Groundhogs have long been a problem for farmers and homeowners alike. When populations surge, they will damage crops and food plots. Farmers have wide open areas on which they can practice groundhog control by shooting. However, such control measures are not an option when groundhogs move in around our homes in residential neighborhoods and this problem seems to be on the rise.
As groundhogs learn to live in populated areas, they have become more difficult to control. They have few natural predators and their shy personality makes them difficult to deal with. Around the home, groundhogs will feed on just about any plant or flower. Groundhogs will damage plants quickly with this feeding. They particularly like tomatoes, fruit or any ground growing vegetable. Most weekend gardeners will attest to the persistence these stocky creatures will demonstrate when trying to get to a certain crop they want.
GROUNDHOG BIOLOGY ^
Groundhogs are members of the squirrel family. They are the largest of all squirrels and are commonly known as groundhogs or groundpigs. Though distributed across the United States, there are some regions which don’t have any of the six species.
Groundhogs are stocky. They weigh 5-15 lbs when mature and have short ears and legs relative to their body. In northern states, groundhogs will hibernate. They like to feed in the early morning and late afternoon. However, it is common to see them lying in the sun around their burrows.
Groundhogs reproduce once a year and produce litters which have 4-8 young. Populations usually don’t grow too large yet they mere existence can cause economic damage. They will readily burrow under the slabs of homes which leads to structural problems. More devastating are the broken legs and other injuries horses and cattle sustain from stepping in a burrow. This is why horse farms, cattle ranches and any farm which has large livestock must keep groundhog populations to a minimum.
The main problem with groundhogs is their need to eat vegetation. Groundhogs are good climbers and will readily forage onto trees to steal apples. But they’re equipped well to dig and will readily harvest most any garden vegetable they can find like carrots.
GROUNDHOG REPELLENTS ^
There are two main ways to repel ground hogs from your yard and garden. For specific plants, liquid repellents can help. But they’re not permanent and need to be applied monthly. Sound repellents are ore permanent and once set up and positioned in the area you want to protect, sound repellers can be all that is needed to keep groundhogs off your land.
GROUNDHOG SPRAY REPELLENT ^
Around the home, most groundhog problems are due to damage they cause eating plants. There are two liquid groundhog repellents which can keep them away.
So if they have a lot of food available and you only notice them browsing on your land intermittently, you can treat desirable plants with a product called PEST RID. This spray tastes terrible and will stop groundhogs from feeding on any plant you spray. When other food sources are available, Pest Rid will cause the animal to find another plant for dinner.
Pest Rid treatments will last 3-4 weeks and will cover up to 125 sq/ft per quart. Gallons will cover up to 500 sq/ft. Do not spray the edible part of the plant like the actual fruit or vegetable. It won’t harm the plant or make the harvest inedible. But it can leave a “bad” taste on produce making it unpalatable.
Expect to get 3-6 weeks of results per treatment. Rain will break it down, but it has such a strong flavor that even trace amounts are usually enough to keep animals away.
PREDATOR URINE GROUNDHOG REPELLENTS ^
All three animals will readily harvest groundhogs so if their urine is found in your yard, the smell will effectively “warn” small animals like ground hogs that danger is near.
Use 2-4 oz every 10-20 feet by lightly sprinkling it along points of entry.
Coyote Urine is the most common since coyote cover the largest area where groundhogs also reside. Treatments will last up to a month and can be applied directly to the ground although sprinkling some on the trunk of a tree is considered a better way to apply it.
If you believe fox are more active in your region, use it over the coyote.
Bobcat urine is maybe the strongest option but for this to work, you must be sure bobcat reside in your region.
To help prolong the length of residual when applying urine, set it out using CAPSULE or LIQUID GUARDS. These containers will protect urine from the environment so applications will last 2-3 times as long compared to just sprinkling it out on the yard.
Capsule guards are small 1 oz clear “spikes” you simply push into the ground along property borders. Fill them with urine and set them out every 3-5 feet. Over time the urine will slowly release from the capsules providing ongoing renewal of the active.
LIQUID GUARDS hold more urine but work the same way. Install these every 10 feet along borders. Capsule guards are more “discreet” since they set in the ground but both are effective. And since they allow the urine to last 2-3 months, well worth the investment as they will pay for themselves over time.
SOUND REPELLER ^
One of the easiest ways to keep groundhogs off your property is to install ULTRA SOUND REPELLERS. These devices send out ultra sound by default. Ultra sound is in a frequency humans cannot detect but animals can. And some of these frequencies are disturbing to animals. Groundhogs definitely do not like these sounds and will stay out of areas where they detect it. By installing units along property borders, you can keep groundhogs from entering your yard. Units can be configured to “always on” by powering them with the included AC power supply. Alternatively you can power them with batteries and rely on their motion detector to trigger the mechanism. Either way, these units can keep groundhogs from entering gardens and destroying plants.
So if you have groundhogs active in fields surrounding your yard and don’t want them nesting in your property, set units up pointed to where they might enter. If you already have active animals, use the included power supply if possible. We have 33 foot and 66 foot electric cord extenders so if needed, you can reach units located far from the home. Cables can be buried in the ground too for discreet installations.
