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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southeastern MA
    Posts
    215

    Woodchuck "removal"

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    There is a new woodchuck hole in the section of my yard that I use for my dogs. The area is surrounded by 6 foot stockade and chain link fencing that reaches to the ground all the way around. Apparently the critters are able to climb...(Who knew?)

    We have an acre of property that abuts a wooded conservation area, and I would not have a problem with them residing anywhere else. He/they could not have picked a worse spot to set up housekeeping.

    I'm concerned that one of the dogs will confront the beast and get into an alteraction. My preferred solution would be to encourage them to move elsewhere.

    Does anyone have solutions for making the entryway to the burrow unappealing without putting my dogs at risk? The burrow is in the middle of some established shrubbery, but the dogs can currently work their way into the spot if they get curious enough.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    5,316

    wood

    Sorry no idea how but...

    I would love to see a pic of your resident woodchuck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    3,867
    Didn't they just burrow UNDER the fence? They are groundhogs, after all.

    The way you get rid of moles is to kill all the grubs in your lawn. You kill grubs with poison. I wouldn't want to do that so I let the cats dispatch the moles as they find them (couldn't stop them anyway). Okay, to avoid snarky comments, I really just don't do anything about the moles, and sometimes the cats catch them.

    What do woodchucks/groundhogs eat? Take away their food supply.

    Karen
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    insidious ungovernable cardboard

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    They eat anything green. She'd have to kill the lawn and all the vegetation.

    I've read that if you bury the fence one foot deep they won't dig underneath it.

    But I can't help. I had enough trouble keeping them out of my garden (electric fence finally did it, which is more than I can say for the deer). Totally gave up on all the Internet tips (ammonia, smoke, etc.) that didn't get their burrows out from under the porch and garage. Sprayed the workbench, garage doors and porch posts with Bitter Apple, which at least seems to keep them from chewing the wood and plastic down to nothing.

    I think unless it's a mother and babies (which the babies would be out and about by now, if that's the case), they won't try to fight your dogs, but will just run away. I'd actually let the dogs have access, on the theory that the dogs will harass the groundhogs into leaving, better and more consistently than you could possibly do. That's what I've seen, anyway.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    682
    Ah, this brings back memories of childhood--my father spent many summers battling the groundhogs in his garden. They had burrowed under the fence around our yard, so they had one entrance on our side and one on the other side of the fence. That's pretty typical for a groundhog den--one main entrance and one escape hatch. And they loved his huge vegetable garden--it was like an all-you-can-eat groundhog buffet 24/7 from May through September. My father tried everything to remove the critters and eventually resorted to trapping them and carting them away (far, far away--his first attempt didn't work and they came right back) then filling in their burrow and sinking the fence into the ground so they couldn't come back. He missed this last step for the first few years--he would trap the goundhogs, take them away, fill in the hole and think he was done, and the next spring there would be another couple of groundhogs moving in. Once he buried the fence, they stopped coming around. You can purchase live traps (my father made his own because he's Mr. Frugality) but you might also try on Craigslist or Freecycle to see if anyone has one you could borrow. Or check with your local animal control or Department of Natural Resources to see if you could borrow one.

    Gardening guides tell you that you can discourage groundhogs by making the area feel unsafe for them. They are shy and like to hide, so getting rid of overgrown vegetation should help. My father tried the trick of hanging up pie plates and pinwheels and other things that would move and make noise to scare away the groundhogs, but that didn't work for him. Your dogs might be able to help you with this--the groundhog doesn't want to get into an altercation with them any more than you want that to happen, so taking your dogs for a leashed walk regularly over by the burrow might make the groundhogs decide to move on to safer territory.

    Sarah

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Perpetual Confusion and Indecision
    Posts
    488
    How big are your dogs? I've never seen a woodchuck that would stay anywhere in the vicinity of a dog, but we always had German shepherd size dogs. I suppose little ones don't scare them, and that would explain your concern for them.

