What to do with trapped groundhog

suburbanmdMarch 29, 2008

I've been researching the subject, now that we've decided the animals have to go, and my live trap should be delivered in a few days (lethal traps are illegal here). Personally I'm not comfortable with releasing the animal a few miles away without the landowner's permission, even on public land. Well, I just found a solution that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere -- our local animal shelter says they'll euthanize a groundhog for the same fee ($5, plus another $5 for disposal) that they charge for pets. Another option to consider if it's available to you.

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I would never kill an animal that has every right to be here as you do, sometimes even more! Who are we to play God?
I would take the animal far away and release it near a wooded area, what's the big deal? Any decent vet that puts to death a helpless animal just for living should be "Heavily" fined and then told to go out and find another profession!


    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 12:35PM
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I don't think a groundhog would thrive in the woods. Open meadows are good for them. For example, the clearing under a power transmission line would probably be ideal. But the animals will cause trouble there, by making holes that could damage mowing equipment.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 5:43PM
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That's not true. Groundhogs live happily in open fields, open woods, plains and valleys. I have seen plenty of them around country roads.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 9:03PM
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Some states prohibit the relocation of animals. The relocated animal may very well be dropped in the middle of another's territory, resulting in a confrontation and one or the other being driven out ... most likely into yet another's territory. Relocation can also cause the spread of disease. Neither of those scenarios are very kind.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 9:58PM
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Hmm, well let's say there were similar happy groundhog habitats near me, and I had permission to release my groundhog there. Do you think it would be welcomed into the fold? I've read that groundhogs generally need an acre or two each. This is supported by observation of groundhogs on my own property.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 10:07PM
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From one of my wildlife books-

Using live traps to get rid of groundhogs without harming them is perhaps your best form of direct groundhog control.
Once you have trapped one, cover the trap with a cloth sheet and transport the animal to another shady, wooded area far enough from your home that you wonÂt risk itÂs return. Give the animal time to leave the trap under its own power once youÂve found an appropriate spot.
If the animal doesn't like where it's been let off for whatever reason, it will move on and stake out it's own territory.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 10:43PM
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Well, when I actually brought the groundhog to the animal shelter, I got a different story...the tech told me to release the animal at a state wildlife management area in the county, or they would release it for me, and I could come back for the trap. The tech swore that I had permission to release it on the state land, and that it was perfectly legal. So I drove back across the county to the WMA and released it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 5:17PM
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Very glad to hear the good outcome:>)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 12:05AM
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Didn't take long for another groundhog to move into the first one's burrow. It's now also at the WMA. It had a much easier trip, directly to the WMA without a detour in heavy traffic to the animal shelter. Next up is the groundhog that apparently lives in the neighbor's yard but browses in our yard.

The WMA does seem to cater to groundhogs: "Several fields have been planted to native warm season grasses, cool season grasses or have been left fallow to provide habitat for ground nesting wildlife species and brood habitat for wild turkeys." But remember that a wildlife management area is not a wildlife sanctuary, in a way it's the opposite. The page says "Hunting is allowed in accordance with statewide open season dates, bag limits and shooting hours, unless otherwise noted.". But groundhogs are an unprotected species, so I'm not clear on when or whether groundhogs are hunted at the WMA.

Here is a link that might be useful: McKee-Beshers WMA

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 10:01PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Taking an animal from its own territory and dumping it in another territory is not a good outcome for the animal. It is usually fatal because it cannot compete with established competing residents.

So it's not a happy ending at all, although it makes money for pest control companies and eases homeowners' consciences.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 8:14PM
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Groundhog surprise:

3 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
3 ribs celery, peeled and cut into thirds
3 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) groundhog, rinsed and patted dry
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cracked white pepper
1 lemon, halved
2 fresh bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped, plus 1 tablespoon for gravy
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup groundhog stock
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

In a 9 by 13-inch roasting pan, add the carrots, celery and onions. Season the groundhog both inside and out with the kosher salt and white pepper. Squeeze the lemon halves over the groundhog and place the rinds inside the cavity. Place the bay leaves inside the cavity. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary, olive oil and butter. Rub the groundhog both inside and out with the garlic rosemary blend and place in the roasting pan.

Place the pan in the oven and roast the groundhog for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the juices run clear. To test this, insert a thermometer in the thickest part of a leg. It should register at 160 degrees internal temperature. Remove the groundhog from the oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Pour off excess fat from pan and return to heat. Whisk in groundhog stock, roasted garlic, white wine and chopped rosemary, scraping up the bits on the bottom of pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Reduce gravy by half, until thickened.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 7:49PM
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thanks squonnk, that was going to be my suggestion too. old farmer regal used to collect our rent with his shot gun, a
fresh ground hog (tastes just like_____) and a few ears of young field corn on his way thru his back 40


    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 2:57PM
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Please do not take your captured pests and release them near somebody else's farm or garden! You are just giving your headache to another person. You would not appreciate it if someone let their "problem" go near your house--please be considerate of others and either destroy the pest or release it in a place where you are absolutely sure it is not going to bother someone else.

We have caught numerous raccoons in live traps the county lends out--we have always been instructed to never release the animals but to call the animal control officers. They do not move the animals to other areas because of the very serious threat of spreading rabies. In some places it is illegal to transport wild animals.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 9:17PM
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I see all these people explaining what you can't do with a trapped groundhog, but no one giving an answer except for one. Which in my case doesn't help. I live in Cleveland, I called the metroparks, no-cannot release it there. I called the Division of Wildlife, "You can release it if you get permission from the property owner, maybe call a township and ask". Cleveland does not have a wild animal control division anymore, everyone says you CAN'T let it loose anywhere. Territory this that, ect.. ect.. So what am I suppose to do with this creature now. I can't leave it live around my house, IT'S CLEVELAND, I have a whole what, 1/16th of an acre, my yard is like 30x20, there are kids. I know groundhogs will generally run away, but if they can't go anywhere, they do what any animal will do that's scared.

So to everyone that says it's bad to release it somewhere. What do I do with it. Everywhere I called, wants $60+ to euthanize it. Vet, APL. Perhaps someone with some viable options could reply?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 4:34PM
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