The east side property line is a paradise for woodchucks -- which are
called groundhogs here -- because it is defined by a line of about 50
mulberry and black cherry trees. There's also a barbed wire fence.
The 'hogs are smart enough to excavate connecting burrows on either
side of the fence. This eliminates the use of smoke bombs because you
need access to clog-up each hole. That's hard to do with a barbed
wire fence. Those battery-powered noisemaking stakes don't work
either. Instead of being driven away by the noise, the 'hogs attack
and destroy them. The best solution the past 32 years has been a 12
gauge shotgun, but 'hogs ain't easy to hunt. They are wary, and enjoy
excellent eyesight, hearing, and olfaction.
Had a guest who suffered a sprained ankle by inadvertently stepping
into a hole. On another occasion a tractor wheel got stuck and it was
hell trying to free it. Last year a 'hog ignored the vacant burrows
along the east side and started a new one under the house foundation.
But the worst problem are the piles of dirt and rocks outside the
burrows. You have two options on mowing day: rake the debris back
into the hole, or carefully mow around the piles. The second option
is better because if you continually rake the debris back into the
hole, the 'hog gets pissed-off and starts a new hole. Don't need any
On the bright side, I wounded one today, looked like a big alpha male.
A wound is as good as an outright kill because the infection will
finish him shortly. But the news spread fast. Not a half hour later,
a smaller one scampered along the row apparently to claim the more
desirable burrow where the big guy lived and which features both a
white and black mulberry tree within a few feet of it.
I remember seeing a story of a fellow modifying a parking
lot vacuum cleaner truck with a large diameter hose to pull
prairie dogs out of their burrows. I'm sure something like
that would do the same for woodchucks.
You have a woodchuck population only because you have all those mulberry and
cherry trees, they play a major part of their food supply. Even if you do
away with some woodchucks new ones will arrive so long as those trees are
there. You cannot have those trees if you don't want those woodchucks. The
only reasonable solution is to make that area a woodchuck sanctuary, pile in
lots of big rocks and build lots brush piles under all those trees... the
woodchucks will be happy, you won't need to mow there, and the woodchucks
will not encroach to where there is no food supply. I have some woodchucks
but they stay near the brush piles I made way out in my woods alongside some
old rock walls... wood chucks like to burrow under large rocks. Of course I
don't have 50 fruit trees there either. Your fruit trees are what's known
as an attractive nuisance... if you harvested all that fruit most of the
woodchucks would leave. Most mulberry trees produce fruit all summer, how
can you in good conscience complain about woodchucks when it's you who are
Well, these mulberries, black and white, ripen in June and attract
all kinds of creatures, even the carnivorous fox, but by July the
fruit on the ground doesn't seem to be in great demand. They
certainly do not produce fruit all summer. Cherries are later and are
ubiquituous like weeds, all over the property, not just the east
I'm not inclined to pile rocks or harvest the fruit but will continue
as in the past to rely on the shotgun as well as a suggestion from one
of the posters here: soaking fruit in anti-freeze.
That seems to be an excellent strategy.
so how many birds and other animals will die a horrible painful death
with your anti freeze fruit?
geez just live and let live, groundhogs are at most a nuisance.
Wait'll his antifreeze bait kills a neighbor's dog, he'll end up at the
bottom of a pond strapped to a cement block, a meal for the snapping
turtles, catfish, and carp. Shit happens.
Nearest neighbor is 1/2 mile away.
If he has a dog, it would have to be a small dog to get his ass into a
groundhog burrow. And if he does get into the burrow and consume the
fruit and die, well ..... shit happens.
More than a nuisance. Did you read original post?
Personally, I'd shoot them with a .22, set out Hav-a-hart traps and
shoot or drown what I caught. Poison is iffy but I'd put it deep in the
holes to keep other animals away. Practically any animal will eat rat
poison coated with peanut butter.
BTW, young groundhog tastes like chicken.
bed around my deck trimmed back pretty well. He doesn't seem to like the
groundcover plants or ferns very well. (No idea what the groundcover is-
it has 2-tone green leaves.) Hey, not like I would ever get around to
cleaning the bed out. I suppose he is also responsible for the mound of
dirt at the back corner of the slab holding the old dog pen my shed sits
in- guess I oughta attack that with a shovel before frost season, so the
corner of the slab doesn't break off....
All in all, as neighbors go, I could do worse.
Could be worse.
Years ago, when I was visiting the nature center at the Audubon Society of
Western Pennsylvania, I ran across their semi-tame groundhog named
The Executive Director said: "You seem interested. Never seen a ground hog
"No," I said. "We don't have them in my part of Texas. We DO, however, have
"Heh," the director replied, "pretty much the same thing, I think."
"Tell ya what I'll do," I offered, "I'll trade you an armadillo for a ground
"GOOD GOD NO!," exclaimed the director. "No way, no how!"
"Uh, why not?"
"Can you even IMAGINE what would happen if a pair of our granny ladies,
walking our nature trails, encountered an ARMADILLO?"
The director of public safety for Tennessee put out a press release not long
ago telling motorists that the Texas Nine-Banded Armadillo had made its way
into their state. The director cautioned motorists in Tennessee, if they see
one on the highway, not to honk at it.
Armadillos, it seems, when startled, will jump straight up in the air about
four feet. The motorist will then encounter the equivalent of a 16-pound
bowling ball right at windshield level.
Those groundhogs LOVE mulberry leaves. A young one got into
the veggie garden once under the fence (since reinforced). What
did it eat first? The leaves from the mulberry shoots growing up
amidst the daylilies that run along the fence line. (It did not live
to see the next sundown.)
Pollan: Nutrition 'Science' Has Hijacked Our Meals -- and Our Health
Like a lot of Americans, my understanding of nature and our relationship
to it was shaped by Emerson and Thoreau and Melville and Whitman. When I
actually started to garden, I realized all those ideas about the romance
of nature were distinctly unhelpful. Thoreau's love of wilderness and
worship of the wild really doesn't equip you when the pests come and
destroy your crops, when the woodchuck attacks your broccoli.
I got into trouble following their philosophy. I didn't have a fence,
for example. I thought a fence was too alienating from the natural
world. I got into a war with a woodchuck -- just like Bill Murray in
Caddyshack -- until I was defoliating my property and pouring gasoline
down a woodchuck burrow. I was like William Westmoreland in Vietnam,
willing to destroy the village to save it.
I realized then that the garden was a very interesting place to examine
our relationship to the natural world. Traditionally when Americans want
to think about nature, we picture the wilderness, we go camping, we go
to Yosemite. But nature is happening in our homes, in our gardens, in
our lawns, and on our plates.
There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who
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