Words From The Past

The Corn Cob Lure Holder

by Charles L. Dobbins

(This article was published in the July 1995 issue of The Trapper and Predator Caller)

    I have used many things as lure holders throughout my trapping career, and I don’t favor one thing or material over another.  However, some things lend themselves to be a better holder for the lure than other things, depending upon the situation.
     In dirt holes I have used fur, plastic vials, feathers, wool, cotton, dry pulverized leaves, dry grass, piece of a corn cob, rotted dry cow chips and other things
.     At post sets I have used fire charred wood, dry cow chips, weathered wood, tuft of taller grass, plastic vials, a chunk of dry sod, corn cobs and and other things so the lure isn’t absorbed by the ground.  In this article I will explain how and why I use corn cobs as a lure holder at some of my sets.
     In most areas of the country corn cobs are easy to obtain.  In fields where a combine was used to harvest the shelled corn, the cobs are ejected from the machine and are lying on the ground.  Most of these cobs will be broken into short lengths
.     Using a bucket or small basket, and taking about a hundred-yard trip into the field I can pick up enough corn cobs to last me a whole season.  If combines are not used for corn harvesting in your area, check around livestock feed lots or feed mills to obtain a supply of corn cobs.
     I classify corn cobs two ways.  If they have been lying in the weather for six months or longer, the cobs have started to deteriorate and are kind of soft.  I prefer these weathered cobs in dirt holes as they will absorb lure readily.
     The other type of cobs are the ones that have had the kernels of corn shelled from the cob recently.  These will be hard and tough.  I prefer to use these at post sets and hidden bait sets.  Any of these corn cobs can be stored in a dry place for extended lengths of time.
     I rarely use a full length corn cob as a lure holder.  I will break or cut them into lengths of about two and a half inches to four inches long.  When the animal tries to get the lured cob out of a dirt hole, the cob will roll around in the hole, and this causes the animal to spend more time at the set.  The animal will also be moving its feet around on the dirt pattern, and this increases the chances of it making contact with the hidden trap pan.
     Fox, coyotes and other animals have seen corn cobs before and consider them harmless.   Some corn cobs are white and most are of a reddish-brown color.  I have used both colors with equal success.
     With the freshly-shelled cobs I will use the tang of a file and ream the soft pithy center from it.  I do not make the hole all the way through the cob, but leave about a half-inch of the soft center in the cob
.     At post sets I will use a metal stake and make a hole about five to six inches deep up close to the object I am using for a post.  This post can be a chunk of weathered wood, tuft of taller grass, charred wood, a rock the size of a quart jar, or other suitable object.
     I use one of the hollowed out pieces of cob and force it into the hole I made with the metal stake.  I will use the trowel or hammer to tap on the cob to get it down in the hole so it is flush with the surrounding ground.
     I then put a gland lure in the hollowed out cob.  I prefer to cover the exposed end of the cob with some ground litter.  Covering or hiding where the smell is coming from adds mystique to the set.  The animal’s nose will locate exactly where the lure is located.
     When the animal locates the smell, it will try to remove the ground litter covering the lure.  Some fox or coyotes will try to dig it up and carry it off.  The animal must work to get the cob from the hole it’s wedged in.
  While the animal is trying to get the lured cob from the hole, its feet will be moving around over the area of the blended in trap.  It is a sure thing the animal’s foot will make contact with the pan of the hidden trap.
     This next set I refer to as “the hidden bait set”, and I will use three pieces of corn cob at this set.  I prefer to make this set on level ground.  A bed is dug and the trap is staked, bedded solid and covered.
     About 19 top 15 inches, south of the trap I will use a metal stake and make a hole about five inches deep.  By wiggling the stake I make the hole larger in diameter to accept the corn cob which is placed in the hole with the hole in the cob up.  Northeast of the trap I will make an identical hole, and a piece of cob with a hole in it is placed here.  The third hole is made with the stake northwest of the trap about 10 to 15 inches, and a piece of cob is placed in this hole.
     These three holes are in a rough triangle around the trap.  I will use my trowel or hammer to tap the cobs down so they are flush with the top of the ground.  At this set, I prefer to use a food lure and a curiosity lure.  I can put liquid bait in one or two of the cobs and the curiosity lure in the other cob.  Another luring combination that works will is a lure that contains rodent in a couple of the cobs and the curiosity lure in the other one.
     I like to make this set where a combine spewed out grain hulls and finely cut up grain stalks.  This kind of a place will let me easily blend in the dirt pattern covering the trap and the exposed ends of the cobs.  However, this set can be anywhere the set can be easily blended in.
     The animal’s nose will locate the lure smells.  Since there are three separate places and there is lure surrounding the hidden trap, I can count on the animal to make contact with the trap as it goes from one lure to the other in this small area.
     I have used these corn cobs up in the high country of the West where no corn is raised.  The fox, coyote, cats and other animals worked these sets there the same as the animals in the corn belt of the Midwest states. 

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