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Old 01-07-2000, 09:41 PM
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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.
Old 01-07-2000, 10:13 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 742 Evergreen Terrace
Posts: 6,247
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.
Old 01-07-2000, 10:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suburbs of Detroit, MI
Posts: 9,859
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.
Old 01-07-2000, 11:25 PM
Posts: n/a
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.
Old 01-07-2000, 11:31 PM
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 3,760
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
Old 01-07-2000, 11:49 PM
Posts: n/a

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.
Old 01-08-2000, 12:11 AM
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 331
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.

Old 01-08-2000, 12:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 1,422
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
Old 01-08-2000, 01:17 AM
Posts: n/a
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.
Old 01-08-2000, 05:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 1,629
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.
Old 01-08-2000, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
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?
Old 01-08-2000, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Fraser MI
Posts: 85
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.
Old 01-08-2000, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 248
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?
Old 01-08-2000, 09:21 AM
Posts: n/a
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
Old 01-08-2000, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Mommysota
Posts: 7,161
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.

Good luck.
Old 01-08-2000, 11:33 AM
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Location: Lost in the mists of time
Posts: 13,772
I can see it coming...The Groundhogs Day Massacre.
Old 01-08-2000, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suburbs of Detroit, MI
Posts: 9,859
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.
Old 01-08-2000, 07:14 PM
Posts: n/a
Hmm. some very good ideas here! Something especially appeals to me about the idea that Juicy Fruit could be the secret Achilles Heel to the Evil Groundhog Empire. It's just like the end of _Independence Day_. The President says "Juicy Fruit! That's their weakness! Get on the radio and get the word out." Cut to Will Smith dragging a giant Groundhog across the desert in his parachute.

The winter has been warm and there is groundhog activity out there. I will try both the wrapped and unwrapped varieties of Juicy Fruit and report back on results in one week.

As for staking out the corpses as a warning, well, I am already known as somewhat eccentric by my neighbors (having moved to the country from NYC 6 years ago.) but that might be pushing it.

Leaving dead carrion rotting in the fields brings another problem:


Oh sure the neighbors call them Turkey Vultures and say they are harmless, but you and I know better.

These giant winged creatures sense the rotting corpse of a groundhog (or any other creature for that matter,)and magically appear from nowhere to consume it. Then they disappear without a trace.

My theory is that somehow Pterodactyls from the Jurrassic period have the ability to sense the death of a creature in the future. They then travel through time, consume the corpse and return back to the Jurrassic period. I know this is true because there is no other way something that Big and Ugly could remain hidden 99% of the time yet still be keeping an eye on the fields for the occasional carcass. Therefore, (and try to follow my immutable logic here) they must be travelling through time. I have seen these things at relatively close range and believe me THAT AIN"T NO $%@*iING BIRD!!! Therefore they must be Pterodactyls.

I think I've gotten off the point here, but I hope that you will agree with me when I say that as much as I would enjoy Staking out The corpses of my slain Varmint Nemesi (Nemesisses?)the Constant Pterodactyl Threat makes it too much of a risk. They might mistake a napping horse for Big'un and carry it off or something.

I can't believe that there is a website which will actually sell me Strychnine coated seeds over the internet! They are cheap too! Perhaps I will store them in the spice rack. "Gee honey these meatballs sure are good what's the secret?"

Funneefarmer. Seriously. Thank you very much for the workable ideas. I will post results when I have them.

Any others are always welcome as it is always best to explore all possibilites before entering into combat.

"Heeeere Gopher Gopher Gopher. Niiice Gopher. I brought you some Juicy Fruit! Heh . Heh. Heh."
Old 01-08-2000, 07:27 PM
Posts: n/a
Oh another piece of information I have accumulated on Groundhog behavioral patterns is as follows:

If you mess around with there holes they seem to know and use or create another entrance/exit. I hypothesized this from my experiments with snares and deadfalls (which along with a Spudzooka I learned how to make on the internet. )

As I've mentioned groundhogs are pretty paranoid by nature, and I suspect they will distrust the Strychnine coated seeds. I hope there is something about Juicy Fruit that Drives them wild so they can't resist it! Wrigley could use that in a commercial. "Out of Varmints that chew gum four out of five surveyed prefer Juicy Fruit!"

