Home » Animals » A Complete Guide On How To Trap A Groundhog

A Complete Guide On How To Trap A Groundhog

The best way to get rid of groundhogs from your lawn or yard is by trapping them. It is quite difficult to make them leave once they build their burrow on your property. If you are new to this, don’t worry because I am here to guide you through all the steps. I will sure that my tips are easy to follow so that you can trap groundhogs in your lawn or yard. You will also find some useful information and tips on what to do after you trap them too. Let’s take a look and feel free to ask if you have any questions.

7 Steps To Successfully Trap A Groundhog

Step 1: Choose A Trap

Groundhogs aka woodchucks are rodents, so the type of trap for rodents all look the same. What you have to consider is the size of the trap and the type of door that you want to use. A good trap for groundhogs should be large enough to fit the rodents but not too big to camouflage. It should be between 32 to 42 inches in length so that the groundhogs can fully enter the trap. This also gives them some comfortable room to move around in case it stays in the trap overnight. Choose the traps with a mesh design all over so that it allows proper ventilation and visibility for the animals inside.

As for the door, there are only 2 models available including 1-door and 2-door types. The 1-door groundhog traps allow the animals to fully enter easily, and it is also easy to set up. Many professionals also like this type since it also provides better bait protection while camouflaging is quite simple. The 2-door groundhog traps are also nice, with a door on each side so that the rodents can enter either way. It offers a higher catch rate, and you can choose to set up with either one or two doors open. This type is also convenient to use, and the decision is all yours.

Step 2: Determine Placement

Rodents are quite smart, so seeing baits in the open areas appears fishy to them. At the same time, you want to make sure that your trap catches the groundhogs not other animals. You have to identify their burrows on your lawn or yard first before picking a spot for the trap. Because groundhogs rarely stray far from the burrows, placing the traps 5 to 10 feet from the entrance will do. When it smells the bait nearby, it will come to explore and chances of getting caught are high.

If you are unable to locate their burrows, set up the traps in the damaged areas will also do. You may also know where the groundhogs are common, especially in areas where they eat the plants or vegetation. Your garden is probably the place that these rodents visit the most, so placing the traps there is a good idea. Once you know where the trap should be, pick an even surface so that the trap is stable. You don’t want the trap to tip over once the groundhog steps in and moves around which can harm or injure them.

Step 3: Set Up The Trap

Normally, the traps always come with step-by-step guides and instructions that you can easily follow. In summer, groundhogs can be choosy about the bait because food sources are abundant, according to VetMed Illinois. To successfully trap the groundhogs, you will have to use the most delicious baits possible in order to lure them. There is a product called “woodchuck lure” that functions as an additional aid to attract the groundhogs to get into the trap.

Tips: When placing the bait and setting up the trap, you should wear gloves to avoid transferring your scent. This is another trick to make the trap appears natural without a trace of a human. In case you want to set the trap for other groundhogs, clean the trap each time before you reuse it. This is to get rid of human scents that may discourage them from avoiding the trap.

Step 4: Camouflage The Trap

As I mentioned, rodents are quite smart so you have to outsmart them if you want to catch them. Make your trap as natural-looking as possible so that it appears more appealing for them to enter. You should cover the top and side of the traps with items like branches, brushes, dirt, grass, leaves, or twigs. Don’t worry if the trap gets dirty, the point is to lure the groundhogs to get inside the trap. When the trap blends in the surrounding environments well, you will be likely to make your catch in no time.

Step 5: Monitor The Trap

You have to frequently monitor the trap because groundhogs can become anxious then try to escape and injure themselves. There is no telling of when they walk into the trap, it can take from minutes to days. This is why you have to keep an eye on the trap every one or a few hours if you can. Make sure to not leave the trap unchecked for a long period of time because it may harm the groundhogs inside. Another thing to know is that groundhogs are active during the morning and late afternoon. So you can disengage the trap during evening hours to prevent catching unwanted critters.

Step 6: How To Remove A Groundhog From The Trap

Groundhogs have sharp teeth, so you have to be extremely careful when you remove them from the trap. At the same time, their actions are unpredictable when they are agitated and probably scared while being in the trap. So make sure to wear thick gloves when handling the trap to protect yourself from bites and possible bacteria. When you see a groundhog in the trap, cover the trap with a cloth or tarp to keep it calm. Then pick up the trap and hold it away from your body, and walk slowly from the area.

If you don’t have a pick-up truck where the back is open, make sure to cover the car floor with mats. This is to make sure that no dirt from the trap will stick to the car floor. Once you arrive at a good place for them, slowly open the door of the trap. Make sure to stand back from the trap and the groundhog as it exists. Groundhogs are not aggressive, but they may attack if they feel threatened in any way. Make sure that it leaves the trap and walks far before you collect the trap and come back home. Here is a quick video on how to release a groundhog from the trap that you should check out.

Step 7: Relocation

You should relocate them at least 5 miles away from your property to prevent them from coming back. It can be quite difficult to relocate groundhogs because you have to make sure that the new place is favorable for them. Pick an area where there are cover and food sources so that they can start building their new home. Many relocated groundhogs fail to adapt and end up dying in their new homes. So you want to think through everything thoroughly with the place that you want to relocate them.

