or is that groundhog? anyways, it's
big, like a beaver with a small tail,
except no big front teeth and it doesn't
spend much time in the water. stands up
like a prairiedog when curious and not
scared enough to run away immediately.
small ones are way cute. big ones are
aptly named groundhogs because they can
munch and munch and munch ...
this beastie has a whole area of alfalfa
and birdsfoot trefoil to feast on -- instead
it decides to wander up into a bare dirt
garden with a few scattered tiny weeds.
variety being the spice of life i guess.
it knew to run when i popped open the
patio door. some people say they can't
move fast, but i wouldn't want to be
chased by one.
last year it mowed down the beans planted
in that bare dirt garden and i had to move
it along with the air-rifle. the beans
recovered and still had a crop so i am not
hugely upset if it decides to try to repeat
this year, but i sure hope to make it a
little harder for it this time as i know
it is about.
i don't mind sharing. i just don't like
losing the whole crop, but then again,
everything i plant outside the fenced garden
is likely deer and critter bait anyways.
Ma said she'll put out the live-trap, but
then i reminded her that i finished off the
p-nut butter and we just used up the last
of the romaine lettuce and carrots too. i
wonder if they like bananas?
Their two most favorite things IME are apples and mulberry leaves.
One time the first sign that a groundhog had gotten past the fence
was the defoliation of the young ("bird planted") mulberries on the
garden side of the fenceline.
Last year the drought was so bad that the stunted babies were
driven out on their own earlier than normal. One was small
enough to push her way through some chain link into the veggie
garden. She ate so much edamame greenery that it wasn't able
to push her way back out. What's left of her is now a study skin.
(My daughter the zoology student did a rather thorough disection
with measurements but decided not to turn that particular study
skin in for credit. All of the study skins and skull she did turn in
are now in the university collection--she does good work.)
Out west they're called rockchucks , and at one time farmers paid a bounty
on them . Not only do they destroy the crops <especially alfalfa> but they
dig holes/burrows which can tear up machinery . Hardest part of collecting
the bounty was finding enough of the things for proof . Not much left if you
hit one with a high velocity hollow point slug ...
I'm hoping I won't have a critter problem here , but I'm also researching
ways to keep 'em from eating my garden . Biggest problem here in Stone Co.
Ar. is deer , they're like the rats in NYC . So far the only way for 100%
exclusion is a fence over 8' tall and the bottom edge buried . Next best is
a 2-3 strand 'lectric fence , baited at first so they learn it hurts to try
to get at those tender succulent little plants . Next is various formulae of
chemicals/eggs/peppers etc that make the plants taste yucky to them . Last
option is also the cheapest , but ya gotta re-apply after every rain storm .
Having a dog that sleeps outdoors at night <and indoors in the AC all
day...> also helps .
7+foot fence has worked for us here with the
deer. nothing else has been worth it. 6ft wasn't
electric is too expensive for what i'd use it
for right now. in the future it might be worth
exploring, but that won't be for some time (by
then perhaps battery/capacitory and solar tech-
nologies will be much further along).
for what we're doing we still have a lot of
area in the fenced gardens to work with -- i'm
years away from needing more fenced space. i
have a few hundred more square feet that is
right behind the fenced garden (we should have
just fenced it to begin with as it would only
have cost us another 30ft of fencing), i'll
annex that next.
my overflow and play gardens are more wild
and it's one of these that is being visited by
the groundhog. i think i nudged it pretty
well with the air-rifle yesterday -- i'm hoping
that's the end of it.
this one seems very insistent about whatever weeds
it's eating in that one garden. we came back from
shopping/errands yesterday and it was out there
nibbling. i tagged it solidly yesterday with a pellet
so now it has been warned several times. i'm hoping
that will be the end of it.
oops, but probably very funny to see. kinda
like the snake trying to go through a small hole
after eating a chipmunk.
i'm not sure what a study skin is, but it sounds
like something done to study anatomy of animals
along with taxidermy in some kind of pose?
I like to imagine that I could blast the things with some
high-tech sci-fi laser-sighted weapon. (Maybe after I open
that Unobtainium mine.)
Just about half her body weight was in her stomach and intestines.
It was packed so solid I could hardly believe it.
Less than taxidermy, but it preserves the skin and feet along with
data about the sex and location of collection. This is not her
university, but it gives an idea of what specimens look like and
how they might be used:
Next fall, she will be doing independent study/undergraduate
research cataloging and organizing the vertebrate collection
(skins, skull, etc.).
She's still got some skulls to clean this summer, but thankfully,
the freezer now only holds a single dead bird waiting to be
processed. (She's hoping to find some fresh and reasonably
intact birds that are larger to practice on before she tackles it.)
You can blame it all on Mike Rowe and the Dirty Jobs episode
about Skulls Unlimited. <http://www.skullsunlimited.com/
you can, but many people don't like guns.
i don't really even like guns either. i'd
much rather have an air-powered pea shooter
that can be remotely sighted and operated
including enough sensors to alert me to the
fact that a critter big enough for me to
care about is nosing around. peas i generally
don't mind sprouting in random locations
nearly as much as i don't want acorns
sprouting (i baked a bunch and used a
sling-shot for a while, but that was not
hahaha, wow, little piggy, but when you
think about the calories involved and how
fast the critter has to grow up plus be
able to make it through a winter season...
thanks, i'll check it out.
are there particular critters she's
heh, oh noes, another dangerous web site. :p
Tetrapod zoology (anything with four feet, or that had anscestors
with four feet), living or extinct. But she's particularly interested in
mammals and dinosaurs.