A link provided by Funneefarmer tells a really great strategy for shooting groundhogs. When they see you they run for their hole, dive down it, turn around and stick their nose out to see where you are. THIS is the moment to shoot them.

I can't wait to try it.
Old 01-08-2000, 09:42 PM
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York, NY USA
Posts: 501
Have you been licensed yet by the government of the United Nations to hunt gophers?
Old 01-08-2000, 09:44 PM
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
Grubs are eaten by moles. You treat the lawn to kill the grubs the moles ate. Moles leave the raised areas in your lawn.
Old 01-08-2000, 09:59 PM
Posts: n/a
No. I do not posess a license from the United Nations to kill gophers. Curiously neither they nor Amnesty International appear to be to concerned with the inhumane treatment of Groundhogs. That is probably because Groundhogs are not human.
THis is an oversight which you may wish to correct. I suggest you contact both agencies and lobby for more stringent Varmint exterminator controls.
For the record, I am in posession of a valid PA hunters license which provides me with the Godgiven right to indiscrimately murder groundhogs at any time I feel like doing so as long as I feel that they doing property damage or are in any other manner pissing me off. So There!


Old 01-08-2000, 11:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,069
I have to vote for calling the local County Extension Office or the State/County Agricultural Bureau. Either of them should be able to point you towards methods of ridding yourself of these things, since that's what those offices do, among other things (but you knew that). They might offera better way to use CO2, biological controls (like myxomatosis is used to control rabbits), trapping or whatever. Don't tell me these things don't work - tell them and see what they have to say about it.

"I guess one person can make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn't."
Old 01-08-2000, 11:58 PM
Posts: n/a
Al, don't be so quick to dismiss the exhaust gas idea. We used it on prairie dogs back in Oklahoma and it worked. You can't flood out the SOB's because of the way they build their tunnels. But the various exhaust gasses get to all parts of the tunnel. The CO2 is heavier than air and goes to the low parts. CO is lighter than air and gets to the high rooms (where they hid and laughed at your water.) We plugged as many holes as possible to find, dropped a tube from the tractor exhaust into a hole, sealed around the tube as well as we could, then we rode around the area on horses. When one of the little bastards popped up, we shot it and then went and sealed the hole. Like I said it worked well on prairie dogs, it might be worth a try on woodchucks.

BTW I have noticed that gopher and groundhog have been used interchangeably here, they are not the same.

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.
Old 01-08-2000, 11:59 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: El Paso TX
Posts: 234
AARRGGH!! I did change the name! The last post was from me, not Majormd...
Old 01-09-2000, 12:16 AM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 1,629
From a search on
"kill gopher"

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."
Old 01-09-2000, 12:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 1,629

This site has seeds soaked with a strychnine solution. Don't know if they'll eat them but you could give it a try.
Old 01-09-2000, 12:37 AM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 1,629
And one more from Kentucky, should work just as well there though...
Old 01-09-2000, 12:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 1,017
If you can get someone to plow your land for $5.50 an hour, that's probably the way to go. I don't know how deep the little monsters go, but plowing up the top couple feet would have to make them consider moving somewhere else. Follow the plow with a roller and at least the horses would be safe for a while.
Old 01-09-2000, 01:11 AM
Posts: n/a
While I attempt to be homorous here, I do have a serious problem. The second thing I did after asking around locally was visit with my local Ag representitive whose receptionist handed me a general brochure about groundhogs and smokebombs and sent me on my way. They are much more interested in larger concerns than mine. Since I rent my fields out I have no say in what crops are grown, the crop insurance, the fertilization, or what pesticides are implemented. I do not buy farm equiptment nor need help in the financing thereof. I am a guy who walks in in his suit during lunch hour,who moved down here from NYC, and quite frankly they are not impressed with me or my dubious stature as a farmer to offer me any significant help. While my renters are very helpful and nice, and help maintain the fields, it is my responsibility to keep the fields clear of deadfall from the surrounding woods, and deal with the groundhogs with which I am plagued to an unusually large degree. Failure to do so results in less usable land for the farmers, and hence less rental income which I recieve, as well as danger to my horses, dogs and person.
I have used the Smokebombs to no observable effect whatsoever. The brand I used on several consecutive occasions was Hadagopher purchased at my local Agway. I followed the directions. Despite your request to the contrary I will tell you that they did not work. At all.
Myxomatosis which you allude to is a deadly disease of rabbits which is not completely understood, yet is nevertheless used as a pest control method against rabbits. Quite frankly it scares me, but has little bearing here as it is not contagious to groundhogs, nor is there any groundhog equivalent that I am aware of, (and I have looked.)
I have not been able to find anybody who knows anything about trapping groundhogs except for the reference to snares which I already made. As I mentioned, they seem to notice when their holes are disturbed, and just dig another one, avoiding the snare.

