U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

February 2005


Published in Wildlife Society Bulletin 2005, 33(4):1375–1383.


The need for alternative predator capture techniques is increasing because of concerns about the efficiency, selectivity, and injury of currently available capture methods. There also is a need for comparative data evaluating new or seldom used methods. In an initial evaluation, we first surveyed wildlife managers for information on cage-trapping; using these data, we conducted a field study of 4 coyote (Canis latrans) capture systems for animal damage management. We tested the SoftCatch®, Collarum®, Wildlife Services–Turman, and Tomahawk®, systems for capturing coyotes in Arizona and south Texas during 2001 and 2002. We determined capture efficiency and selectivity and performed whole-body necropsies to identify trap-related injuries. Surveys indicated that coyotes usually were captured in large (>1.6-m-length) cage-traps baited with meat or carcasses. In our field evaluation, we estimated a capture efficiency (percentage of coyote captures per capture opportunity) of 0% for the Tomahawk cage-trap, 87% for the Collarum, 88% for the WS–T throw arm, and 100% for the SoftCatch. Cage-traps were the least selective, capturing 34 non-coyote animals, and Collarums were the most selective, capturing no non-coyote animals. The WS–T and SoftCatch devices showed intermediate selectivity of 50% and 69%, respectively. All devices showed low injury scores relative to jawed devices in previous studies; 92%, 57%, and 92% of coyotes captured in the Collarum, WS–T, and SoftCatch showed no indicators of poor welfare, respectively.