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How to Get Rid of Ground Hogs

Updated on August 3, 2017
Woodchuck Eating
Woodchuck Eating | Source

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.

Woodchuck in a Tree
Woodchuck in a Tree | Source

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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    • profile image

      Patricia 3 months ago

      We have trapped 12 groundhogs that were going under in ground pool. I'm going to try ammonia and also lime.hope this works. Thanks

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 21 months ago from USA

      Jake, It is too bad that they make such a mess in the yard. Otherwise I'd just live with them. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Jake C. 21 months ago

      In my years of living in my current house (since '92) I dont think ive ever had a year without seeing some ground hogs. I always poured mothballs dowb the hole. That usualy scares em off but if I ever see one in my yard, a ruger 10/22 with high velocity rounds usually does the trick. And usually if you kill one, the rest leave.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 2 years ago from USA

      leprecaun, We live in a subdivision with 50 houses. We have the problem too and it can be disgusting.

    • profile image

      leprecaun 2 years ago

      This is not the first time I've had a groundhog. Last year I used nearly a whole bag of lime around the two holes and thought he was gone so I filled them. One is under my steps.....this year, he is back and the lime does nothing to his feet....he's redug near the old holes....made a complete mess of my steps again.....I'm gonna get some ammonia.....I live in the city for crying out loud.....

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      John, I've heard that works for moles. It should work for ground hogs then too.

    • profile image

      john 4 years ago

      I heard you can also use this to Get an apple and core out the center

      take a piece of gum (juicy fruit) take off the wrapper stick it in the middle of the apple. They will smell the fruit from the gum and eat the apple when they bite the gum they will it and wont be able to swallow it and they will die someplace

      I have not tried this yet i don't like killing this way but i may have to they r under my deck.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      The- Quietwarrior, It is worth trying on moles. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • The-Quietwarrior profile image

      The-Quietwarrior 5 years ago

      I wonder if this will also work for moles... Good article..

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      A Little Truth, My Mom has trouble with them tunneling under her pole barn, so she isn't happy at all. We're in Michigan too, so it must be a real problem here. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • A Little TRUTH profile image

      A Little TRUTH 5 years ago

      Thanks, lots of good remedies to choose from!

      I've had ground hogs in two homes in Michigan. At the fist one, they all disappeared when we got a Great Dane. At the second, we just let them be since they didn't bother the grass or garden. The only problems were that they got so big, fat and complacent that I had to be careful not to run them over with my big commercial lawnmower; and potential interactions with the grandkids.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      Repub, Thanks for reading and commenting. I'll have to check yours out.

    • The Republican profile image

      The Republican 5 years ago from USA

      Hi, good ideas, and you make a good point. could you read my writings?

      Thank you, Repub.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      EuroNinila, Thanks for reading. We have shrews in the yard now. I guess they can't hurt anything though. I haven't heard of "have a heart" traps before. Thanks for sharing.

    • EuroNinila profile image

      Fotinoula Gypsyy 5 years ago from NYC BABY

      Great hub, I can't believe people eat them though! We put "have a heart" traps in our yard for pesky little animals that eat our garden! Great hub, sharing!

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      brmom68, Thank for reading and I hope one of these tricks works for you.

    • brsmom68 profile image

      Diane Ziomek 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      We have a pocket gopher who likes to make an appearance in our lawn every now and again. I will have to try one of these tricks next time he shows himself (or a new mound of dirt pops up). Voted up, useful and shared.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      teaches, Thanks for reading. Along with the beautiful days of summer are some problems like this to deal with. Thanks for commenting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      A friend of mine had these critters digging holes around the foundation of the home and they had to get animal control to help chase them out. Great advice on this hub, too late for my friend but I am sure others will find this helpful.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      Tim, I think you are right. So far the ammonia is working for me. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Tim Schuler 5 years ago

      Great tips! Sometimes I think the groundhogs watch what you plant and spot what they think you love the most and target those plants and eat them down the ground in the blink of an eye.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      CrazedNovelist, Thanks for reading and I hope you don't have to deal with them either.

    • CrazedNovelist profile image

      A.E. Williams 5 years ago from Hampton, GA

      Great hub... I hope I never had to deal with a groundhog lol. Thanks for the writing. Always a pleasure,


    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      moonlake, They don't seem so cute when they eat all of your garden though. I'm hoping the ammonia is working and they find a new place to call home.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      But they're so cute. We had one on our land but when we started building a house he moved. Voted up on your hub. Good information I'm sure many people need.