Basically, a trap box is a metal cage, large enough to contain an animal without possibility of escape, rigged with a trap door that shuts the animal in upon entering. These box traps come in various sizes for a number of species. Coyote box traps are generally the largest-sized box traps you can buy without placing special orders to a manufacturer.
Trap boxes are arguably the most humane way of capturing and relocating a wild beast. The trap door is not intended to inflict bodily injury on the animal, and it is designed for mobility and easy release without positioning any limbs or digits in harm’s way.
The way a box trap is set is that it is placed in a strategic location where coyotes or other similar-sized pests frequently pass. The cage must be camouflaged with leaves and forest debris in order to draw the animal in. Trap cages for coyotes should have bait placed within otherwise the coyote won’t be tempted to enter and will most likely find another path to wherever it’s heading.
After an animal walks in, the trap door behind the animal shuts rapidly and will not budge to resistance from the inner-side of the cage. This causes the animal to panic and drain its energy in futile attempts to escape the metal trap. It is up to the user to conduct periodic checks on the cages and handle them appropriately.
However, what hunters and farmers who are often bothered by coyotes should know is that these traps are by far not the most effective setup available, but they are the most humane. The most effective trap is the leg and neck snare.
Snares are cleverly placed looped metal cables which tightens as an animal passes through, similar to a pulling a noose. Neck snares will loosen quickly around a panicking and struggling animal, leading to suffocation. Leg snares will basically prevent the catch from moving. Once again, the user should make regular checks to see whether animals were caught in the snares and dispose of the carcasses.
When opting for humane traps and treatment after capture, there is no option other than trap boxes. Setting up a trap box is straightforward: just lift, drop, camouflage, and wait. There are a number of box trap choices to pick from. There are collapsible models which offer more mobility due to their small storage space, and rigid boxes that are a constant rectangular shape. This article will show you step-by-step what you need to do to properly place a box trap and how to release coyotes into the wild.
Finding the right trap box
There are a number of trap boxes for catching coyotes available online and in certain stores. Depending the model and features, trap boxes can be expensive and purchasing multiples would be a hefty investment. However, these are all reusable and are built to last for multiple years.
The dimensions of a coyote trap box should be at least 42-inches long by 15-inches wide by 18-inches tall. Anything smaller might not properly trap an adult coyote, but you are free to find anything larger. Whether you want to spend extra money on collapsible models and two-door set ups is completely up to you and your fixed budget.
1. Locating the ideal spot to set the trap box
To catch coyotes means you’ll need to plant the traps in the right locations. Try and find places where coyotes frequently pass through. You can do this by looking for tracks, droppings, or bushy paths. Note that wild animals will tend to pass through passes with the least resistance, so high grounds or rocky paths on either side of a trail would probably be a place where coyotes could pass. You might need to set up a recording device to keep track of frequently-visited paths.
2. Camouflaging the trap box
After you’ve located the trap box, place the box in the correct position with the open door facing where the coyote would likely pass into. Look around your immediate location for sticks, fallen leaves, clumps of dirt, and other natural substances to conceal the trap. The box should appear as close to natural as possible, and all the metal should be hidden from sight. It’s okay to have some metal showing but attempt to cover as much as possible.
Coyotes are cunning and will likely sniff out a trap, so you may need to conceal your scent by handling the cage with gloves and mask.
3. Adding proper bait to attract coyotes
When you’ve adequately covered the metal cage, you should now be ready to place the bait. Coyotes are attracted to meat and bones, and can also find dog food appealing. Scatter the food around the immediate area of the cage, and throw some in there for good measure.
One problem with metal cage traps is that the trap doors will shut indiscriminately of who step foot into it. This smell of the food will draw any hungry meat-eater to the area, so there’s nothing to do here except hope that a coyote walks in the trap and not a rat.
4. Releasing the trapped coyote back into the wilds
You should always exercise extreme caution when handling caged wildlife. Although the trap box itself limits the risk of receiving bites from the animals within, you should go the extra mile and wear padded gloves and long-sleeve shirts.
The boxes can be picked up with the help of several people (make sure they’re all wearing protective gear) and loaded onto a truck. Whether you want to drop it off at an animal control center or in another part of the woods is completely up to you. Driving with an enraged animal in tow can be intimidating so make sure that the trap door is securely shut and that the cage won’t fling around while being transported.
When releasing the animal, keep in mind that a caged animal – domestic or otherwise – will act unpredictably. Some will bolt as soon as the trap doors are open, some are slow to exit. In the most extreme cases, the newly-released animal will turn around and attempt to bite its captors before cheesing it. You may need to have an experienced hunter with you to teach you the ropes before attempting to do it on your own.