Coyotes come from a family of canines located in many areas throughout North America. Learning how to trap a coyote can serve beneficial for us as these animals sure are a nuisance. More often than not you’ll find coyotes causing problems on farmland, demonstrate destructive behaviour around our properties and provoke or kill other animals as well as household pets.
In order to successfully trap a coyote, you need to carefully place any traps as well as bait in the appropriate areas. Depending what trap you decide to use along with what area you place your trap in can play a huge role in the success rate of your capture therefore it’s good to take this into consideration.
Throughout this article not only will you learn how to trap a coyote but you’ll also become informed of the different types of traps to use, what the best bait for coyotes are as well as other interesting facts and tips you can begin to use immediately. If you’re a beginner in trapping or are interested in finding out more, continue reading.
The Basis You Need to Know
As a beginner, I know it can be overwhelming learning the do’s and don’t of trapping along with additional information people may throw at you. At times it can feel like your head is overloaded with information you lose focus on a starting point. I’ve listed below a basic guide you can follow for learning how to trap a coyote:
- Choose what trap you’ll use. Different traps come with both advantages and disadvantages so you should do some quick research on your ideal trap prior to purchasing.
- Observe the coyote. Getting to know the culprits habits can help you capture them quicker. You’ll also want to make sure the “culprit” is indeed a coyote that is causing you hassle rather than another pest with similar tendencies.
- Place your trap in the coyotes frequent location. If there is a burrow located nearby you can place your trap within close proximity of the burrow otherwise it’s good to scope out where your particular coyote is visiting frequently and place the trap nearby that area.
- Use bait to lure the coyote towards your trap.
- Check on your trap at least every 3 days.
- Once successful, ensure you release the coyote following the guidelines of your state laws.
The most common trap you’ll hear about being used for coyote captures are spring traps or jaw traps. This type of trap works by firmly locking the coyotes paw in place until it’s released. Although this method has a much higher success rate compared to using a live capture cage trap, you do have the disadvantage of dealing with the post capture activities. For example; unlocking the trap, transporting and then releasing the animal can be a nuisance as a lot of people would prefer not to deal with the wild animal.
Another common trap that you could possibly use is a live capture cage trap (my personal favourite when capturing any animal). These traps work better for the pre capture activities such as the transportation and releasing of the coyote. The disadvantage, however, caused by using a cage trap is it can be slower to see success. Coyotes, by nature, are hesitant animals and more often than not are not willing to walk into a metal cage regardless if you’ve placed bait around. This does not mean that it is not possible to see success, however, as mentioned above the success may be slower.
If you decide to use a cage there are tricks you can do in an attempt to camouflage the cage such as using nature to cover the metal (sticks, branches, bushes or grass). To assist in camouflaging the cage you could also spray attractants to rid any human scent or spread the cage throughout dirt in hopes to increase your chance.
The last alternative you may or may not want to consider around catching a coyote is strictly killing them. I wouldn’t recommend this method unless absolutely necessary due to the fact that there are more than a few alternatives around to assist you in ridding any coyotes that are doing damage to your property, farm land or animals. At most, you could hire a professional to sort it out for you.
If the alternative of killing the coyote suits best fit for you, you should do your own individual research prior and learn your state laws around the capturing, killing or releasing of coyotes as there are strict rules and regulations depending on your state.
Note: always remember to be extremely cautious around the handling of coyotes. Although they do not pose a direct threat to humans, they can host diseases which are transmittable to humans if bitten.
What is the Best Bait for Coyotes?
Using bait to assist in the trapping of coyotes can work wonders and immediately increase your chances of capture. The best bait for coyotes are meat or dead animals. Coyotes are omnivorous, therefore similar to a humans diet you will find coyotes eating meat or vegetables without doubt. Coyotes also have an impeccable sense of smell which means any odor that lingers off of the meat or animal carcass you decide to use for your trap will be strong enough to entice them towards it.
Different animals you may choose to use for bait are deceased rats, squirrels or rodents along with their bones (if possible). In regards to vegetation, you could use anything ranging from corn, lettuce or carrots. Fruits are another great option such as strawberries, cherries or peaches.
Overall, coyotes will eat just about anything including compost or rubbish. Keep in mind that whatever bait you decide to use for a coyote trap, needs to be potent enough to attract them which is why it’s said that meat is the best option.
