Hunting and trapping coyotes is as much a sport as it is a necessity. Recently, coyotes have become classified as pest animals due to their frequent encounters with humans and livestock. Although their natural habitat is in wild forests, a decrease in their territory has given rise to the need to travel into inhabited lands to find sustenance. They mainly visit farms in search of stray chickens and sheep, but they are also known to attack pet animals and humans.
When trapping coyotes, you are mainly looking at three widely-used options: a box or cage trap, leg and body clamps, and snares.
A box trap is a large metal cage used to capture medium-sized animals like coyotes. Of all the coyote trap options available, this is the most humane and intends to do no bodily injury on the animal. The way it works is an unsuspecting coyote walks into a cleverly-placed trap, baited by food or a scent of food, and a trap door locks behind them after entering the cage. Releasing the animal from the cage is simply by opening the trap door. However, box traps are ineffective at capturing cunning coyotes. Not to mention the price of a high quality cage trap which can set you back thousands of dollars if you’re planning on purchasing multiples.
Leg and Body Clamps
Leg and body clamps are similar in build but have different intentions after capturing the animal. Leg traps are what we commonly see in old-school cartoons where the animal’s leg is caught in a clamp and cannot escape. Body traps, on the other hand, are designed to deliver a swift clamp around the body of the wandering animal, causing immediate death. These traps are the most effective in capturing coyotes since they can be placed in shallow pits underground, or covered with leaves and other forest debris. A big problem with these traps is that they are indiscriminate of what animal sets them off, and a pet dog might stumble onto when while venturing the open lands.
Leg and Neck Snares
Finally, snares are can be categorized as either leg or neck snares, generally made of light wire cable and looped through a locking mechanism which tightens as the animal pulls it. The more the animal struggles to break free from ensnarement, the tighter the loop becomes. These are arguably more humane that leg and body clamps but may be just as deadly if looped around the coyote’s neck, prolonging its suffering and leading to inevitable doom. Snares are the most commonly used method of trapping coyotes since they are cheap, effective, and easy to set up.
Of the three choices here, the most cost-efficient one to make is by far the snare. It requires easy-to-purchase materials and a little bit of elbow grease. The other options require heavy duty tools and/or welds, as well as steel bars or other awkward shapes. So without further ado, this guide will show you how to make your own snare trap.
Note: Be sure to check your state laws on whether it is legal to setup and operate snare traps.
What you’ll need:
- 3/32” aircraft cable, at least 6-feet long
- One washer
- One ferrule
- Cable stop
Note: If you plan on making multiples, considering buying these items in bulk
- Cut the cable to 6-feet long with the wire cutters.
- Feed the cable into the ferrule and bring it back through to make a 2- to 3-inch loop.
- Drill a second hole into the washer wide enough to feed the cable through. The new hole should be approximately midway between the center and the edge of the washer.
- Bend the washer to a 70-degree angle.
- Take the washer and move the cable through the newly drilled hole.
- Loop it back and feed it through the middle hole. Place the cable stop to prevent the cable from becoming loose.
To anchor snare, you’ll first want to find a location where coyotes frequently pass. To do this, keep an eye out for tracks, droppings, and common travel paths in bushes. After locating a potential spot, tie the end of the snare securely to a tree or other solid object. Make sure that the tie is cannot be easily undone by tugging it roughly and thrashing the cord around.
After anchoring the snare, you’ll want to adjust the height of the snare to capture your target species. You will want to do this only if you are planning on using a neck snare. For a lag snare, keep the a couple inches off the ground and at an angle so the leg of the animal will get caught and drag the snare, tightening around the leg. For neck snares, smaller animals will require placing the snare at closer to the ground, whereas coyotes will get caught in snares that are roughly 10- to 12-inches high.
One thing to remember is that animals will climb or walk through areas with the least resistance. Use this to your advantage by placing obstacles on either side of the trap. Doing this ensures that the animal has to other way to pass than to walk right into the snare.
Finally, check your snares to see the animal you caught. Be careful as the snare can still sway about 6-feet in any direction if the animal is still alive. The animal will most likely have drained its energy due to constant moving in attempt to remove the snare.
One problem with snares is that they are mostly one-time use after capturing an animal. Release the snare from the tree base or solid object, and further process the captured animal. Try to dispose of the animal as humanely as possible; either relocate it to another area or ask animal control to handle the situation. If the animal is indeed dead, then respect the corpse by burying it.
This concludes the DIY coyote snare trap for your next visit into their lands. You’ll want to make sure that you can capture the biggest, baddest coyote that causes the most problems to your livestock. This is definitely a trial-and-error set up and you might not catch coyotes in the beginning. Just keep planting these traps and large numbers and odds are you’ll catch those bothersome beasts at one point in time.