Each unit can protect up to 5,000 sq/ft and since they work “directional” like a flashlight, you can effectively point them in one direction and protect specific areas of the yard.
Other features of the unit include an optional “audible” sound. Generally this is not needed but if you are powering the units by batteries, using the audible sound turned up will make them more effective.
There is also an included remote wireless key to power the unit on/off as needed. And we have many options including power cord extenders and mounting blocks making them suitable for any location and either power option.
For groundhogs, set the Operating Time to any of the 3 options depending on when your hogs are most active. If powered by batteries, set it to Motion Detector with sensitivity at “30”. Use audible sound too and set that to “40-80”. If powered by the included power supply AC brick, set the ultrasound to “Constant”, turn the “Sonic Volume” to the far left which will turn off all audible sound as you will not need this on. Remember, using the included power supply with the power always on will enable the unit to cover the most area as possible because the hogs will detect the unit from afar. But if you don’t have a nearby outlet for power, use batteries and understand the motion sensor will only trigger when target animals come within 40-50 feet of the unit. The Frequency (yellow knob) should be set in the middle regardless of the power option and in general, using batteries and motion detection will keep them away and out of the yard for good. Units should be placed 1-2 feet above ground and pointed in the direction where animals are entering as well as “over” the turf you want to protect.
For easy installation, MOUNTING BLOCKS are handy. They can accept 1 or 2 repellers (picture to the right) and have a 1/2″ hole on their bottom so they will easily fit over a 1/2″ piece of rebar or any other wood or plastic stake. Ultra Sound Repellers will work fine by themselves as long as you have a good place to set them up. But we highly recommend getting the Units with Mounting Blocks in the kits we offer. Mounting Blocks allow you to place units anywhere and they will save time too.
We also feature several accessories for our sound repeller including POWER CORD EXTENDERS (33 FEET AND 66 FEET), CIGARETTE LIGHTER POWER ADAPTER, ALLIGATOR CLIP POWER CORD and AC POWER SUPPLY REPLACEMENTS.
GROUNDHOG TRAPPING ^
Trapping groundhogs is another method that is highly effective since trapping is both easy and permanent. Trapped animals can be destroyed or relocated and if they’re nesting on your property, this may be your best solution.
We have two kinds of traps that can be effective on groundhogs. Live traps are essentially wire cages which catch targeted groundhogs once they enter and trigger the door closed by walking over the trip pan. Kill traps will “crush” the groundhog and kill it in seconds. Both are highly effective when deployed properly.
BEST GROUNDHOG LIVE TRAP ^
In general, live trapping groundhogs is easy. Just identify where the groundhog is active and set out our model LT111230 which measures 11″ wide by 12″ tall by 30″ long. Its easy to set and carry around and will comfortably fit any ground hog.
This is a commercial grade, heavy duty trap which also comes with a sliding rear door. This door is super handy for both trap maintenance, baiting and animal release.
GROUNDHOG TRAP BAIT ^
To be successful live trapping, you need a good groundhog bait. Our bait is made with a leafy vegetable mix groundhogs can’t resist. Place some at the traps entrance and little more on the trip pan. Next, place 1-2 oz on a paper plate or the bottom half of a dixie cup behind the trip pan. TRAPPERS CHOICE FORMULA I and FORMULA II will get the attention of any groundhog in the yard and can be placed over carrots or broccoli for extra “eye” appeal.
Once caught, relocate the animal at least 5 miles away. Try to release it early in the morning in an area where it will readily find food and shelter. Since groundhogs are easy targets once removed from their den, you must be careful when relocating. If left with no food or ground suitable for a burrow, they will quickly die.
GROUNDHOG KILL TRAPS ^
If you’re not interested in trapping groundhogs alive, consider a kill trap. These are devices generally used by professional trappers but if you follow our guidelines on how to make a set and you have a good location to make a set on your land, deploying these traps can be an efficient way to control groundhogs.
Kill traps are work instantly and do so with little discomfort for the animal. They work by snapping shut over the animals head leading to instant death.
Groundhogs are easy to trap this way since the trap can be set right over their dens. When the animal tries to exit, it will hit the trigger of the trap with it’s head leading to its death.
Bodygrip traps come in many sizes but the BODYGRIP 220 is the best one suited for groundhogs. They need to be placed over den holes. Simply laying them over a hole that is relatively flat and horizontal can do the job. When the ground hog emerges, he’ll trigger the trap leading to a quick demise.
If the hole is on the side of a mound, more vertical, you’ll want to secure the trap using a TRAP STAND. This device effectively holds the trap in a “standing” position. You can also use this in front of trails through fences, hedges, etc. where groundhogs are known to be active.
The Trap Stand comes with either a long rebar stake for securing it to the ground. Additionally, it is suggested that you attach the traps chain to another stake or other secured anchor. This will help prevent the hog from falling back into the den with your trap. It will also prevent a predator dragging the trap away which they have been known to do just to get a meal.