Trapping Coyote: The Process (Part 5)

  • Coyotes: 40 Pounds of Muscle that Can Bite
  • Learn “Smart” to Trap Coyote
  • Leg-Hold Traps Work Best


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.

Learn Regulations

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 travel ways, 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 Work Best

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 (available from  “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 four to six inches deep at an angle under the backing.  This is where the attractant, a bait or lure, will be placed.  About five 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 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, Gear Sources

Traps, lure and other equipment can be purchased from many trapping supply companies which can be found on line. Schmidt Enterprises and Kaatz Brothers Supply are two full line companies.

The Process: How to Set a Coyote Leg-Trap


Next Week: About Opposum