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The Dirt Hole set*

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 furbearers can be taken in a dirt hole set.  The dirt hole set is especially effective for fox and coyotes.  If you are trapping for fox or coyote, some fox or coyote urine applied to the backing will help attract these animals.

Steps for Making a Dirt Hole Set

  • Select a good backing for the set.

  • Dig a hole that slants underneath the backing.

  • Dig a bed in front of the hole for your trap.

  • Bed the trap and cover it.

  • Put bait in the bottom of the hole and cover it.

  • Put lure on the edge of the hole.

  • If you are trapping for fox or coyotes, put urine on the backing.


1.  Locate a good backing for your set. The backing steers the animal into your trap. Here a large clump of grass is used as a backing.



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 8 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.
9. Use a spoon or flat stick to put bait in the bottom of the hole. Be careful not to spill any bait on your trap bed.



10. Gather up some dry material and wad it into a ball. Push this into the bottom of the hole to cover the bait. This will hide the bait.
11. Apply some lure to the back edge of the hole. Dip a small twig in the lure bottle and stick it in the dirt at the edge of the hole.



12. To finish the set, apply some fox urine to the backing. A squirt bottle is very handy for applying urine.

*Editor's note:  This information has been copied from the Ohio Division of Wildlife's website and Trapper Education Manual.  The ODNR's copyright policy states "Information presented on this (Ohio Division of Wildlife) site is considered public information and may be distributed or copied unless otherwise noted. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is required."  Wild-About-Trapping.com has taken all possible steps to comply with the ODNR policy and thanks them for the generous use of this information.  We sincerely hope that young trappers will make the best of this information to increase their trapping enjoyment and success.

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