High School Students Make Dirt Hole Sets For Coyotes

Leave Noting In The Tank.

Brad Gill | April 4, 2023

John Henry Spann helps his daughter Theresa take notes on her trap line during the 2022 GTA Youth Trapping Competition.

I recently excepted an invite to spend 90 minutes with some high-school students at St. John Bosco Academy in Cumming. The subject was one of my favorites: coyote trapping. You know you love it when there’s no notes or outline needed to prepare. Just be there, run my mouth about a God-given passion and show kids how to put steel in the dirt. Sign me up!

John Henry Spann is the Dean of Academics at St. John Bosco Academy. He’s a hunter and trapper, too, spending many of his weekend hours teaching his own kids the passion. Heck, this daddy runs a morning trap line with his son before it’s time to shower and hit the school yard.

Once he’s cleaned up and wearing khakis, he continues to spread his outdoor passion through a wildlife class. Not talking bird watching and nature hikes here, but best baits for bass, what makes a turkey gobble, guns, deer-hunting, dirt-hole sets… it’s a real-deal education these kids from Forsyth County are getting. I’d venture to say some of them would never be exposed to this stuff it weren’t for John Henry.

Friday, March 24, was my turn to speak. I was following Lee Ellis with Seek One… told you they learning some pretty solid stuff here.

There were 13 higher schoolers in my outside class. Within two minutes, I was in the catchers position showing them the mechanics of a dirt-hole set; how I pick my spot for the actual dirt hole, how deep to dig it, what angle to dig and so forth. Then I took an MB-550 leg-hold and started digging. If they didn’t get anything else out of our time together, I wanted them to know how to properly bed a trap and make sure there was no wobble at all.

“Any wobble and that coyote is headed down the road,” I shared.

Trap secured, I grabbed my sifter, covered the trap and spent a couple of minutes blending everything in while showing the students what I do to up my odds that a coyote will step exactly on the trap’s pan.

After some head shakes of approval, it was their turn.

What did a group of Forsyth County kids think about what a redneck from Putnam County had to say? I wondered as they spread out along the edge of the powerpuff practice field (pretty good mult-use area I thought) with MB-550s in their hands?

Thirteen high-school students at St. John Bosco Academy in Cumming learned how to set MB-550 legholds in the dirt.

A few minutes later, a young man walked over and asked, “can you see if there’s any wobble in my trap?”

I guess they were listening. That question snowballed into dozens more as students looked to learn more and were hoping for approval in their sets.

At the end of the class, one of the young ladies was leaving the field and said, “this really was fun.” Not fake or being polite, but a living example of a young person with no trapping experience who enjoyed planting a 550 for the first time. Later on that day, I heard that one of the boys said he was ready to buy some traps and start trapping.

Girls not only can trap, but these three did an excellent job and enjoyed the class.

I wouldn’t have been able to receive the blessing had it not been for John Henry getting together with the school folks a few months back and pitching a wildlife class, a real wildlife class. This added class doesn’t mean a bump in John Henry’s pay or give him a reason to strut. He’s a guy with a passion for this stuff, and he wants others to know all about it.

John Henry is just another example of a guy who’s living to leave nothing in the tank.

Never done it before, but not only did the set have no wobble, but it was well blended. Watch out Mr. Coyote!

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