Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:25 pm

Whatever you call this rodent, I want it out of my garden.

Last year, with the advice of some on this forum, I purchased a hav-a-heart trap and caught 13 using melon as bait. Still, they were able to do an enormous amount of damage to my garden throughout the growing season. They ate a 100' row of sweet potatoes, beans, peas, salad greens, broccoli, etc, etc. I'll continue to trap em, but what else I can do?

I have considered fencing the garden for a few years now but between the cost and the restrictions it puts on driving the cubs around it has never been done. What type of fencing is best for woodchucks? Napkin math shows north of 1200 linear feet. Sounds very expensive... What solutions are there for gates?

My house is surrounded by other homes so shooting is out of the question.

I told my wife that we need a dog...She replied, " :censored: ". :roll:

A long time ago I remember helping my father smoke bomb holes in the hayfield. Any advice on the best brand or tactics?

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:00 pm

If you can find their holes, park a mower or tiller (Yes, even your Cub) near the den. run a length of flexable exhaust into the den and run the engine for 20 minutes or so. Repeat as required.
A shovel full of dirt in the den will tell you when it has been occupied.
These critters move around and have a uncanny knack for finding old dens, even when the entrances have been sealed.

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:04 pm

Just keep doing what you're doing and someday you will thin them down. Using exhust is quite effective and gives a certain amount of satisfaction in being able to take the fight to them. I like 2 cycle but that may just be mean. I have not had much luck with the commercial smoke bombs meant to do this and gasoline (exhaust), as least as yet, is cheaper and IMO more effective. I also live trap them but told the man at the hardware store that the trap is misnamed. No woodchuck has ever gotten out of there alive. I do not fill in the holes under my barn since they will only dig new ones and weaken the foundation some more. I fill in enough to see when it is again used then out with the live trap. My neighbor has a pile of brush and crap which is nothing but a woodchuck breeder so I have a good resupply. I also can and do shoot them but them little buggers are hard to kill. Vern

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:17 pm

I use a conibear trap and dump the carcass back in the den hole. The problems go away pretty quickly.

Image

The live catch traps are great but those critters seem to find their way back home if not dispatched. A friend of mine got so tired of catching and releasing raccoons in his he started painting the coons with spray paint so he could see if he was catching the same ones over and over. :lol:

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:20 pm

Those traps are illegal in our state. I have had good results with the smoke bombs, or invite Ed over to hang out in the garen they do not like him and usually leave the area quickly. You also can flood the holes they do not like that either.

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:17 pm

Joe Malinowski wrote:Those traps are illegal in our state. I have had good results with the smoke bombs, or invite Ed over to hang out in the garen they do not like him and usually leave the area quickly. You also can flood the holes they do not like that either.


Jim tried putting me in the garden. Didn't scare the woodchucks, like it did in your coop, and I ate too many strawberries. Maybe I need to spend the night, out there. (only if Lauren makes me breakfast) Ed

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:46 am

Why not just shoot them ?
Cooked right they are tasty, not cooked right they are greasy.

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:25 am

I guess Ethan has a couple of years before he can play 'whack a whistle-pig' with a mallet :wink:

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:19 am

In this area ground hog hunting used to be a big hobby, but we have had a lot of coyotes around the last few years that are keeping the ground hog population down in the areas away from the buildings. I found that saving my used oil for a while and dumping it in the holes under the barn and shed really helped there, but having it in you soil is not the ideal thing (EPA does not like that either).

Regarding using engine exhaust to get them I have never tried it on groundhogs, but have on moles, and apparently a small 2 cycle such as is used on a weedeater does not produce enough gas to be effective. Bigger engines are ok, but the real small ones haven't produced any results for me.

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:41 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeF02PPx2A8&list=UUINITHPwJcUS9vKEk5QyeBQ&index=1&feature=plcp

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:24 pm

I never knew whistle pigs lived outside of WV! good luck!!

