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Saturday, May 21, 2005

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Liz

I'm not sure if urine works, but we always try it. I figure why buy coyote urine for a gazillion dollars when I can get some of my own for free?

We have a "bad digger" of unknown species...could be a skunk...that digs up newly transplanted things and tosses them aside. No luck trapping or shooting it yet.

I'm just glad that I never had a groundhog dig into my BASEMENT, like friends of mine. They are unbelievable and it seems will stop at nothing.

Janis

Liz, I so glad to hear that I'm not the only one selectively dousing the garden with "home remedy"!

Sorry to hear about your "digger" - I hope it moves along soon.

Ellen

What a great idea! I'm speechless, and I know I should have something to say. I hope it works.

meg

YEE-HAW! Get that groundhog, girl!

When I was growing up we had one in our back field....All we had to say was "Groundhog" and the dog would go bonkers trying to get outside to chase it.

good luck, they are pernicious li'l buggers.

Janis

A couple of follow-up comments:

First, it looks like I might have been wrong about attributing the re-emergence of the holes to the return of a groundhog. I think that perhaps I filled the hole too loosely, and a few good days of rain caused it to settle down and erode further into the recesses of the burrow. Or maybe the pee worked. In any case, there hasn't been any new activity. (But all that rain reminds me to top off the hole and "freshen" it up again.)

Second, I sometimes collect the hair that accumulates in my hairbrush and drop that in the garden, too. I understand that this is an old home remedy to ward off deer, but am not sure of its effectiveness against rodents. Actually, I tend to doubt its efficacy against rodents because...this past winter we discovered a cozy little blonde mouse nest in our cellar.

Third, I harbor a guilty desire to have a groundhog killin' dog. In her book Fifty Acres and a Poodle, Jeanne Marie Laskas writes a hilarious account of how her husband's standard poodle earned the respect of its country neighbors by demonstrating its previously undiscovered prowess for bringing down groundhogs.

Bill

I enjoyed your groundhog post as it reminds me of my own groundhog wars being fought here in the Northern Neck of Virginia. We have them everywhere, including under two 18th century outbuildings and inside the walled family graveyard. Long ago, my son started naming them, so I haven't had the heart to tell him that his dog and I have slowly been picking them off when he's not around.

I've never been a hunter...never had any desire to hunt...never owned anything more than a BB gun. But the groundhogs (woodchucks, whistlepigs...whatever you wanna call em) had to go, so I headed to the local gun shop. They steered me away from an air rifle (wouldn't be as accurate they said) and into a .22 rifle. Sheesh...I wanted to kill them...but that seemed really serious to my non-hunting self. They gleefully sold me the gun and told me how much fun I'd have picking off the groundhogs and that I'd soon be back for a scope, specialty ammo, etc. Fun? Killing? The whole thing was pretty creepy. I didn't really want to be a hunter. I didn't even really want to own a gun. But dem groundhogs gotta go.

I started by sniping from a second story window and discovered I was a really bad shot. The first two weeks I got nothing. Meanwhile, our jack russell started picking off the pups from a new litter in the graveyard. Soon she had 4, and I still had none.

That's when I discovered that the rifle's rear sight was folded down. Maybe raising it into its full and upright position would improve my aim! (Did I mention I've never hunted?)

Finally I got my first kill. And at that point I was so pissed at the varmints that there was no sentimentality left in the action. Pulled the trigger. Dropped it dead. Stoically buried it. Who's next?

The next evening I dropped another.

Between the two of us (dog and I) we've now permanently relocated 8 of em to new quarters underground. As far as I can tell, there's just one big one left...but he's smarter than the others.

They're usually easy targets because they're so curious. When they see you, they stand straight up as if to say, "Hey, whatchu doin over there?" Bam! Dead.

This last one is smarter. I think he's caught on. The second he sees me, he's gone. Back in his hole. But now I'm thinking...what if I peed in that there hole? Now THAT might be fun!

I enjoy your site!!

Joe

Will an air rifle work? I live in town and can't fire a gun. Downtown Leesburg VA has a massive G Hog problem. I trap and release. It's amazingly easy to get the fat varmints into a "havaheart" live trap. They can't resist cantelope. I hate having to put them in a car and marching them out of town though, plus it's not really fair to take them somewhere else and make them someone elses problem. I never thought I'd say this about a living mammal, but I'd much rather kill them. What is it in this animal that brings the killer out in, what seems to be from these postings, largely mild mannered, civilized people?

