I Live on a farm. I have horses. I have fields. I have groundhogs. They dig holes which endanger the horses (broken legs), and destroy portions of the fields so that tractors can not run over them without danger of ground collapse (which means I get less money for renting them.) Some of these “Ground Grizzlies” can get quite large and agressive. Both my wife and I have been chased, and our two dogs have both needed stitching up after an ill-advised tangle with these menaces of the dirt.
They have fangs, claws and sharp teeth.
Groundhogs are monsters.
I have tried the “Hadagoper” poison bombs which didn’t work even after repeated applications (and yes I followed the directions to the letter.) One of our farmers has even poured gasoline down a hole and lit with a match. (I won’t go into the details of that fiasco but suffice it to say that geniuses don’t plow fields for $5.50 an hour. Fortunately all the hair on the side of his body holding the match did eventually grow back.) I have poured water into the holes unitl they overflow to no effect (maybe the Groundhogs in this area know Scuba. I have parked myself ontop of a hill with a good book and a scoped rifle and murdered groundhogs by the hundreds but their numbers are legion and they breed prodigiously. I have filled their holes with huge rocks and dirt, but their tunnelling skills are legend and I feel that they laugh at such puny mehtods.
My damn shed is leaning where the undermined a whole side of it, and I can’t take it any more. I WANT WAR! I want to commit Genocide one these foul creatures so that they will begone and trouble me no more.
Vengeance will be mine!!
Help ME! Please! How do I make them die horribly? How do I “Wipe them out. Wipe them all out” -Darth Sidious. I have asked before but gotten no response. Are my cries for justice to fall on deaf UNCARING EARS? OR, is there a Mercenary of Marsupial Murder out there willing to share his malicious methods (yes, I know Gopers aren’t marsupials , but it sounds good?)
Dare I even go to the extreme of invoking The Great One Himself. Yes. Here me Cecil I am willing to pay the dark price and suffer the wrath of your cutting wit. Just help me. Please.
One caveat: No Caddyshack jokes. Please.
yeah, my dad had to finally haul his old .22 out of the attic once to off the gopher, and that’s in the city. It managed to still cover itself over with dirt on the way back down, with a slug in its chest.
Have you tried poisoned food? Or would the dogs or something else eat it? Or get a bunch of cats? They excel at catching things I would have thought they’d have no chance at. Just my $.02.
On the The Home & Garden Network, Paul James, the Gardner Guy, recommended firing up a riding lawnmower or somesuch and piping the exhaust into the holes. You could try it with a tractor, or better yet, any diesel engine you might have access to. I have no idea how well this works. Our garden’s never had anything worse than dandelions.
–It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats.
Dave. Thanks for the thoughts. Poisoned food doesn’t work. Know why? Because Groundhogs have both cunningly evolved dietary habits and incredibly an incredibly discriminating sense of smell. They are, get this… vegetarians. Not only that but they are also pretty paranoid, because they only eat roots ands such that they dig up themselves (their Mamas must a taught em not to take tubers from strangers,) also, their sense of smell is too acute for us to be able to “Slip them a Mickey” in the form of poison I got most of this from the back of the Hadagopher box.
As for cats. Heh. Heh. I have cats. Maybe I am not describing these villanous creatures well enough. These things are kin to Wolverines. They can get to be over twenty pounds of gristly fury!. Did I mention the GREAT BIG *$#&ing FANGS! The Teeth that BITE, The Claws That Catch. Did I mention that their hide is tough they are practically bulletproof. I exagerate not at all when I tell you that unless you are either very close, or lucky enough to get a head shot a .22 bullet will often simply bounce off a groundhog’s hide. I have personal knowledge of this fact.
One of my dogs is an Irish Wolfhound named Corwin. He weighs 125 pounds, and has a head like a shovel. His kind are why there are no wolves left in Ireland. Too bad for him the groundhog he messed with was smarter than him. It stood its ground and when Corwin attacked it chattered its teeth together, charged and leapt onto Corwin’s face. Tore him up good enough that one of its bites sunk through the bone and directly into a sinus. That recquired surgery and left me with a $250 vet bill and a great big dog who’s afraid of groundhogs. It’s embarassing. I don’t what kind of cat you have, or are referring to but unless it’s a lion are something there ain’t no pooty cat I ever heard of who’d mess with a creature like I’m describing.
The lawnmower sounds like a good idea, but I don’t think it would work. The Hadagopher bombs that I referred to in my previous post are like this: You cover all the holes except for the two farthest away from each other so the fumes will permeate the entire warren. You light the wick of the Hadagopher bomb, drop it into a hole and Run! You only do this on a day when the wind isn’t blowing towards habitations, and you stay over a hundred yards away for two hours because Hadagopher is an intense Smokebomb containing DEADLY POISON! (I have no idea what kind.) The box has all kind of warnings and stuff on it that says it might kill you if you don’t follow the directions.
