Trapping coyotes on bait stations (heavy snow)

    Hi Canadian trappers. In this second part we will cover the techniques used after the snow accumulates and using snares become a challenge in deep snow. The reason for this is your tracks will show in the snow and the coyotes will avoid crossing and be extra careful when your footprints are showing. These leghold techniques can also be utilized in deer yards were snaring is not recommended and on a bait station to catch the last coyote that has become very wary of the snares. A properly set leghold will equal to about 20 snares. The only drawbacks are the coyotes will be alive and need to be dispatched and depending of your provincial regulations you will have to check your installation more frequently( every 48 hours in N.-B.).

Snowmobile Set (traps behind the sled in the snowmobile track)

You can utilise this technique on a bait station and without a bait. The thing to know for this technique is the coyote habits.  The coyote is not very well adapted for deep snow conditions compared to the Canada lynx. The coyotes will utilise every opportunity they find to help them travel through deep snow. They will use a plowed road, railroad tracks, snowmobile tracks, your tire track on an unplowed road and they will even utilise their own tracks stepping in each others tracks for long periods. And they know that if they step in another coyote track it is safe, until a trapper sets a leghold under this track.

To use the snowmobile set you need a box in the rack behind the snowmobile to store your traps, poly (for pan covers),clean gloves and a trowel to dig snow with it. You also lay down on that box to set behind the snowmobile. The traps to use are #3 and #4 coil springs modified with a gap within the jaws and a 6 foot chain with a drag. It is recommended to treat your traps. On the bait station that is set in an island of thick vegetation in a clear cut or a field, you go around the field with the snowmobile setting 2 traps behind you at your starting point and in every coyote track that you cross around the field. Behind you just before exiting the field while going around your bait station you set 2 more traps. The reason for setting 2 traps behind the snowmobile is to get more chances and some trappers even set 3 traps.

When the coyotes walk in a snowmobile track his attention is not where he puts his paws but it is looking further ahead where he is going (unless his attention is brought to the snowmobile track from a drop of blood or a poorly set trap.) To set the traps behind the sled, you stop the machine and prepare yourself by changing gloves, opening traps, putting poly under the jaws and over the pan. Lay on the box and dig two holes behind the sled to set the traps in (pics 1 & 2). After the traps are set you bury them with snow you get beside the snowmobile and after this is done you remake the snowmobile track section with the trowel (pic 3). The traps should be laying under 1 inch of snow and they will still work until snowfall of 5 inches. More than that you will have to reset by passing over the traps with the sled  and resetting your sprung traps behind you. When you visit your sets it will be very visible if you catch a coyote because he will make a lot of disturbance when he goes to the woods with one or 2 traps attached to his feet.

Snowmobile Set (trap beside the sled in the coyote track)

   This set is used when crossing a coyote track while circling around your bait station or setting a track coming from the woods. You will stop the snowmobile at the coyote track and set it from your snowmobile. Again you get ready by preparing your set on the box, then you dig the last track before the sled.  There you can set a foothold on numerous tracks. The advantage of using legholds is that it will not be harmful  to deer. If they get their feet in the traps it will close on their hoof and most of the time they will pull their feet out with the trap still under the snow without hurting their hoof.


Charles Neveu

NBTFHF President


The ideal bait station on your trapline should be located in islands of thick vegetation, softwood or hardwood in open areas (fields or clearcuts). The open areas is to avoid deer that are mainly in their wintering area and Canada Lynx (endangered in N.B.) that are using the cedar stand and the brook buffers. The thick softwood island will have less snow accumulation on the ground, thereby allowing you to use your snares longer. When baiting try to avoid using part of the whitetail deer like legs and head that contain odor glands that will attract deer to your bait station.


In each bait station I personally like to use between 30 and 60 snares. This large number of snares is to make sure you capture a large number of coyotes at each of their visits, because the pack of coyotes will visit your bait station only 3 to 4 times per season. The coyotes are very wary when they enter at a bait station. They can go around a lot of snares but when one of them gets caught they exit very quickly and that is why the more snares you have set, the more coyotes you will catch.


Some of the things to watch are your footsteps in the snow. You should check your bait station just before a snowfall and not too frequently (depending of the provincial regulation.) Once a week is best. On your trapline, you can place a bait station every 8 km.

Using this method will produce large numbers of coyotes. Also each bait station is very fast to check because 50 snares in one spot is a lot easier to check then 50 snares scattered over 8 km. Overhead of each snare you should attach a piece of flagging tape for easy spotting and to make sure not to forget any snares at the end of the season.

On the next issue we will talk about using the same bait stations with footholds after there is too much snow for the snares.
Respect the environment and the animals and whenever possible, bring a kid trapping.

Charles Neveu
 NBTFHF President

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