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Dirt Hole Set
         The basic dirt hole is nothing more than a hole made in the ground with a trap positioned in front of 
         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 can be
         all shapes and sizes.  To be effective, the dirt hole set should be made where the animal will likely
         travel close by.  A good location can usually be determined by the presence of sign such as tracks
         and especially droppings.  The best made dirt hole set will catch nothing if its in a location where the
         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.  This 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 that the
         hole is to be dug in front of, such as a prominent tuft of grass that is taller than the surrounding
         vegetation is referred to as backing.  The backing keeps the animal from approaching the set from
         the rear.  Using a trowel, dig a hole at about a sixty degree angle back under this backing.  The dirt
         removed from the hole is placed in a sifter.  The hole can be around three inches in diameter and at
         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 lever.

         The trap is staked either in the lowest center of the trap bed or at the inside edge of the
         excavation.  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 the chain
         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 the 
         trap is not solid.  You may have to use dirt from the sifter and pack it around and under the spring 
         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 trowel.  After
         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 fire. 
         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 ground 
         outside of the trap bed. Use the trowel to gently scrape the loose dirt from the trap pan.  This will 
         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 look.  To 
         make it look more natural, sift a little more dirt (a half to one inch of dirt) over the trap to cover this
         smoothness.  This last sifting will cover the trap pan, and the smoothness has disappeared.  The 
         lowest part of the dirt pattern will now be over the trap pan.  (Fox and coyote prefer to step on the
         lower places.)

                                                             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 wood, 
         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 set.

         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 to
         canines.  By 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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