how to trap a woodchuck?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jane in southwest WI, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Jane in southwest WI

    Jane in southwest WI Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    We have a woodchuck living under a shed and my husband doesn't want it there. Is it possible to trap a woodchuck in a live trap? What do you bait it with? What do you do with one after you catch it? If it was a coon, we'd shoot it but what about woodchucks - are they pests like coons are?
  2. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Shoot it, kill it, get rid of it! Yes, groundhogs are pests - big time! If you happen to have a female living under that shed, come next Spring, she will have 4 - 8 little ones who in late summer will move off to start up their home elsewhere. They dig under the foundations of old buildings which in time creates settling problems. Digging under a raised building puts dirt up against the bottom of the building, and if it's wood it starts rotting. The holes out in pasture fields / hay fields are the bane of many farmers.

    You do notice where I'm from? I live a 1/2 from Punxsutawney with their rodent they have for a weather forecaster. Groundhogs are like big overgrown rats. KILL IT!!!!!!!

  3. Maybe better, kill it and eat it. I've never eatin one but I hear they are very delicious. I have skinned a few roadkills out and there meat is very red and textured such as beef or lamb. They eat mostly roots and vegetable matter, therefore their meat should be better eating then the pork we eat.
  4. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

    Sep 13, 2003

    I've never had good luck catching them in a live trap. I believe I've only caught two in the live traps in the past few years. I try to keep an eye out for them and plunk them with the .22, and the dog will get them occasionally.

    They'll make a terrible mess with their digging where there are dirt floors.
  5. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Kill it. Then, if you have access to it, put used cat litter in it's hole under the shed. They don't like that and others won't take up residence.
  6. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    I've dispensed with a couple of woodchucks near the garden.
    I had a scrap piece of wood fencing lifted just enough that the woodchuck could go under, so I knew he would be there. After that, either shoot or whack it with a large board.
    Well, where I am, after it was dead I took it down to the bush where a bear enjoyed it for a snack. Either that or a group of turkey vultures or ravens will scavenge it. You may not have such 'convenient' access to such a 'clean up' crew, so probably just bury it.
  7. WindowOrMirror

    WindowOrMirror ..where do YOU look? Supporter

    Jan 10, 2005
    Get a flat shooting rifle. Set up 50 yds from the woodchuck (in the barn is good because you can stay warm and drink coffee. Wait. Wait some more. Wait until you think every form of life within 200 miles has walked by - except for that blessed woodchuck.

    Repeat the waiting step several evenings or mornings until you actually SEE the woodchuck, then draw a bead on this fella, and send him to the Happy Hunting Ground in the sky.

    My dog had one treed on a fencepost once... I pushed him off. Easier than shooting it, and my dog didn't need dinner that night!

  8. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 25, 2004
    By all means shoot it and eat it. Properly cared for they are delicious! Sadly we don't get many around here anymore :D
  9. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2003
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    if its the only groundhog you ever see around, and it doesnt get in your garden, leave it be.... they are pretty harmless things. they do like to raid your garden, as for digging around your house foundation, Ill say ive lived with them around here all my life Ive never seen one brave enough to dig near a house foundation. if they do toss mothballs in his hole and he will go dig a home somewhere else. they generally are solitary critters, and one will chase away others within about an acre or more. I have one under a large brushpile, he comes out to grab an apple off the ground, then back to go do whatever groundhogs do...

    once i had one along the fince she had babies... cute, kinda like big guinea pigs. I watched her chase them off after they got bigger.
    if its in a horse field yes the hole is dangerous, and you may have to shoot them.

    if it isnt making a problem and all it is doing is living under your shed... enjoy it... leave it some apples.
    they dont bug my garden, probably because I have frouit trees and I feed the ducks near the pile... I know he likes duck food.

    it isnt a rat; its a ground squirrel. they are not agresive, and given an option they run away before you see them.
    they do climb trees if you chase them... they aint to good at climbing down.

    its harmless. mothballs in the hole will make him move it. then fill it in.
  10. skinner

    skinner Active Member

    Dec 1, 2002
    Bait with apple slices, then shoot it.

