Asked on Feb 09, 2015

How do you get rid of a ground hog in your backyard?

Danita Boyd
by Danita Boyd
I have tried rat poison bars, the bars were taken out by hand and placed on the grass. Chicken wire, cement, hot ice, dog feces, gasoline and it still comes back. Last spring I planted daffodils, herbs and gladiolus in the hole. She was gone all summer or so I thought, I think she just moved under the house. When the exterminator sprayed under the house we noticed a hole. In Oct., she returned to the original hole and pulled up the plants. And yes, she came back for Ground hog day a week early.
  17 answers
  • Maryellen Maryellen on Feb 09, 2015
    I have done some pretty extensive research on this problem, as we live by woods and a creek and have a free-standing garage that they can get into via a lean-to for the tractor. They have made two holes to get out by tunneling under the garage wall. Awful! Apparently you cannot do anything to deter them. Foxes are supposed to scare them, but we had a mama come and give birth to 4 pups that she brought out every morning to play in the backyard, and an hour later, the groundhogs were out! We have dogs but that doesn't seem to deter them either. There are two methods that work. The first and simplest is a live trap baited with peanut butter bread balls. Easy to make and they love peanut butter. They are too smart to eat/drink anything that would be poisonous to them. The problem with this method is that you are then left with a live animal that you have to do something with. Most of what I found said you have to take them at least 15 miles away, or they'll just find their way back. And in a lot of places it's illegal to transport "vermin" and release them. This is horrible, but you can also shoot them while they are in the trap, or submerge the whole trap in a garbage can full of water and drown the groundhog. Be careful while handling the trap, though; groundhogs are MEAN! The other method is to find all of the holes they use. There will be several. Then plug them all up with dirt except for one; usually the one with the largest dirt collar is the one they frequent the most. Then hook some kind of hose up to the exhaust of a tractor or diesel truck and put it down the hole and let it run for at least half an hour. A regular car will work, just not as fast. The carbon monoxide will fill the tunnel(s) and kill the beast. This method is the most humane in my opinion, but it's really difficult to locate all of the holes because the run could be as much as 100 yards! Good luck and I will be following this post to see if anyone else has a better/easier idea because we've already seen two more last week when it was sunny and warmer!
    • Danita Boyd Danita Boyd on Sep 25, 2015
      Thank you Maryellen you have done a lot of research. Well, I have not seen any evidence of the ground hog since a week before ground hog day. She is punctual and came out early. What my son saw was a small snake. The Home Depot salesman told me when I went to buy snake bait was this. It must have been a gopher snake who ate the baby groundhogs and ran off the mother. Because we saw the snake in the heat of July it was a male snake and he suggested not to kill it. He says a gopher snake won't kill the dog and is not poisoness. It will also detour all rodents better than any poison can. The downside is it can grow to be 7 ft long and 3 inches in diameter. We will see if Harriet the groundhog comes back when it gets cold. I will know because she will dig up the garden I have planted in her hole. I'm still putting out mothballs for the snake. I am a scary city girl who never thought I would have to deal with these things.
  • Juanita Plock Juanita Plock on Feb 09, 2015
    Run a garden hose to the hole and fill with water. Then place heavy construction bricks at each end. This worked for us when we lived in southern Illinois.
    • Danita Boyd Danita Boyd on Feb 11, 2015
      @Juanita Plock Thank you we tried this after running the water for 20 minutes it never backed up. So i stopped, I wasn't sure what damage I might do to my foundation.
  • Dorothy Dorothy on Feb 09, 2015
  • Betty Fancher Betty Fancher on Feb 09, 2015
    I remember my dad attaching a flexible pipe to the exhaust of his pickup and putting the end of it into the den hole. He ran the pickup for about half an hour.....
  • Mari Dots Mari Dots on Feb 09, 2015
    omgosh, its really dangerous to put out poison. I can understand your problem but poison kills unintended animals, I hope some of these other suggestions will help. I'm in favor of the .22 myself. Just make sure its dead.
