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iya 07-08-2010 05:03 AM

We have groundhogs!
We have a little shed in the backyard, maybe 5 feet behind the attached garage. Both garage and house are on a cement slab.

We saw a couple of holes leading to under the shed (one on the north side, one on the east side of the shed), and then a third hole showed up between the shed and the attached garage (west side of shed). The third appears to be the main hole dug by a groundhog, as evidenced by the fresh dirt (I swear I didn't see this hole until this week, but the other holes we saw from a month ago).

It seems we have at least 3 groundhogs.. I'm guessing the parental units and at least one pup? In any case, I'm concerned about how much damage it would deal to my foundation, if it digs burrows under the garage/house. Sure it's eating the flora in the area, but I can adapt my garden to that (goodbye veggie garden). I'm really concerned about the long-term effects it would have on the stability of the foundation. Should I be worried? Should I evict them? And if so, how? I'm not shooting them (not because I can't shoot, but because it's not allowed within the city limits)...

AllanJ 07-08-2010 08:15 AM

First you need to figure out when they are "in" and when they are "out". When they are in, get some smoke cylinders (looks like a firecracker, some are trademarked "Revenge"). Plug all except one burrow hole loosely with rags. Put a smoke bomb in the last burrow hole, light it, and plug this hole so you see little or no smoke yourself. Because woodchuck burrows are actually quite long going underground, I suggest using a second smoke bomb four minutes after the first.

Another approach is to get a cage trap. Bait it with slices of apple. The chuck will have to be disposed of at least ten miles away. Not permitted in all states.

iya 07-08-2010 05:00 PM

Smoke cylinders will kill the hogs, I suppose? I'm not sure I can plug in all the holes as they seem to have dug to the space under the shed, and then dug down from there.. I believe only the actual main hole is accessible.

It's illegal to trap and relocate in Ohio (a co-worker informed to this morning), though some people still do it. If nothing else works, I think I'll try that..
Is there any credit to chasing them away by pouring ammonia down the holes? Urinating seems to have worked for some, but I hesitate to make my patio smell like an outhouse :P

Tom Struble 07-08-2010 07:59 PM

2 Attachment(s)
good luck i had them for years until we got this guy...but it wasn't pretty:huh:

bjlffire 07-08-2010 10:43 PM

Single shot .22 with cb caps, very quiet if fired from a few inches inside a windo

DUDE! 07-09-2010 05:20 PM

He/she is living under the shed, which you said is not attatched,, doesn't seem a biggie. they move out, maybe a skunk moves in,, I vote for the ground hog. I have one up back, actually think it had a baby, anyway, they are cute to watch, course I don't have a garden though. I figure there is a lot worse then ground hogs.

PAbugman 07-10-2010 08:31 AM

iya: Nothing will deter or repel ground hogs. I've seen people use bleach, ammonia, gasoline (dangerous & foolish), broken glass, you name it. The smoke bombs work if you can plug all but one hole, but that sounds unlikely in your case. Use 2 at a time as recommended if you can close all holes. Leaving them alone is a bad idea as more will come every year. The population will just grow. Find out from the wildlife officials exactly what you can and can't do. You don't have many good choices-they must be trapped/killed somehow. Relocating is illegal in PA also, as they cause problems everywhere they are released. Supposed you catch them in a trap and take them somewhere that you can then shoot them in the trap. 22 cb caps are very good, used too use just that in a pistol when I trapped hogs.

Another idea, but risky, is to learn to use "body-grip" traps. Conibear and BMI make them. I used #160's. Some will recommend #220's but they are too big, never even owned one. In PA body-grips are only legal to use above ground if you have a "nusiance wildlife control" license. Otherwise they must be used underwater. They are very dangerous to non-target animals and unsuspecting people (kids) and pets. They kill. They can be dangerous to set also. No margin at all for error. Learn what you can and can't legally do and go from there. If you end up hiring someone, you must effectively seal off the underside of the shed with strong wire, not chicken wire, not a dirt berm, but something substantial and serious, otherwise new hogs will quickly move in. No easy solutions at this point. Hope this helps.

iya 07-10-2010 01:56 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. I can see so many different sides to this situation.

@DUDE! I really did consider just leaving it be.. I'm just not very comfy with it being so close to the house. And the one hog I got pretty close to (which stinks to high heaven, by the way) is bigger than our cat, and the cat is huge (as cats go). The critter that might occupy the burrow (if I ever get it vacated) did worry me - I'm seriously considering moving the shed (looking into how hard/feasible this option is) or just taking it down (It's not in awesome shape, and I could just build one to my liking at the far corner of the property) just so I can convert that area into a garden plot/flower bed. MUCH preferable to an invitation to live on my property, I think.

@PAbugman - You're right, I'm not sure the smoke bombs would work, just because I can't really plug all the holes for sure.. but if I do end up with no choice but to eliminate, I'd prefer the smoke bomb to having to catch and then eliminate and THEN dispose of the carcass. Perhaps if I do move/destroy the shed, then I'll have access to all the entrances, and that'll be my method of choice. As for the traps that kill, I dare not with our cat, and the neighbors' cats..

With regards to a .22, my mother-in-law freaked out when she found out I'm comfortable with guns (though we have none in the house) and my husband feels sorry for the hogs (I quote, "Poor groundhogs, iya liked you until she read all the propaganda"). Also, he doesn't want to get a dog. At first, I thought it was because we were at an apartment, but with our own place, he still feels the same. To think I used to have 7 big ones at one time..

In any case, I did try to call the department of wildlife, but there wasn't anyone in the "right area" free to talk to me. I called the city's police dispatch, and was told it's okay to release at the metroparks, "But just to be sure, call the department of wildlife." Oh boy.

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