MajorMD AKA Pundit:

Hmmm. You raise an interesting point. Perhaps the poor effect of the smokebombs, led me to prematurely dismiss the notion of exhaust gasses in general. I am pretty sure that Gophers and Groundhogs are the same, I cite as an example where they specifically use both gopher, and groundhog to describe the North American Woodchuck Mormota Monax with which I am specifically plagued (then again, that wouldn't be the first time a web-site was in error) What is the difference? Thanks for the good advice.

Note: I started this thread because I had exhausted the obvious solutions. I have received several excellent suggestions which I will try and then post the results for the curious.

I can't wait to try the Juicy Fruit.

Likewise the advanced sniping techniques.

I will probably order some strychnine seeds on Monday.

I was hasty in my dismissal of exhaust gasses and need to give it an honest try instead of assuming it won't work, because Smokebombs didn't.

If you know of anything I've missed please let me know. Otherwise this should keep me busy.

Thanks for the help and watch out for the Pterodactyls!
Old 01-09-2000, 01:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: El Paso TX
Posts: 234
From Comptons Online Encyclopedia:

GOPHER. The pocket gopher is a gnawing rodent related to the squirrel and the prairie dog. In some places chipmunks and other small rodents are mistakenly called gophers. The gopher spends most of its life underground.
The gopher reaches about 18 inches (46 centimeters) in length. The body is covered with dense, soft fur. The eyes are small, weak, and nearsighted, and the tiny ears are hidden under the skin. Its huge front teeth, called incisors, protrude outside the mouth and are used for tearing roots and bulbs and for loosening soil when the animal is tunneling. Large fur-lined external cheek pouches are used for storing food. The name pocket gopher refers to these pouches, or pockets. The tail is short and bare and has a sensitive tip, by which the gopher feels its way when it moves backward through its tunnels.

Gophers are solitary creatures. The female has a single litter of two to six young in the spring or summer. The male does not stay with the family, and the young scatter as soon as they are weaned from their mother's milk.

Gophers are considered pests by farmers because they do much damage to gardens and alfalfa fields. They also injure the roots of trees and even ruin irrigation canals by burrowing into the banks of the ditches.

The word gopher comes from the French word gaufre, meaning "honeycomb." The name was given to the animals by early French settlers in North America because they honeycomb the ground with their burrowing. Pocket gophers are found only in the Western Hemisphere. They are most abundant in the western United States and in Mexico.Gophers belong to the family Geomyidae in the order Rodentia.
Quite different than the groundhogs I was familiar with in Maryland. Groundhogs spend a lot of time above ground and are huge. Gophers are more like moles and voles -- seldom are they seen above ground.

"You can be smart or pleasant. For years I was smart.
I recommend pleasant."
Elwood P. Dowd
Old 01-09-2000, 01:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Charlotte, NC USA
Posts: 847
Al - I've nothing to add that will help you, but I much appreciate the fact that you've made your plight readable and entertaining.

Good luck in the war.
Old 01-09-2000, 02:11 AM
Posts: n/a
Thank you. If you can't laugh about your problems what's the sense in having them?

Clearly you are a man who does his research and you have offered me much help, but I s spent the last half hour drinking beer and surfing the net and have come up with the following conclusions: Gophers and Groundhogs seem to be used interchangeably all the time as othe rterms such as Whistle pigs, Ground, Grizzlies,Woodchucks, and those %$^$%# SOB's.

