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Monday, August 31, 2015

Groundhog Update

First, if you just can't stand the idea of destructive suburban yard varmints being "eliminated", don't read further than this paragraph.  No pictures, and I won't be detailed about their fate, but I don't exactly "adopt them out to loving families". 

So, last post, I was seeking to capture the groundhog who was eating my garden melons.  I have 3 sizes of hav-a-hart cage traps (small, medium, and large - what else?).  The small one is good for squirrels.  I was using the medium cage for the groundhog (it seemed smallish), but apparently it was too small.  The cage doors kept being closed, with the bait pulled out, so the groundhog must has been able to back out of the cage before the doors locked on it.

I brought out the large cage trap  2 days ago.  It has only 1 door (the medium size has 2) and the trip lever is father in.  The groundhog has to be entirely inside to step on the trip-level.  I baited it with one of the melons only nibbled on.  I stepped on the melon to break it into pieces.  One small piece was at the entrance for enticement; a larger piece was inside the cage just beyond the trip-lever.

The next morning, the groundhog was in the cage.  It is "no longer with us".  I thought that was the end of the problem.  I've never had more than one adult groundhog here at one time before.

Wrong!  I stepped outside quietly to do some yardwork after lunch and to my surprise (you saw this coming, right?) saw a larger one running away from the garden.  I even heard it moving around among a serious bramble patch where I assume it has a burrow. 

I rebaited the trap and out it in the path I saw it run in with some of the remaining half-eaten melon.  And I made sure to put it where I could see it from the house.  Nothing like trying to see into my house from cage level...

An hour later, I saw another groundhog in the cage.  It is also "no longer with us".  It is late in the season for young groundhogs, but I will set the cage trap up again in a few days.

The good news is that I have an excavator arriving tomorrow, and the cage would be in the way of excavating equipment, so I have to wait.  The arrival of the excavator is surprise good news, but I will post about that tomorrow. 

Today was about the groundhogs...

I do want to say that I do not have an special dislike for "varmints" in general.  If I could look down across the street to some large field where groundhogs and rabbits happily ran around living their lives eating meadow plants, I would enjoy watching them and I would leave them alone.  When the squirrels used to be here just eating and burying acorns, I never bothered them.  When the rabbits contented themselves eating the plentiful clover in my organic lawn, I did not bother them.  I'm not sure what groundhogs eat that isn't damaging, but if they did, we would co-exist. 

But any common varmint that gets at the things I value, I will rid my property of them as humanely as possible and at no threat to wandering pets (no poisons, no snap-traps).  If there was such a thing as a "Golden-Eared Groundhog" that was endangered, I would catch it and offer it to whoever cares about them. 

But anything that eats MY food is asking for it...

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