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I have heard a lot of people saying that they are using peat moss to freeze proof traps. I don't understand how this works because peat moss absorbs moisture and in freezing temps will also so freeze. If anybody uses peat moss for their traps let me know how it works
 

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Peat moss will take SOME moisture...better than dirt.....and if its dried before use, and you dont get rain or freeze/thaws with snow, it will stay dry and functional....

But you get a thaw or rain, and its probably slightly better than dry dirt...

Last season was brutal...freeze/thaw/heavy rain/snow/freeze/thaw..every week...i used peat..i used dry dirt...i used both mixed...i used it with flake antifreeze, glycol, etc....still couldnt win....

This year i feel "ready"....i was told to.make waxed dirt....i did....i tested it with a light shower with the hose.....water beaded off like no other....it was amazing...looks like dirt...smells like dirt....but seems to be about water proof....and it wasnt very hard to make...
 

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Mauser is right on. Peat doesn't absorb water like dirt does. It's put on top of flowerpots to let the water go down through it and keep water from evaporating out of the potting soil. Ron Marsh introduced me to waxed dirt about ten or twelve years ago, and I've used it ever since. However, one year I decided, after doing a lot of research on peat, I decided I'd try it, mainly because it's lightweight. That year, I had the same weather as what Mauser is describing. I had great big 25-pound pancakes of peat with a trap frozen somewhere in the middle. Meanwhile, it looked like the aftermath of coyote 'Dancing With The Stars' in the snow on top of the pancakes. I switched back to waxed dirt and never looked back. I believe if you're in a more moderate climate, like you are, it wouldn't be bad... but up here in NW PA I'll stick with my waxed dirt. There are also some bedding issues with peat; it doesn't pack, and it can blow around in wind. There are quite a few big-time trappers that use peat with good success though.
 

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should add, Ron has GREAT instructions for making waxed dirt on his web site!

i used the double boiler method...i already had dry dirt ready to go...i had blocks of wax so i used a cheese grader to get it to melt nicely..flake or bead wax would be better..probably more expensive than blocks of wax..i never looked..had blocks handy and didnt take long to grade it...


i cant wait to try it!

lugging dirt (or peat for that matter) around can be a pain if trapping on foot like i often do...but, i typically only trap later in the season...dry dirt from a set just doesnt exists..


i think it was #17 on here that turned me onto using long timber spike nails to bed a trap solid..they work well..and if using straight peat, its almost a must IMO because like Bob said, peat just doesnt pack worth a dang for me which always leads to a wobbly trap for me...
 

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One thing I've never tried even once was using wax dirt....so it might just be the cat's meow, I'm not sure.
But, I have never had any issues with straight peat moss freezing other than forming a thin crust on steps down dirtholes where the water had nowhere to evacuate.
I've snapped traps that were ponded over with water, 3-4" of water in the bowl, and when I fired them to pull them a big plume of dry peat came flying up out of the bed.
In last years sloppy conditions all season long I didn't have a single issue using straight peat.
And yeah Mauser, those spikes are essential to my method of using peat. Once the trap is spiked down, you can pack peat between the jaws, and around the jaws tight to the edge of the bed. Glad it works for you.
 

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I bed in peat moss from the beginning to the end of season.... Dig trap bed properly, not oversized, line bottom of bed including where the levers touch the ground. Fill bed half way with peat moss, place trap in bed and wiggle down into the peat. If the bed is properly sized the trap will be in contact on all sides and lever of the trap, there is no movement of the trap. Hand full of peat on top of the pan and inside the jaws. Scrape the peat to find the pan, once the pan is located, touch your index fingerss and thumbs together on both hands creating a circle, place circle over the pan and lean and push hard compacting the entire trap and peat inside and outside the jaws. Light sifting of native dirt to hold the peat in place, once again, scrape and find the pan, repeat the above process again, compacting the light covering of native dirt. Final light sifting and off you go. As 17 stated above, and I can attest even in hurricane conditions with inches of rain, when the trap is set off dust flies out of the bowl....I don't understand the what's and why's, but if you just accept it, you can sleep at night knowing the trap will fire if the pan is hit. Also, the initial covering in the trap bed and under the levers will prevent freeze down as the jaws and levers are not in contact with any dirt..... When done properly the only soft spot in the entire trap bed is the pan. Oh, before I forget I do not use pan covers, I use polyfill under the pan to prevent any obstructions under the pan.

Work with it and don't give up on it. Peat moss is a gift from the trapping gods. Good luck.
 

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I have had the same experiences as #17 and wardog. The only thing I do is when freezing and snow is in the forecast I use plain old table salt that you buy at the store for .79 cents per pound. Sprinkle a little in the bottom of your bed pre-peat. Add a little peat and sprinkle again. Bed trap add & pack peat sprinkle salt again and then cover with native sifted dirt and sprinkle a little more salt. Never had one freeze, never had one not snap and puff dry peat up at your face and I have never had deer or critters come licking the ground as some say happens. Theres not that much salt per layer. Maybe a teaspoon at the most. And I to use polyfill. I dig my bed deep enough so when the set is finished the finished grade of the final sifted native dirt is the same as whats outside the bed.
 