Pocket gophers are something else entirely. They are small and wimpy looking and are not the fierce monsters I've been combatting.

What does this prove???

I have no idea, but we're probably getting humg up over a minor point.

Even though I said "Gopher" not "Pocket Gopher," I hereby concede the point, and will be more specific in my nomenclature in order to avoid confusion.
Old 01-09-2000, 01:03 PM
Posts: n/a

He would Gopher all that he could pocket.

I see why you raise the question, and while I don't have a box of smokebombs here now I can assure you that Hadagopher was specifically designed for groundhogs. I don't even think we have Pocket Gophers around here. Don't they live in North Dakota or something?
Old 01-09-2000, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 62
Have you tried psychological warfare?
Put a boombox in their tunnel and blast them with Sex Pistols tunes, 24 hours a day. They'll either move or commit suicide.
Barry Manilow would probably work faster, but you might get in trouble with the SPCA for that.
Old 01-09-2000, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Mansfield, OH
Posts: 610
Alsmith, I sympathize with your plight. And I'll point out to all other readers that the critters of which you speak are GROUNDHOGS, not gophers or prairie dogs or moles. These bastards can and occasionally do tip the scales at twenty pounds or more, and between a groundhog and his hole is NOT a recommended position to find yourself in.

As a VERY experienced 'whistle-pig' eradicator, I'll share with you what I've learned over the years.

Gas bombs and other airborne poisons don't do diddly, other than drain your finances and occupy your time. Ditto for gasoline down the hole and baiting with poisoned food. Filling a burrow with water is probably the best 'non-violent' approach, but the water level has to be maintained for hours, and even then, death of the 'hog is not likely; his hasty abandonment of his humble home is the more likely result.

Snakes??!! Any snake large enough and tough enough to handle one of these creatures is more apt to be dangerous to much larger prey, like your dog or the kid next door. Cats are completely useless, even against very young 'hogs, and I've only seen one dog -- a HUGE German Shepherd -- that could consistently best a groundhog. (He did it by 'stealth' instead of a face-to-face confrontation. It's a long story....)

Crop selection is worth considering. Groundhogs are voracious vegetarians, but they are fairly selective, favoring greens, ESPECIALLY soybean plants. (Groundhogs travel for only two things, in my experience -- sex and soybeans.) Other favorites include grassy plants -- timothy and alfalfa, f'rinstance -- and many garden vegetables. Corn, on the other hand, holds little attraction for groundhogs once it's past the seedling stage.

But, in my experience, the direct VIOLENT approach is most effective. NOTHING works on a 'hog like the impact of a small bit of copper-clad lead traveling at hypersonic speeds.

And don't dismiss the lowly .22! I have successfully send hundreds of these critters to 'hog heaven' with my dad's old Winchester 290 autoloader at ranges up to 110 yards. I favor autoloaders at such close ranges because the sound of the bolt ejecting the spent casing and sliding home with a new cartridge gets lost in the crack of the shot. (Groundhogs, like most wild animals with excellent hearing, are less frightened by the sound of the shot from a rifle -- which is not terribly unlike natural sounds, such as thunder -- than they are by the 'unnatural' metallic racket of a rifle's action.) Stealth and careful shot placement are absolute necessities, however.

For years, I used a beat-up Remington 788 in .222 Rem. caliber, mounted with a Bushnell 3-9x scope. Before taking it afield, I spent weeks experimenting with different handloads, and found one that the rifle liked -- 5-shot, 100-yd. groups that I could cover with the tip of my index finger. With practice, I was able to score one-shot kills on groundhogs at ranges up to 330 yds. pretty consistently. In addition to accuracy, the caliber had the advantages of relatively low noise level and VERY mild recoil, mild enough that I was able to keep the 'sight picture' through the scope when shooting.

I like the suggestion of an earlier poster that you enlist the help of locals. I once had a pretty long list of farmers who would happily pay me $5 for every woodchuck tail I could produce from their fields. Those who raised horses and cattle were especially grateful!

I don't know why fortune smiles on some and lets the rest go free...

