A simple tool you can build will make setting spring-type mole traps easier and safer and will enable the traps to be more effective. Note: LOTS of animals were harmed during the development of this Instructable. Those who are squeamish or are mole-huggers probably should not read further. Other designs of mole traps (all of which are also lethal) and other ways to control moles, such as gas bombs, poisons, poisoned baits, wooden windmills, etc., are not relevant to this Instructable. This one is about setting spring traps. To see my related Instructables, click on "unclesam" just below the title above or in the INFO box to the right. On the new page that appears, repeatedly click "NEXT" to see all of them.
Step 1: Components and Tools
The setting stick has a short stove bolt threaded into one side of it, and the dimensions are not critical. I chose a piece of wood that is 3/4" thick and 1-1/2" wide, cut to 28" long, edges sanded smooth. I drilled a 13/64" (0.234) diameter hole through the stick 9-1/2" from one end and tapped it using a 5/16"-18 metal-cutting tap. The 5/16" dia stove bolt was bought having a threaded portion that ran all the way to its square cross section portion. The bolt should be bought or cut so that its threaded section will not quite reach all the way through the stick. The rounded crown of the bolt's head should be filed or ground away to make a flat on it about the size of a nickel.
Step 2: Setting Stick and Trap
Assembled setting stick next to a mole spring trap. The protruding head of the stove bolt will be used to grip the top of the curved metal strap that runs between the top of the two legs of the trap. The curved strap appears directly above the bolt head in this photo. The crown of the stove bolt is ground flat so that it will not interfere with the movement of the trap's compression spring.
Step 3: Trap Setting Hints
First tamp a section of the raised mole trail flat, then depress a few inches of the trail into a shallow groove, aligned with the course of the trail. The trap's trigger will sit in this groove, so the mole is less likely to be able to crawl underneath the trap without setting it off. Trapping will be made more seccessful by tamping flat other sections of the raised mole trail and checking next day to determine where within the maze the mole has been working most recently. Sections previously flattened there will have been raised again, and traps should be moved to those sections. If you are going to trap moles, you need to learn to think like a mole.
Step 4: Pre-form Holes for the Spikes
Without first setting the trap, push the legs of the trap into the ground such that the legs straddle the tamped groove. Next, hold the setting stick as shown, with the protruding portion of the stove bolt pressing down against the curved metal crosspiece of the trap. Repeatedly raise and lower the spikes, without latching the trigger, to pre-form holes in the ground. This step makes the trap much more effective. Without it, even if a mole triggers the trap, the spikes may not penetrate the ground. Once the holes are pre-formed in the ground, raise the spikes up until the trigger latches. Carefully use the setting stick to push the trap's legs farther into the ground, until the trigger is just above the bottom of the tamped groove you made in the ground.
Step 5: Trap Set
Trap properly set just waiting for a visit from Mr. Mole. The trigger should be just above the earth at the bottom of the tamped groove, so that heaving of the ground with temperature changes will not trigger the trap. The legs of the trap should straddle the mole trail, because if the mole hits a leg, it may just turn around or dig outside the leg, avoiding the trap. If you find a trap that is triggered, do not pull it out of the ground right away. If the mole has just been snagged, it can get away when you pull out the trap. First, push down with your feet on top of the metal plate that holds the spikes. Mole might then come out of the ground with the trap, or you might have to do a little digging to find him.
My instructions are different from the instructions supplied by the mole trap manufacturer. I have proven over many years of use that mine are more effective and, I believe, safer for the trapper.