A Predator Trapping Set That Will Produce Catches!

January 22, 2016:
By Jeffrey Feagin

This article is going to focus on a tried and true method that I use to catch predators, particularly coyote and bobcats. To start with, you hafta make sure that you have the proper equipment when going after a large predator. My preference is to use a #2 or #3 bridger offset trap. I also use #3 duke rubber jaws on these sets too. Once you have your trap, it is best to modify it to have more holding power. Coyotes and bobcats are very strong animals and they snatch really hard. The worst thing that can happen when you catch the animal and he then snatches out of your trap, is that the animal is now educated with that trap. He will not be going anywhere near your trap set again. The best way to modify your trap is to put shock springs and swivels in the trap chain, weld base plate on the bottom with d-ring connected to trap chain, and bubble weld the jaw tips so they cant be pulled out of the frame.

Now that you have a solid trap that has been waxed and dyed, it's time to hit the woods. Location is everything, if you are in an area that you know predators are in, then that's just half the battle. Look
for tracks, scat, or any other signs that tells you what paths they are traveling. You will want to put
your set near the path they are traveling, but not directly in the path. It is a good thing to remember to set "along the edges", field edges, ditches, or timber roads. If you can set close to where paths intersect is always good. Take extra scent precaution when making predator sets. Make sure you are wearing rubber gloves, boots, and even use a kneeling pad if necessary. This set that I use is the most effective set for coyote, bobcats, and fox. It is a trench dirt hole set. After you find a good location with a backing, start digging out your trap bed. You will want the deepest part of the bed to be closest to your backing, where your dirt hole will be. Dig out a section just wide enough for your trap to fit and you can trench it back as far as 6 feet on an incline. The animal will be walking downhill in the trench toward your dirt hole. Set your trap and place it about 8 inches in front of the bait hole in the bed. It is very important to bed around the trap firmly, I mean it has to be rock solid. If a coyote comes in to work the set and anything moves or gives under their feet, then they are going to back out of there and be gone. Once the trap is properly bedded, you will need to take your dirt sifter and sift dry dirt over your trap. If using pan covers, whether it be screen, wax paper, etc., always place your pan cover over the pan and under the front loose jaw. That way it doesn't interfere when the jaws fire and close on the animal. Sift enough dry dirt over your trap to cover it good, then take a small brush or something to level and spread the dry dirt to where the lowest point is right on top of your pan. Now that your trap is set, you will need to make your dirt hole. Put your dirt hole about 8 inches from center of trap pan at a 45 degree angle. The hole doesn't have to be very big around, but in my experience, the deeper it is, the better. I usually make my dirt hole between 18 to 24 inches deep. Make them have to work your set to get to that bait. The longer they have to dig and work to get the bait, the better the chance of him stepping in your trap. As far as bait for my predators, I use many different meat based baits with a good gland lure. Mark June's "Widowmaker" has produced really well for me on these sets. Put the bait as far in the hole as you can get it, then you can take some sheep wool and put a few drops of a good coyote, bobcat, or fox gland lure on it. Push it down in the hole on top of your bait. I also like to place some feathers around the set to catch the predators eye. Place a few sticks around your trap bed to use as a guide to guide your target animal over your trap pan. Don't use to many guide sticks, if you have sticks stacked up on each side of the bed and at the back leaving one little opening into your set, they will know something is off because of the enclosed tight space and they will get spooked. Just use the least amount of guide sticks as possible.

Now that your set is made, make sure not to leave any trash or any evidence at all that you were there. If possible, try to brush your own foot tracks away from around your set too. You want it to look as natural as you can when you leave. If you follow these steps as I have provided, I guarantee that you will increase your catches on your predator trapline. Good luck to you all, and happy trapping! May your trap chains be tight and your fur shed full!

Jeffrey Feagin
Palmetto Predator Control: