As a homeowner who has been trying to defend her turf for a decade and a half from ground hogs, with no help from the city animal control folks who insist they are not “nuisance” critters, I always listen to other people’s stories on how they are fighting off these pests, which dig holes who knows how deep and leave an otherwise well-cared for yard looking pockmarked.
During water exercise last week, a lady named Kim was relating her experience. The city of Cleveland realizes that these animals do damage, so they gave her cages and she actually caught three of the varmints and turned them in, telling the animals that if they would just listen to her and go away, they would not end up in the cages. However, she was sure that the animal control person let the woodchuck out of the cage a block or two away and of course the creature simply came back home to her yard.
She has an apple tree and the ground hogs do enjoy apples. So do the deer, but they are a little harder to catch. One afternoon Kim looked out to her deck to see a woodchuck standing on the handrail munching on an apple. She said that is like getting fast food and then eating it in someone else’s back yard. I was laughing so hard that I could no longer hear the instructor’s counting for whichever exercise the rest of the group was in the process of doing.
When I saw the PBS documentary on Coy-wolves, I was hoping the local population of these carnivores would help cut down the groundhog numbers in my neighborhood. Surely there is more meat on a groundhog than on other small things they consume, albeit perhaps harder to catch.
It does not help that such pests have been romanticized in a movie of the same name, or every February with the hope of six weeks bringing spring from the doldrums of a long cold winter, one of these furry fellows is held up by a local politician as a heroic mascot, as if there was actually a way of knowing if it saw or even cared to see its own shadow.
Among the assorted stories I have heard about man trying to best the beast was one of a man who turned a hose on into the hole and let the water run for a long time. He didn’t flood out the ground hog, but his basement wall caved in. That just is not the solution I am looking for.