a pan in the middle, old-style leghold traps are simple, effective, and dangerous.
Modern leghold traps are much more technologically advanced, and can be more humane.
You can buy padded, offset leghold traps that do not harm the trapped animal.
Some even have a built in system to wirelessly alert you when the trap has been set off.
You will have to deal with an angry animal, but the fact that this trap is non-lethal yet is still very effective makes it one of the best ways to trap coyotes.
Live Cage Trap
These traps are large rectangular boxes made from metal wire. They’re often used to relocate raccoons, but you can use them to catch coyotes as well.
Just, not very well. Unless they’re really hungry, a coyote is too smart to stick itself inside a metal box.
Plus while you’ll have to deal with a live and rather angry ball of fluff, teeth, and claws, it won’t be able to get out of the cage to attack you.
A decidedly lethal trap, the conibear trap is a set of two square metal bars held in tension.
Wires in the middle trigger the trap. You can bend them to best catch coyotes.
A conibear trap closes with such force that it not only chokes the animal, but it also shatters the neck/spine, killing the animal more quickly than a snare trap.
Sounds great, right?
The problem is that they are so lethal that non-target species are at risk.
If you do decide to use conibear traps then the correct size for a coyote is #280 or #330.
Which Bait to Use
Coyotes are predators, so they love to eat meat. The simplest bait you can use is a hunk of meat, or perhaps some viscera from a deer you just cleaned.
If you don’t have a freshly killed deer available you can still find or make coyote bait.
Some people make their living by trapping. So other people have made their living by providing trapping supplies.
This means that you can purchase jars of specially made coyote bait from some sporting goods stores. Or even online!
The advantage of commercial bait is that it is portable and you only have to use a little at a time.
But we’re here to learn skills, yeah? So let’s make our own coyote bait.
Be warned: this stuff will stink.
If you are already a trapper then you probably have mink, beaver, or muskrat bits. Ground up scent organs stink just the right way.
If you raise rabbits for meat, and why wouldn’t you, then you can use their guts too. Make sure to slice them open.
Horse hooves also make great bait. Get some trimmings and boil it in water for a while.
Tainted meat is also a good choice.
Take what you can get from the above, add a dash of asafoetida and some oil, and ta-da! A perfect, horrible smelling, coyote bait recipe!
Good oils to use are oils extracted from animals such as mink and muskrat or carrier oils traditionally used to make perfume and aromatherapy scents.
Examples are ambergris, lovage oil, and coconut oil. These will help keep the scent around for a longer time after application.
Age for a month or more, preferably in a warm and sunny place, then place a couple drops on your trap.
Just don’t get any on you. Showering in skunk liquid would be more pleasant.
Tips for Trapping Coyotes
Coyotes, similar to dogs, have a much better sense of smell than you do. You could set a trap with the best bait for coyotes, but if the scent is blown directly into a cliff, you won’t attract any.
Figure out where the wind blows. Use this knowledge to place your traps so the wind helps you by carrying the scent over a large area.
Especially if you can place the trap so the bait smell flows over an area oft travelled by coyotes.
They are also somewhat lazy and when roaming will take the path of least resistance.
Sure, a coyote can leap over a fence, but why do that when it can walk around instead?
Keep an eye out for little patches of coyote fur attached to branches and fences. You’ll know coyotes pass through there.
Place your traps in the open areas where multiple habitats converge. If you can find an area where a forest meets grassland at a ditch, that’s probably a good place.
Something important to note is that coyotes learn.
When you set a trap, set it well, because if the trap goes off and the coyote escapes, he’ll never be tricked again.
This means you should hide the trap as much as possible, and also bed it in place so their footsteps won’t jostle it until they set it off.
Hiding your trap is also a good idea because their curiosity is surpassed by their wariness.
So if something looks suspicious, don’t expect much success.
Also, a precaution: coyotes are related to dogs, so anything that attracts coyotes will also attract dogs.
This is especially important to keep in mind when using lethal traps.
Lastly, pay attention to the laws.
Trapping is a highly regulated activity and often requires its own license instead of a hunting permit.
Coyotes can be quite a nuisance to livestock, have good fur, and are a wily foe to outsmart.
But with a good trap, in a smart location, and stinky bait, you can trick the trickster canine and successfully trap coyotes.