Janis

Joe, there is definitely something about a groundhog in my garden (or under my barn!) that makes me see red. I'm a peaceful vegetarian most of the time, but groundhogs?! They transform my temperament like nothing else. Our neighbors become crazed gun-toting nuts in high groundhog season. Scary!

We tried a Havaheart trap our first few months here. I bagged one of our neighbors cats and a raccoon before my trapping days ended. Our resident groundhogs were too wiley. But you say they like cantaloupe... and so I am tempted to have another try.

I'll ask my husband again about the air rifle. He said it would work, but neighbors have told us that we need at least a .22.

Joe, because you are in a more restrictive residential area, a good dog might be your best bet for staving off groundhogs.

Janis

Bill! I about fell to the floor when I saw your post. I know about Enon Hall and first visited your site years ago starting with the time my husband and I began to look at older houses. Back then, I stumbled onto your site via an article on the Old House Web. What you have accomplished with Enon Hall is nothing short of amazing. Your story is tremendously inspiring.

Steph

will this work?

steph

It did work! Amazing!

- I have some advice for my fellow urban groundhog hunters...

After nearly two years of futile groundhog hunting with a havahart trap, I finally discovered something irrisistable to them.

For two years I placed that trap all over and never caught anything but possums - The groundhogs even MOVED the trap out of the way several times..

so anyway, after trying to bait that trap with sooo many items... strong beans, melons, tomatoes, even rippied up most of my dill plants and put them in there...

One day on a whim I put in a plate of strawberries dripping with maple syrup and within 20minutes I had cuaght a whistle pig!!

Its been a week and I have caught three all together...

Now I have a question...

what should I do with them when I catch them? It has been a problem every time!

Janis

Steph, thanks for the tip! We went out and to buy some fresh strawberries - and were surprised to find out that our local market didn't have any, not even the imported off-season stuff. But then we figured that our whistle pigs would want their fruit in season, so we bought some juicy peaches (nice and soft), sliced them into quarters, put them in the trap and drizzled them with honey. Since our groundhogs seem especially canny, not unlike yours, we also put a couple of pieces outside the trap as lures.

The lures disappeared the first evening. The bait in the trap disappeared by the next afternoon - turns out that we hadn't baited the trap properly. We reset the trap.... and the next morning, discovered it had sprung without catching anything. At least the bait was still there. We reset the trap, though I imagine that the critter that almost got trapped will be a heap more cautious about the trap.

What to do with the trapped animal is a good question. I'm going to post separately about that soon.

joe

we have a ground hog at the end of our yard, it took our beans an tomatoes last year so this year ive swarn to remove it, im armed with a 177 air rifle and with this special ammo it fires 1200fps!! if that aint enough i have a trusty winchester leaver action 22, i have heard that if you take some aluminum foil roll it into loose balls and drop them in to a 20 oz soda bottle then add some "works" toilet bowl cleaner an screw the lid on semi tight an stick it in the hole, after a couple of mins the cleaner eats through the coating on the foil an reacts with the aluminum causing LOTS of nasty gas (screw the lid on real tight and the bottle actually blows up) this will cause the hog to come running out gasping an weazzing disorientaed and easy pray then ....... POW!!!!

Joan

We tried to peacefully co-exist with our groundhog families -- until we found one in our living room two nights in a row. It appears she burrowed under the house, pushed off the heating vent, and climbed in. What I wonder is if they come back to the same burrow every year - in other words, is this last year's groundhog? One of the offspring? Or an entirely new household?

aidan

This year I killed 27 groundhgos off of our farm. And theres still a few more out there ill have to get next year.

Fred

We have a huge ground hog problem, they are living in my barn. I bought a .22 air gun (very powerful) but it is not very accurate. You get one shot off and then the darn ground hog runs away. I just bought a 22LR Mossberg semi-automatic rifle to see if I can hit one.

I hate them, I almost flipped one of my smaller tractors when a wheel went in a hole.

They are out in the early morning and in the late evening. They have good hearing and they will hear a door opening 100 yards away. They also hear you when you cycle a semi automatic or operate a bolt action so do it in the house.

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