Best Coyote Traps of 2023

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Trapping is the most efficient way to manage and control populations of predators in order to help deer, turkey, and other prey species thrive. But trapping coyotes isn’t as simple as randomly setting a trap in the ground, hoping a coyote steps there, and then hoping the trap does its job and holds the coyote. 

New trappers often make mistakes by using the wrong size trap. They also lose animals due to inferior components or equipment malfunctions. After putting in all the hard work of finding coyotes, setting traps, checking them daily, and finally catching a strong, smart critter like a coyote, the last thing a trapper wants is for the coyote to escape because the trap failed or broke during the catch. While most sporting goods stores have some type of predator trap hanging on the shelf, you need to know what size, brand, and features are important to make sure you catch and hold coyotes. In this review, I’ll explain my top choices for anyone who wants to successfully trap coyotes, ranging from some budget-friendly options to the top-of-the-line traps on the market. 

How We Chose the Best Coyote Traps

The author with her furs from the 2020-21 season. Skye Goode

I’ve spent many years testing out all the traps reviewed here on my own trapline, mostly from October to February on public and private lands in Wisconsin. My opinions come backed up by stacks of coyote pelts. 

All the traps reviewed here are excellent for catching coyotes. But, if you’re just trying it out, you may stick with the more budget-friendly options. For those who have trapped and know that this will be a long-term endeavor, more costly equipment might pay for itself in the long-run.

What to Consider Before Beginning Trapping

Skye Goode sets a Duke 550 trap.
Skye Goode sets a Duke 550 trap. Skye Goode

If you’re not familiar with trapping and its vernacular, consider reading this guide on how to trap coyotes. Only use traps that have passed the professional guidelines outlined in the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’s Best Management Practices for Trapping Program. These guidelines work to improve regulated trapping by evaluating trapping devices and techniques and educating those who use traps about the most humane, safe, selective, efficient and practical devices.

Best management practices are based on scientific research and professional experience regarding currently available traps and trapping technology. Since the inception of this program in 1997, over 600 trap types have been evaluated for 23 species of furbearers in North America. All of the traps in this review have been approved for use through the program, but also consult your state’s trapping regulations to be sure that the sizes are legal in your state. Also know that selecting the correct size and style of trap for your quarry will help ensure that the animal is held firmly without damaging the foot or causing unnecessary pain.

Best Coyote Traps: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Minnesota Trapline MB-550

Minnesota Trapline MB 550 in the field.

Key Features

  • Offset, cast jaws with 4 3/4-inch inside jaw spread
  • Two-coil and four-coil options
  • Two swivels on 10-inch center-swiveled chain with welded baseplate
  • Assembled in Minnesota
  • Good for coyotes, bobcat, fox, and raccoon

Pros

  • Ready to go out of the box
  • Available nearly everywhere
  • Higher quality components
  • Crunch-proof swivels

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No dogless option available
  • No pan tension screw option

This is the most recommended trap on the market, and for good reason. The MB 550 is the best overall trap for those looking to trap with no hassle. It is easy to set and bed in the ground. It’s also ready to go out of the box, and is made with quality parts. Many trappers use these from newbies to experts.

The smooth, rounded cast jaws are humane on the animal’s paw, and the stainless steel dog is resistant to being bent or chewed on by coyotes. The night latched dog ensures that the pan is perfectly level each time it’s set, and the holding power is gentle enough to hold a skunk’s small paw, yet strong enough to hold wolves and bobcats until release. They’re also available at every trapping supplier and many sporting goods stores. I have MB 550s that have been used on coyotes for a decade and are still working great without repairs or modifications.

Best Value: Duke Pro Series 550

We tested the Duke Pro Series 550

Key Features

  • Offset, cast jaws with 5 1/2-inch inside jaw spread
  • Center-swiveled chain on welded baseplate
  • Assembled in Mississippi
  • Good for coyotes, bobcat, fox, and raccoon

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Larger, square pan
  • Ready to go out of the box and available almost everywhere

Cons

  • Sold as two-coil only
  • Lesser quality chain and swivels
  • Parts may required fixing after heavy catches

The Duke Company provides the most affordable traps on the market. This trap is perfect for those who passively catch coyotes off their land and might not be interested in trapping every single year long-term. Don’t get me wrong, the Duke 550 will hold coyote after coyote, however over time, the chain links, swivels and other parts will wear. Unless you know how to replace those parts, they could break.

duke 550s
Duke 550s out of the box. Skye Goode

The Duke 550’s affordability also makes them ideal for public-land trappers who are at risk of their traps being stolen. I’ve caught many coyotes, bobcats, and badgers with the Duke 550s. I’ve also had to replace swivels and had pans bent back. Based on use of other Duke trap sizes in years past, the frames, dogs, and pans will bend after several strong coyotes catches, so keep that in mind. This is a good trap for coyotes though, and in fact, we supplied the Wisconsin Women’s Trap Camp trailer with all Duke 550s because they’re affordable and still hold coyotes.

Best for Beginners: Bridger #2 Dogless Fully Modified

The Bridger #2 Dogless seen here on drag.

