Get Started Snaring For Coyote

Snaring for coyote is not only a sport but it is fast becoming a necessity as well. With Coyote becoming more and more prevalent and becoming more and more of a nuisance we find ourselves answering one basic question a lot. What is the best coyote snare and how do I set one. Homeowners are becoming concerned as coyote populations continue to rise. Pets are at risk, livestock and even your safety. In one week alone within the city of Oak Ridge Tennessee I counted over 50 sightings within a 5 mile radius. This population explosion is by some considered to be due to reduction in coyote habitat but there are many other factors at play. Encroachment does play a part however with reduction in rabbit hunting we have created an increased food supply for coyote. The increased food supply in turn creates a predator pit, a place where predator species can thrive. In this article we will discuss the basics of snaring to get rid of these pesky creatures.

Best Coyote Snare

Snares are really a preference of the individual. What works best for your style, your locations etc. Many opinions exist on what is the best coyote snare and those opinions are wide ranging but our pick is the Micro Lock 60 inch and the Cam Lock 84 inch snare. So lets do a quick overview of different type snares and you can know a little more about each one. Most important is the snare size. Too small and they will simply chew through them or twist them until they break. Too large and they wont close fast enough. We use 3/32 diameter 7×7 cable. More on cable configurations in this article on how to make a snare.

The common configurations are 7×7 and 1×19 GAC. The 7×7 as we said is a more flexible cable, it does not form a loop that is rounded but more of a tear drop shape so it requires a bit of finesse to get it positioned right. The 1×19 cable is a stiffer cable that forms a better loop but in my opinion it does not close as fast. You will have to test them to see which is right for you. In addition to 3/32 there is the 5/54 cable that a lot of people use but again we prefer the 3/32 and it seems to be the more preferred among trappers.

The locks again are more about preference but we suggest the following two locks when snaring for coyote as we have had the best success with those. The first is the Micro Lock which is a relaxing lock. Relaxing meaning that when tension is applied the lock with grip tight but when the animal stops struggling it will back off slightly causing less fur damage. Micro locks are a very popular type lock due to this fact and the fact they close lightning fast. The next popular lock is the Toothed Cam Lock and this lock is a bit different. When this lock closes it will stay closed, the only way to release it is to press the arm down releasing the pressure of the teeth on the cable. This is a kill lock, anything caught in this around the neck will die. Take care to use these only in locations where domestic animals will not be caught.

When considering your snare you need to take into consideration your local wildlife regulations. Some states require the use of a deer stop. This is simply an aluminum stop placed on the cable that only allows the lock to slide down so far. The common deer stop is 2.5 to 3 inch loop stop. Even if not required, it is a good practice to use these as they help prevent accidental catch of deer in your snare. The deer stop will not make the snare close any slower and they only cost a small fraction more. A deer caught in your snares could bring a lot of scrutiny upon you by wildlife wardens.

So our suggestion is the 3/32 7×7 cable in an 84 inch length with spiral support collars. The spiral support collar is a great addition that allows the insertion of the support wire and it can be tightened and loosened to readjust whereas crimping on the support wire can make it difficult to readjust. All of our snares come with the #9 gauge swivel that allow the cable to twist without fraying and stressing it. Use swivel extension cables for an even better result.

Micro Lock 60" Snares

Cam Lock 84" Snares

How To Set A Coyote Snare

Setting a coyote snare inst really that difficult once you learn the basics of it. A Coyote is like any other animal and will take the easiest route or path of least resistance. This is what you want to look for when deciding where to make a set. When I am out searching for a set I look for places like easy fence crawls where the fence is not so close to the ground, maybe a gap in the fence. I look for already existing trails made either by other animals or by man, look for ditch lines as well since coyotes like to travel unseen. Foliage, rocks or debris that forces the coyote into a specific location are good choke points to set a snare in. Anything that will cause him to go in a set specific direction. Any natural or man made feature that restricts the line of travel and causes the prey to take a specific route is defined as a choke point.

Anchoring The Snare

Find a sturdy strong tree with a bit of flex. The flex will be important as it allows the coyote to lung but dampens the force he will exert on the snare. This will help increase the grip the snare will have on him. I personally like using these as rebar stakes have no dampening effect. Anchor the snare about 12 – 24 inches above the height of a coyotes stance (depending on your snare length) He can not exert as much force when pulling downward. Feed the snare around the tree and inset the loop end through the #9 gauge forming your anchor point,

Now you will place your support wire. I like to use black electrical tape if I don’t have fence nails. If you have fence nails these will work wonders. Attach your support wire high enough that it is well above where your support collar will be. This will allow you to position the snare easily at this point.

Now insert your other end of the wire into the support collar on your snare. You can secure the support wire using twist locks like we have on our snares or you can use wire pliers to crimp the support wire onto the cable. This step is to do two things
(1) to make sure you can adjust the snare up, down or left and right
(2) To ensure that the anchor section of the cable does not move when the prey enters the loop of the snare. Allowing this to move can result in back outs (discussed later in this article). You can also use black electrical tape to secure the Wire onto the cable. As you are setting this support wire, make sure your loop will be at the right height and position before you crimp or take the wire down.

