About once a week, someone posts on here asking whether this trap or that trap is suitable for fox AND coyote, or if brand X is an acceptable coyote trap. The same question comes up over and over and over and over and over and over and over. While I'm no authority on the subject, I want to address this topic once and for ever so that we can eliminate it from our discussion . . . Lets discuss this topic once and for all . . . and then leave it alone. If there are some who come late to the party and ask the same question next week or next month, the rest of us can just copy this post and paste it every time you see someone ask the famous question, "Is this trap OK for both coyotes and fox?"
OK, here goes my thoughts, although there will no doubt be many better thoughts on the topic.
First, the question usually arises in one of two ways. One way is the person asking the question has a bunch of X brand traps in size 1.5, 1.75, 450, #11, etc. lying around and wants to know if they will work for coyotes (either because the trapper is too poor, too lazy or too disinterested to get the right equipment to do the job right). In this case, the person is really just asking the rest of us to validate his decision not to get the right equipment to do the job correctly. And in this case, we should all unanimously shout back at him "NO, DON'T DO IT!!"
In my humble opinion (subject no doubt to many, many other contrary opinions), acceptable coyote traps start at #3 and go up from there. Save me your protests about how you caught a coyote once in a 1.5 and held it all night with no problems. I'm talking real coyote traps for real coyote trappers under any and all conditions. New York to Wyoming and every place in between. I'm sorry, but day in and day out, in every condition in every soil type under extended checks and in bad weather, coyote traps start at #3 and go up from there. Sorry, been doing this for 30 years and you just won't convince me otherwise. I've trapped animal damage control, for fur, in the desert, in the alpine, and under all kinds of weather. Hear me now, believe me later. The small traps aren't a coyote trap any more than a .243 is an elk rifle. (More on this below).
In the second type of question, the person asking the question usually has fox as his or her primary target and wants to know if Brand X trap in size 1.5, 1.75, 450, #11, #2 or some other size is also a good coyote trap because there is a chance such a person may encounter a coyote on his or her line. OK, this is the part where I start pulling hair strands. Whether or not a particular trap will hold a particular coyote in a particular location with a particular soil type under a particular set of weather conditions with a particular check time requirement IS MERE SPECULATION AND SUBJECT TO 10,000 VARIABLES!
WE DON'T KNOW AND WE WON'T EVER KNOW UNTIL YOU CATCH THE COYOTE!!
I don't mean to be critical of anyone or any product, but a trap -- any trap -- only has two things going for it when it comes to holding a particular critter that has placed its foot on the pan with sufficient force to trigger the trap -- Springs (which drive the jaws closed and hold them closed) and Jaws (which have to encircle some or all of the critter's foot). That's it. Everything else like swivels and stakes and drags are all just products of how long the trap can potentially hold the critter once caught. So, if you think a #3 coilspring is an acceptable "standard" coyote trap, then compare the springs on your accepted #3 with the springs on the trap you are wondering about. Are they the same diameter, length, etc? If so, then spring power shouldn't be a problem. In fact, if the springs on your #1.5, 1.75, 450, etc. are slightly smaller than the springs on the #3, that may still be OK because the smaller trap has less jaw weight to move and keep closed. Comprende?
Now, to the jaws. It should be intuiatively obvious to even the most casual observer that a larger jaw spread has the POTENTIAL to encompass more of a critter's foot than a smaller jaw spread, all other things being equal. However, if you get a full pad catch (i.e. jaws ABOVE the large pad on the foot) on a coyote, and assuming you have strong enough springs to keep the jaws closed, MORE JAW SPREAD IS JUST WASTED METAL. THE COYOTE ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE.
However, HOLDING the critter isn't the only thing we ask of a coyote trap. We also ask it to CATCH the coyote. Why does that matter? Well, now we start getting into soil and weather conditions. If there is an inch of gumbo mud for the trap to get through before it has a shot at the coyote's foot, there may not be enough spring power to break through that material or jaw height to catch the foot. Also, think geometric shapes and sizes. For example, if I'm trapping gray fox with my chosen favorite trap, the MB 450, I want a small dirt hole that I can guard with my trap up close to the lip of the hole. Grays aren't afraid of being crowded, they have short, powerful legs, and they have a nasty habit of approaching a hole from the back or the sides. Therefore, I block off those alternate approaches and put my trap right up close. On a coyote set, however, I want a bigger hole, and I'm probably not going to be able to crowd the coyote as much. Therefore, I need bigger jaws (and really, a bigger pan) to catch the coyote in my larger trap pattern. A small trap is just not able to guard my hole correctly.
I guess my point is this . . . you buy a different rifle for different sizes of game. A .243 makes a great whitetail gun in most cases. However, you wouldn't buy a .243 to shoot elk with. But if you encountered an elk and all you had was a .243, you'd give it your best shot, and if your shot placement was good, you were close enough, had the right bullet and load, etc., etc. etc., you could probably kill the elk. The same is true with any trap smaller than a #3 coil spring. Under the right circumstances, most of them will hold that occaisional coyote. Are they a "good" coyote trap (indeed, are they "a" coyote trap)? NO. They are not. They were never intended as such and you shouldn't ever intentionally set one for a coyote because all you are doing is asking for trouble.
So if you are primarily after fox and you snag an occasional coyote, its anyone's guess as to whether your small trap is going to hold the coyote. The rest of us sitting here casually in our armchairs are really just whistling Dixie when we give you our answer and our advice is worth exactly what you paid for it. If you hold the coyote, GREAT! Someone once said, "I'd rather be lucky than good." Consider yourself lucky. If your small trap blows apart, gets only a toe hold, or just plain can't hang on, then you weren't quite so lucky and you'll know better than anyone on the internet whether your particular trap, in your particular circimstances will in fact hold a coyote.
There you go.
your welcome tracy......ROFLMAO