Groundhogs + Electric Fence

kjedwardsJune 30, 2007

After much speculation, last weekend we finally saw the critter that was eating my vine plants--a groundhog (GH) the size of a large football, at 1 pm in the afternoon in the middle of my garden.

To start the story, I think Fatboy (FB) (I actually call him something much worse I cannot repeat here) relocated from my neighbor's yard above me once he started shooting at the GH in his yard. So now FB is my problem.

Before we saw him, we tried human urine (with some success but too much effort), hot pepper spray (no success) and epsom salts (no success).

We have borrowed a Havahart from the local DHR and have had it out since Tuesday night of this past week with no success. I have tried several techniques and steps mentioned on this board including cantaloupe and broccoli, baiting from the hole to the trap and covering the inside floor of the trap with leaves and dirt. No success so far.

Guns are out of the question. My hubby and I both work and are not home enough to wait for it AND we do not own nor has either of us ever shot a gun. For example, in the 4+ weeks it has been feeding in my yard, last weekend was the first time I had seen it. It usually comes overnight while we are sleeping.

I saw another post here where someone had installed an electric fence aronud their garden but it didn't say if they had success. I am thinking this might be a good option for us. My only concern is our cat (who, bless her heart, keeps our yard free of moles/voles)--I would not want her to get hurt.

If anyone can give me some advice on electric fences and groundhogs, I would appreciate it. My other option, which I may do regardless, is to use a couple of smoke bombs.

PS, I do not mind killing these critters. I consider myself a humane person--all three of my domestic animals were rescues--but I lump GH in with the rodents they are and I think rodents need to be exterminated.

Thanks in advace for any advice!

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maineman(z5a ME)

First, check to see if it is even legal to put up an electric fence in your neighborhood. If you live in town, there may be ordinances governing what you can and cannot do with an electric fence.

"It usually comes overnight while we are sleeping."

As far as I know, groundhogs are not nocturnal. I think they feed during the day. Like the birds, that can start very early this time of the year. You may very well be asleep when the groundhog begins his day before you begin yours.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 1:39AM
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Thanks for the tip regarding the fence-we live in the county but I will double check to make sure it is ok before we investigate and invest money.

I had read groundhogs were not nocturnal--all I know is when I would last check on the plants (around 9:30 pm) they would be ok, but at 7 am in the morning, they had been eaten. Sounds like groundhogs are early risers!

Appreciate your input!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 1:52PM
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I had baited my HAH trap with a sacrificial potted petunia, since that was one of it's favorite plants. After being baited for 2 days, we got it! They also like potatoes. They certainly are early risers; most of my damage last year was done before 7:30am.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 11:09AM
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kay48(z6 NJ)

I used apples (McIntosh) as a bait and had very good results but only with young ones ( two years ago I caught six of them ). I did not catch any adult though , so every year I have similar problem.
As to electric fence I heard that this is temporary solution as they learn how to beat this obstacle.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 10:22PM
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IF you have a way of keeping your cat from eating your bait, try peanut butter mixed with rat poison (Decon).

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 11:15PM
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tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)

Groundhogs are bad news. We used to have loads of them. Then one day I saw what I think was a wolf. Everybody says it couldn't be. But all the groundhogs disappeared that year, maybe 10 years ago.

The past few years, the groundhogs are making a comeback. I see a few.

As far as an electric fence goes, I think they would respect it, but only if you put something into the ground to keep them from digging: concrete pavers, galvanized chicken wire, Pressure treated lumber, etc.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 10:58AM
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birkie(z4 WI)

We, too, live in the country with lots of hungry wild creatures, but a single strand of electric fencing about 4 inches from the ground protects our garden from everything (critters, not bugs or underground travelers). Even the deer stay away after one experience. We have watched a coyote stop short near it and think it sensed the electric field even without touching it. You have to keep the grass and weeds clear of the wire, however.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 7:56AM
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