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A Lesson on Location

Ever have trouble picking the best locations for your sets?  If so, this article is a must-read!  Don Wilson from Indiana has provided this excellent illustrated article on how he picks productive locations when trapping canines.  I'm sure that most trappers will find this material VERY helpful, and the catch pics are great.  Many thanks to Mr. Wilson for sharing these insights.

No doubt location plays one of the most important roles in catching fur bearers. I'll focus on locations for coyotes and foxes in this article.

Now, I like to start looking for sign were several points of interest meet. Once I have pin pointed a location I start scouting for sign. In the following pics I have labeled some of the more major points of interest.

Blue = Water

White= An edge (Like a field edge, crop change up, or path through the woods)

Green = a cross over or funnel point the coyotes were using heavy

Red = Actual set location that connected over the last few years.

Black = These will be points that I have set up in the past that look good but fail to make catches for reasons I'm unsure of.

All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.
Lets take a look at the first spot:

I catch probably 15-20 coyotes here a year. If you look you can see there are several points that lead to a major cross over. Whether it be water, a tree line or a crop change up, they focus the movement of the coyotes to a few central locations. The cross over in the woods is a duck-under at an old woven wire fence. I took 6 coyotes in 6 days from that fence.  Lets take a look at a few catches from this location:

The next location:

I trapped this area because the farmer had several dogs killed and asked me to take as many coyotes as I could. You might notice a lack of points. I basicaly went in and had to look for cross overs from the horseshoe shaped pond and used the road as a main set location. The point were the road makes a 90 deg. turn to the woods was a great place. It was close to a cross over and also close to a wooded area. Here are a few catches from there:

The tree next to this road was a lone feature in the field:

This next spot has produced for me like magic for the last several years:

If you study this pic you will see that the access road meets the ditch at a crop change up. This spot is always good for a ton of coyotes. 10-20 over a season. If you look in this catch pic you can see the numerous catch cirles in the background:

This grizzly old dog was one of my favorites.  Real werewolfy.

In the following pic you will see that there are numerous shallow ditches intersected by a road. The one ditch toward the bottom of the pic is a deep ditch. I have caught coyotes on both sides of the deep ditch. It seems though that if I target the coyotes around the smaller ditches at the top of the pic I don't seem to do so well. But the smaller ditches funnel the coyotes to the bridge to cross over to my main set locations.

Here's a catch from this location:

I always make sure to look for set locations around these. This tower is just off the road on the right side of the pic.

This is my fox farm.  I catch several fox here each year and also catch several coyotes.

I have marked the cow pastures because they are off limits.  Here I trap (snare) around old den sites. These have been productive to me in the last few years. The land owner is an old trapper. I set this locaion with him in mind because he can look out his kitchen window every morning and see if there is a catch made. He just LOVED it.  Made him feel like he was trapping again. The cross over at the right of the pic is my main producer of coyotes. It is a small opening that the coyotes use to pass from one field to another. The white line in the woods is a well groomed trail the coyotes use sometimes late in the season.

Lets look at some catches...

This guy came from the opening I discribed:

This fox came from a bait pile I had in the wood on the left hand side:

This one was caught near the den site.  I think I caught 5 from that den site that year.

This last site is another gem. I caught 16 here last year. This is the only cross over of this deep ditch of a mile in each direction. Also you have the multiple field edges and crop change ups. There is a nice wide green grass patch there most of the season as well.

That is where these guys came from:

If you look in the bottom left side of the map pic you will see a dark spot that I set with a few traps each year. This is an old rotted tree out in the field.  It seems like every coyote that crosses that ditch goes for the tree.

This frosty fox came from the road just a little off the screen of the pic:

I love to talk location so if you have any questions please post comments.

Don Wilson


  1. Fantastic article! I've been trapping coyote and fox for a little better than 10 years now and this article is good as I've ever seen in regards to location. Great job!

  2. Thank you for the kind words. I am glad Mr. Williams posted this to help trappers along.

    D. Wilson

  3. This was a great article. It is helping me find locations where I trap.