A coyote trap works by capturing the coyote's paw between two jaws, which are released by springs when the animal steps on a plate in the center of the trap. The trap is staked firmly into the ground so that the coyote can't pull it loose.
Coyote traps are designed to snap quickly into place in response to pressure from an animal's weight. Traps with more coils, such as four instead of two, respond more quickly to the animal's presence and capture the animal before it can escape. Smooth jaws on the trap hold the coyote's paw without breaking the skin, reducing damage to the animal.
Coyote traps are most commonly placed in a shallow hole and then covered loosely with dirt to be invisible to the animal. Lures are placed near or on top of the trap to draw the coyote to the area. Using multiple traps in the area where the coyote has been seen increases the chance of capturing the targeted animal.
Traps should be checked daily, as they may trap other animals. Before attempting to trap a coyote, it's important to contact the Department of Conservation, as there may be regulations and seasonal guidelines in place for trapping coyotes.