Over the years I have relied heavily on the dirt hole and flat sets when trapping coyotes. If I was told tomorrow that I had to choose only one set for the remainder of my trapping life, I would choose the flat set. Without question, most of my canine catches have come at a flat set.
One reason I prefer the flat over the dirt hole is because of all the non-target catches that I make at a hole set. I use bait at my dirt holes, which seem to attract every coon, possum and skunk within a hundred-mile radius. When I make such catches, I manage to put a smile on my face ,and remember any catch will help during these days of low fur prices. I still catch my share of coyotes at a dirt hole, but my favorite is, and always will be a flat set.
As the name implies, a dirt hole set requires a hole with bait inserted in the hole. The trap is bedded and covered with dirt from the hole. A properly made dirt hole set will appear as if the dirt covering the trap came from the hole you had dug. This is fine for foxes that bury their food, and then come back later for an easy meal. This is something that coyotes do not do though.
With a flat set there is an actual attractor above the ground instead of a hole. Another difference between a hole and flat set is that the trap is blended in at a flat set to match the surrounding terrain.
The visual attractor or backing at a flat set can be anything from a rock, chunk of wood, a bleached bone or a clump of grass. When the ground has a covering of snow, I have found dark bird feathers (crow feathers) really stand out and grab the attention of a passing coyote.
As I mentioned earlier, a trap should be blended in a flat set. I want everything to appear 100 percent natural (undisturbed in appearance) when I am finished making the set. If I am not able to make a natural looking set all is not lost. In a situation like this I go to the set location and prepare an area of about 15 x 15-feet to make the ground covering in that area look consistent. Within a couple of days, this area will appear aged. I can then go in and make a flat set that appears natural.
In this video I will show you how I make a flat set.