Creativity Pays With K9′s: Dirthole Concepts


Pursuit of the mighty k9 has intrigued many trappers for many years. Some of us who try and outsmart these cagey critters are often discouraged when we trappers are the ones getting outsmarted. Maybe a little variety is all you need to jumpstart your line.

I myself like to experiment with my sets in many different ways. Every location presents a different set of circumstances, between type of habitat, to wind direction, and even different levels of human pressure are the things I take into consideration. If you go into the same location year after year or even a new location and plug in the same sets throughout you will find the catches on k9s will start out really strong then die out just as quickly, this is where variety has it’s strength.

A Dirthole is a very effective tool for catching all varieties of k9s, a few variations on them are even more irresistible! A few of my personal favorite variations are, the double dirthole, the post hole, the trench, and the bank hole( or what I call the reverse dirthole).

Double Dirthole

The Double Dirthole is just as the name says two dirtholes one set. Now there are variations within this set that can keep it from getting old. The first is the side by side holes, dug at the typical 45* angle deep and baseball sized. The holes should be placed as such so if you were to draw a line straight out from each hole they would intersect exactly over the pan.

You can change this set up a few different ways. You can make the holes directly across from each other, or just change the angle and size of the holes. All variations of this set do one thing bring two points if interest or curiosity to each set, what goes down the hole if anything at all is left up to you.

Post Hole Set

The Post Hole set is new to my line this year but will be on my agenda each year. My version of this set is a 8″ to 12″ hole dug straight down as if I was going to put a fence post in. I have found that it works at multiple depths but I would recommend a minimum of 12″ deep. As you are digging the hole pile the dirt 3/4 around the hole leaving a gap to place your trap bed. Dig your trap bed at the top edge of hole facing downwind. Bed the trap and cover as you would for any dirt hole.

To bait this set I make two to three small holes in the side wall of the post hole with my stake driver and put a little bit of a curiosity or call lure in each one. When the animal approaches it will look for the easiest access point which is where the dirt is not piled, and voila you have a catch! There are many different variations on this set as well, just make it your own.

Trench Set with a log covering
┬áThe Trench Set seems to becoming more an more popular with some of the top coyote trappers in the U.S. This set is basically a Dirthole opened up, a tunnel with no roof. With this set I dig my trap bed and with my digging hammer chop a trench straight back into tall weeds or grass, don’t be afraid to make a mess. At the end of your trench you take a stake driver and punch two small lure holes and apply lure. Sometimes I take a log or rock and place it over the very end so it needs to be worked harder. This set creates the illusion of an animal that tunneled into the weeds and looks like an easy meal to any unsuspecting k9.

Top View of Reverse Dirthole

The last but not least of my Dirthole variations is the Bank Hole set or what I like to call the Reverse Dirthole. This set can really trick the keenest of k9′s. I use this set on river banks or in gravel beds, as they present the best natural terrain for this set. Once you find a cut out steep bank that was just made for this set, dig a hole about 2′-3′ from the top of the bank. When you dig a hole don’t just dig a mouse hole, dig a hole that a coyote can see, make a mess!

Front View of Reverse Dirthole

At this point I always bait the hole so I don’t need to travel down the bank twice, I always use a good amount of a loud bait. Make your way to the top of the bank without disturbing to much and dig your trap bed directly in line with your hole 6″ from the edge of the drop off. Blend in the trap an walk away. Any k9 that catches a whiff or spots the hole will first investigate from the top of the bank, and the rest is history.

It is easy to get stuck in a “rut” making the same old sets season in and season out. You will see a difference adding sets like these to your line. There are many more k9 set types to get creative with, these are just a few that have worked for me. Keep those k9′s guessing!

Happy Trapping :)

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Categories : Running With RBC

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