Snare Height and Loop Size

For Coyote you want a 10-12”diameter loop approx 10-12” off the ground. Make sure the loop is set so that it falls closed easily, you do not want to have the prey pull it closed. They will feel this tension and back out on you (mentioned above – “Back outs”). If the coyote feels any movement and the snare does not close he will stop and back up. This is also where loading snares or putting tension on snares comes in. More On that topic later. If your choke point is in a wooded trail you may need to lay some debris to the left and right to encourage the Coyote to enter the snare (choke points). Small objects such as dirt clots or small ricks work perfect, coyotes hate to step on objects. You don’t need anything large. Don’t make a mistake of placing a bait under the loop. This will cause the Coyote to nose down to investigate the bait and most likely duck the snare or feel it and realize something is wrong. 

Types of Snare Sets

Snare sets are no different than trap sets. The idea is to locate the best most logical place to catch the predator. This involves a bit of wildlife detective work, some understanding of habits and sometimes a bit of persuasion. Understanding the habits of coyote will help you greatly. We are working on another article just for that purpose and we will announce it once finished. For now lets take a look at some basic set locations.

Fence Crawls

Setting snares in fence crawls (a place where a Coyote goes under the fence lines) is a great place to set snares for coyote. Once they commit to going under the fence, it is very uncommon for them to “Crawl” back out, in fact they almost never will. Set the snare low in this instance so that the head will enter the loop, as they push through the crawl they will close the loop and seal their fate. You can find fence crawls by looking at the fence very closely. You may see hair on barbed wire, look for spots where the grass has been flattened or worn down. Fence crawls should be easy to spot and are among the best points for snaring coyotes.

Field Edge & Coyote Trails

Coyotes loves to travel along tree lines. It gives them cover and they can spot prey out in the open fields. They tend to hunt rabbit, small game birds, livestock etc in these locations. Look for low spots along the field edge, ditch lines, depressions, troughs coming up and leading into the fields. Think like a ninja, where would I hide if I were a coyote. These are the points you want to focus on. Now with that being said, don’t ignore the high ground. Once a coyote reached the high ground by his covert and sneaky trail system, he will use this to scout for prey popping out along a tree line to see if anything worthwhile in in the open grass. I have sen them just along the treeline at dusk scouting for prey. This might be a good place to set some bait. Use the choke pints we mentioned at the  beginning to direct him in.

Funnel Points

As we stated in the beginning of the article, Foliage, rocks or debris that forces the coyote into a specific location are choke points or a funnel. This will guide the target species in a desired direction. For coyote this does not require a lot of effort. They are very picky creatures and they do not like stepping on small rocks, dirt clots or branches so use these to your advantage. An example of this is described below.

Perhaps you are setting along a trail that is wide enough for two coyote side by side but this give room to miss your snare. Simply places some rocks along the sides of the trails, nothing too large and perhaps 4 along each side spaces out the length of a coyotes body. Ensure that the rocks will narrow him down so as to allow only one at a time to pass. You just created a funnel or choke point. Along side the trail outside of the normal path of travel you can place some tree branches to ensure they do not skirt outside of the trail itself. Coyote are lazy creatures, they will take the closest path with least resistance.

Place your snare loop in the center of that path and you have increased your catch rate chances greatly just by creating this funnel.

Using Coyote Baits & Lures

When snaring the use of coyote baits and lures take a bit of thinking. You do want your baits to cause the coyote to skirt your snare or miss it. The idea here is to look at the path of travel and place your bait so that he will run through your snare as he continues to investigate. Once a coyote has gotten scent of something he will investigate it thoroughly and from all angles. A good is example scenario is listed below. In this example we have a log crossing, dead trees to the right and brush surrounding our bait locations.

Notice we have debris set at each opening that can be traveled freely. We set just enough debris to encourage him to take a new route. In the path of that new route we have our snares set one at north, south and one at the log on the right. Now notice the log on the north, in this case we pretend we have a log jump. You want your snare on the landing side, as he comes over he is committed to moving forward. This will increase your chance of a catch. On the right we pretend we have a crawl or a duck point. He has to crawl or duck under the log, set that snare right in the crawl. Once he starts in he is committed. You bait goes in the center and they have to come in to inspect it from one of those set entry points. 

So there you have it. A basic introduction to snaring for coyote. We will continue to write articles on this topic as well as doing videos so make sure you keep up to date with us and watch for those. Happy snaring !

That was a quick and crude example, if you want to get more information on snaring tips and tricks you can check out Bruce Hemmings classic trapping videos or get on the list to be notified when our Coyote Trapping Tricks DVD is released. The video will be sold retail for $29.95 but customers on the list will get the DVD for  only $13,99. Register here to be notified.

Coyote snaring is quite simple once you learn a few basics. Watch for more articles from us on the Basics of Snaring. You can have a look at how to make a snare and get a head start on snaring for coyotes.