It's where I've done some of my Xmas shopping these last few
Back to woodchucks, though, I suspect that one of them might
have nibbled on the tomato plants I was hardening off out on
the driveway. It could have been a rabbit, but the browse line
was taller than I'd expect for a bunny.
Now they are late to go in and partly defoliated to boot!
one pump won't penetrate. i can see the
pellet bounce off. i never aim for the head
for the first two warning shots. next shot
it won't survive. eight pumps put the pellet
through 1/4-1/2" plywood at 30yards. .20
cal with a good scope on it...
we don't have either of those here, but thanks
for the E in IME. :)
i've not seen it since the other day so i'm
hoping the pellet "stings" were a good enough
once the peas/beans are up further in the
auxiliary strawberry patch and the strawberries
begin to ripen i expect more challenges out
there as that is unfenced and closer to it's
People do eat ground hog but I never have. They are cute as can be
especially the little ones. There are lots of them in the park where I
ride the bike. But a few years ago we had a bumper crop of ground hogs.
They were EVERYWHERE!
And one decided to dig under the foundation of my house! So I filled in
his hole and he'd dig it back out! I shoved bricks down his hole and he'd
shove them back out! I even poured concrete down his hole and he dug a
parallel hole right next to it.
Sorry, cute or not when the foundation of my house is at stake it's no
more Mr. Nice guy. Can't shoot them in the city, so I start digging out
his hole with a shovel but was making no progress. So I took the hose and
shoved it down there and filled his hole with water! Pretty soon he
sticks his head out and I give him a good whack with the shovel! He
shakes his head and takes off running down the street at top speed with
me chasing him like a mad man swinging the shovel. He got away.
Then I filled in his hole and he never came back. I can hear him telling
his ground hog buddies about the mad man that lives over where he had his
Speaking of trap and release, my house is old, full of holes in the
foundation and before I had a cat, every fall zillions mice would move in
looking for a winter home. So I set up a trap with this tall barrel and
peanut butter where they'd fall in and couldn't get out. Pretty soon I
had maybe 15 mice in there!
So I was going to take the barrel down to the railroad tracks and release
them, but it was cold and snowing and I only got as far as the vacant lot
next to my neighbor's house. A couple of weeks later, I'm talking to my
neighbor and she's telling me that she can't understand it, but suddenly
all these mice appeared in her house from nowhere! I say nothing and
just lay low.
The groundhog I ate was one I popped with a bow while at a friend's
hunting camp. I took a couple since in the same manner but left in the
Around the house, I trap and release but before I had a trap, I dumped a
pint of chloroform down his tunnel which being denser than air would sit
there as a cloud and put him to sleep permanently if he returned.
Mice, you have to seal all holes into your house and trap those inside.
They're all over the place outside and your neighbor probably would have
been hit anyway.
mice are all around here constantly. even with
the wide border of crushed limestone mulch they
still venture along the exterior foundation where
i keep traps set all year now. once i find places
they get into the walls i plug those up, but they
seem able to get in other spots too. the crawl
space i sealed up very well from the rest of the
house (making sure that all gaps were sealed and
covered with metal mesh). they rarely get into
the house itself (two times in 16 years) those
are brought in boxes taken from the garage or
which also reminds me of the time i had a mouse
family shipped to me at college in my model train
boxes (that were stored in the rafters of my
brother's garage). figured out i had mice when
i left a hot chocolate cup (empty with a little
bit in the bottom) on my desk and woke up the
next morning to find a few mouse nerds in the
bottom of a very clean mug. opened up the boxes,
found the nest (and a large cache of dry dog
food). had to trap the adults. peanut butter.
ok, really, i gotta get to sleep... naps in
the early evening play havoc on a schedule.
I've sealed any opening I could find but still catch a few mice per year
in traps in the house. No need to refresh peanut butter bait as they
still go for it when old and rancid. I put poison bait in the attic.
Discovered poison in the house is a bad idea when one died leaving a
faint aroma in the basement for weeks.
yeah, they can still smell it even when
it's down to almost nothing and still poke
their noses in.
i dislike poisons too for much the same reason.
plus i hate the idea that a snake or other creature
might catch a poisoned mouse and then be affected.
just seems better to snap trap them if i have to.
we've used bait stations and poison blocks to
keep the population down in the past, but the
raccoons discovered a taste for them and would
get the bait stations opened. even after we'd
pile large rocks around and on top of the bait
stations they'd still figure out a way to lever
the rocks away and raid the bait stations. so
i've not wanted to put any more out. it just
seems so pointless. mice are all over, killing
a few here or there isn't going to get rid of
them, instead it just means more will come in
from the fields all around us. i much prefer
encouraging owls, snakes, etc. to come feast.
the limestone mulch gives an owl a clear contrast
to catch a skittering mouse...
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