How to Set Coyote Snares: Tips & Tricks

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Snares are simple devices that can be used to effectively trap coyotes in certain situations. A snare is easy to make as it consists of a wire loop with a locking device that will tighten around the coyote’s body as it passes through the loop. The best place for a snare is to set it where the coyotes are crawling under a fence. However, you can also set them in trails in the brush, and at a den entrance. 

The device must loop in a manner that the animal will put its head through the loop as it passes through a targeted area. The mechanism is basic. Once the snare is around the coyote’s body or neck, the more it pulls, the tighter the snare gets. 

The best coyote snares are made of a flexible cable. The length of snares varies, depending on the size of the coyote but they are usually between 32 and 48 inches long. The snare should long to allow you to attach the end with a firm object. To use snares effectively, it is necessary to know all you can about the coyote’s habits.

Understanding Coyote Habits 

Coyotes are creatures of habit, just like most animals. They are most active during late evening hours, and at night; you can easily hunt them at night. Coyotes have an acute sense of smell and rely on it when hunting for prey and avoiding danger. They also have keen eyesight that makes them nocturnal animals. 

As creatures of habit, coyotes have established travel routes that they follow regularly in the areas they live in. The routes are usually along livestock trails, ranch roads, ridges, canyons, or any other place that offers easy travel and good visibility. A skilled hunter will be aware of these travel routes by looking for coyote signs such as droppings or tracks.

Coyote tracks are quite similar to dog tracks, but you can easily distinguish between the two. Dog tracks are usually larger than coyote tracks and are round with the toes spread apart. The toenail marks are usually visible on all toes. Coyote tracks are somewhat rectangular and the toes closer together. If you see any toe marks it will be only for the middle two toes. Also, dog tracks are somewhat staggered, while coyote tracks appear to be in a straight line.

Domestic dog droppings are unlike the coyotes as they feed on table scraps or dog food. A coyote’s dropping is called scat. It contains bone fragments and animal hair and it is what readily distinguishes a coyote’s droppings from that of a dog. Coyote scats are black but turn gray or white as they begin to weather.

The Steps to Setting a Coyote Snare

Getting the Right Equipment 

One advantage of using snares is that there is only a minimum amount of equipment needed. A skilled trapper understands the need to prepare a supply of snares that are clean and ready to be placed in the field. 


To prepare snares for the field, you should place them in the open air for aging. It is a technique that helps to remove the oil on the cables. Snares should also be boiled for ½ hour in a mixture of ½ pound of baking soda per 3 gallons of water. You may add wax or trap dye if available. 

Ideally, when you prepare your snares, ensure that they require minimal handling to set them up. It is a three-stage process that includes pricking in the tealer, attaching the snare to the anchor, and making adjustments. The more you handle snares between boiling and setting them, the greater the risk of the fox detecting the snare.

I also recommend the use of a pair of clean gloves. The gloves help to reduce the amount of human odor on the snares. Cotton or knit gloves are the best as you can launder them. Also, you will need some heavy wire, preferably a baling wire, to anchor the snare to the fence. Finally, a small thin wire or sewing thread should be used to hang the snare. The only other equipment needed is a pair of pliers for cutting and bending the wire.

Location of the Set 

The best place to set a coyote snare is in holes through or under net wire fences where coyotes are entering and leaving a pasture. Remember to be observant for any coyote signs such as hair and tracks, on the fence. Digging will also indicate coyote crawls. 

When you use coyote snares barbed wire fence, some coyotes may go through the fence between the wire strands, while many will dig and crawl under the bottom strand of the fence. You can determine coyote crawls under fences by following their trails through the grass or bush leading up to the fence. You should always take care when using snares to avoid trapping other non-targeted animals such as deer,