Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

December 1993


The foothold trap is an important tool that is used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Damage Control (ADC) program to capture coyotes (Canis latrans) that are causing livestock depredations. In FY 1990 and FY 1991 the ADC program trapped 17,732 and 15,805 coyotes, respectively (USDA 1991;1992). Foothold traps can cause trauma and injury to feet and legs (Englund 1982; Linhart et al. 1986; Olsen et al. 1986, 1988; Onderka et al. 1990, Tullar 1984) and Onderka et al. (1990) observed oral injuries such as broken teeth, and tongue and gum lacerations in captured animals. The ADC program and other organizations such as the U. S. Technical Advisory Group for Humane Trap Standards (Linhart 1990), are investigating means of reducing injuries to animals caught in traps. Two approaches to reduce injuries, trap modification and the use of a tranquilizer, have been investigated and previously tested in the field. Most of the studies have focused upon trap modifications. Several studies have evaluated the padded jaw trap (Linhart et al. 1986; 1988; Linhart and Dasch 1992; Olsen et al. 1986; Onderka et al. 1990; Tullar 1984). These studies show that padded foothold traps reduce, but do not eliminate injury to captured animals.