Nov 25

Coyote traps, No Comprimises Allowed in coyote trapping

Coyote traps, No Comprimises Allowed in coyote trapping

by Clint Locklear, Predator Control Group

This topic is the one that a lot of “want to be” coyote men coast through in most books looking for the secret set. Their eyes glaze over and most don’t know how important the trap is to their success or frustrating failure. Your trap choice is the base line that all of your efforts are based off of. You can pick the right location, but with the wrong trap you will fail a high percentage of the time. You can make a natural set and have the coyote work it, but with the wrong trap, fail. You can have a coyote step on the pan, but choose the wrong trap and the coyote may or may not be there in the morning. The trap that you choose to use will put the advantage to you or to the coyote. Unfortunately most trappers today don’t get the opportunity to trap long enough in a season, day after day to get a good idea about the true performance of their pet trap. Unless a trapper gets time to see what the percentages of snap off’s, inside jaw non-firing, toe catches, damage, trap distortions and power outs, how would he know what is going on? Performance coyote traps all have some things in common. You will notice that options and advantages in quality coyote traps add the percentages to the trapper and take away from the coyote.

First on the list is jaw spread. This can be a hot topic at most conventions and in most conversations between trappers. The interesting thing is that when you study men that are in the 200-500 coyote bracket, there is not much debate to be had. The same goes for control trappers who know that a pull out will cost them a lot in time and money to re-trap that coyote. Most of the old wolfers used whatever equipment was available to them, 3-4 long springs, 3-N’s and #4 New Houses. These traps were the largest that could be found, without going to wolf size traps, #114 and 4 ½Newhouse. Some of these men went to 14 size jump traps. But I have yet to find any of the old wolfers trying to turn a coon size trap into a real coyote trap. On the other hand, the debate is usually between trappers that are in the 1-50 coyote bracket. The farther east you go, the smaller trappers want their traps. I know of several guys that use a 1.5 trap, #2 trap and a full truck load or guys that will fight for their 1.75’s. I understand that these traps can hold a coyote. I also KNOW that a good percentage of the coyotes that fire the trap will power out. I know this because I went through the learning curve. The sad thing about guys that refuse to use a coyote size trap is that they have not tried a coyote trap, because THEY KNOW, without experience. This knowledge is not from testing the two sizes against each other, but theory. Plus no one wants to admit that the trap they are using is poor equipment. Another factor in this tiny trap mentality is that most of the heroes in the east are fox, mink or coon trappers, not high numbers coyote men.

So the trappers that guys look up to have no real wolfer experience even though they do catch SOME coyotes. It is human nature to see something a few times and use this low base line for a fact. Like it or not there are few facts in trapping that are 100% across the board. Plus a trapper needs 100’s of animals before the facts start to show themselves. If a man holds 50 coyotes a year in 1.75’s and slowly, over the season, there are pull outs happening, the trapper will remember the catches not the pull outs. So when this trapper thinks about his trapping, in his mind’s eye will see the coyotes bouncing up and down. So he must be doing it correct, right? Now if this trapper were to be in sandy soil, larger dirt patters, the big picture would start exposing small traps. This trapper would see probably 30-75% coyote visit’s with no catch. Plus if our example trapper would actually keep detailed records for a couple of years, his eyes would be opened and moist with tears. He would find that in nice fall dry weather, his snapped traps and pull outs would be somewhat low. Now throw in rain, slick mud, and some snow, and the truth will start to show up. Also the main thing the trapper will learn is that the smaller the trap the more pattern misses that will happen. I don’t care how much experience a trapper has. I don’t care what his trap placement is. I don’t care if the trapper off-sets his trap or not and I don’t care how the trapper uses guides. THE SMALL TRAP WILL ALWAYS LOOSE TO A LARGER TRAP WITH PATTERN MISSES AND POWER OUTS! This is basic statistics and reality on an in the field trap line.

We will look more into this subject in the future.



  1. John

    Ok, then what traps do you suggest?

    1. admin

      I use different traps for different reasons. For coil springs I use #3 fully modified Bridgers and Montana traps and KB 5.5s. I also use a lot of #3 and #4 Sleepy creek long springs.

  2. Todd Campbell

    Us trappers that live in the eastern side of America need to think about going to our state wildlife government and discuss the situation of the overpopulation of coyotes that are much larger than normal 50 or more pounds. We need to try to get them to allow us to use at least a 6 1/2 jaw spread and try to get them to understand that when they wrote the laws we only had red fox to catch not these monster coyotes. I guarantee these laws were written before some of us were born. We need to approach them in a professional manner and take videos with us. Just like Clint said in the tiny trap club video the #3 bridger held more coyotes according to the BMP. than any other trap. Some of you might laugh and say yeah right they are not going to change. One evil woman changed the government’s decision to take prayer out of school ! So don’t think us trappers don’t have a voice and tremendous clout if we stick together and go about this in a respectable way. If we do not try we are stuck with what we have. Count me in. We need to bring our traps and show them how we modify them and explain to them professionally why we need a bigger coyote trap. Like I said count me in. I will go but I need help from other trappers that can keep their cool and be able to present the facts in a calm professional way. We can’t blow this. I think we have a chance. Are you in?

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