    I can't help. Sorry. My Dad used to shoot them, I'm afraid. They could do some real damage on a farm. I remember many times suddenly dropping a tractor wheel into one of their holes. When the crops are up, you just can't see them. I also mowed many a mound of dirt in the fields for the same reason.

    Good luck. Burying your fence sounds like the real solution. I agree with Tuckervill - if there is just one opening in your enclosure, the other end is outside somewhere. One end will have a big mound of dirt, and the other won't.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    Okay, this is something that has been bugging me for a while.

    In Ohio, they're groundhogs.

    To my sister just 300 miles due south of me, they're woodchucks.

    I'd assumed that the linguistic divide was the Eastern continental divide. But now I see Kubla in MA calls them woodchucks.

    Where's the line? I must know!
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southeastern MA
    Posts
    215
    We've always called them woodchucks here in MA as far as I know.

    Complicating matters further, some areas call them whistle pigs....<shrug>

    Guess it's like the regional polecat vs. skunk debate?


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    SW Ohio
    Posts
    145
    The best way to get woodchucks/groundhogs to quit using a particular burrow entrance is to put used cat litter at the entrance/around the hole/down in it. They create pretty elaborate networks between openings to the outside, so they'll just shut down that tunnel after a while and you can fill it in after they stop using it.

    Groundhogs are vicious, though. They're the only animal my jack russel has some trouble killing on our farm, so he only goes after the little ones now.
    “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”
    - Emily Dickinson

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southeastern MA
    Posts
    215
    Quote Originally Posted by artifactos View Post
    The best way to get woodchucks/groundhogs to quit using a particular burrow entrance is to put used cat litter at the entrance/around the hole/down in it.
    This was one remedy I found online and considered trying, as the soiled litterbox contents would be placed in the burrow and not where the dogs could get at it. (Another suggestion was ammonia-soaked rags in the burrow, but that is not an option for me.)

    Someone asked how large my dogs are. We have two Collies and two Boxers. The Collies would probably want to be friends with the intruder, as they are very friendly with other animals. (I found my male last year gently kissing a field mouse in the back yard. The poor thing was wet from being licked-and trying desperately to escape by climbing the 6 foot stockade fence.)

    The Boxers-on the other hand-would be likely to go after it aggressively if it showed up at the wrong time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    1,104
    Rock Chucks here in Idaho!

    they're all various species of Marmots.

    Here, it's the yellow bellied marmot...

    Fortunately, I'm not dealing with any of those, but I do have a bunch of pocket gophers I'm trying to discourage!

    Karen in Boise

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    We don't have cats, but we tried the ammonia-soaked rags for several weeks. And (living out in the country as we do - in line with the other thread about the cornfields and portajohns) we tried urinating right into the hole.

    The groundhogs could care less.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southeastern MA
    Posts
    215
    It wasn't clear from what I found online-but I'm assuming that it's kitty litter soiled with urine that allegedly deters them?

    Not that the other feline waste material is pleasant. With several dogs, a pet bird and a horse, I'm no stranger to poop-scooping. However, the litter box makes me gag and DBF-who wanted to keep this stray kitten 5 years ago-conveniently forgets to clean it.

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  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Little Egypt
    Posts
    1,867
    Oak, here in southern Illinois, they are groundhogs....same as in Ohio. I grew up on a farm too and they are destructive critters and a real menace.

    I'm not even going to describe some on the ways my father got rid of them but if anyone saw Bill Murray trying to get rid of the gophers in Caddyshack, then you get the picture.
    __________________
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    SW Ohio
    Posts
    145
    Quote Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
    It wasn't clear from what I found online-but I'm assuming that it's kitty litter soiled with urine that allegedly deters them?

    Not that the other feline waste material is pleasant. With several dogs, a pet bird and a horse, I'm no stranger to poop-scooping. However, the litter box makes me gag and DBF-who wanted to keep this stray kitten 5 years ago-conveniently forgets to clean it.
    I believe the urine is the more important component, but in VA we just put all of the nastiness from the litterboxes down in the tunnels, since they were starting to tunnel under the indoor arena (NOT COOL!).

    Good luck!
    “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”
    - Emily Dickinson

 

 

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