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12 - 15 pounds of OH NO!!!!!

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Post  martha 8/11/2013, 2:01 pm

My first groundhog sighting last night! Wandering through the garden. Nothing damaged - yet. He was just making his shopping list.

Thoughts, suggestions, referrals to any groundhog hit men?

This is my 6th year gardening, 4th or 5th SFG, and first one....the honeymoon was great while it lasted!
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Post  camprn 8/11/2013, 2:19 pm

Hey Martha, welcome back, We missed you!

I would encourage you to consult with your local Fish and Game folk regarding the legal aspects of ridding the creature from your garden.

Rabbit fencing works, but it works best if set in the ground by several inches. The motion sensor sprinklers may work. A large have a heart trap works. Does your town have a firearms restriction?

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Post  martha 8/11/2013, 2:33 pm

Thanks, Camp - it's good be back. I hate when life interferes and causes me to drop off the face of the earth. 


 All good questions. Any ideas/experience with how long I have? Does the groundhog family need to plan their excursion to the farmers market, or did the one last night just happen to be full from raiding someone else's garden before he found mine?
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Post  camprn 8/11/2013, 4:05 pm

Tomorrow is Monday and a good day to contact F&G.

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Post  martha 8/11/2013, 6:01 pm

And I'll let you know what I learn.
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Post  mollyhespra 8/11/2013, 8:26 pm

I have a woodchuck commune on my property.  After dealing with them for years while trying to grow anything, we decided to get a serious critter fence before setting up the new SFG in the front yard.  I researched and researched and researched and this is what I came up with, and so far it's working:

Make a 'chuck-proof fence!

You'll need to clear a level area about 2-3 feet wide going around your garden and lay some landscape fabric down to inhibit weeds.  Get some sturdy wire fencing that the 'chuck won't be able to chew through.  The taller the better, but go at least 4' (though 6' would be better).  You can get two 3' wide rolls and overlap them by 6".

Bend the bottom foot or so by 90 degrees so that you have an "L" shape where the bend is facing outwards.

Pound some rugged, tall stakes into the ground to hold up your fencing, making sure that they're a good foot or two into the ground, and about a foot *SHY* of your final fence height.

Secure the fencing to the stakes using whatever method works best for your materials.  I used 10" cable ties.  Make sure, however, (and this is uber-important) that you do *NOT* secure the top foot or so of the fencing to the stakes.  This is why the posts are meant to be shorter than the edge of the fence.  Let the upper bits flop to the outside.

Using long landscape pins, secure the "L" part to the ground every 6" or so.  If you've had to overlap widths of fencing, make sure that the top of the "L" is behind the overlap, and use some wire or hog staples to stitch the widths together for some extra insurance against intrusion.  

Spread some 3-4" of mulch over the landscape fabric to bury the exposed fencing and voila!  You're done.  

You will have to figure out how to get in and out of the enclosure, though. Those critters can squeeze in through an amazingly small space (as we found out earlier in the Spring).  If you make a gate, make sure you don't leave more than an inch or two for the latch or hinge areas, and make sure the 'chuck won't be able to tunnel under the gate by laying down a "doormat" made of the same fencing in front of the gate.

With the exception of the 'chuck that got into the enclosure through the space between the gate and the gate-posts, we've been 'chuck-free all summer!  

Oh, and I forgot to mention: that floppy bit at the top is meant to deter the critters from climbing into your enclosure. They're amazingly agile climbers and will easily go up and over a fence that's pulled taught. BUT when they get to the top of your floppy fence, their body weight will cause the fencing to bend and down will go chucky!

HTH & good luck!
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Post  Triciasgarden 8/11/2013, 9:06 pm

I hope life has slowed down for you for a bit Martha!

