Flat Set – First Set Every Trapper Should Learn

Most trappers start off perfecting a variation of the flat set. If trapping were a college major, the flat set would be taught in trapping 101.
The flat set is one of the most widely used sets to trapping fox and coyotes. The flat sets are more popular than dirt hole set because it targets canines over other species. A dirt hole set uses bait which will attract every raccoon, opossum, and skunk in the area.
flat set


The flat set is like the dirt hole set, except that it does not use a hole. The flat set uses an above ground object to attract the attention of an animal. The object can be anything from a tall patch of grass, a rock or the end of a log. Keep in mind the object should be large enough to catch the attention of the target animal. The object also serves as the backing for the set. Place the trap close to the object. Then add lure to the side of the object nearest the trap.

This set can take all land-dwelling furbearers, but it is most effective for fox and coyotes. A post set is another variation of the flat set. It’s made using a small post, about the size of a broom handle, and six to eight inches tall for a backing.
Fox and coyotes like to urinate on objects like this to mark their territory. Urine or lure can be added to the post on the side nearest the trap to make it more attractive.
When choosing a location for a flat set, try to pick a spot that stands out from a distance away. Canines will be attracted to these and want to investigate. It is more important to have a good location before a good backing object. Fox and coyote must be in the area first. You can have the best looking set in the world but what good is it if fox and coyotes are not in the area. The backing object can always be brought in from another area. 

Steps for Making a Flat Set:

1. A flat set uses an above ground object as a backing and an object. A chunk of old wood makes a good object for a flat set. The backing of the set should be a good size for two reasons. One, it will allow fox and coyote to see it from a distance. Second, it will help direct the fox or coyote to the front side of the set where the trap is.
Another thing to keep in mind. When choosing a location and an object for the flat set don’t choose an object that is to large. fox and coyotes do not like to approach abject they cant see over. A log or rock that is 6 to 10 inches tall will be fine.
2. Dig a bed for your trap about 6 inches from the object. Stake the trap and put it in the bed. make sure you are good at setting the traps in a firm bed. If the fox or coyote feel any movement in the trap they will know something is up and will not return.
3. Cover the trap with dirt as in the dirt hole set. To make the set look more natural, you can brush a small amount of ground clutter over the bare dirt.

What Makes a Good Flat Set?

flat setThe basics to any good flat set is to keep the set and surrounding area looking natural. When finished the set should show no signs of anything out of the ordinary. keep in mind animals are smarter than most people give them credit for. A fox or coyote can spot things out of the ordinary very easy. For example; a patch of green grass where dirt should be or bare dirt where grass should be. These are all signs that could make most canines trap shy.
For any type of set you want the area you are disturbing to be as small as possible. Also don’t spend to much time in the area. This will scent up the location and you may not trap anything.

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