The First Coyote

May 7, 2016:
By Tim Roper,

As dawn turned slowly into day and the sun rose above the trees, he drove his truck to the edge of the field and scanned the far tree line with his binoculars, just as he had for the past two weeks. However, in the morning sun he saw it – a beautiful, full-grown coyote dancing from the end of the trap chain! He had trapped his first coyote!

A few minutes later, he dispatched the animal with a standard velocity .22 long rifle to the heart. Most people will dispatch with a shot to the head, but his trapping mentor, Ben, had told him that that
leaves a lot of blood at the set and can make remakes problematic whereas with a shot to the heart, the blood tends to pool in the chest cavity and does not foul the area nearly as much.

He had met Ben at his local State trapper’s association meeting. He had shown up not knowing what to expect, but he was welcomed warmly and Ben soon began filling him with more information than he could absorb. He learned the fine points of his states laws, he learned what baits and lures worked best in his area at that time of the year, and he learned about traps, jaw spreads, laminated and offset jaws and everything else. He never dreamed that there was so much involved in modern trapping. He learned about keeping blood flow to an animal’s paw so the paw did not become numb (which is where the old pictures of animals chewing at their paws to get out of a trap came from – the animals paw had become numb and the animal was chewing at the trap and simply could not feel the paw anymore).

He removed the beautiful animal, marveling at how such a beautiful creature could have such a destructive impact on the deer, chickens, and even the small dogs on this farm. The balance of nature must be maintained, and the trapper was doing his part to correct what others had thrown out of balance. -He remade his dirt hole set, which is one of the most basic predator sets. He made sure his hole was about fist sized in diameter and about elbow deep. The deeper the better like Ben had said. A spoon full of the pungent, tainted meat bait went in the bottom, then a ball of wadded up grass to hide it and provoke a curiosity response. He followed with a few squirts of fox urine around the lip of the hole.

The then dug out his trap bead, making a bowl shaped depression in front of the hole. He attached the trap chain, which had several swivels in its six-foot length, to an earth anchor, which he drove into the ground with a metal driving rod. This would make sure his next yote was there waiting for him like this one was, instead of running the country side with his trap on its foot. Into this bed, he placed his set trap and firmly pushed it into the earth making sure it was rock solid and steady. He didn’t want a coyote to step up to the hold and feel something shift under his foot.

As he sifted a solid half inch of soil over the trap, completely hiding it from view, he thought about just a few short months ago, he knew nothing about trapping and now he had caught his first fawn killing predator.

 His initial investment was just a few hundred dollars:
• 6 MB-550 foothold traps with offset jaws
• 12 disposable earth anchors • 1 jar of tainted bait
• 1 pint of fox urine
• 50 feet of #2 American made chain
• A dozen box swivels
• A dozen trap tags to mark his traps with his license number
• A catch pole to release non target catches
 • A trapping hammer with digging claw---

It sounded like a lot at the time, but as he finished blending in his trap he now understood that traps were a lifetime investment that will pay dividends for years. He needed more now that the bug had bitten deep!

As he drove away with his yote in the back of the truck, he couldn’t wait to show others what he’d brought in and get the beautiful pelt off the animal and onto the stretcher board, ready for sale at the auction.
- Tim Roper lives in Alabama and is a trapper that specializes in water trapping, survival trapping and feeds his family from the meat of animals he traps. His YouTube channel is and his website