| The basic dirt hole
is nothing more than a hole made in the ground with a trap positioned in
the hole to catch
the animal as it investigates the hole. A dirthole set is meant to
replicate where an
animal such as a fox
or coyote has cached some food to eat later, and these natural dirtholes
all shapes and sizes.
To be effective, the dirt hole set should be made where the animal will
travel close by.
A good location can usually be determined by the presence of sign such
and especially droppings.
The best made dirt hole set will catch nothing if its in a location where
animal will not be
able to detect its presence. Once a good location is found, find
a spot that is fairly
void of long grasses
and high weeds. The hole for the set is usually made in front of
some kind of an
object could be a prominent tuft of taller grass, a stone about the size
of a pint or quart
jar, a low stump,
an overturned clump of sod, or some other natural object. This object
hole is to be dug
in front of, such as a prominent tuft of grass that is taller than the
vegetation is referred
to as backing. The backing keeps the animal from approaching the
the rear. Using
a trowel, dig a hole at about a sixty degree angle back under this backing.
removed from the hole
is placed in a sifter. The hole can be around three inches in diameter
least six inches deep.
In front of this dug
hole dig a bowl-shaped trap bed about 2 1/2 - 3 inches deep and only slightly
larger around than
the trap. The dirt from this excavation is placed into the sifter.
Leave about an
inch of loose dirt
in the bottom of the bowl-shaped trap bed. Make sure the bottom of
the trap bed
is rounded so the
trap springs, and any attaching hardware will have a place in the bed,
and this will
make it easier to
make the trap rock solid and not move when an animal steps on a jaw or
The trap is staked
either in the lowest center of the trap bed or at the inside edge of the
Its a good idea not to wire the trap to a stake, but rather use the opening
on a universal
swivel, large washer,
expanded link of welded machine trap chain or some other attaching hardware.
Too often when the
traps are wired to a stake, the wire will break from the animal working
back and forth.
The trap is set and placed in the prepared trap bed. Place trap near
hole, but not
hanging over hole.
Put downward pressure on the trap to nestle it into the loose dirt.
With a finger,
push down on the spring
levers and jaws checking to see if the trap is solid. In most instances
trap is not solid.
You may have to use dirt from the sifter and pack it around and under the
levers and jaws to
get the trap solid. Do not cover the trap until you are posititve
the trap is solid in
its bed. Use
the trowel to take dirt from the sifter and place this dirt around the
outside edge of the
trap. Use the
trowel to pack inside the trap jaws, and press this dirt down with your
the dirt is packed
outside and inside the trap, all that is now exposed of the trap is the
edge of the
jaws, the pan and
the dog. A piece of wax paper about the size of the inside of the
trap can be used
to cover the pan so
that dirt will not get under the pan, which would cause the trap not to
When using wax paper
to cover the trap pan, its a good idea to crumple it up and then flatten
it out. This
will help keep the paper from making noise when a canine steps on it
Picture of partially bedded trap
Now using the sifter,
sift dirt over the trap until the sifted dirt is up level with the surrounding
outside of the trap
bed. Use the trowel to gently scrape the loose dirt from the trap pan.
cause the lowest part
of the dirt pattern to be just over the trap pan. Once again, pack
the sifted dirt
around the outside
and inside the trap jaws. Packing the dirt gives the pattern a smooth
make it look more
natural, sift a little more dirt (a half to one inch of dirt) over the
trap to cover this
This last sifting will cover the trap pan, and the smoothness has disappeared.
lowest part of the
dirt pattern will now be over the trap pan. (Fox and coyote prefer
to step on the
Picture of completed set
Now apply the lure
to the hole. It's best to apply the lure to a lure holder as placing
it on the ground
will cause it to lose
its odor much faster. Pieces of corn cob, small chunk of weathered
sheeps wool, or anything
to keep the lure off the ground in the hole will work. I would recommend
a curiosity type lure,
gland lure, food lure and/or a bait. If using the gland
or curiosity lure, a squirt
of urine on the backing
will enhance the effectiveness of the set. This is the basic dirt hole.
There is a
lot more that can
be said about the dirt hole and there is a lot that is to be learned about
the dirt hole
beyond this basic
Animals used for:
Fox - Both red
and grey fox are taken regularly in this set. Use a lure such as
a gland or curiosity
lure in the hole.
Bait can also be used.
Coyotes - This
set works on coyotes too. Lure the same as for fox. Because
the coyote is a much
larger and stronger
animal than the fox, use a double staking method for securing the trap.
Bobcats - This
set will take bobcats too, but its a good idea to hang a bird wing where
legal or even
lengths of cassette
tape from a nearby tree limb. The motion of the wing or tape in the
air will get the
attention of the cat.
Bobcats have a very keen eyesight, but not so good at smelling compared
getting the bobcats attention with the visual attractor, you can get the
bobcat to get
within smelling range
of your set.
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