Finding the best set locations for predators isn’t a task that requires a lot of leg work if you have a basic knowledge of the predator your pursuing. Naturally, scouting is a good way to determine exact set locations, but a basic knowledge of their characteristics and knowing their habits cuts down on required leg work.
For instance, If you have a beaver dam included in your trapping area, bobcats can usually be found hunting that type of terrain. Granted, it also can be an excellent location for any predator, but bobcats seem to be attracted to them. Any old farm land that has grown up fields and a good number of rabbits is another spot that attract bobcats and is also a preferred hunting location for grey fox.
As far as the grey fox goes, brushy fields, thicker cover are excellent areas to make your sets. Grey Fox can be crowded more so than the Reds and tend to stick to the tighter cover. Any small opening or where log roads intersect make very good set locations for gray fox. Once again, most predators can be taken at this type of location but the Grey fox prefers hunting these areas.
Red fox are mousers. In fact a large percentage of their diet contains field mice, making cut hay fields, horse or cow pastures and more open areas a favorite hunting location of the Red fox. One of my favorite trapping locations is a neighbors horse pasture, and when the horses are in another pasture I’m sure to have several sets in the empty pasture. I have found that Red fox don’t like to be pressured too much. By that I mean they prefer open areas more so then the grays and any low cut area will be more likely a red fox travelway.
Old woodchuck holes are frequently visited by Red fox, especially if they have been dug out. By that I mean a wood chuck hole with several small holes within a couple a feet from the main hole. That is another one of my favorite set locations. Every Red fox that travels that location visits that spot and can be caught with the right trap placement. Along stonewalls or fence rows are also ideal locations.
I can’t argue with the fact that following a predator’s tracks right after a fresh snow is an excellent way to expand your knowledge of their habits. You learn they types of objects where they leave their mark, where they hunt, brush piles, rock piles and their travel routes. This should be utilized when time permits. But that time of year I want to be busy running, setting or resetting traps.
Any of the locations mentioned above can and will catch Coyotes. Like most animals including humans they tend to take the easiest path. Once you find a set location that has eye appeal and on a travel route you can catch all of the predators in that area. For instance, there is a old rotten tree stump along a four wheeler road at an old abandoned beaver dam on one of the properties I trap. I have literally caught every type of predator in my part of the state at that stump. I usually set two traps at the stump, one with a drag, and one staked solid and have scored on a fox and a bobcat on the same night.
Once you have found one of those “special” set locations you can plan on setting that exact spot each year and be relatively sure it will be a productive location.
bits and pieces by JES 🙂
(John Stempien is from Sweet Valley Pennsylvania and is a guest contributor to H2 Tackle and Outdoors)