by Tony Hursman in Alabama
The First picture in the series is a location pic of the set up area. In this location there is a corn field that borders a very thick and brushy area. This area is loaded with rabbit sign and coon sign, which equal great food items for the bobcat. There is a ton of briars and thistle trees which make getting in there tough. The cats and coyotes won't hesitate to walk the edges looking for rabbits heading to the picked corn fields. There are rabbit tracks and trails along with coon and bobcat sign along this edge. I found one set of coyote tracks so catching a coyote is not out of the question.
The second picture in the series is where we have the hole dug out and all the dirt put to one side of the hole. I dug this hole under a good size grass wad, so this root system will give the hole some stability for the wet weather expected. The hole wont collapse when wet. Off to the side you can see the small shovel handle, which is what I use to dig the hole, then I have some long distance call lure and some bobcat bait. Then we have a Montana number 3 offset trap with 4 coiling and a cable anchor attached to the trap, along with the setting tool. These are the items we will be using to dig the set and finish the hole.
The next picture in the series shows where we have dug our trap bed and that dirt is added to the pile on the left of hole. Now normally if I am just targeting bobcats I will put the trap about half as close as it is now in the picture. But since there is also a chance for a coyote I will pull the trap back further for the chance to snag the coyote as well. This will also catch the cat.
The next pic shows where we have the trap set and back in the bed. Now we will give the trap some good solid twisting motions to make it solid to the bottom of the bed. This is a dog-less trap. Setting the dog so that it wont throw the foot isn't necessary. So what we need to do is make sure the trap is set so the bobcat or coyote will have to have the foot cross between the jaws of the trap. Now if we were using a dog on a trap we would set the trap with the dog at the 2 o'clock position, as this would keep the dog to the right of the hole and hopefully away from the foot. Notice the size of the hole we have dug. It's bigger than the trap. That's why I call it the big flashy dirt hole set.
Now the next picture shows where I have added the dirt around the trap and packed the dirt tight to the trap. I cant stress this any harder. Pack the trap tight to the bed. A loose trap is your worse enemy. If once you reach this point and you take your finger and push on the jaws of the trap and it moves a little, start over as the trap is not bedded solidly enough. You dont want the trap to move at all. Once you have the trap bedded and it doesn't move then you are ready for the next step in the series.
Now the next picture in the series shows where we have put the screen cover (or what ever you decide to use) over the trap pan, but you can use a trapper's cap or a coffee filter cut to shape or a grass wad under the pan. What ever you do make sure that the dirt can't get under the trap pan. Once the cover is in place we will use some of the dry dirt and cover the trap with about 1/2 inch of the dirt and blend the dirt into the surrounding cover.
Now what! The next picture in the series is to add the dirt that is setting on the left side of the set along the edge of the trap. We want to build up the edge around the hole to make it truly stand out from the surrounding area. This is where the flashy part of the set comes into play. What we are trying to do by this is imitate the ground hog's hole in appearance. No predator can pass by a mound of dirt without having a look down that hole. Remember to leave open the area in front of the trap as this will be a guide to put them in the trap. They will dig at the hole at the lowest point, that being where the trap is. So mound the dirt high using every bit of the dirt that you have dug from the area, leaving the space in front of the trap open.
The next picture in the series shows the hole with the bait added to the bottom of the hole and a grass plug added. This serves several purposes for this set up. It covers the bait from birds of prey that will be flying overhead and will also force the animal to physically remove it to get to the bait. So don't pack the hole too tight with grass, just enough to cover the bait, and enough to give him a mouth full of grass to remove. This makes him spend more time working the set to get after the bait.
Now the final picture in the series is the picture I have taken of the hole from a distance. If you look you can see the hole stands out quite well and off to the left of the trap is a nice trail leading to the fence and the thick cover. So now we have the big flashy dirt hole set on location and on sign. This has been my best producing cat set this year. I hope it will help some of you guys to take your first cat.
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