Dispatching Your Catch

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Video where to shoot a coyote in a trap

In some circles you may hear trappers talk about using .22 short or CB cartridges to dispatch animals. The big advantage to these cartridges versus a long or long rifle cartridge is that it is much quieter, because there is less gun powder. If you are trapping near a residential this would be a benefit, or as most trappers are secretive in general you may be inclined to try this to keep a low lying presence. A loud gunshot can quickly draw unwanted attention, be it from a neighboring anti-trapping landowner or Johnny Sneakum who may help himself to your catch and your traps.

I used CBs when I first started trapping, because I didn’t want to advertise my presence, and I will tell you that I wasn’t completely satisfied with their performance. Several times multiple shots were required to dispatch a trapped animal, which was not good for myself or the animal. I was using a pistol, a rifle would likely give you more kinetic energy, and may produce a more effective kill. Regardless, I now use long rifle cartridges and would not consider using CB cartridges again.

Long rifle cartridges are going to give you peak performance and maximum kinetic energy, whether fired from a rifle or pistol. They are accurate, and will immediately put down any animal you may catch.

I can however, relate to the desire to be discrete. There’s really no way around it, a gunshot is loud. Even when fired from a suppressed firearm it is still noticeable. A few ways to reduce the volume of the shot, number 1- use a rifle. A pistol, especially a revolver, is going to be very loud. A non semi automatic rifle will produce the least amount of noise. You can also look at some of the subsonic bullets available. Again, these are best suited for rifles as the long barrel helps increase the energy that the bullets are carrying. Although it is not as simple as buying a box of shells, purchasing a suppressor for your firearm may be something to consider. It is a longer process and requires more paperwork, but it is possible, and legal, to purchase a silencer. Depending on how low profile you are wanting to be, as I said earlier though, a suppressed rifle is still loud. So don’t be disappointed, its not like they show in the movies where all you hear is a slight thump.

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As long as you are legal, and everything is on the up and up, you’ve really got nothing to worry about. Sure you may draw a little attention, or get stopped by a game warden, but there will be no issues there. Really all you have to worry about is someone stealing your game or your traps, and unfortunately there’s not much we can do about that anyway.

Whatever you settle on, just make sure you are dispatching your catches in a quick and humane manner. We owe it to the animals and those who entrust us to manage wildlife populations.​

​Good luck and Happy Trapping!

If you want to learn more about coyote trapping be sure to sign up below for our Coyote Trapping School e course, where you’ll get step by step instructions on how to catch coyotes.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>