That fence sure sounds secure Mollyhespra!
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Post  lyndeeloo 8/11/2013, 10:30 pm

Hi Martha, I live in MA as well and my understanding is... You may trap an animal on your property, but it is illegal to transport that animal away unless you have a specific license to do so (Pest control). A neighbor of mine got in trouble for trapping and moving squirrels. A co-worker ended up in hot water because he trapped a skunk and ensured its demise. A neighbor called the police on him. I'm not sure what good trapping an animal does if you can not take it somewhere else. The logic confuses me, but this is Massachusetts....LOL. Good Luck!
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Post  boffer 8/12/2013, 1:08 am

mollyhespra wrote:I have a woodchuck commune on my property.  After dealing with them for years while trying to grow anything, we decided to get a serious critter fence before setting up the new SFG in the front yard.  I researched and researched and researched and this is what I came up with, and so far it's working:

Make a 'chuck-proof fence!...
Very descriptive writing; easy to visualize. 12 - 15 pounds of OH NO!!!!! 3170584802 
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Post  batmap 8/12/2013, 1:38 am

martha wrote:My first groundhog sighting last night! Wandering through the garden. Nothing damaged - yet. He was just making his shopping list.

Thoughts, suggestions, referrals to any groundhog hit men?

This is my 6th year gardening, 4th or 5th SFG, and first one....the honeymoon was great while it lasted!
We likely do not have pest control issues here in Texas. If we found any number of pests on the farm where I grew up, it usually ended badly for the pest. We mostly had rattlesnakes, copperheads, and blacksnakes, but our farm attracted all kinds of skunk, coyote, armadillo, fox, havalina, hawk, owl, and the random packs of "wild" dogs (once ranch pets).

Is there anything you can do to protect your land and farm resources? Groundhogs, ground squirrels, and the like would normally go the route of buzzard bait like most roadkill. Otherwise, ranchers would take up arms to clear those rodents out from cattle grazing areas due to cattle early demise from breaking limbs from collapsed tunnels.

In your area, I am going to bet cattle is not king so you may be out of luck. If you are able to use traps, I hear some of them like peanut butter or maybe even carrots.
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Post  camprn 8/12/2013, 8:35 am

The large have-a-heart traps work pretty well around here for the woodchucks. I hope F&G has one to loan to you.

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Post  mollyhespra 8/12/2013, 9:09 am

Early on we tried trapping the 'chucks in a large hav-a-hart. It worked, in so far as we caught a 'chuck, but it's a good thing I remembered that frightened creatures tend to let their bladder/bowels "go" as a survival thing, so before we put the trap into the trunk, I wrapped the bottom/sides in a large tarp AND put another tarp down just-in-case. Sure enough, 'chuck had done his business while in the trunk. When we got to the release location, we released the gate, he bolted out, and we thought that was that...until I read some more on trap & release and as it turns out, we probably killed that 'chuck that very evening by doing what we did.

First, we didn't release him in 'chuck-approved territory because we didn't think about it from the 'chucks POV. We were looking for a suitable drop-off from our human perspective: secluded & close to the road.

Second, we chose late afternoon to transport because that's when he sprung the trap. Releasing a frightened critter who burrows for protection into an unfamiliar (and unsuitable) locale in the late afternoon isn't conducive to his being able to find a good place to survive. The coyotes probably got him that night.

SO, we haven't used that hav-a-hart since we realized the above.

Other methods that haven't worked so well: repellents and planting things that they (allegedly) don't eat. They weren't repelled & they ate well.

A fence is expensive, I know. But ultimately, it's been for us the most effective way of safekeeping the garden.

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Post  camprn 8/12/2013, 9:38 am

Knowing where Martha lives, I think the catch and release may be a viable alternative to shooting the beast. There area few large predators where she is, but not nearly as many as where you and I live Molly. The worst predator in her area is the automobile. But hopefully she will be in touch with F&G and get some good advice and help from them.

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Post  No_Such_Reality 8/12/2013, 1:44 pm

lyndeeloo wrote: A neighbor of mine got in trouble for trapping and moving squirrels. A co-worker ended up in hot water because he trapped a skunk and ensured its demise. A neighbor called the police on him.
I'm curious what the police did other than show up?  Obviously if a cranky neighbor wants to call in a complaint that you're doing animal cruelty they need to check it out.

Raccoons, opposums, and skunks
cannot be released off-site, they must be euthanized or
released on the same property
 source: http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/pesticides/gotpests/othercritters/factsheets/nuisance-wildlife-ohio.pdf

LOL, I just realized the Maine department of agriculture is linking to a fact sheet from the Ohio DNR.

