Trapping Coyotes: How To Make A Dirt Hole Set (Episode 272 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: We’ve had another great year of trapping, here at The Proving Grounds, and refined our techniques a bit. We want to share those techniques so you can do a good job of balancing the predator/prey population at your Proving Grounds. Recently, we showed you how Clint makes a flat set, and that’s proven highly effective for us. There are many sets known to catch coyotes, but without a doubt, the most common set is the dirt hole set.

CLINT: Lift it up on this, to make like a pocket in the back…

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GRANT: This week, we want to share the step-by-step details of how Clint makes a dirt hole set.

CLINT: We’re gonna put a dirt hole in the side of this bank. Our last set was a flat set. Now, we’re gonna mix it up and throw a dirt hole in here, because Grant’s seen coyotes running up and down this road a lot on his trail cameras. And it’s the same on every property, coyotes run the road. So we’re gonna try and put one right here in his face, as he’s running up and down this road. Now, the flat set that we put in, we used a bone for the visual, and it still wasn’t just standing out real plain, like this dirt hole’s gonna be. We’ve got this bank right here, and you can put a dirt hole in on flat ground. You’re gonna give it an angle, or there’s a million variations to any set. But being as we’re given this bank that’s got a little bit of slope to it anyway, we’re gonna put our dirt hole in right in the side of this bank. And it’s gonna be real showy, so the coyote has something that really stands out for his visual appeal.

CLINT: So, what we’ve done here to get a dirt hole in this bank, to have some visual, is I’ve taken my pick ax and I chopped out a pretty long trench with it. And what I’m doing there is kind of lining the coyote up with the trench, and then, I just took, and if you can see how deep that goes, and I lift it up on this, to make like a pocket in the back of that, and it actually goes in at a angle. It’s gonna be really, really hard for a coyote to get to any bait that’s down in the bottom of that hole. So what I’m doing is increasing the intrigue of this set, because he can’t get it out; he can see it there; he smells the odor coming out of that hole. And where I see him putting his feet, as he’s pacing and trying to work it, are right here more than anywhere. So instead of having that trap up close on this one, we’re gonna have the trap out here at the mouth of this trench, just because of the way the situation dictates. That’s where I see him stepping. Like I say, there’s no right or wrong, it’s just – I just look at it and try to visualize where I see the coyote working the set. And I’m just using eighth inch cable and I’m gonna tie it off to this tree over here. I’m gonna attach that to my trap.

CLINT: It’s gonna be easier than driving the rebar in the ground. Plus, it has the advantage of the coyote can get caught and get away from this set. And this set is still be very well intact, after even a catch. All we’ll have to do is just open the trap up and put it right back in the bed. He won’t tear up a circle, like he does when you stake ‘em down.

CLINT: When I’m using these cable tie offs, I’m gonna dig back just a small trench, to lay this chain in, but just about yay far, about half an arm’s length. And then, the rest of it, I’m just take these leaves and start covering up, so we don’t spook the coyote. Once you get up there to that tree, I don’t worry about covering it up, or digging anything to cover it up with, anyway.

CLINT: Now, just like we showed you on the flat set, you’ve got to protect underneath the pan of that trap, so that it can go down when a coyote steps on it. On the flat set, we showed you how to use the wire screen to protect it – we laid it over the pan. This time, I’m just gonna show you using some polyfill, and basically, all that polyfill is is pillow stuffing. You can get it almost anywhere, and neither one of ‘em is – I prefer either one. Uh, they’re both good methods of protecting it. I just want you to have some options. I just take that polyfill and shove it up under the pan.

CLINT: I’m gonna slightly blend this one, just because it’s gonna be hard for it not to stand out.

CLINT: I’ve got this set completed, and as you can see, the dirt hole and the flat set – the concept is always the same. You want your trap bedded solid. You want it covered up. We didn’t have to put leaves on top of this one, but we did, just because we’re trying to blend it a little bit. But the dirt hole is just a good visual, and basically, it’s called that, because your bait’s going in an actual hole in the ground. Now, we’re gonna bait this dirt hole. And something I like to do is when you’re on trapping on roads is throw a little bit of free bites out there in the middle of the road. What that does is helps slow that coyote down – in case the wind is wrong – in case he’s got something on his mind, he’s not looking over here. That out there in the middle of the road, right under his nose, should slow him down and get him to working this area a little bit better. It gives you a better chance of him seeing your dirt hole over here.

CLINT: Now we’re just gonna throw some bait in the bottom of this hole.

CLINT: You can see how I’m pushing that up under there. It’s gonna be real hard for him to steal that bait.

CLINT: I’m gonna throw the stick, with all that odor on it, out there in the middle of the road, too.

CLINT: So, we’ve got our dirt hole ready and maybe we’ll have a coyote right here.

GRANT: Once Clint had done the hard work of making some sets and sharing the information with us, we were eager to check our traps every morning and see if we’d caught some fawn nabbers.

