The dirt hole set is one of the most effective sets for land trapping. It is made by digging a small hole in the ground and hiding a trap in front of the hole. The hole itself will attract the attention of an animal. Bait and lure placed in the hole will add additional attraction’s to the set.
Any of the land-dwelling fur-bearers can be taken in a dirt hole set. The dirt hole set is especially effective for fox and coyotes. If you are trapping fox or coyote, add some fox or coyote urine to the backing, will help attract these animals.
Usually a dirt hole set in an open field setting. This set appeals to fox and coyote instincts to look for food buried by other animals and rodents.
The dirt hole set is like a flat set with a hole that bait or lure is placed into. Like the flat set, the dirt hole set also has a backing object behind the hole and trap placed in front of the object. The object can be almost anything. The most common objects used are chunks of tall grass, rocks, or small logs.
The use of the backing object is twofold. First, fox and coyotes are attracted to object that stick out. They tend to use them to urinate on to mark their territory. Second and most important, it directs them to the front of the set. By having the hole at the base of the backing object, the furbearer must investigate the hole from a particular side.
Dirt Hole Set Location
Keep in mind this type of set works best for fox and coyotes in open fields. Fox and coyotes don’t like to travel to close to the wood lines. They like a little distance between them and the woods. This is important when placing the dirt hole set. Place the set about 10-20 yards away from the wood line or fence line. This will also help the animals to spot it from a distance.
To make the hole you can either use a trowel and dig a small hole. Or, you can use a trap steak in a circular motion. Slant the hole towards the trap. The hole should be about 6-10 inches deep and offset from the trap pan about 2-4 inches. The offset from the pan is important. When the fox or coyotes come to investigate they will paw at the hole and one foot will be offset where the pan is.
To bait/ lure the hole many trappers use fox urine or a skunky scent. Place a little lure on a stick and place it in the hole. Next place a cotton ball in the hole. when a fox or coyote investigate the dirt hole set they will see the cotton in the hole and they will want it.
Don,t be afraid to experiment with different baits and lures. Many trappers will use parts of mice the catch around the house and garage. Also parts of fish
Steps for Making a Dirt Hole Set:
The Beaver Den
1. Locate a good backing for your set. The backing steers the animal into the hole set. A large clump of grass can be used as a backing, log, or tree.
2. Dig a hole that slants underneath the backing. Lay your dirt sifter nearby and put the dirt in the sifter as you dig.
3. The hole should be about 3 inches in diameter, about the size of a large coffee cup. Dig the hole about 6-10 inches deep.
4. Just in front of the hole, dig a bed for your trap. Dig this bed about the same size as the jaws of the trap.
5. Stake your trap down in the middle of the bed. Drive the stake all the way down.
6. Put the trap in the bed. When the trap is in place, it should be slightly below ground level.
7. Put a cover over the pan of your trap, and sift dirt through your dirt sifter to finish covering the trap.
8. When you are done sifting, make sure there is not a hump of dirt on the middle of the trap. Brush some off if necessary.
The dirt hole set is one of the most productive and easiest sets to make. The dirt hole set will not only trap fox and coyote but also every raccoon, opossum, and skunk for miles around. For this reason many trappers will prefer a flat set over a hole set when targeting fox and coyotes.