During mid to late winter, with deer season closed, there’s no better way to pass the time and help out the deer herd than by snaring coyotes! I never trapped much as a kid, and my son Jacob has shown a great interest in trapping, so lately we’ve been learning some trapping techniques together. We decided to start with snares because we heard they were easier (they are), so I thought I’d share the approach we’ve taken.
Watch YouTube Videos on Snaring Coyotes
Like most people, the first place we started was YouTube. While there is a ton of crap on it, there’s also a wealth of free information to be had! Search for phrases like how to snare coyotes, snaring coyotes, how to trap with snares, coyote snaring techniques, etc. and I’m sure you will find some great videos to get you started. Here’s a sample of one that Jacob and I liked:
Here’s a tip: once a video loads, hover your mouse over the playback bar and little thumbnails will popup showing clips from the video. I look for guys actually demonstrating snaring coyotes versus just talking heads. This way I don’t waste time watching a longer video that doesn’t end up actually demonstrating stuff.
Read Trapping Books
Jacob’s birthday is the end of January, and this year his grandpa sent him a trapping book. For a kid that has to read 20 minutes every night for homework, what perfect reading material! Jacob feverishly poured through the book, soaking in the various techniques covered. He learned what to look for when trapping coyotes, how to prep snares, and more than anything, it fueled his motivation and really inspired him to actually get out there and start snaring coyotes! The book was Guide to Trapping by Jim Spencer, in case you’re interested.
Prep Your Coyote Snares
I’ve heard various schools of thought on this, but I lean towards the “it can’t hurt” side when it comes to prepping snares. Some say paint them a flat, dark color. Others say it doesn’t matter. I say, like with deer hunting, if you’re confident in your setups you’ll have more success, so do what gives you confidence. Try both ways and learn for yourself. Me, I’d spray mine, but if I get new snares and it’s too cold out to spray paint and have them dry effectively, I go with them as is until I can paint my coyote snares later.
Find a Trapping Mentor
I’m fortunate to live near, and be good friends with, Paul Ranft, a veteran and very successful trapper (and deer hunter by the way…check out Farm Country Bucks for my feature on Paul). Paul’s been gracious enough to share his knowledge with Jacob and me as we’ve embarked on learning how to trap. He took time out of his busy life to share a day in the woods with us showing us the various kinds of traps, discussing their pros and cons, and actually making some sets. If you’re lucky enough to live near someone that’s done a lot of trapping, ask them to help you learn! The worst they’ll say is bug off, but you may just strike up a great friendship and the mentor may even find that it rekindles the flames in something that’s old hat to a veteran trapper.
Visit Trapping Expos
Honestly, I’ve yet to do this, but I really want to! Everyone I’ve talked to about trapping has suggested going to a local trapping expo. This is a great venue to get used (and new) traps at great prices, and to speak with lots of experienced trappers in one place. There are seminars on trapping, and just a great atmosphere to get fired up and learn more about it!
Get Out in the Woods and Set Snares!
I can only take so much reading and watching before I have to just get out there and start snaring coyotes! I’m always getting coyotes on my trail cameras out back, so Jacob and I hit the woods to look for some good spots to set snares. This winter has been really mild. We currently have no snow, so finding runs and tracks has been a lot more difficult. But you just have to read the sign, like in deer hunting, and try! We set up a couple snares together. I showed Jacob what to look for, and we discussed why we’d put one here versus there. Height is important too. You want your coyote snares about 10″ off the ground with an approximately 12-14″ loop in the snare. Paul mentioned making sure to have the sliding lock sit about 10-11 o’clock position…enough so it stays but not at 12 o’clock where it might take a little too much resistance to trip it. Smart coyotes can pick up on that and back out of them!
Well, we had no action in our snares for a couple weeks. Jacob diligently, and excitedly, would check them every day after school. He independently scouted out several of his own spots and eagerly set more snares, learning more with every set. Well, the other day, he snared his first AND second coyote! That’s right, he got a double! I’m really proud of my little man and he couldn’t have been happier that day. Trapping gives a father son duo something to bond over, and we definitely have. He’s even getting good at the skinning part too! I’m excited to experience and share more of our trapping adventures together, so until next time, get out there and make some memories!