Key Features

  • 5 9/16-inch inside jaw spread
  • Dogless design
  • Assembled in Minnesota
  • Good for coyotes, bobcat, fox, and raccoon

Pros

  • Easy to set for beginners
  • Ready to go out of the box and available almost everywhere
  • Humane for releasing non-targets
  • Large surface area on laminated, offset jaws

Cons

  • Offset gap can lose occasional raccoon
  • Large trap for smaller fox
  • Pan tension bolt can come loose after catches

I always recommend the Bridger #2 Dogless Fully Modified for beginners because it’s easy to set and use with no experience or knowledge. Most of my traps are this design. They are affordable and have good quality components. Each of the modifications (laminations, center-swivels, offset jaws) are also very noticeable, so it’s easy to explain to a non-trapper or beginner how each component works.

The dogless design is the preferred option in my opinion. My only critique about the Bridger is the bolt design that loosens or tightens the pan, which can rust and strip out over time, resulting in frustrations when adjusting your pan level and tension.

Best High-End: No-BS K9 Extreme Jr

We tested the No-BS K9 Extreme Jr

Key Features

  • 5 ¼-inch inside jaw spread
  • Dogless design
  • Assembled in Iowa
  • Good for coyotes and bobcats

Pros

  • Trap pan is positioned lower for perfect step-down catch
  • Innovative dogless tab design unlike no other trap
  • Jaws are bolted in so trap is virtually indestructible
  • Very high quality components
  • Heat-treated and powder-coated
  • Beds in the ground easily

Cons

  • High pan tension out of the box
  • Not readily available at every supplier
  • Made-to-order so two to three week delay for manufacturing
  • Expensive
  • Not recommended for fox or raccoon

Any coyote trap list must include the K9 Extreme line, created by Kendall Obermier out of Iowa. These traps are of such high quality and performance that the only reason I did not choose them as the best overall is because they require some trapping knowledge to use, so I would not recommend them to a newbie.

The pan tension that the traps come with out of the box are a bit higher than most trappers prefer, but the manufacturer suggests using some box string wax on the pan to help decrease the weight. Remember to reapply after each catch. Otherwise, the K9 Extreme line of coyote traps are top notch, built like tanks, and anyone who is serious about trapping long-term should consider investing in them. I personally use the Extreme size when I can, but the Extreme Jrs should fit most state regulations for size.

Coyote Traps to Avoid

  • Closed Jaw Traps: They are hard on the animal’s foot, often causing self-mutilation and injury. Domestic dogs could also be injured. To tell a closed jaw trap from an offset trap, look at the unset trap.  If the jaws touch together, it is a closed jaw trap. If there is a gap or half-inch space where the jaws meet that is called an offset jaw trap. The gap allows the blood to flow in the animal’s foot, therefore minimizing any numbness or injury.
  • Chains Attached to the Side: All the high quality traps have a center swivel for a good reason. Animals can be injured if they pull the trap to one side. They can also torque on the equipment, potentially damaging the trap, or even freeing the animal.  
  • Rubber Padded Jaw Traps: Several catches ruin the pads, and evidence shows that they are not more humane than any of the recommended traps. Be aware some states, like Florida, require them.
  • Traps denied by the best practices program: Also avoid traps that are illegal in most states, including ones that have jaws with teeth, conibears, and other traps outside of those listed specifically for coyotes.

FAQs

Q: What is the best overall bait for coyote traps?

Deciding on the best bait for trapping coyotes really depends on the time of the year. Most commonly, a meat-based bait, such as ground mice, venison, or beaver, is most popular and works very well, however keep in mind that using a meat-based bait will not only attract coyotes, but also raccoon, skunks, and opossums. I use Capital Punishment predator bait by Southern Snares and Supply, but some of the other most popular choices are Caven’s Minnesota Brand Predator Bait, Reuwsaat’s Fatal Step Canine Bait, and Mark June’s Lures Widowmaker Predator Bait.

To avoid non-targets such as skunks, stick with pure coyote urine and coyote gland lure. Typically, any raccoon or skunk walking by will not care to check out urine or gland lure. Any coyote, regardless of gender or age, will likely check it out. As the breeding season begins, typically around the first of the year, coyotes will be attracted to traps that have only fresh urine. Much like deer during the rut freshen their scrapes, coyotes will mark their territory frequently during that time period.

Q: Are there any other classic coyote traps out there to consider? 

There are some traps out there that are the elite of the elite, and not easily available to order online. They’re also expensive. But if you want a hard-to-find gem of legendary status, keep an eye out for the: KB Compound 5.5 Laminated, Sterling MJ 600, BMI K9 Wolfer, or JC Conner Coyote Jake Trap.

Read Next: America Needs Trapping More Than Ever

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Read Next: 10 Lessons for First Time Fur Trappers

Final Thoughts on the Best Coyote Traps

A coyote is silhouetted by the sunrise.
Consult your state’s trapping regulations. Skye Goode

Before you invest in coyote traps, spend some time considering how often you will be using them and if you plan to trap for many years. Also be sure to check your state’s regulations before beginning.

Lastly, keep in mind that the most important part of trapping is to set traps where coyotes have recently left scat or tracks. You can’t catch a coyote that isn’t there, no matter what kind of trap you set. Focus on pinch points, field edges, transition areas, and road intersections.



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