Trapping coyotes is an effective way to help other wildlife species on your hunting land. These predators wreak havoc on deer fawns, quail, squirrels and many other species.
When you’re trapping this season, avoid these common mistakes when using foothold traps, and you’ll catch more coyotes than ever.
Setting traps in the open
Coyotes take the path of least resistance, so you’re better off placing traps in areas like field edges, roadbeds, ditch banks, and fence lines. You’ll increase your chances even more by setting traps where two or more of these locations intersect. Coyotes will rarely venture into open fields to look for food, so if you’re setting traps there, you’re wasting your time.
Using too much bait or lure
Coyotes are attracted to bait sites because they look like a place they’ll find an easy meal. The scent of lure may help seal the deal on a wary animal, but that isn’t what initially attracts them. It can, however, alarm them if the amount of scent present is unnatural. This will scare them off and quickly educate them. They’ll be much more skittish in the future, especially in that area.
Not setting enough traps
In some cases, having more traps out can help you catch multiple coyotes. In other cases, having more traps out can help you catch one coyote that is smart enough to avoid just one or two traps.
Not “backing” the trap
This is one of the most crucial mistakes, and will it frustrate trappers quickly. When you bury a trap and bait the hole, you need to give coyotes a reason to approach the hole from the proper direction. Otherwise, they can walk right in from behind the trap, dig up the bait, and never touch the trap. A well-placed tree branch or other natural debris will guide the animal right into your trap.
Giving your set an unnatural look
It’s easy and quick to just bury the set, smooth out the dirt, and walk away. But a coyote looking at that — even though it’s curious about the hole and the scent coming from it — will not approach if it doesn’t look natural. Use pine straw, peat moss, grass or whatever was on the ground before you dug the hole to bury your trap. Make it look natural or coyotes will walk right on by.
Set your trap frame on shaky ground
When inspecting a site, a coyote may step directly on the frame of your trap before it sets foot on the trigger. If the trap shifts or wobbles, that dog is gone.
Coyotes quickly learn from trapping mistakes. The more educated they are, the harder they are to catch. Attention to detail will help you avoid the mistakes that allow them to roam free on your land.