By Paul Antczak
I break down lures into six categories. The categories are bait, urine, food lure, gland lure, curiosity and long-distance call.
So when and where do I use these attractants for coyotes? For starters, there is gland lure. I talked earlier about hind-foot catches at dirthole sets. Even though I was catching coyotes, this is not the way I want to do it. If caught by the hind foot, a coyote has more lunging power and pullouts are more frequent. I use gland lures primarily on flat sets or post sets. Long-running tractor roads, implement bridges and major intersections are just some of the locations. These spots are usually peppered with droppings and tracks going off in different directions.
If you find a location like this, it’s probably a boundary of two or three family units. This is where gland and urine shines. If the location is hot, you should set at least four sets. I seldom find these in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, but in the heartland, they are plentiful. Now southern Alabama on the other hand is different. Coyotes mark every intersection. The overpopulation there might cause this extreme marking behavior.
My go-to flat set is two flat rocks with gland lure sandwiched between and urine on top. If rocks aren’t present, a chunk of grass or log will do. I bed my trap 9 to 10 inches back and use a whisk broom to blend it into the set.
In these locations, the coyote is not hunting, so make your set according to where its mind is. Try to get in the coyote’s head and understand what it is thinking in accordance to the location. Another good set for this location is a fresh turd set. Bring in a dropping from another family unit and make a flat set. They will want to know who the new guy is and cover its mark.
In the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the coyotes have pushed their fur by Nov. 1. The leather is a couple of weeks behind. This is my favorite time to trap. If the weather is dry and the pups are still in the family unit, I’ll do a lot of scouting for raccoons and other species before the season starts. At this time, coyotes are building up fat and are in competition for food.
Bait and curiosity lure are my starting attractors. I use commercial baits. Curiosity lures also work well early on. Some lures work good on their own like mink gland, rendered skunk fat, beaver tail oil, sac oil and spiked fish oil. Take caution, though, as some coyotes might actually role on these smells. If you find that your commercial bait is causing a rolling response, switch up to more of natural bait like rabbit, beaver or muskrat.
During this time, it is primarily dirthole sets for me. I use just a basic conventional dirthole, nothing fancy. Personally, it’s more about speed and accuracy. Unless I have a problem dog, I don’t change much. Some guys get hung up on trap placement — 9 inches back, 2 inches to the right, etc. That’s fine if it’s working for you and you have confidence in your method. For me, the trap goes where the coyote will step. If the hole is more horizontal, I set the trap back a little. Like a big hole, set it at a cut bank. If the hole is more vertical, tighten it up to the hole.
Long-distance call lures can raise a little debate among trappers. Opinions vary on the placement amongst trappers from hanging in a tree to on a fence post to down the hole and more. I’ve tried it all, and the only placements that work with noticeable results for me is in the hole or beyond the trap at the set. I want my coyotes to be focused on my set, not the stars in the sky.
What urine to use at a set is a matter of preference. Just make sure you buy it from a reputable producer. You can add gland to your urine to give it a boost. Propylene glycol is good to add to lures to keep them from freezing in the winter. If your doing control work in the summer, glycol will slow down the evaporation process, thereby helping the lure to maintain its potency.
I know some guys like to mist the whole set, and that’s fine. I like to be more natural with it and use it in a squirt bottle. Misting the set does not put the focus where it needs to be — behind the trap. I have been told by trappers that they mist the set to cover any of the human scent left behind. If you understand how the coyote’s nasal passages operate, you would know that this is just wasted urine.
How a coyote smells is what I call select smelling. Just like a drug dog or even tracking dogs, they smell pieces of an odor. Take meatloaf for an example. We smell meatloaf. They smell everything in the meatloaf. So, if you contaminated a good dirthole set with your stinky body, how can some good fox urine cover it up?
Paul Antczak’s full story appeared in the February 2014 issue.
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