Old 01-09-2000, 04:14 PM
aha aha is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Third planet from the sun
Posts: 2,371
Ok here is what you do: This has been tried before so I know it works.
You pass the word thoughout the groundhog community that you are taking all groundhogs to the movies and you are paying..also since they are nazi's it might help to pass the word that it is a WW2 film. After you get all the GH's in the movie then you buy them all popcorn. When they get thirsty from all the popcorn and get up to get a switch seats!
Then at first opportunity you sneak out of the theater and drive home!
Don't bother thanking me its ok..

"Ward, You're upsetting the beaver."
Barbara Billingsley
Old 01-09-2000, 06:04 PM
Posts: n/a
Wishing you all the best with the rodents from Hell but also thanking you for the best read I have had for months. Good luck!
Old 01-09-2000, 06:05 PM
Posts: n/a
Wishing you all the best with the rodents from Hell but also thanking you for the best read I have had for months. Good luck!
Old 01-09-2000, 06:42 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Dogpatch/Middle TN.
Posts: 30,792
<font size=6>Listen, goofs. FLOOD THEM OUT!
Pump LOTS of water down their holes, and shoot any that don't drown.


"Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you."----Jung
Old 01-09-2000, 07:41 PM
Posts: n/a

Thank you for the excellent advice and sharing your experience I will try to put it to good use.

Your idea might work except for the fact that the groundhogs already know me as their sworn enemy. Hmmm. How to spread the information without it seeming to come from me?

I think what I need is a MOLE in their organization. Heh. Heh. Heh.


I like Barry Manilow so watch it Bub!

I am tickled to death that some people have seen fit to compliment this thread. Thank you.

Bosda D'ichi of Whatever:

May I humbly suggest that before you use capitol letters and big fonts, that you at least make the effort to read the thread where you will find more than one excellent discussion on flooding. That helps avoid the embarassment you should now be feeling.

As for calling me a "Goof." Well now you've gone and hurt my feelings. Should I try to be big about this, or retaliate, embrace the Dark side, give in to my fury and risk being sent to the BBQ Pit for a flame war?

Better yet, I shall leave you to the swift and unerring justice of our Moderators. "Goofs," Man that's just pushing the envelope you'll have nobody to blame but yourself.
Old 01-09-2000, 08:30 PM
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Hamilton, OH
Posts: 1,841
al, I'll join the others in complimenting you on a very entertaining thread, while sympathizing with your plight, I have found this to be a delight to read.

To aid your quest, though, may I suggest you try a diplomatic solution. I'm not talking like aha's suggestion, "hey, come on guy's, let's go to the movies." I'm talking about a real truce. But, before you suggest it, you must prepare the area so that it is a reasonable solution.

First, totally devastate the area. Dynomite, poison, smoke, flood, or anything else you can think of. Then offer the truce, but the most important thing is to offer to rebuild their lost homes. You may be able to infiltrate some dogs and cats into their ranks but I wouldn't count on that. The reconstruction is the key. Offer to build them luxurious condos, and for god's sake build them above ground. Since there are always pockets of resistance, keep your options open to deal with them harshly. Once you have moved all the homeless groundhogs into the above ground condos, a few accidental bombing strikes against the resistance should wipe out the civilian population in "Woodchuck Manor".

Anyway, good luck.
Old 01-09-2000, 09:31 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 62
"I like Barry Manilow so watch it Bub!"

Well ya see, there's your problem right there.
You've offended the RocK gods. This groundhog plague is just their wrath.
All you have to do, is to appease them, and the critters will leave.

Try this:
Draw a mustache on Donny Osmond's picture.
Put it inside a copy of Spin magazine.
Roll it up really tight.
Smack Keith Richards in the head with it.
Smoke half of it.
Then bury the other half in Rob ZomBie's front yard.
.... that should do it ....

(and if you get ahold of any records by the Monkeys, you might want to burn those ... just to be safe)
Old 01-09-2000, 11:14 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: El Paso TX
Posts: 234
OK, I talked to a couple of friends of mine and got one more suggestion. I have never tried this and just offer it as something a desperate person might try.

