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Groundhog living in the field, what to do about him?

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  • Groundhog living in the field, what to do about him?

    We have just moved on to our new property and discovered a large groundhog hole in the field. The farm has been empty for quite a while and I guess this guy made himself at home. He came right up to the house the other night. There is an old barn that he has dug under too. What is the best way to persuade him to move to a new location? I really don't want to have to shoot it or anything. I'm hoping he will get scared off once we start doing all the work that needs to be done (cutting trees, tearing down barn and putting new one up, new fencing, etc.). Any ideas? I don't really want the large hole in the field sense one of my horses is half blind and has enough trouble as it is. Will walking the dogs out there scare him off?

  • #2
    Watch Bill Murry in 'Caddyshack' ? Sorry couldn't resist If he's not afraid of you maybe a Humane/Live Trap and re-locate ? I keep rodents out of my veggies with Cayenne Pepper sprinkled all over the ground.


    • #3
      I read an article recently that owl boxes were impressively successful in fighting gophers in California. I am thinking I might need 100 of them.
      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


      • #4
        Walking the dogs by the groundhogs will NOT "scare them away." Dogs who are bred for hunting will dispatch them...the Decker Terriers on our farm do it https://www.facebook.com/lois.smith....type=3&theater The male Decker is about 40# and the female is about 25#. We also had the same idea about relocating them when we bought the farm sometime ago, but felt that we were just giving our groundhog problem to someone else! Shooting is the answer for us...we tried all sorts of other methods and they were ineffective. They can live freely in our wooded areas, but the pastures are off limits.


        • #5
          1) dogs that will kill them
          2) shooting them

          We just got one last weekend, he had over 6 holes dug in the horse pasture closest to the house.

          We also have a cattle dog...he disposes of them pretty quickly if he spots them and can catch them.
          "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


          • #6
            We have lots of grounhogs around here. I was able to get them to move from the pastures to the other side of the fenceline by keeping the grass mowed and the activity of the horses in the pastures. I think I read somewhere that groundhogs like quiet undisturbed areas for their burrows.

            Apparently, they are also supposed to be quite fastidious, so I started filling their holes with used kitty litter and covering back over with the soil they displaced. On top of that, I covered the soil with urine soaked horse bedding (that is really stinky!) and that seems to discourage them and they will look for another place to burrow. You may need to repeat the process a few times, but so far it has worked for me.


            • #7
              I've converted a couple of old hay fields into horse pastures; both were riddled with groundhog/woodchuck holes. I tried someone shooting them, and gassing them out, and neither technique worked. The only thing that worked for me was putting used kitty litter down the holes, waiting a couple of days, and filling the holes. The animals never came back.

              I love that it is an easy, cheap, humane and EFFECTIVE method.
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              • #8
                Two things to keep in mind:

                If you see one groundhog hole, there are definitely more since groundhogs insist on having more than one escape route. Also - groundhogs can & DO carry rabies. We've had more than one incident in our general area where groundhogs fighting with & dispatched by dogs were found to be rabid. Luckily the dogs involved were up-to-date on their vaccinations, but still. . . .

                As far as getting them to move, you'll find dozens of different methods, all with proponents who swear they work. Used cat litter &/or dog poop down the holes, used motor oil down the holes (definitely NOT a good thing for the groundwater & environment at large), cement down the holes, Havahart traps for relocation - the list is almost endless.

                It's probably going to be a trial & error thing, but do persevere. And kudos for not automatically going the load up & blow their heads off route.


                • #9
                  When I moved into my farm, I had groundhogs in the barn. They had dug into about 4 or 5 of my stalls. and I had a couple holes in my barn paddock. I put the kitty litter down their holes and then watched for activity. As I noticed that nothing had disturbed the ltter I filled the hole. Also, as I started working more in the barn, ground hog moved inot the cow field behind me I htink...

                  He did come back though after I leveled my stalls wiht bluestone for one last f u to me.... he dug back into the barn and then dug a path through my 5 empty stalls. Thankfully he left the other 4 alone. But it was so irritating to have had the stalls leveled only to find his path under the boards of the stalls.
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                  • #10
                    I don't mind groundhogs at all, we have heaps of them, one living right at the corner of my horses' pasture -- although I understand your concern about a visually impaired horse. If you know your pasture well and he just has the one hole in it, you could just build a very simple square fence around it so your horse has a clear barrier. That would be my simple solution.

                    In addition, you live there and presumably mow, so you will notice if anything in the pasture changes. The one we have just has his one big burrow entrance and is quite content with that. It's the only one on the property and he's waddled happily in and out for two years, so I think he's settled in his location, LOL.
                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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                    • #11
                      My dad has some sort of thing going with the woodchucks at his place. A 25 yr battle. He usually ends up trapping & moving them to the state forest/park, at least a few every year (maybe the same ones, repeatedly, hee hee).

                      Some say that relocation is worse than just axing them, since they might starve in new location or be abused by current woodchuck residents. I have asked two wildlife biologists & gotten two different answers on this (neither were FT woodchuck experts, though).

                      Dad also insists that they come for miles around to eat beans. Beans? Like in the garden? How could they possible sense that someone is growing beans? I think the war is starting to leave scars. Lately it has actually ramping up b/c now the horse barn is empty, so they have a new spot to move in.

                      One thing I will say: we never see the neighbor's Jack Russells. They live about 1/3 mile away & have their own farm to play on. When a new woodchuck sets up under the shed, those buggers are on the spot & digging, howling & carrying on within a few days. That nose works!


                      • #12
                        You shoot them. My husband is manning the deck right now, waiting for the bugger to come out.

                        I am a HUGE animal lover, but the destruction those little creatures cause, makes me turned a blind eye to their quick death. We have thousands of dollars of damage to the areas around our dairy barn. There is concrete sunken, walls shifted. No kitty litter will deter them. They have to go, and since there are literally thousands of acres and million of groundhogs in my area, I'm not feeling horrible about managing what we can close to home and the barns.


                        • #13
                          I forgot to add, I have been chased by a ground hog in my own back yard. I let the dog out and she killed him without 60 seconds. They aren't cute or fun at all!


                          • #14
                            My terrier takes care of them.
                            ... _. ._ .._. .._


                            • #15
                              Hippolyta, your Dad is not crazy. Groundhogs absolutely love green beans. They gnawed the plants in my garden down to the stubs and left everything else alone.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by mkevent View Post
                                Hippolyta, your Dad is not crazy. Groundhogs absolutely love green beans. They gnawed the plants in my garden down to the stubs and left everything else alone.
                                Dad doesn't even grow beans. Do you think they have bean-dar, or do they just get lucky when they find some


                                • #17
                                  Flame thrower

                                  Or rifle, rifle is quicker, flame thrower works if you are slightly champagne impaired and miss with the handgun and he runs back in one of the holes he dug, not only in the pasture, but in the "that's where the horses gallop down the hill path" part of the pasture.

                                  First year here, I killed 6 of them, we had an extended family with enormous burrows.

                                  The distant cousins seem to have gotten the memo, I don't see them at all any longer.


                                  • #18
                                    Either you need to have a dog that will kill them, shoot them, or put cat poop from the litter box in the holes. We had a ton of them in our hay field and a combo of the 3 things worked for us. You will have to be very thorough in walking the field before the grass gets too tall because there are probably many, many holes out there needing filling. I walk ours every spring.


                                    • #19
                                      And those holes can be real leg-breakers - for any livestock.

                                      Groundhogs tend to dig straight down for around 2-3 feet or so before branching laterally.


                                      • #20
                                        I'll send over Sydney Weasely over to take care of it for you


                                        Barn rat for life