What is the Best Size Trap for Coyotes?
When you’re attempting to capture a coyote, it’s important to research the type of trap you would prefer to use. There are a variety of traps you can purchase however the best size trap for coyotes are “bigger the better”.
If you decide to purchase a live capture cage trap, Amazon sells 50”x24”x19” cages which are not only perfect to use for coyotes but other animals such as foxes or raccoons. This type of trap is my preferred choice as it is reusable, easy to use and humane.
Remember that if you intend to reuse a trap for multiple coyotes or different animals, you should wash the cage after use to avoid lingering scents from sticking to the cage.
How Often Should You Check Coyote Traps?
Using a trap, especially live capture cage traps to capture coyotes are the most humane method (in my opinion). Placement of traps along with the different bait you can use are all important steps during the capture procedure however you should also be mindful of how often you should check coyote traps.
As a general rule, you should check on coyote traps at least every 3 days. By checking a trap every 3 days it allows a decent amount of time for you to capture the animal (your first time around) and it takes into consideration different weather throughout those days. Using this general rule you will ensure any captured coyotes that may be stuck inside of your cage will not be locked inside any longer than 3 days and will be released within a decent time frame.
How Can You Tell a Wolf From a Coyote?
Both coyotes and wolves do look similar. Their fur are usually similar in colour, however you can probably tell the difference between the two from their facial structure along with a few other giveaways.
Similar to a dog, a wolf is known for their loud and intense howling noises. Wolves howl as a way of communicating. Whether they’re wanting to be heard by their pack or are seeking out prey, it is rare to hear a wolf make any other noise. A coyote however can create similar noises to a household dog. With the occasionally “yapping” noises, coyotes do not produce as prominent of a howling noise compared to a wolf.
Along with noises, the difference in size can distinguish a wolf to a coyote. The average size of a wolf is 30 – 80 kgs (66 – 176 lbs) compared to the average size of a coyote which is 7 – 20 kgs (15 – 44lbs).
The last noticeable difference between a wolf and a coyote would be their behaviour or nature. Although a coyote can be aggressive around animals or prey, a wolf is far more aggressive in nature which can pose a danger for humans. A wolf would absolutely have a higher advantage compared to a coyote if they were ever in an altercation.
What is the Average Size of a Coyote?
Coyotes are fairly large animals. They’re known for annoying humans and causing destruction however despite their size I wouldn’t want to get into a fight with one. Although eastern and western coyotes can vary in size, the average size of a coyote ranges from 7 – 20 kgs (15 – 44lbs).
How Do You Track a Coyote?
Whether you’re a beginner, genuinely curious or are interested in capturing coyotes for a living to make a profit.. one of the best things you can learn is how to track a coyote. Learning how to track a coyote will save you time during your capture process which in return will make the entire process easier and probable for success.
The easiest way to track a coyote is by knowing their target area. If you’re dealing with coyotes on your property, you should begin to observe any areas where their prey may linger such as around your garden or trees.
Another method you could use when tracking a coyote is through the use of trail cameras. These trail cameras are useful during the night time as they feature night vision technology which will allow you to track any roaming culprits during sleep hours.
How Dangerous is a Coyote?
If you’re curious to know how dangerous a coyote is towards humans then thankfully the answer isn’t as bad as you may think.
In most cases, a coyote is not dangerous towards humans and will not sporadically attack a human. A coyote is known for attacking animals however, so ensure if you’re ever in close proximity of a coyote to take extreme caution.
It’s said that you should never run from a coyote, instead however, find anything close to you (such as an object you could use to defend yourself) if it suddenly becomes aggressive. It has also been mentioned that you should make growling noises directly towards it in an attempt to scare it away. If by some rare chance you are bitten by a coyote, you should quickly attempt to see your local doctor as they are known for carrying diseases which can be lethal for humans.
A coyote is only ever dangerous when they’re in circumstances where they feel scared or extremely threatened, therefore their animal instincts kick in as an attempt to defend themselves. If anything, a coyote is more of a nuisance than dangerous for a human.
Where Do Coyotes Sleep?
If you ever thought to yourself “where the heck do coyotes sleep?” then don’t worry because it’s a common question. Coyotes are nocturnal species therefore that means they sleep during the day and are up roaming our neighborhood throughout the night.
