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Why did my wax dirt fail? #7718742
11/16/22 12:54 AM
11/16/22 12:54 AM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 4,084
Idaho Falls, ID
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Grandpa Trapper Offline OP
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Grandpa Trapper  Offline OP
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Joined: Nov 2011
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Idaho Falls, ID
Last summer I made a batch of wax dirt using the solar method. I did the water test by placing drops of water on the finished wax dirt and the drops beaded off the dirt like it should instead of sinking into the dirt.
My nephew and I set 22 traps for coyotes using the wax dirt. The day after we made the sets it snowed 2 inches. The next few days the sun in the daytime melted some of the snow but in the night it would get below freezing. After it snowed, I scraped the snow of the trap beds. Six days later, I pulled the traps but the traps were caked into the soil almost like concrete and I had to chip the traps out. Each trap was frozen into the ground and the pans would have never fired. Any ideas what went wrong?

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7718753
11/16/22 01:57 AM
11/16/22 01:57 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 442
Wyoming
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ttzt Offline
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ttzt  Offline
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Posts: 442
Wyoming
I have had that happen when I used almost, but not quite enough wax. Water will bead up for a while, but over time will seep into the dirt. Now when I test I put some of the dirt in a small container and make a bowl shape in the dirt, fill it with water and put it in the freezer. I want to be able to lift out a chunk of ice with no dirt attached. This picture also shows why I don't want a low spot in my trap pattern when using waxed dirt, I actually want it to be a little high over the trap so melting snow runs off.

[Linked Image]

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7718778
11/16/22 05:04 AM
11/16/22 05:04 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,554
Pa
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Wright Brothers Offline
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Wright Brothers  Offline
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Pa
Did you insulate the bottom and sides of the bed with WD?
Think drainage.
Being where you came from, I thought you would ace the new to you terrain.

If not enough wax, you might test that with WD in bag and water in the freezer.
THE wax amount can be adjusted with the microwave. For troubleshooting.

Edit. I see the freezer was mentioned, we think alike.

Last edited by Wright Brothers; 11/16/22 05:06 AM.




Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7719000
11/16/22 10:27 AM
11/16/22 10:27 AM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,647
Idaho
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bearcat2 Offline
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Idaho
Maybe not enough wax? I had half a five gallon bucket of waxed dirt in the back of my truck this year that the lid got a crack in. Opened it up to use it and had a cake of ice on top, finally got the ice broken so I could get it out of the bucket and took out a four inch thick chunk of ice off the top of my waxed dirt, had just enough dirt stuck to the bottom to look dirty. Rest of the dirt in the bucket was still dry and good.

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: bearcat2] #7719072
11/16/22 12:10 PM
11/16/22 12:10 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 243
Mesa,Washington.
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Mark McCary Offline
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Mesa,Washington.
It sounds like You did not use enough wax dirt on the bottom of the trap? Their should be no untreated dirt touching the trap at ALL. Too properly bed a #3 or #4 coil spring trap I will use close to a 1/2 gallon of waxed dirt. Also I prefer the Brown coffee filters for a pan cover. Waxed dirt can keep traps working for a long time if you fine tune your system. Good Luck!

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Wright Brothers] #7719077
11/16/22 12:15 PM
11/16/22 12:15 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 4,084
Idaho Falls, ID
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Grandpa Trapper Offline OP
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Idaho Falls, ID
Originally Posted by Wright Brothers
Did you insulate the bottom and sides of the bed with WD?
Think drainage.
Being where you came from, I thought you would ace the new to you terrain.

If not enough wax, you might test that with WD in bag and water in the freezer.
THE wax amount can be adjusted with the microwave. For troubleshooting.

Edit. I see the freezer was mentioned, we think alike.


Actually, when I lived in PA I never used wax dirt. I used salt, propylene glycol, ant hill dirt, etc. Started to use wax dirt when I moved out here. I thought I made it right but apparently still have some things to learn.

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7719151
11/16/22 01:39 PM
11/16/22 01:39 PM
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 179
wisconsin
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Muskratwalt Offline
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wisconsin
I would guess that you aren't using enough wax dirt in the bottom of your trap bed. The only time I have ever had traps freezing in with wax dirt was when I did not use any on the bottom and just covered the Trap itself. Now I use a lot more wax dirt in the Trap bed then I used to it is well worth it. I live in Central Wisconsin and usually don't trap coyotes until later in the fall and without wax dirt in good amounts at the set I would be out of luck.


Walt legge
Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: ttzt] #7719206
11/16/22 02:53 PM
11/16/22 02:53 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 4,084
Idaho Falls, ID
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Grandpa Trapper Offline OP
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Grandpa Trapper  Offline OP
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Sounds
Originally Posted by ttzt
I have had that happen when I used almost, but not quite enough wax. Water will bead up for a while, but over time will seep into the dirt. Now when I test I put some of the dirt in a small container and make a bowl shape in the dirt, fill it with water and put it in the freezer. I want to be able to lift out a chunk of ice with no dirt attached. This picture also shows why I don't want a low spot in my trap pattern when using waxed dirt, I actually want it to be a little high over the trap so melting snow runs off.

