Sheep Art by KZAD
This web site has information on how to trap predators to protect sheep.
Web site design and development and predator trapping are hobbies of mine. I developed this web site to combine both of those hobbies.
Things you should do before you have a problem with a predator.
In Oregon, a land owner can obtain a free trapping license from O.D.F.W. to trap on
Where legal, purchase some long spring or coil spring foot hold traps.
In Oregon if a predator kills your sheep you as a land owner can legally trap it.
The Mountain Lion is listed as a big game animal in Oregon however it is illegal
to hunt them with dogs. You do however have to have a trapping license to trap predators. You can get a free license to trap on your own property by writing or call: ODFW License Services
Get a trapping license and read the state trapping regulations before doing any trapping.
What you need to do to get ready to trap predator:
Have a few #3, #4 size traps for coyotes and #5 foot hold traps for Mountain Lion. You can go to on-line trapping supply dealers and purchase a #4.5 or #5 Sleepy Creek Long spring trap for mountain Lion or #3 traps for coyotes. There are other traps such as the coil spring Wolf and Cougar traps, Bridger #2 through #5 coil spring with padded or offset jaws, Bridger #5 Long Spring with offset jaws, They are obtained from the trapping supply dealers I have listed at the bottom of the page. A mountain Lion can get out of some of these foot hold traps and it may be that the leg hold cable traps are the best. They throw a cable up over the animals leg and it can get out of that.
Traps can be set and if you have sheep in the pasture you can cover the traps with a heavy piece of tree bark in the day and uncover them at night. Two traps are recommended in a set like placing them between ladder steps. A Cougar can step over one trap but seldom two. Big sharp edged rocks can be place around the traps or what might be referred to as "pungy sticks", sharp ended sticks poked in the ground around the traps. The traps are on long 8 foot chains with a heavy drag hooked to it.
If you can find where the predator has been entering sheep pastures by climbing over or crawling under a fence snares are an effective method of capture. A coyote used to going under a certain place in the fence will run right under there full speed no problem.
You can build a snare enclosure by piling the dead sheep in location such as a fenced corner you can build a fence around and set snares where the coyotes crawl under that fence to get to the sheep carcasses. Bait stations, piles of dead livestock can be put in places where traps can be set 25 to 50 feet away from them. The coyotes will visit these bait stations especially in winter.
When you get a predator killing your livestock, the offending predator can be trapped, snared or called in and shot usually after the fact. Early in the summer if you get Coyotes killing your sheep goats or calves it could very well be a female coyote with pups. The mother is wise and suspicious due to the pups. She is the one you want to trap not the Alpha male or the pups. The female is the teacher and if you catch one of the other family members she will teach the rest to avoid that kind of trap set. The female can raise the pups without the male. The male guards, hunts and regurgitates food at the den for the female and the pups. Without the male the female will go after the easiest food source available. Bait in a dirt hole set will most likely catch a pup. They are fairly easy to catch with bait in dirt hole sets. It seems like a free easy meal for them and they are not yet good at hunting there own food. The Alpha male is going to fall victim to a flat set with urine, gland lure or the post set because of his territorial nature. If you want to catch the Alpha male use gland lure. A trick that will catch either the male or the wise female is to make a blended flat set 9 inches back from a low backer such as a log or stump in the area where the male has marked a scratch-up or left a dropping. Poke a couple of deep holes near the edge of the backer. Dip a stick into a bottle of coyote gland lure, pull out a bean size glob and stick it deep in one of the holes. Do the same to the other hole but with bobcat or red fox gland lure. Next turn and look down wind for an object like a tuft of grass a low bush or a bleached bone or a rock. The coyote that smells all these gland lure scents will want to mark on something near it so set a trap or two by an outstanding object near the first set and 8-10 feet away. Just use a couple of drops of coyote, red fox or bobcat urine mixed with glycerin on the object or set a trap by one object with nothing but a blended trap out front or a dropping from another location These are, "sleeper sets" and will catch the wise female and or the male. So how do you stop the female coyote from killing your livestock?
The best way...I think the best way is to call her in to rifle range using a decoy dog. The other way to stop this mother coyote is to set snares in fences. Again with the dog. If the dog gets on the scent follow it to where the coyote is leaving the pastures or area where the livestock is be herded. In different kinds of ground tracking can also be used. For coyote trapping I use a #2 or 3 coil or double Long spring foot hold trap with offset jaws. The chain is fastened in the center of the base plate with swivels at both ends and many times the middle of the 18inch chain. These traps are very humane. A trapper does not want any foot while in the trap. The jaws are smooth with no protrusions and are often modified with thicker jaws so to have more surface area holding the predator or in some instances the non-target animal. The center attachment of the chain keeps the animals foot in the center of the jaws so it doesn't pull to the corner with a cutting action. The many swivels keep the trap from binding up and twisting the foot.
Most of the trappers in the US have gone to great lengths to developed and use the most humane traps for harvesting fur and protecting livestock that can be developed.
The first coyote I trapped was a female next to a sheep that had been killed the night before out on a dessert in Utah. Down by the Sevier sinks. It was late in the day and just starting to snow lightly. I bedded a couple of #1.65 modified Bridger's around the sheep where it had been eaten on. I pulled some of the wool laying around by the sheep over the traps and left. The trap had no dirt or other cover on it. It snowed over the traps and the next day there was a female coyote in the set. That was back about 1986.
Pet sheep named Julius (July) is a very nice wooled sheep.
Sheep Protect trapping information library.
Principles of a blind set
The snare enclosure
Mountain Lions do not often attack people but it has happened.
Mountain lion attacks mother and child in Pitkin County, mom fights off cat..>
Predator trapping does prevent livestock loss if it is performed by the educated livestock owner soon after the predation occurs.
TheLongSpringMan modifies all his foot hold traps to be more humane by adding thicker jaws and multiple center located 18 inches of chain with three swivels on the assembly.
Any animal held in these modified traps for a few hours or a day will have little or no foot damage.
A double long spring trap will come up through mud and frozen ground more readily than a coil spring trap.
Coil spring traps are generally faster closing, in dry soil than there long spring counterparts.
Foot-hold traps that range in size from #1.75 coil spring to #4 with offset jaws work well for capturing coyotes.
The chain set-up on a trap is a big deal.
Capture success is increased by setting
traps near coyote tracks or droppings that indicate areas of frequent use.
After making a coyote set. Check it daily from a distance with binoculars.
To avoid capturing non-target animals,
increase the weight required to spring traps, This is known as pan tension.
Carefully select sites where traps are set, and cover baits placed in dirt holes.
To minimize injuries to the animals you might trap, use traps with padded or laminated jaws and chains that have at least three swivel points.
Trapping can be done humanely and it's a necessary part of wildlife management.
While trapping predators please follow these three steps.
Choose locations that maximize opportunities to catch target species and minimize opportunities to catch other animals.
Keep Familiar With Improvements in Trapping Equipment and Techniques.
Appreciate Perceptions of Non trappers.
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