Groundhog Day

The mulberries on the ground have attracted a whole herd of groundhogs.  Late one afternoon last week, there were at least 5 playing in the back yard.  Vince called animal control and they brought out a trap.  They seem to have a 24 hour limit on how long a trap can be left at one house because that’s the second time they’ve brought a trap and picked it up the next day without catching anything.  The critters had been in the back yard eating berries all day for several days til we had the trap set up and then we didn’t see them for 24 hours . . til the trap was removed.  They can’t be that smart . . had to be coincidence, right?

They  seem to be camping out under the neighbor’s little building.  Chad decided he’d go poke under there with a stick.

Not sure what Chad was expecting to accomplish with the stick but . . nothing happened.

Then, Vince decided he’d poke the groundhog with a stick.

Not sure what Vince was expecting to accomplish with the stick but . . nothing happened.

So, then Vince decided we’d go buy our own trap and we can keep it set up til every groundhog in my neighborhood has been caught!

Now I’m really not sure what’s going to happen if we catch a groundhog.  Chad said . . you know that’s not going to do any good because you might catch one and then his friends will see him struggling in the cage and they’re not going to take the bait once he’s gone and you re-set the trap.  I’m thinking . . Chad!  Do you really think they have that much sense?  Heck . . maybe they do.  We haven’t caught one yet and Animal Control’s trap was here for 24 hours on 2 different occasions.

Then I told Vince . . well, I won’t tell you what I told Vince but I volunteered to help the groundhog meet his maker and Vince said “They have a right to live too!”  Huh?  They’re tearing up the yard, they’ll eat the garden . . they can live as long as they want but just not in my yard.

So . . at our house, a new adventure begins — trying to catch and relocate a herd of groundhogs.


  1. 2


    Critters… even though I am living in what was once THEIR territory, I can’t stand them invading MY turf!! Especially when it involves something connected to the gardens and the fresh produce that IIIIIIII want to eat but TTTHHHEEEYYY better leave alone!!


  2. 4

    roccagal says

    Judy-I totally LUV your blog!! It is the first one I ready when I go to the computer-my absolute fave!! It always makes me smile and is always so interesting. I also love your recipes. Vince is too cute!! Keep up the great work!! (and keep the critters out of your lovely garden)

  3. 6

    Suzanne says

    Oh no!! We have an ongoing battle with the raccoons and skunks. I don’t mind the raccoons so bad, but they will kill the ducks if we don’t rehome them to some far away creeks. But, there isn’t a way to release the skunks w/o getting sprayed. The funniest about the traps, is that one of our horses will knock over the trap until it sets and tries to eat the dog food that is used for the bait! Makes my husband so happy….

  4. 7

    Linda says

    I’m with you… to groundhog heaven they go!!! I can remember one night when my husband was working nights, heading out to the garden in the rain with a pistol because I was sure I heard a coon in the trap…..kind of disappointed when the traps were all empty. Had to defend the sweet corn, you know. 🙂

  5. 8

    Sandy Gail (Sandra Neel Hutchins) says

    Get a big fluffy human friendly dog. He won’t hurt any of the neighbors, but not one single critter will remain in or around your yard. We have a huge loveable yellow lab. He greets all humans with great respect and friendliness. But since we got him he has run off the deer, skunks, snakes, rabbits, armadillos, possums, even box turtles. He runs loose but seems to know exactly where our property ends. Labs are extremely intelligent dogs and do great as full time outside dogs.

  6. 9

    Trish says

    The best groundhog control I’ve ever had on my farm was a Rat Terrier dog. He would run circles around the groundhog until it was drunk and dizzy. Then the dog would grab it by the neck and shake until the groundhog’s neck broke. I’ve seen our dog do this with groundhog’s over twice as big as he was.

    Tell Chad groundhog’s aren’t that smart. Just move the trap to a different location in your yard after you’ve caught one.

    And tell Vince to shoot the darn things. What’s he planning to do with them? Put them in a federal witness relocation program??

  7. 10

    Sandy Gail (Sandra Neel Hutchins) says

    We have a nice garden that has no fence at all around it in deer country. There are also many, many rabbits but Sparky has not let a single deer or rabbit touch our garden.

  8. 11

    Toni says

    The one thing I’ve never seen in my yard is a groundhog. We have seen just about everything else that lives in Tennessee. Sounds like the guys need to go hog hunting. Is this area outside of the city limits?

  9. 12


    get a stick, a small container of old fashioned LYE, open the hole using the stick, toss lil lye in it, close the hole with the stick,,,, do this several places along thier tunnels. They will get the lye on thier fingers as they dig, making that location a bad place and move on…
    Gramma lived near a field and a large rural park, she had bunches of moles/groundhogs. This is what cleared her yard up.

  10. 13

    trina says

    that is so funny. Reminds me of my grandpa.When he saw a groundhog in the corn, he would come running into the house to get the gun and then sit at the top of the hill waiting for that old groundhog to come back. Memories.

