Editor’s Note: The 16-year-old author from Dallas was a contestant at GON’s Youth Big-Buck Contest Shoot-Out on July 24, 2015 at the Outdoor Blast. He wrote the following story about his new-found passion for trapping.
It all started out when I kept getting multiple trail-camera pictures of coyotes on a tract of land we had in Paulding County. I knew the coyotes were regularly coming through when I had a trail-cam picture of them about every single night.
I have always been fascinated by trapping and had read a lot about trapping, including articles in GON. I have killed many deer but had never gotten into the whole trapping deal. So I figured I would give trapping a try. In December 2014, I ordered a couple of Bridger 1.75 offset jaw traps. I watched countless hours of YouTube videos on how to trap, make sets for coyotes and how to boil, dye and wax traps. Dying and waxing your traps is a must in my opinion. It keeps them from rusting out. I knew the entire process was going to take a while, and that I would have to be patient.
My new traps needed a few modifications when I bought them. I had to make the trap pan level with the trap’s jaws and readjust the pan tension. I personally like to run my pan tension fairly loose. Also, I like to attach a shock spring on my traps. This allows for some give when the coyote is pulling and reduces the chances of a coyote pulling the trap out of the ground. Once I had all my modifications done on my new traps and they had been dyed and waxed, it was time to make a set.
I watched many videos on making a set for coyotes. I learned first that you need to make sure coyotes are in the area. It’s pointless to make a set in a spot you don’t even know if coyotes are in the area. Thanks to my trail-camera pictures, I knew coyotes were in the area. In addition, I found hair on a fence where they had been going under it. I knew immediately somewhere near by is where I needed to place a trap.
On May 29, 2015, I was ready to put my first trap in the ground.
A lot of people prefer to place their trap on field edges or in fields. I was in an area where it was nothing but woods. There was no field nearby, and from what I had read, it is harder to trap a coyote in the woods.
I looked for an open spot in the woods, so the coyote could see the area from a distance, see the set and would be comfortable approaching it. I found a perfect spot near the location I had all the trail-camera pictures of and had found the hair on the fence.
Most websites and videos said that a dirt-hole set was the best set to make for a coyote. Before I start to make a set, I always wear rubber gloves and rubber boots. I stay scent free as possible, because coyotes can smell good.
I found a patch of green ferns and raked back all the leafs into a V shape. I dug a hole about the width of my fist and made it as deep as possible. I placed the hole right at the base of the fern. Then, I backed the trap up 6 to 8 inches from the hole and about 2 to 3 inches to the left. Next, I dug up the ground about an inch deep, just big enough for the trap to sit in. I opened my trap’s jaws and sat it in the spot I dug up. Always make sure the spot you dig up is big enough and deep enough so that when you sift dirt over the trap later, it is out of sight.
I ran my Wolf Fang Earth Anchor in the ground and set it. I placed my trap in the hole and started to pack dirt around the trap’s jaws, making sure the trap was sturdy and not moving. If a coyote walks up to the set and steps on the trap’s jaws and something moves, they could dig up the trap, or the shakiness could spook them. I had to make it as level and sturdy as possible so the trap wouldn’t move at all when I pushed down on it.
Next, I covered the trap pan with wax paper. Carefully I placed it over the top of the trap pan and then got my dirt sifter and sifted dirt over top of the trap. I brought dry dirt with me to sift over the trap, so I didn’t have to dig up dirt at the set.
Once I sifted enough dirt to completely cover the trap, I put both hands around the trap pan and pushed down and packed the dirt. I had to be careful to not set off the trap. Then I sifted a little more dirt on top.
Once done, I took a stick and raked it over top of the trap and made the dirt completely flat on top of the trap. My trap set was done.
The only thing I had to do was place some sticks on the sides of the trap and one in the back for backing. I did not use big sticks for this, just big enough to guide/funnel a coyote up to the trap and the hole.
Once I had my backing and sticks placed around the set, I placed the bait/lure in the hole. I personally like to use Fox Hollow GH-II lure and Cavens Gusto lure at my sets. That is some smelly stuff!
I took a stick and got a glob of Fox Hollow GH-II and dropped it in the hole. I took another stick, got some more lure and left it outside of the hole. Now I was done. A finished set.
The next morning I had a 25-lb. female coyote in the trap! It was a true rush when I walked up and checked my trap and saw her in it.
I knew it wasn’t always going to be that easy. I got lucky to get her the first night the trap was out, but I have since learned to leave my traps out as long as possible. It could be close to or more than a week before a coyote decides it wants to hit the set.
My first year of trapping has been a great experience, and plenty more will be trapped in the future. Maybe I have already helped save a few fawns!