I don’t know if they built up an immunity, if they have gas masks or what. I am pretty damn sure that I followed the directions. I can only report that Ground Grizzlies continue to inhabit these warrens, and that I have seen them with my own eyes the day after treatment. Their activity remains undiminshed. In light of these facts, I am skeptical that a little carbon monoxide from a yard appliance can outdo the sheer destructive force of Hadagopher. Who knows though, might be worth a try.
I have big problems here and I require drastic solutions as all conventional methods have failed.
I think you are jumping way ahead of yourself here, you have to get your hands on some plutonium first.
You know, doing what is right is easy. The problem is knowing what is right.
–Lyndon B. Johnson
You may be right. Too bad for me that Plutonium is not available at the local Agway.
It also occurs to me that Gophers live underground and might be able to survive the subsequent fallout, which would be ironic because I (and you if you live close by,) probably wouldn’t.
Unfortunately there is an international agreement against underground nuclear explosions, so I can’t take them out that way without being in violation of SaltII or something.
While I am attempting to be humorous about it, my problem with groundhogs is very real, I’m not exagerating about the dogs, the Hadagopher, the .22 bullet or being chased. While I am not adverse to a drastic solution, I do draw the line at nuclear holocaust.
screw poison bombs, use dinamite! use one with a (very) long fuse, cover all but one hole, light the fuse, ram the bomb as far into the hole as you can get it and run like hell! it might take several tries but the will be killed by: a) the blast itself. or b)they will go deaf from the shock wave.
if that doesn’t work, get a snake. a big snake. some kind of constrictor, that will go into their burrows and eat their young (pretty picture huh?) afterwords, you can kill the snake with relitive ease.
Start digging up the whole area and kill all the little fuckers. One at a time with a sawed off shotgun blast right in the face. BAM
Two good suggestions. This is my fault though. Perhaps I should have been clearer in my original post. One of the reasons I need to get rid of the groundhogs is that they lessen the value of the fields. Dynamiting the old alfafa crop isn’t going to win me any points with my renters. I also would prefer not to blow myself up i.e. the farmer with gasoline in my first post. I also have the suspician that when a groundhog senses activity near his hole he goes pretty deep and far into that hole. That is the only way I can explain their survival of the gasoline and Hadagopher campaigns. I would hate to blow up my property only to find out the gopher was beyond the blast radius, or hanging out in some gopheresque fallout shelter.
As for the giant snake? Well again we are talking about 20 pound varmints here that I need to exterminate. I don’t have access to any snakes large enough to handle a meal like that. I seem to remember that snakes need to eat only once or twice a week. They become torpid if you attempt to feed them more than that. At that rate a snake won’t even put a dent in the population. Still, if you or anybody else out there has a giant anaconda ,you are welcome to come out to my place and stick him down a gopher hole to see what happens.
As for digging up all the holes, we are talking about over ninety acres of alfafa, with warrens spread over most of that. That’s a lot of digging, and would do as much damage as the dynamite. It might be practical in a couple of areas where there is a concentration of gopher holes though. I wonder if the warrens are interconnected. THat would be a bummer. Dig up a whole area just to have the them take the gopher equivalent of the subway to the other side of town.
I need an espert in Gopher behavior to tell me how to go about these things. Someone experienced in Groundhog combat.
Maybe there is some kind of crop I can plant that gophers hate so much it will make them leave. If somebody out there knows of one please let me know. Maybe some chemist out there knows of a special groundhog poison not available on the open market. Maybe some biowarfare guy can give me some fleas I can drop down a hole that will spread gopher-plague, and kill them all. Maybe there are some quirks in their behaviorial or breeding makeup that I can exploit somehow to lure them to their death.
I do know that sometimes they are aggressive, at others they go deep deep into their burrows at the first sign of activity.
I don’t know what the answer
This is a problem that I have had for sometime. I have given it considerable thought and have tried most if not all of the obvious solutions. That is why I am asking for help. I need a groundhog mercenary, or somebody who has won their own war with these vile creatures, and is willing to pass on their strategies. I need a giant intellect that is willing to match wits with the subtle minds of these subteranean rodents.
Have the coyotes moved into your area yet ? I live just one state north of you and am a dairy farmer. Coyotes have reduced the woodchuck population in this area, not much mind you, but some. Have you got any rotten meat and bones hanging around ? Dump them around the holes and possibly coyotes will hang around more often, you can even use coyote calls if you like.