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:54 pm

Jim,

For small gardens, exclusion (fencing) is the best alternative. For your situation, elimination (trapping, shooting, etc.) is required. Keep trapping, but don't rule out shooting. There are some high velocity, scope equipped, .22 and .177 caliber air rifles that can do the job on groundhogs with a well placed, close range shot. They make very little noise. Just make sure you consider what is down range from your target. Also, determine where the groundhogs are coming from. In a suburban situation, the most likely spots are brush piles and under foundationless buildings. Eliminate as many of these as practicable. You may need your neighbors' cooperation on this. If you know where they live, you can also intercept them before they get to your garden. Consider getting a couple more traps to try to get ahead of the breeding curve. Harass them by continually filling in their holes. The rocks removed from your garden are good for this. They may eventually move on to be someone else's problem. Hope this helps a little. :D

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:37 pm

My property ends at a tall New England stone wall, beyond which is thick low brush perfect for these pests. That property belongs to my neighbors - perhaps I should talk to them about clearing it out.

Trapped woodchucks are eliminated before being released 2' deep. In Massachusetts it is illegal to trap your problem woodchucks and release woodchucks on another person's property:http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/wildlife/living/living_with_woodchucks.htm.

Don, I might get another trap or two. The destruction by these animals is discouraging for a gardener like me. Last year I didn't feel like I was making a dent in the rodent population but you guys are giving me some hope. I think woodchucks have one litter in the spring, perhaps this year I can get a jump on them before they multiply.

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:47 pm

I did not research this,--- BUT IF memory serves correct, they hatch in Feb. and have USUALLY 1 or 2 young, which they boot out at 6 weeks to do more destruction early in the season and wont move far from the area as long as they got food, (your garden) or another favorite food is soybeans. nother that we have is the horse weed, (giant ragweed) and they will climb up them breaking them over and munching off the tender parts.

I have used the smoke bombs, BUT as already stated, they are spendy and dont seem to do the job!---can you get some M-80's (firecrackers)? Light 1 and toss down the hole, but stand behind the dig when you toss them in because the S*** will come out and the ground will shake big time!---Just use them with care because they are NOT toys!--they dont seem to like that and activity stops in that dig until another one moves in!----also they are loaners, they dont live more than one to the den,---making them even harder to eliminate!
I have used the live traps with not much success here because I dont think I had the right bait! One guy told me to feed them bubblegum!---It sticks in their throat when they swallow it and the groundhog CANNOT burp!--- (have NO idea if this works, but maybe someone else can shed some light on it!)----The big ole conibear is my favorite tool to catch them too!!!
Now the fence deal!!!!----2 ways to go on this,---first is the low 24 inch chicken wire with the 1 inch hex. holes, (its stronger than the 2 inch stuff!)---Its fair priced in most areas!--(worth checking into)---use small step in posts to hold it up!
Option 2 ELECTRIC FENCE!---(this gets funny!!!) Ever see a rabbit hit one of these high power things?-- oh man its a riot LOL!!---anyhoo string about 3 or 4 lines of electric wire, (small diameter stuff)---First wire 4 or 5 inches off the ground,--Second line 5 inches or so above the first and the third line about 5 or 6 inches above the second one!---again use the step-in posts spaced closer together to keep quite a bit of tension on the lines!---this fence is also good to keep out other varmints out too!If you get the plastic/fiberglass ones, you wont have to get insulators to hold the wire as you would have to on metal ones!---EXCEPT CUBS! Im sure they could plow right thru it but on the serious side this fence will work, I have used it here for many years with good results---You can even use the electric rope (smaller diameter ) or the flat tape!
I know the fence is a royal pain in the arse, BUT it may be the only way out for a while!
You could also install both type fences for added protection---if they get under the electric line and while they are digging under the chicken wire, (this is where the riot part comes in!) they forget bout the first fence and stand up hitting the high power dude!! LOL!!---ya may have to repair the fence section, but they sure get the message for a while! thanks; sonny

Re: Woodchucks, Groundhogs, Whistle-pig

Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:35 pm

I tried the hose in the exhaust pipe trick for moles a few years ago. All it killed was the grass above every run in the yard. I had brown streaks everywhere. (I've since moved, I don't know if they're still there or not...)
Got "em here too, maybe they followed me. :D