I was you should get an iron bar about 4 feet long or so and bend it so that you have a 3 foot shaft and a one foot handle, and you should solder wires to it so that the neutral is closest to the bend, the hot wire is closest to the short end. Then, after a rain or thorough watering, you should stick the long end of the bar into the ground and then plug the wire into standard household current. Supposedly, this sends a current through the wet earth that ground hogs find uncomfortable and they will vacate. It also will cause earthworms to come to the surface, so if you are a fisherman you can collect them. I would wear insulated boots though. Actually I wouldn't do this on a bet, but if you are desperate it might be worth a try.
Old 01-09-2000, 11:57 PM
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Mansfield, OH
Posts: 610
We had something when I was a kid that caused groundhogs to be alarmed and earthworms (nightcrawlers) to appear.

We called it 'rain.'

I don't know why fortune smiles on some and lets the rest go free...

Old 01-10-2000, 12:47 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: El Paso TX
Posts: 234
The only reason I brought it up is because you mentioned you had used Hadagopher poison bombs. If those things are designed to kill pocket gophers, they probably won't have much affect on ground hogs.

I had never heard the term whistle pigs but freely admit that Ground Hog and Woodchuck are interchangeable, which brings up the age old question:
How much wood would a wood chuck hog if a ground hog could hog wood?
Old 01-10-2000, 01:28 PM
aha aha is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Third planet from the sun
Posts: 2,371
Ok just forget that last post I sent..I was just kidding after all we know that groundhogs don't go to the movies. Here is the real solution to your problem:

Give me your address and I will send my mother-in-law for an extended visit. She can bring her "Nazi" uniform. (I am sieg heiling even as I think about it now.)She can move in (temporarly) of course with the groundhogs. They will at first think it pleasant as she will buy a few cheap gifts for the groundhog babies and make a weak offer to pay for lunch and they will think she is one of them. After about three days however she will begin to get on the groundhog's nerves because they will have to endure the sight of her shuffling around the burrows in her bathrobe ( the one she has had since 66') and basically making a nusiance of herself in the groundhogs kitchen and constantly complaining about the heat or air in the burrows and fiddling with the burrow thermostat..and then GHs will begin to hint around asking stuff like.."are you driving back tonight?" and "when do you have to be back in tulsa?"( her hometown) But she will reply with vague terms like "umm what day is this?" and will remain undaunted. After about a week the groundhogs will be able to endure no more and go insane running screaming into the night like lemmings to the sea.

"Ward, You're upsetting the beaver."
Barbara Billingsley
Old 01-10-2000, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Cleveland, OH USA
Posts: 39
Acquire you some huge speakers, stick then into the ground, and then blast a continuous noise that resonates with teh natural frequency of the groundhogs. This will cause them extreme distress in the least, and at best they with shake apart into a gelatinous goo that will be quite beneficial to the soil!

Ok seriously tho... what about those ultrasonic frequencies that certain rodents are said to hate? The ground is an excellent conductor of sound so maybe blasting some undesired noise into the ground will have some effect?

Old 01-10-2000, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 1,629
Well I've seen those outdoor spikes that use electronic means for moles. They don't seem to cover a huge distance though and we're talking acres here not a back yard. These might work on a mound to mound basis though.

I'm thinking decoys though. Lifelike female woodchuck decoys. Maybe some lipstick and a nice bushy tail. Get those Whistle Pigs whistling. When they come far enough out of their hole you give them the blow job they want, aim for the woody and chuck the remains.
Old 01-10-2000, 06:26 PM
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Oregon
Posts: 2,651
Here's my partly serious suggestion:

You've mentioned that the hogs tend to melt into the ground after you've shot a few with your .223. Have you considered a subsonic round? The .300 Whisper cartridge is touted as being a nice, heavy round with very little noise. If you wanted to go whole hog, you could even get yourself a suppressed weapon - registration is not all that hard, but there's a Federal transfer tax (I think it's $200) plus whatever your state charges.

Of course, it's not going to be as flat-shooting as .223, which might be a prohibitive concern. On the other hand, it will make all the rifle freaks in your area really envious.

I actually don't know if it would work. I mean, the groundhogs might be alerted by something other than noise, or they might have really good hearing. But it's a pretty neat idea.

That which does not kill me just makes me really irritable
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