How to Kill Groundhogs / Woodchucks
If you need help, click on my Nationwide List of Groundhog Removal Experts for a pro near you.
How to Kill a Groundhog
Groundhogs are notorious pests. They are not as cute as Punxsutawney Phil and they do not just come out for one slight moment on one day during the year. They eat up to ten percent of their body weight in vegetation every day. Since they hibernate and come out in the spring, this means your garden is in trouble.
You can deal with your groundhog infestation in a number of ways. Killing them is not easy, but it can be done.
Body-gripping traps are a fatal method sometimes used to dispose of groundhogs. Dig out a somewhat larger hole in the entrance to the burrow and place the trap inside. These traps need to be set with a stake to ensure safety.
Body-gripping traps are often difficult to set and can have dangerous consequences to the person trying to set them. It is best to have a professional set them for you. This will help you avoid killing any pets that roam free in your neighborhood. Keep in mind that in many states this kind of trap is illegal.
Poisoning animals like the groundhog should be used when other means have failed. This method will cause a slow, painful death for the animal. Poison is also harmful around your children, house pets and garden. You do not want to risk your loved ones ingesting it.
There is not a specifically designed poison for groundhogs. In many places, using a poison intended for any animal not specifically listed on the product is illegal. Rat poison is often used with limited success and again, is not recommended for legality issues.
Commercial gas cartridges are available at hardware or home and garden stores. Place them in the burrows and make sure all entrances are sealed. There is always more than one entrance to a groundhog burrow. These cartridges release sulfur gas and carbon monoxide and will kill the groundhog.
You can poison them through other, more natural, means as well. Castor beans or mole plants can be dropped into the groundhogs’ tunnels. You should never use these around small children or family pets as they are highly poisonous. Elderberry cuttings are another option. The stems and leaves can release cyanide and that is fatal to groundhogs.
If you are looking for a faster solution, you can shoot the groundhogs. A B.B. or pellet gun will not work. A crossbow is suggested as it is accurate and silent. You can take a shot from a good distance away and ensure a quick death for the groundhog.
Unless you live in a rural area where your neighbors are way down the road, shooting with a gun or rifle is not an option. If you can shoot with a gun in your area, that is an option to consider.
Groundhogs’ systems are not made for digesting much other than plant material. If you have some on hand, roll up pieces of juicy fruit gum and place it in the holes leading to their burrow. Groundhogs love gum but their insides cannot handle it and it will kill them. The same thing goes for ex-lax but in the opposite direction.
Things to Avoid
Always avoid any illegal means of disposal if you can. This means poison you can buy for an animal other than a groundhog. You will also want to make sure any trap is set in a specific spot where you will get the groundhog. Many people have accidentally trapped skunks with lethal traps only to have no idea of how to dispose of them. At the least, there will be an awful smell. At worst, you will need to find a way to get the smell off you.
You do not have to kill groundhogs to get rid of them. Hire a professional trapper, force water through all of the entrances; use synthetic animal urine to get them to abandon their home or place used cat litter around the holes for the same effect. Placing ammonia soaked sponges in one of the holes to a burrow will encourage them to relocate.
Make every effort to get rid of groundhogs without killing them. There are many humane ways to cure your groundhog problem. Use them first.