  11. 14

    Barbara says

    I had a groundhog last year that was tunneling under one of my buildings. It can ruin a foundation because they continue to make ‘bathrooms’ and keep making more tunnels under the concrete slab.

    The exterminator can’t kill them (against the law for them to do) so they trap and relocate them. I was told the groundhogs are very clever so the trap was set with fresh lettuce and covered with a tarp to disguise the trap. It took 4 or 5 days before the groundhog went in the trap.

    The only other way I know is to shoot them, but I’m not that good a shot and I was afraid I would just end up shooting out all the windows in the building ;-0


  12. 15


    I was about to call critter control about our groundhog. He’s got a tunnel right at the foundation of our house and he’s making a mess of the garden, kicking dirt everywhere and eating everything in sight! GRRR.

  13. 16

    Diane says

    Sitting here with my feet up sipping iced tea, waiting. I know this is going to good! 🙂

  14. 17


    target practice!! I had one wait in the yard while I bundled up the kids, drove to where my husband was, he taught me how to load the gun, drove home (2 miles) and shot the thing – it was still waiting.

  15. 18

    Linda Kay says

    My husband hooked a pipe to the exhaust of a smoking motor and asphixiated them. It was pretty funny to see the little smoke signals coming up from the ground in places we didn’t even know they had holes. We have about 1/2 acre on the north side of the house and that is where the problem was.

    • 18.1

      Cynthia H., El Cerrito, CA says

      Now, *that* was creative. And relatively painless for the critters, too. I have Internet gardening contacts, and groundhogs are a real bane for people doing subsistence gardening, or who grow food to put it up for the winter.

  16. 19


    Bang Bang! Around here that is a Sunday afternoon pasttime for farmers. They can create a mess in a field that will break a tractor axle just like that! Or worse cause the tractor to roll.
    As I type this, I see an add on your blog about getting rid of groundhogs!

  17. 20

    Jeanmie says

    I had one trapped in my garage abt 3 yrs ago. Couldn’t figure out what was messing up the garage 2 nights in a row. Then got someone to come look (I was too scary cat to do it) & a big fat groundhog came running out of the far corner. He had eaten the wiring to my garage door (it wouldn’t go down after the 2nd nite), he also got under the hood of my car & ate the wiring that was bundled together that went to some sensors. Cost abt $100 to get it fixed. Those critters are very destructive!!

  18. 21


    I love reading your tales. We had to set traps for both racoons and weasels today. This is just one of the “extra” joys of living in the country.

  19. 22


    We had one living under our front porch, I did everything to get rid of the bugger, I did the fox urine and then other urine (you don’t want to know), dog hair, cat hair, moth balls, it seems that most groundhogs are sensitive to odors, not ours, so we did the have-a-heart trap, nothing. Needless to say this story doesn’t end well for Mr. Groundhog, let me just say he’s in groundhog heaven now…and hopefully all of his friends saw him meet his maker and they high-tailed it out of town….

  20. 23

    Chris says

    When my husband was a boy he had a dog which absolutely hated groundhogs. The dog would tree them, chase them and when caught, shake them until the groundhog died. I am ready to reconsider my “no dogs” rule if I could get one like that. I have a family of groundhogs living under the shed in the back yard.

  21. 24

    Diane H in Alaska says

    We have one of those traps trying to catch tame rabbits that the neighbors have turned loose. We have caught several and take them waaaaay out in the woods somewhere and turn the loose.

  22. 25

    June Piper-Brandon says

    Ground hog is quite good to eat. They are tasty because they are vegetarian and eat the most tender shoots. You have to remember to remove the scent glands though or they taste kind of like skunk. You can grill them, roast them, smoke them, stew them….

  23. 26

    Marie says

    Did you know that groundhogs love to eat clover? If you have any in the yard and set the trap over the clover, they will go in it to get to the clover. We had a family on our property when we first moved here, but the dogs have pretty much chased them away. Now, a couple of weeks ago I had a young red fox in my front yard, as there is a den at the back of our property of them. And we live in the city limits. At least, they keep the field mice and snakes down around here and not near as many stray cats as we use to have. I anxiously await the next chapter of this great story!!!!

  24. 27

    Evelyn says

    Always fun to read everyone’s comments – some interesting ideas on how to get rid of the critters. When I was a kid my Grandpa would make us custom walking sticks to use to pre-check the ground so we didn’t break our ankles in any holes. And – if you get skunks – if you catch them by the tail – they can’t spray you – the trick is in catching them BY the tail! I was very good at it when I was a teenager, but my brother was even better. Then we would ride them down the road on our bikes – holding them way off to the side by the tail and after about 1/2 a mile we would throw them in the bushes and ride home. I swear – we caught the same skunks all summer! Cheers! Evelyn

    • 27.1


      I had no idea you were so talented . . or so brave! I can’t even imagine catching a skunk . . especially by the tail and then riding on the bike with him. I would have fallen off and probably landed on the skunk. I hope I don’t catch a skunk but at the rate I’m going . . there’s no telling what we’ll catch.