Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

April 1991


Leg-hold traps are an important tool in selectively capturing coyotes (Canis latrans) causing agricultural depredations. Because animals captured in leg-hold traps may incur injury and trauma to their feet and legs, there has been growing opposition to use of such traps. Each year, state or federal legislation is proposed to restrict the use of traps and considerable research effort has been devoted to the examination of trap improvements or alternatives. A variety of trap modifications have been suggested to reduce foot injuries and make the technique more generally acceptable, including use of padded jaws (Linhart et al. 1986, Olsen et al. 1986, Linhart et al. 1988) or attachment of tranquilizer tabs to traps (Balser 1965, Linhart et al. 1981). A tranquilizer tab consists of a measured amount of tranquilizer in some form of small pouch or nipple attached to the trap jaw. When a coyote is captured in a tranquilizer tab-equipped trap, it chews on the tab and ingests some or all of the tranquilizer, resulting in reduced: 1) anxiety, 2) struggling, and 3) secondary injuries to the coyote's foot and leg. In addition, tranquilization may (4) serve to improve trap efficiency by reducing escapes.