Maine has same rule as Ohio.
If you choose to do the trapping yourself, follow the steps listed below. (For detailed information, see "Trapping Wildlife") Before trapping a skunk, you need know what you are going to do with the animal after it has been captured. You can release the skunk at the site of capture after you have boarded up or otherwise closed the entrance it was using or you can euthanize the animal. (see below)


If you do not release the animal, you must euthanize it humanely. The American Veterinary Medical Association and other animal experts do not consider drowning and freezing to be a humane means of dealing with problem wildlife. A wildlife damage control agent, veterinarian or animal shelter may be willing to euthanize the animal for a fee.

While shooting a skunk may sound extreme, in many cases it is the best available method because of its quickness, and it may cause the least amount of stress and pain to the animal. The operator and firearm must be capable of producing a quick death. To calm down an active skunk, keep the trap covered.
Maine law is also clear on property damage by wildlife. http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/12/title12sec12401.html
Except as provided in sections 12402 and 12404, a person may lawfully kill, or cause to be killed, any wild animal or wild turkey, night or day, found in the act of attacking, worrying or wounding that person's domestic animals or domestic birds or destroying that person's property. A person who kills a wild animal or wild turkey by authority of this section shall report the incident to the Maine Warden Service as provided in section 12402, subsections 3 and 4. [2003, c. 414, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 2003, c. 614, §9 (AFF).
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Post  camprn 8/12/2013, 2:43 pm

All interesting NSR. Martha however lives in Massachusetts. Martha, what's the story Morning Glory? cyclops 

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Post  No_Such_Reality 8/12/2013, 3:51 pm

camprn wrote:All interesting NSR. Martha however lives in Massachusetts. Martha, what's the story Morning Glory? cyclops 
LOL, MA not ME

MA's law is similar. http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/fish-wildlife-plants/pac-agents-districts.html

Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 131, Section 37, gives property owners the right to use lawful means to destroy wildlife in the act of causing damage or threatening personal safety. Landowners may only destroy wildlife actually causing damage or posing immediate threats. No one may randomly destroy wildlife simply because it is on their property. It is also illegal for anyone (including PAC agents) to live-trap a problem animal and move it for release on other public or private property.
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Post  RoOsTeR 8/12/2013, 7:01 pm

Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 131, Section 37, gives property owners the right to use lawful means to destroy wildlife in the act of causing damage or threatening personal safety.
I always love the gray areas Razz 

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Post  martha 8/12/2013, 9:40 pm

I'm weighing my options. I think I have someone that will kill it. Part of me wants to, the other part is my "love all the animals in the woods" part.

Restaurant was closed today, but I went over to check things out. So far, the only thing I have lost is a zucchini to some bugs. That's a first for me!
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Post  camprn 8/12/2013, 9:47 pm

Maybe the critter will move along to the neighbor's place.

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Post  martha 8/12/2013, 9:49 pm

is it considered relocating if I just leave him a map?
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Post  Triciasgarden 8/12/2013, 11:26 pm

rofl
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Post  batmap 8/13/2013, 3:43 am

Have you tried using large and/or loud dogs? If they get enough canine attention, they may decide to suntan elsewhere. Then again, some small dogs might be able to get inside the lair a bit.

Here is a vid of a dog digging out the tunnel and killing the culprit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPKUsFWIqXs
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Post  camprn 8/13/2013, 11:44 am

Know your rival to win. http://www.agway.com/how_to/pests/pests/all_about_groundhogs.html

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12 - 15 pounds of OH NO!!!!! Empty Re: 12 - 15 pounds of OH NO!!!!!

Post  Triciasgarden 8/14/2013, 9:09 pm

Good articles!  When the dog started barking from batmap's listed article, my dogs jumped up and started to run to the door before they realized it was coming from my laptop!  I didn't finish watching it because I didn't want to see the actual catching of it.

I know in Colorado on and near the Marine base the groundhog is a "protected species".  That is hard to understand since there are so many of them.  They have mounds it seems every 6 feet or less!  They can eat 1/3 of their body weight every day!  That is one critter that I would not want in my garden!
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12 - 15 pounds of OH NO!!!!! Empty Re: 12 - 15 pounds of OH NO!!!!!

Post  martha 8/24/2013, 6:39 pm

Update - I hate to say this out loud, or write it, but so far, no varmints, and all I have done is sprinkle an insufficient amount of Repels All stinky stuff around about 1/3 of the perimeter of my garden area.


Signed,

idk but weeee
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