Frankly I don’t think those smoke bombs last long enough. My family used to use the same process of plugging all but the 2 farthest holes. Then build a large fire on top of the hole that is the highest altitude. Then a couple feet next to the other hole build a nice smokey fire. The fire on top of the high hole pulls the smoke through from the other smokey fire. Both of these fires should be kept going for several hours. A nice long lasting smoking is what those little buggers need.
I still think the best bet is shooting 'em, may I suggest a larger caliber ? Pay the local high schoolers for each one they kill with a rifle ($5 each ?). Just make sure they shoot them on your property and they are very careful and responsable hunters.
I have encountered a groundhog in a field. I would compare them to a badger, if that helps the people telling him to use cats.
I think anything less than a grizzly bear is going to lose the battle.
I agree that a 22 is not going to take out a groundhog. At least use a deer rifle.
Bear traps by the entrances, and I do think it would have to be that large and strong of a trap.
Carbon monoxide? Maybe. How long does it take to completly fill the tunnels in a field? Days?
High voltage and lots of amperage? Yes, but the method of application. Build your own version of a bug zapper for over the holes perhaps?
In urban areas the standard advice is to kill the grubs that the groundhogs eat. Once they’re gone, the groundhogs will start hanging out at your neighbor’s place. However, I don’t know how practical it is to spray grub poison over the amount of land that you are describing.
is it too naive to ask, have you talked with anyone at your local extension office?
as for using carbon monoxide, i would think if you wanted to try that, you might get more done faster if you used a regular-sized tractor, maybe borrow a couple more from neighbors.
lordy, it ain’t no disney movie out there, huh?
Thank you for the excellent suggestions. There have been reports of coyotes around here, but I have no personal knowledge of their existence. I have mixed feels concernin their potential arrival as I’ve heard they can be formidable pests in their own right, and are carriers of rabies.
Yes, I now own an excellent rifle. After scoring a direct hit on a groundhog with a .22 and receiving nothing more than a dirty look from the mildly annoyed rodent I went out and purchased the ultimate groundhog assasination device. I have a Savage .223 bull barrel with a bipod and an 18 power scope. I spent part of every weekend this past summer inflicting long range death on the little SOBs. Even a mediocre marksmen like myself can take these monsters out pretty consistantly at ranges up to 250 yards. I have killed over 100 Gophers in this manner, and I cannot fully describe the murderous glee that fills my being with each successful shot. The problem is this: Groundhogs learn! I am at the point where after the first shot or so, the rest of the groundhogs retreat into their holes for several hours making wholesale slaughter in significant numbers impractical. I wonder what they do when they go down there. Do they discuss me in committee? I have fears that it is only a matter of time before they begin shooting back.
Your suggestion of smoking them out bears more thought. Is there some preferred material to be used down at the hole with the smoke. I want to kill them not merely give them a buzz, a cough or lung cancer?
Phil and Special:
Perhaps you did not read my previous posts. I have already explained why Carbon monoxide poisoning wouldn’t work, and you present no evidence to the contrary.
I also mentioned that groundhogs are vegetarians. They eat sprouts and tubers, not grubs. Thanks for the thoughts though
I, too, had a dog that tangled with a woodchuck. Mine was an 85-lb shepherd/elkhound cross. Result: dead varmint but chewed up dog.
All I can offer is to say keep at it. Use all means available. If you make their lives miserable enough, they might move.
Alas, their offspring will probably come back.
PS- A friend told me a story about hunting the woodchuck that was ruining his garden. The end result was that it took a shotgun slug in the varmint’s face to solve the problem.
Too bad they don’t make industrial-sized, trained ferrets. Or burrowing wolverines.
I can see it coming…The Groundhogs Day Massacre.
You could to try the Vlad Tepis approach:
Kill a few with your rifle, then impale their bodies on stakes outside the holes. This technique kept the Turkish army out of Transylvania quite effectively. If you could make little iron “condemned man” cages to display their rotting corpses in, somuch the better.
–It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats.
From a search on www.alltheweb.com
Came up with a message board entry…
“My mother (73 years old and gardening in east Texas) claims that you can kill gophers by putting Juicy Fruit gum in their holes as bait. (she says it’s gotta be Juicy Fruit — nothing else will do). She claims that the gum blocks up their insides. An alternate school of Juicy Fruit gum gopher poison says that you should leave the foil wrapper on, since the foil is what kills them. I haven’t tried it, yet, but who knows? If you try it, post here & let us know if it works.”
This site has seeds soaked with a strychnine solution. Don’t know if they’ll eat them but you could give it a try.
And one more from Kentucky, should work just as well there though…