How to Get Rid of Ground Hogs
What is a Woodchuck or Groundhog?
I know that the groundhog shown on the movie "Goundhog Day" looks like a cute little creature, but they're not. A groundhog and a woodchuck are the same thing and they are rodents. Some people call these land-beavers or whistle-pigs too. They will eat your garden down to nothing and make holes all over your lawn and garden. One ate my hostas all the way down to the ground.
Woodchucks don't eat wood at all. The saying about "how much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood" is just a cute tongue twister to teach the kids. Their main diet is vegetation, grasses, nuts, and small insects like grubs. The creatures will also eat smaller animals.
Groundhogs usually weight about 4 to 9 pounds, but in ideal conditions, they can weigh as much as 31 pounds. These creatures can be large. They live about 6 years, but have been known to live in zoos as long as 14 years.
Woodchucks will make tunnel systems that have numerous holes. The reason for this is that when a predator like a dog gets near the hole, they'll run through their tunnel to a hole a distance away and run out that hole to get away. They can spell disaster on a lawn, because they can have as many as 5 holes. Think about having several on your property.
They are a member of the Marmot family and are relatives to ground squirrels. The woodchuck is a lowland creature and does hibernate during the winter months. A separate hole is usually dug just for this purpose. New tunnels are often dug in the spring.
The groundhog can be seen standing on its hind legs in an alert position guarding themselves and other groundhogs. The reason some people call them whistle-pigs is because they'll leave out a shrill whistle to warn the other groundhogs of danger when anyone approaches.
Don't get near a groundhog, because they are aggressive animals with sharp claws. To them, everyone is a predator.
9 Ways to Get Rid of Groundhogs or Control Them
1. Some people shoot and eat the woodchucks. They say they are great for eating, but be sure to remove the scent glands from under the armpits. If you don't, it can ruin the meat. It looks like a yellow kernel of fat. Braise like you would for a rabbit. Since I'm not into guns, I didn't use this method.
2. Use a box trap and catch the groundhog. Take it miles away and let it loose. Some states don't allow this, so check laws first. This one sounds like a way to get even with an enemy. Where are the Hatfields and McCoys when you need them?
3. Some people run an exhaust hose from the car exhaust and release the fumes in the hole. Be sure to block all of the other holes if you use this method. Of course this kills the groundhog or makes him run for miles if he finds a way out.
4. You can pour ammonia down the hole and he won't want to use it anymore. Make sure you find all of the holes, because there will be several. Maybe the woodchuck will move on to better grounds.
This one worked well for my mother. She had groundhogs digging under her pole barn foundation and tried almost everything except shooting them to no avail. She didn't try traps, because she didn't know what to do with the animal once she caught it. The ammonia worked like a charm.
5. If you spread some lime (the fertilizer) near the hole's entrance, it burns their feet and they will go someplace else. You can spread lime around the plants you'd like to save too.
6. These animals don't like vibrations in the ground. Use lawn windmills like the daisy ones you find in the store. I haven't tried this, but I would expect you would need several of them.
7. Use a vibrating sonic devise. These can be found many places online, if you can't find them in the store. They can be found on both eBay and Amazon.
8. If you would like to just keep them out of the garden, you can stop their tunnel digging progress. Place chicken wire at least 18" down in the ground around the garden.
9. Purchase some animal repellent at the store. At Walmart, I found it for around 8 or 9 dollars last year.
My Own Results
I haven't seen a woodchuck after I used the ammonia technique. They might have made new tunnels in the woods behind us or have run to the neighbors yard. I'll have to give an update at the end of the summer.
This works, because no new ground hogs appeared so far.
A Video I Found on Youtube
Have You Ever Had to Deal with Woodchucks in Your Yard?
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