[Linked Image]


Sounds like step down dirt hole sets are not a good idea when you have to depend on wax dirt to do itís job. Do you have refusals when you have your pan set higher?

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7719385
11/16/22 06:49 PM
11/16/22 06:49 PM
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Frazee, MN
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backroadsarcher Offline
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When I bed my traps I do so in the waxed dirt and then cover with wax dirt. I am not real certain but sounds like you might be short on the wax.

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7719389
11/16/22 06:55 PM
11/16/22 06:55 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,865
North Central Idaho
Jumperzee Offline
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North Central Idaho
Grandpa, it happens. A lot, particularly in the slush, for all the reasons mentioned above (drainage). Waxed dirt will eventually give up, especially if flooded. The amount of wax it would take to hermetically seal the dirt would be cost prohibitive and not practical. Coarse sand or fine gravel seems to work the best.

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7720160
11/17/22 03:33 PM
11/17/22 03:33 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 3,554
Pa
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Wright Brothers Offline
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Pa
I think all those demos and articles about the pan being the lowest spot hurt more
trappers than it helped. Where does the water go that is going to freeze.
Fair weather fox trapping maybe. Coyotes I think not.
Ever notice tracks all around except the low spot? I have.
Drainage man, drainage.
The very best tip for freeze thaw, go South lol.
Go get em Grandpa, we know you can. Cat prime time yet?





Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7720397
11/17/22 07:41 PM
11/17/22 07:41 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 3,113
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Boone Liane Offline
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Originally Posted by Grandpa Trapper
Sounds
Originally Posted by ttzt
I have had that happen when I used almost, but not quite enough wax. Water will bead up for a while, but over time will seep into the dirt. Now when I test I put some of the dirt in a small container and make a bowl shape in the dirt, fill it with water and put it in the freezer. I want to be able to lift out a chunk of ice with no dirt attached. This picture also shows why I don't want a low spot in my trap pattern when using waxed dirt, I actually want it to be a little high over the trap so melting snow runs off.

[Linked Image]


Sounds like step down dirt hole sets are not a good idea when you have to depend on wax dirt to do itís job. Do you have refusals when you have your pan set higher?



Step downs are never a great choice in any real weather. Collects water, snow, etc.

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7720510
11/17/22 09:23 PM
11/17/22 09:23 PM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,647
Idaho
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bearcat2 Offline
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Idaho
Only stepdown sets I make are trap sets in the snow. Due to terrain and where I think the critter is going to step I may occasionally set the trap in the natural low spot, but if I am making a set I never intentionally make the trap placement the lowest spot.

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7720604
11/18/22 12:52 AM
11/18/22 12:52 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 442
Wyoming
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ttzt Offline
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Wyoming
I don't use the step down dirt hole, I have tried it, but like Boone said it is just going to catch snow, which in my part of the world is going to melt soon and then freeze again.

I really never have worried about having a low spot over the pan no matter the weather or covering. But when using waxed dirt I think it is very important NOT to have a low spot.

Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7720704
11/18/22 07:32 AM
11/18/22 07:32 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 7,589
Firth, Nebraska
jabNE Offline
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Firth, Nebraska
Yep agree step down or low trap beds are just little swimming pools waiting to be filled up with rain, melted snow, you name it. If the moisture canít drain. The waxed dirt isnít what failed itís the moisture freezing thatís held in that low dish trap bed and canít get away that freezes. You can try to add more wax when you make it next time too, always adjust to find the blend that works for you most of the time. But often the bed is an issue. Put waxed dirt i a small bowl and put it outside in the sun in winter. Eventually snow melt or light rain will freeze in that bowl because it canít get away. Dirt may be water proofed but it becomes surrounded by moisture and that freezes like a rock sticking the dirt together with it.
Either make a drain channel if you have a lot of moisture or put a low flattened top mound of soil up next to your dirt hole and bed the trap on the top of that low mound. You can set on a low hillside too, with moisture draining away from the set. Iíve had good luck too just scooping things out and resetting after a moisture spell.
Waxed dirt below, waxed paper over the trap, and a little waxed dirt sifted over the trap. I donít put any dirt from the set itself over it to blend it it. That will just crust over and freeze and defeat my efforts.
Jim

Last edited by jabNE; 11/18/22 07:35 AM.

Money cannot buy you happiness, but it can buy you a trapping license and that's pretty close.
Re: Why did my wax dirt fail? [Re: Grandpa Trapper] #7721592
11/19/22 09:58 AM
11/19/22 09:58 AM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 2,688
E central Il
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E central Il
To each his own but in my country we constantly have freeze thaw conditions. I can not use waxed paper without having issues of condensation under the wax paper over time . Itís pretty common for me to have traps set for 7 to 10 days without a visit, that is long enough for a chunk of ice to form under my pan and wax paper. In the last few years Iíve been using dry peat under my trap and under my pan with no pan cover and then top coat with waxed dirt .
I donít know yet if itís a cure all for every weather situation but it seems to keep them working for a few weeks at a time .

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