Note: Check the laws of your states before relocating groundhogs because relocation is illegal in some states. The few ones where trapping and relocating groundhogs are illegal are Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Baits For Trapping Groundhogs

Groundhogs are herbivores so they are fond of fruits and vegetation, especially the ones in your garden. There are several bait options that you can use in order to effectively catch them. You can also notice the crops or plants that they damage the most and use them are baits. If not so, there are some good baits that you can choose such as:

  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Cantaloupe (their most favorite)
  • Corn
  • Lettuce
  • Peanut butter
  • Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Tomatoes

5 Humane Ways To Repel Groundhogs

Because trapping and relocating can be quite challenging, you can also consider repelling them using the methods below. I personally picked just the easiest and most humane ways that you can implement. On top of that, most of the ingredients that you will need are right from the kitchen. Let’s see which approach among the 5 works best for the groundhogs in your lawn or yard.

01 – Ammonia

Wildlife Removal USA mentioned that cloudy and sudsy ammonia are the common items that can repel groundhogs. This approach deters groundhogs and prevents them from coming back, and here is how to do it. Mix ammonia with detergent, and make sure to wear gloves and goggles when handling ammonia to prevent irritation. You can also add castor oil and cayenne pepper to make it more potent. For faster results, pour the solution down into their burrows to make them leave immediately. The fume and smell from ammonia are unbearable to the groundhogs, and they will exit right away. If you are afraid that the solution may kill them, spray it at the entrance of their tunnels instead. Once the groundhogs leave, pour the mixture as much as possible into the burrows. The lingering smell will prevent them from coming back and using the tunnels.

02 -Garlic & Pepper

Home remedies like garlic and pepper always work great in repelling critters and pests from the perimeter of your home. They work just as great to deter groundhogs from your lawn or yard. Things are so simple since all you need to do is crush garlic and pepper then throw them into their burrows. You can repeat this every day until they leave, it does not cost much and its effects are satisfying. Another method is to make a spray using these two ingredients and spray it on your plants and vegetables. For additional protection, crush and scatter garlic and pepper around the garden after spraying. Groundhogs don’t like the pungent, spicy, and strong smell of garlic and pepper at all. So they will stop bothering your garden and leave the burrows to live somewhere else instead.

03 -Lime

Lime irritates their feet, and this can annoy them to the point that they will leave if you do it long enough. Simply spread and squeeze some limes near their entrance and around their favorite plants in the garden. Groundhogs will steer clear from the areas with lime, and that is how you get rid of them. This method can be time-consuming, but it works so you should give it a try if you find it interesting.

04 -Scents

You don’t have to get your dirty to repel groundhogs using scents because there are many available options online. The common and effective scents that you can try are blood meal, dried blood, talcum powder, and urine of predators. These are scents that groundhogs don’t like which can effectively keep them away for good. You can spread one or two of those around the garden, at their entrance, or even into their burrows. Do it every day if you can, and the results will show faster than you think.

05 -Vibrations

Underground animals don’t like vibrations that disturb the peace that they have while living or resting at all. There are a few tools that you can use to create vibrations such as lawn windmills or spinning pinwheels. You can also purchase a vibrating sonic device and place it near the entrance of their burrow or on top of it. Once the environments are not suitable for them to live in, the groundhogs will move out sooner or later. The vibrating device is ideal for long-term use because it also prevents these rodents from coming back.

Note: Once you eliminate groundhogs from the burrows, make sure to close down those tunnel systems immediately. Chances are other groundhogs are looking for vacant burrows, and you don’t want any more of them to move in.

Reasons To Repel Groundhogs

Groundhogs probably look cute to many, but that doesn’t mean having them around is a good thing. Many gardeners rather consider them are garden pests because these rodents can be very destructive to the garden and lawn. Groundhogs are excellent diggers, and that is one of the reasons why we don’t want them. There are several reasons to keep groundhogs away, so let’s see what they are below.

  • Groundhogs have rapid-growing incisors so they chew anything that can get their teeth on which causes a lot of damages.
  • During the digging process, some groundhogs often chew through electrical wires and irrigation systems in their way.
  • Because groundhogs can be very aggressive, they can injure your pets cats and dogs when they encounter each other.
  • When they enlarge their burrows, they can weaken the foundations of the building and house. Things are the same with the garden and lawn.
  • Groundhogs leave the soil weak in areas where they burrow, resulting in damages to farm equipment. In some cases, weak soil can also injure horses and livestock.
  • Groundhogs are susceptible to rabies and other diseases which can be dangerous to humans and pets. They are also capable of carrying fleas and ticks which is also bad.
  • These rodents love to eat plants and vegetables in the gardens, causing damages to the whole area. In some cases, they can destroy a whole garden by leaving one bite in each crop.
  • When there are several groundhogs in the area, the expansion of their system tunnels is also large. Their burrows have been known to damage the foundations of barns, garages, or homes.

Final Thoughts

Groundhogs are quite destructive if they share the habitats within the perimeter of our home. This is why many people choose to get rid of them because they can cause a lot of damages. From the crops to property, groundhogs are capable of destroying them all by just being themselves. They are not even friendly to humans or pets, so it is better to make them leave. I hope that the groundhogs in your yard are not too persistent so that my tips can be of use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.