When a coyote sleeps, they will usually be found anywhere on land or particularly in the shade. On the odd occasion you may find a coyote sleeping inside a den or a burrow (made from a groundhog or squirrel) however their preferred choice is out in the open.
Do All Coyotes Carry Rabies?
Similar to a lot of animals, coyotes share the same risk of catching and carrying diseases including rabies. To determine whether or not all coyotes carry rabies would be a hard fact to prove, however, it could be safe to say that there is a possible chance that they do.
It is believed that the most common disease found in coyotes are Distemper and Canine Hepatitis. Unfortunately there is currently no cure for these diseases however there are vaccinations available to prevent it.
Similar to squirrels, raccoons and other pests, coyotes possibly host parasites therefore it is extremely important that you are not bitten or scratched by a coyote. If you are ever bitten by a coyote, it’s important that you seek medical assistance as soon as possible to avoid spreading.
To distinguish whether or not a coyote has rabies, it can be hard to spot right off the bat however the best thing you can do is observe their behaviour. If they’re acting more aggressive, irritable or completely the opposite such as extremely shy or apprehensive this could indicate that they are a host of rabies or other diseases.
As well as being cautious for yourself when around coyotes or any wild animals, be careful if you have pets that roam free of any coyote hangout areas (such as your backyard). Household pets are more than likely to catch rabies and the only way you’ll be able to determine it would be through a visit straight to the vets.
What Time of Year Do Coyotes Have Babies?
On average, mating season for coyotes begin around the months of January to March. A typical pregnancy in female coyotes last around 60 – 63 days therefore you may begin to see their pups around late March and onwards.
Coyote Trapping Tips
Trapping coyotes are a humane and ideal method to use compared to killing them. Although prevention would be ideal.. I understand that when we are already dealing with coyote issues at hand, we have no choice but to find out how to trap them (and then learn about prevention later). You can find below coyote trapping tips which will be helpful for any beginner to remember when learning:
- If you’re able to do so, the best time to place your traps are around spring.
- This tip may not be for the faint of heart however if you’re using a deceased animal as bait for your coyote trap, a handy tip would be to open the deceased animals carcass. By doing this you allow the odor that lingers from their body to become insanely prominent which in return will lure the coyote towards you trap and better your chances of capture.
- Ensure to have your traps set up by the night time. Coyotes hunt during the night time therefore having the traps and bait ready to go by night would allow you a higher chance to capture them.
- If you’re using an old spring coil trap, keep in mind that it may not work as well and may be slower in speed.
- If you’re using a live capture cage trap, run the cage through dirt to hide your scent. You could also wear gloves when handling the cage as an attempt to cover.
- Remember to clean your traps when catching a coyote. As previously mentioned in this article, a coyotes sense of smell is impeccable, therefore you will want to remove any lingering odor from any previous animals that possibly will be smelt by the coyote.
- Determine how many coyotes you’re dealing with prior and decide how many traps you possibly will need as sometimes more than one will not be sufficient enough.
- Remember to do your own individual research around your state laws around the killing or capturing of coyotes. If in doubt, hire a professional to do it for you.
How To Repel Coyotes?
Learning how to repel coyotes will not only help you prevent them from coming back and causing havoc on your property, but you will also be able to use similar techniques for repelling any other unwanted pests from your home.
Use chemical repellent. Perfect to use over your lawn, garden, structures of your property or directly over their den/burrow, simply spray chemical repellent on a frequent basis in order to prevent them from coming back. These type of pest repellents work good for other animals such as squirrels, possums or groundhogs also.
Electric repellents. Install these nifty gadgets around the coyotes target areas (such as your yard) and have the hassle of having to frequently spray chemicals be gone from your daily tasks.
Remove any attractants. Fence off your garden, cut down any overgrown bushes and trim large trees.
Install motion sensored devices around your property. These devices will work to scare away any roaming coyotes and prevent them from coming back to your property once and for all.
- Soak towels or old clothing into ammonia. Place the soaked material near their burrows or area they’re causing most damage.
- You may consider installing an electric fence to keep any animals away. This option however can be costly and depends on the style you envision for your property.
- Keep your garbage can locked to avoid coyotes or another pests.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare