Positive sets and trail sets are the way to go in many, if not most circumstances for woodchucks and skunks as well as other creatures. It is what we rely on easily more than 95% of the time. In the 80’s we made the switch from dirt hole sets to trail sets for bobcats quickly as the terrain was conducive to that type of baitless trapping. However, though great for bobcats, we did frequently miss fox that were not always running the trails for long distances as they are no doubt more “nose” hunters than bobcats that rely on sight. At any rate, by modifying the set we ended up with a gland lured trail set in this case, equally effective for both ‘cats and fox with no down side. The way we knew we had been missing foxes in trail sets alone was after changing the system, our fox catch tripled, which made it equal to the ‘cat take.
Still using baitless sets for the bulk of what we do in ADC, we realized that we could incorporate a similar program with trail sets for skunks for instance. Where motels are crowded in resort areas we often find narrowed locations, perfect for “trail” sets. A small amount of drift fencing with aluminum sheets will put the skunks into the traps, but skunks don’t always run the same spots each night, so there can be gaps in catching. By adding small baits on each end of the trap outside of the trap, it seems to make the jobs go faster. They eat the bait on one end, then move to the other side of the trap for the rest, caught! Additionally we put a longer piece of sheet metal aluminum on top of the trap so that it extends beyond the set doors to cover the bait in case of rain.
There has so far been no down side to this program that utilizes the narrowing of trails and baiting, which seems to speed the trapping process. It’s no surprise that this has worked so well as it is basically the same that has been accomplished when trapping predators along fences on the outside of rabbit pens where hunters run dogs.