  • Christine Christine on Feb 09, 2015
    Put Irish spring saved soap in and around the holes ,they are like a gopher and hate the smell
  • Gail Sarten Gail Sarten on Feb 10, 2015
    Try a road flare.......find the main hole light the flare and put in the hole and bury..........we tried everything when trying to get rid of gophers and this was our answer........might work on the groundhogs as if ya try this dont be alarmed when you see little spirals of smoke comming from your yard........
  • Elizabeth Poteat Elizabeth Poteat on Feb 10, 2015
    We used to have them bad in our pasture and were always afraid a horse would step in one and break a leg but Mother Nature ended taking care of our problem. First the Fox came in and ran out the Ground Hogs and after that wild Coyotes ran out the foxes. They decided they didn't like our mares that would kick and paw them so they left. Don't know any real remedy because they have so many escape holes.
    • Danita Boyd Danita Boyd on Feb 11, 2015
      @Elizabeth Poteat Wow you were lucky, it looks like everything fell in line as you needed.
  • Carolynsuenance Carolynsuenance on Feb 10, 2015
    Try putting Juicy Fruit chewing gum in the holes.
    • Danita Boyd Danita Boyd on Feb 11, 2015
      @Carolynsuenance Thank you for your response. I have heard that before. In Houston they no longer sell the gum with foil wrappers. It is sold in wax paper. i understand it is the foil that gets trapped in their guts that kills them.
  • Carol Carol on Feb 10, 2015
    Enlist the help of a trapper, or borrow and set a #220 conibear trap in the opening of the hole. This will kill the groundhog like a mouse trap. It's a much more humane way to exterminate than death by poisoning or car exhaust. Very effective.
    • Danita Boyd Danita Boyd on Feb 11, 2015
      @Carol Thank you. I'll need to get my neighbor to do the trap when he has time off. He says he traps squirrels. I am afraid of seeing or handling a caged live animal.
  • Lrfraser Lrfraser on Feb 10, 2015
    I always used moth balls down holes. They also stop snakes from coming into your yard.
    • Danita Boyd Danita Boyd on Feb 11, 2015
      @Lrfraser Thanks for your response. The mothballs didn't work. I guess the tunnel system is too massive.
  • Dave D Dave D on Feb 10, 2015
    If you are fortunate enough to dispatch the groundhog make sure that you use heavy gloves and long sleeves or better yet a rake or shovel to move the remains. Most all of these groundhogs (Marmots) have fleas that are carriers of disease.
  • Barbara Barbara on Feb 10, 2015
    Gophers / ground hogs have a sweet tooth. I dig down into the hole. I try to find the tunnel, but is not necessary. I throw in 2 or 3 pieces ob double bubble gum. They will eat the gum. The gum will clog up their digestive system and kill them..Usually they will be in their tunnel so you will not see them. No traps, no poison, no gophers!
    • See 1 previous
    • Danita Boyd Danita Boyd on Feb 11, 2015
      Thank you to every has has taken interest in my problem with the ground hog. i have added pictures of the hole and what I thought would be my solution.
  • Rose Rose on Feb 10, 2015
    Animal control will loan you a trap.when captured.they will pick it up.not sure what your jurisdiction neighbor has one under her house.he hibernates. In winter we will see him sometime in march.his name is Otis and she doesn't have the heart to kill him. He is rather cute and doesn't do any damage but dose eat her neighbor and I were trying to capture kittens to find homes for them but instead we caught a racoon and something like a beaver.oh we'll gods creatures.ended up letting them go.
    • Danita Boyd Danita Boyd on Feb 11, 2015
      @Rose Our area does not offer the traps. My ground hog's name is Harriet and she is pretty destructive. She intimidates my dog. I'm afraid to entertain outdoors at night after I have put so much work into my yard.
  • Rose Rose on Feb 11, 2015
    Rose here again,enlist the help of your local animal control.once animal is captured it can then be released into another nonresidential wooded area.hope something works out for you it can become a nuisance.good luck
  • Julie Schroer-Wischmeier Julie Schroer-Wischmeier on Feb 14, 2015
    Put out bubble gum near their hole. I sounds weird but they chew it up and can't digest it. Also sugary soda pop works well too.
  • Ann Ann on Sep 25, 2015
    You can contact your County Extension Agent and they have good ideas and if you live in a smaller area, they will come out and assist in ridding the groundhog of your area.