Box-trapping eastern coyotes in southeastern Massachusetts

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2002


The humaneness of various coyote (Canis latrans) capture methods (especially foothold traps) is an issue that has made trapping controversial. In Massachusetts the use of padded foothold traps and snares became illegal in 1996. In response, we tested metal box traps as an alternative capture technique for eastern coyotes in a suburban environment within Barnstable County, Cape Cod, Massachusetts between March 1998-May 2000 and February 2001-April 2002. Box traps were in the field for 7,006 trap days and were set for 1,447 trap days. Trapping effort was 4,458 trap visits. Traps were sprung 447 times, and 387 animals of 12 species were captured. Twenty-two individual coyotes (12 adults, 5 subadults, and 5 pups) were captured 29 times; 3 adults were captured twice and 2 adults 3 times. Coyotes were captured during 11 of 12 months. Few injuries were sustained to coyotes captured in box traps, and no captured animals showed indicators of poor welfare; 1 coyote had minor limb damage, 2 had minor and 2 had moderate tooth damage, and no injuries to the body were documented. Box traps were undesirable to use for capturing coyotes because of trap expense, time involved in baiting and conditioning coyotes to traps, the high rate of nontarget captures, and the fact that it was difficult to capture >1 adult in a social group.


LMU users: use the following link to login and access the article via LMU databases.

Recommended Citation

Way, Jonathan G., Isaac M. Ortega, Peter J. Auger, and Eric G. Strauss. “Box-Trapping Eastern Coyotes in Southeastern Massachusetts.” Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006) 30, no. 3 (2002): 695–702.