I would recommend you watch this DVD. You can sometimes get it for a deal on ebay. It is very good in showing the equipment and how to bed and set your sets.
[*]Matt Jones: Hardcore Cat & Coyote Trapping DVD
Veteran longline trappers, Matt Jones and Len Williams, team up to reveal the "Secrets of the Eastern Longline." Learn the methods these trappers use to take truck loads of bobcats, coyotes, and red and gray foxes. This is an advanced-type video focusing on fast effective sets with great emphasis on location and location setup. They not only show locations but show them with the predator standing there. North, South, East, or West: This video is sure to help the full time longliner as well as the trapper with limited time to increase their catch.
I love trapping-espicially coyotes. It is always interesting. The best advice I can give is to find an experienced trapper and tag along with them. Read all you can about trapping, or watch videos. Find a landowner who will allow trapping, and avoid catching dogs.
I you trap close to houses sooner or later you will catch a dog. If you run your traps daily it is not a problem, just turn it loose. If it is a remote area it is probably a feral dog and should be dealt with as such. JMHO
I have never caught a dog in a three hole dirt set. I call this my dog proof set. This set is three dirt holes in a line about 2 feet apart. I put the lure in the first hole, nothing in the next two holes. I bed the trap in front of the third hole. The trapper that showed me this said that dogs will only check the hole with the bait and the second hole, coyotes will check all three. I am not sure why - maybe coyotes are more curious. If you use snares use a relaxing lock so dogs can be released.
Trapping is a great hobby to take up and I believe its an important heritage for us to keep alive as sportsmen. The best way to learn about safe, responsible and effective trapping is to enroll yourself in a trappers education course with a local (or national) trapping association. We're fortunate to have numerous educational opportunities for young & aspiring trappers in the Midwest, but I'm not sure how hard they are to find on the East Coast.
Non-Target catches (IE: Domestic Dogs) are not entirely avoidable but some simple techniques and practices can GREATLY reduce the likelyhood of snagging something you didn't intend too. Whether you're using foot-hold traps or snares, domestic canine's are generally very easy to release unharmed. I wouldn't let the fear of grabbing a non-target animal keep me from taking up the sport of trapping!
In my region we don't have many large sprawling fields but when you find one you'll notice coyotes are some of the only critters that working those fields over. Sets made a good distance from treelines and woodlots will often prevent non-target catches like possums, raccoon and domestic animals of all kinds. With some experience in trapping, calling and scouting coyotes... you'll learn that there are three fundamental keys to catching coyotes. Location, Location, Location. Of course there are a variety of stratagies for selecting equipment, bedding traps, placing lure and blending sets... but location is king.
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