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Yes waxed dirt will pack better then peat. The trick with peat is to not cut your bed any bigger then the trap. And to sift your peat to get any sticks or large pieces out. I also use a trapper's cap ( using a cap you can pretty much stand on the trap to pack without it firing) and before the trap is put in the bed put just enough peat down to keep the trap from touching any dirt. But none of this matters if your trap is not bedded tight and has no wobbles. Thus the reason 17 uses a spike to stabilize his. All depends on your soil quality. If your trap wobbles you are not gonna catch much no matter what you pack in and around your trap to keep it working in the cold, white or wet conditions.
 

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I agree about some refusals, in the early season, but in the extreme cold, fox seem to plow into baited dirtholes with 100% peat moss.
 

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Renny28 said:
I'm still not totally convinced that peat does not get at least some refusals.
Scatter a couple of handfuls around the trap area (just toss it up in the air) and it gives them the chance to investigate the smell before they have their nose right on the trap bed. I feel the same way with using imported dirt....you know that dirt from under the bridge somebody dug up and waxed is not going to smell the same as that dark farmland dirt they are trapping in.
This is my belief about where most dug up traps come from as well. Not contaminated traps or wobbly traps, but simply a dirt pattern that appears fresh and inviting to dig in. Canines don't dig in the hole, they dig at the lip of the hole and rake the dirt back over the trap bed. If they don't get caught on that first step, and your trap is bedded up tight, and they decided they want what's in the hole, there is a good chance you are going to have a dug up trap!

I did have a coyote scratch open a beautifully blended flat set on the first night trapping a farm last year. I was using peat and I did not scatter any around because I was trying to be super sneaky, using just a turd on a tuft of grass for the attractor. I believe he smelled the "new" peat, but I also believe he would have smelled and dug the imported dirt as well.
 

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I havent used my.waxed dirt in a set....but its pretty much identical to dry dirt...wont clump but will pack like a dream...

I need to make a bunch more yet....3gal wont get me too far...
 

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Fairchild #17 said:
One thing I've never tried even once was using wax dirt....so it might just be the cat's meow, I'm not sure.
But, I have never had any issues with straight peat moss freezing other than forming a thin crust on steps down dirtholes where the water had nowhere to evacuate.
I've snapped traps that were ponded over with water, 3-4" of water in the bowl, and when I fired them to pull them a big plume of dry peat came flying up out of the bed.
In last years sloppy conditions all season long I didn't have a single issue using straight peat.
And yeah Mauser, those spikes are essential to my method of using peat. Once the trap is spiked down, you can pack peat between the jaws, and around the jaws tight to the edge of the bed. Glad it works for you.
We must be a little bit more severe in our temp swings. Here in N/W Pa that little crust becomes 1" or more. IMO if the ice cap is thick enough to carry the foxes weigh (about 1 1/2 per foot) then the trap will not be fired.
I do like using the spikes or sharpened dowel rods to stabilize traps.
 

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It is a little frustrating when you have the perfect skim of snow, and a red fox tramps right on your pan and the trap doesn't spring, because the rain came first and the crust is too thick. I use hulls because I have had many problems with peat- on thing I'm planning on trying this year is spraying the top dressing with glycol.
 

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dawalt said:
Wardog, how deep are you digging your beds?
Don't really think about that, not being a smrat alec, but deep enough. I dig the middle of the bed deeper than the edges. When the bed is dug, I pound in a wolf fang until the first swivel is under ground, coil the remaining chain in the bottom of the bed, then pound the chain deep into the dirt....I'm talking hammering the chain and swivels into the dirt, there is only enough chain to allow the trap to sit on the edge of the bed to allow for me to set the trap, then it is just a few links of chain and trap side swivel to deal with in the final bedding.

As far as refusals, I'm sure there are some, however, many things can cause refusals. I believe if the presentation is good, and what's in the hole stinks worse/better than the trap and or bed, the odds are in your favor that they will be hooked up.

2 more today, 6 total so far this year, all using peat.. See the garbage bag in the bed, that is peat used to fill my carry bucket.
 

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I've got nearly a whole bale of very well dried peat, but I had opened it and taken some out- years ago, and mice took that shed over. So if I decided to make a set with that peat, I'd have bits of it scattered about, maybe make it look like a dug out mouse nest. You think the trap will still get dug up or no?
 

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I've used nothing but peet the last few years. This year already, I've caught seven fox with peat and three yotes. Like wardog said I scatter the peat mosss so it's not concentrated to just one area above my trap. It got down to 21 degrees last night. Having said that, this years peat I got from the store was a little damp and for the first time this morning I had a few crusted over traps on top only. I peeled it off and it was dry underneath. Today, when my buddy gets here in about another hour and a half; we are going out and resetting a bunch with the 15 gals of waxed dirt he made this year. This year is my first year in trying it and I already have a few sets in with it and I caught a yote in one but got there only to find a few toes. I'm sick about it and I screwed up big time. I should have put two and two together but didn't. Make sure your pan tension is a little tighter if your going to switch to waxed dirt and using a pan cover. It's heavy an will cause your trap to fire earlier than with peat. I learned this the hardway. I'm running four pounds on my waxed dirt sets from here on out. I started the season at that but missed some fox, so I lighten some up and forgot to retighten.

After I redo some sets today with waxed dirt I'm still planning on putting a dusting down of peat so I can scatter it around and try not to have it concentrated in one area. I don't want to scatter and waste the waxed dirt so I'm going to try the waxed just with the trap and no scattering. Then I'll cover with a thin and I mean thin layer of peat so I can scatter the peat around and I'll probably sift an almost transparent layer of local dirt from around the set over it. Any input grately appreciated it.
 
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