    Works for me.

  11. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    If you do live trap the woodchuck, please kill it. What ever you do please do NOT release it somewhere else. You are just moving the problem and you may spread disease as well. You think you are dropping it off in the middle of the woods where nobody lives but there may be a homestead just over the ridge or around the corner. It is VERY rude to dump live (or dead) animals on other people's property. If you catch it, kill it.

    Okay, now for the very best way to catch a coon, chuck or coyote - use a guardian dog. Ours eat pests for breakfast and enjoy it. Seriously, a good farm dog keeps the local pest population down. In doing so they also provide you with a buffer against pest borne diseases like rabies. If you have a perky little lap dog that can't handle a woodchuck and are homesteading then consider getting a working dog to help with the chores. They earn their keep many times over.
  12. Selena

    Selena proud to be pro-choice

    Jun 25, 2005
    a state in the 21st century
    And if the woodchuck and potential progeny aren't enough to convince you, skunks like to live in dens vacated by woodchucks. In IL (I'm over near I-90) you can buy these "bombs" - you light it, toss it in the hole then shovel dirt to cover the hole and it kills said critter. However, Mr/Ms. Chuck probably has at least one other exit under your shed. Urine from a predator might flush it out. We tend to only have them when soybeans are in the field next to us. Plus when we have a dog they don't come in the yard as much. The summer after we put down our retriever, my husband came home from a bike ride and one was sleeping on our back deck, just like he was a family pet. Needless to say he became dinner for the coyotes as my husband shot him and tossed him in the back burnpile. Their sight isn't that good but their hearing is excellent.
  13. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 23, 2003
    They are tasty eating, so when I catch them, they become dinner (or lunch).

    Cage traps baited with apple and the like sorta work. If you can block the perimiter and force the chuck through the cage you do better.

    My favorite is a conibear over the entrance hole. I tend to use a 180. Very effective.
  14. ttryin

    ttryin Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2005
    Hi Jane in SWWis, Selena and All,

    A groundhog has been at the foot of the yard, next to the woods, tunneling for winter. I read this thread yesterday. At 4 am today, sleepy, I went outside and my eye caught a white light at the foot of the yard. I automatically started walking toward it and when I had covered about half of the distance I saw black fur moving the white stripe. I very softly made it back into the house without the skunk sending his gift. He was laying in wait I guess in the path the groundhog takes from his home in the woods to the new home he is building in the yard. Guess I better buy mothballs for the new tunnel, before the groundhog and skunk decide to duke it out in the yard. Hope there isn't another chapter to this story!

  15. Jane in southwest WI

    Jane in southwest WI Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    I have a dog (part lab-part chow - not a good farm dog) whose hunting and guard-doggin instincts are off the charts. I have to take him for walks around the property on a long flexi-lead, otherwise he'd chase deer into the next county. Anyway, he knows the critter is under the shed and he wants it in the worst way. I heard that woodchucks are vicious so I steer clear of the shed now; I don't want my dog getting hurt even if it would be the thrill of his life to try and catch the woodchuck.

    As someone mentioned skunks could move into a vacated woodchuck hole and that is mainly why my husband wants it gone. (I guess he will have to fill the hole under the shed somehow). He doesn't want to sit with a rifle waiting for the woodchuck to come out so we will try apple for the bait and hope we don't trap a skunk instead!
  16. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    I also vote to shoot it and eat it. I did trap one in town before in a live trap using apples. Got loose in my car on the ride home which is another story.

    Them ground hogs is good eatin'!

    I usually eat the ones I shoot unless I'm in a big hurry or something and had to whack one in the garden. They're as normal table fare at my house as rabbit or squirrel. I prefer them to squirrel. They take really well to roasting with potatoes and onions and I really enjoy them with BBQ sauce. The last one I got I cooked over hickory and slathered it with BBQ sauce. Delicious.