ADAM: Well, another day here at The Proving Grounds. Been a great start, so far. Had a raccoon in a Duke cage trap. Moved on down the line, and we got a coyote. Unfortunately, this coyote happens to be just covered in mange. He’s nasty; he’s got sores all over him. Looks like he’s in terrible health, so we’re gonna be happy about getting him out of the herd and have a few more happy poults and fawns this spring.

GRANT: Mange, or canine scabies, is caused by a little mite that gets in canine hair follicles. And it can spread rapidly through coyote populations, especially, when they’re over populated and sharing dens, or around each other all the time. And it can cause massive hair loss, cause these animals to literally freeze to death, during these really cold days. It’s a horrible way for a coyote to die. Trapping is not only a way to balance the predator/prey population, but to keep healthier coyotes. And we want healthy populations of all species.

GRANT: It’s a good morning, when we catch one coyote, but this particular morning was about to be a great morning.

ADAM: Well, we rolled down the bottom. We’re actually in the same field that we caught the last coyote. We have another one here. This is the exact spot where I filmed Clint Cary do a whole demonstration on how to make a flat set. He used a tuft of grass that was higher than the rest of this area. Big difference between this coyote and the last one – this one has a beautiful pelt and he’s got a lot of red in, a lot more red than usual. Once we get it tanned out, it’ll be a beautiful pelt to hang on the wall.

GRANT: So far that morning, Adam and Daniel had caught two coyotes and a raccoon.

ADAM: And then, I’ll do the price is right, and I’ll say 24.

DANIEL: We’ll split it – 23 ½.

ADAM: Really?

GRANT: At one of the last traps they were checking that morning, they had another surprise.

ADAM: That is one big coyote. What? I’m guessing 28, 29 pounds. I’m gonna, I’m gonna go that far.

DANIEL: He’s just tall.

ADAM: Really tall. He’s a lot of legs. He could run something down, that’s for sure. Probably even me, especially late season when I got all my clothes on. I’d probably just lay there. Well, so we got a raccoon that was 15 ½, coyote that was 22, and another coyote that was 23 ½.  My goodness, and then, whatever this one’s gonna weigh.

ADAM: We need a bigger scale.

DANIEL: Bigger scale.

ADAM: ‘Cause it bottoms out 28.

ADAM: Ready?

ADAM: We’re gonna weigh the coyote on the deer scale. We’re off the ground, right there. Looks like it weighs – oh my goodness – this says 35 pounds. So that puts our total up to 97 pounds for the day. Ninety-seven pounds of predator removed in one day here at The Proving Grounds. Best trapping day of the season, so far.

GRANT: We’ve had a great trapping season and removed 52 predators from The Proving Grounds, including opossums, raccoons, and coyotes. Unfortunately, Missouri’s trapping season ends at the end of January. Many states allow year round trapping, where they need to balance the predator/prey population, or at least, extend it closer to the fawning and nesting season. It’s important to understand that trapping is not a once and done management technique. We’ve been trapping every year for many years in a row, and we’ve noticed a trend that we’re catching significantly more males than females, as the males are dispersing and filling the void, here at The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: Throughout most of the European settlement of North America, trappers are in high demand. They gathered pelts and sold them to European, or other markets. Today, the Chinese and Russian markets are the strongest pelt markets. But those economies are way down, and therefore, they’re not buying many pelts. Trappers simply don’t have as big of market for their pelts as they used to have, and many trappers cannot afford to trap, given the current pelt prices. In that situation, it’s allowed predator numbers to be as high as they’ve ever been, throughout most of the whitetails’ range. As wildlife managers, we’re always looking for ways to improve our habitat and wildlife populations. And at our property, trapping is certainly a viable tool to improve the wildlife populations. Trapping’s a lot of work and energy. It usually requires checking traps daily. But if you follow the techniques we’ve used, a short burst of trapping can make a difference at your Proving Grounds.

TRACY: (Inaudible)

GRANT: Even though trapping season is closed, we’ve always got reasons to get outside and enjoy Creation. Ms. Tracy, Adam, and I are really looking forward to starting our shed hunting season, and we’ll keep you posted on our results.

ADAM: Even though it’s super cold out today, Grant and I are getting fired up for turkey season.

GRANT: Here’s a great opportunity – register to win the sweepstakes at and, to double your chances for an all expense paid trip to come hunt with Adam and I at the famous Redneck Farms. Lots of turkeys. We’ll be calling and filming, putting you right in front of a big old Missouri gobbler. Contest closes March 31st, but we’re gonna announce the winner April 1st.

ADAM: We look forward to hunting with you.

GRANT: Even if you don’t have time to trap at your Proving Grounds, I hope you do take time to get out each week and enjoy Creation. But most importantly, take time each day and be quiet, and listen to what The Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching

ADAM: 20? 21?

DANIEL: 21. No, we said 22.

ADAM: Oh yeah. The other one’s 22. That’s one 23.

DANIEL: That’s what I was gonna say.

ADAM: And then, I’ll do the price is right, and I’ll say 24.