Groundhogs. My nemesis.

How do I get rid of them? I’ve tried trapping with no luck. My DH said he would shoot them, but he’s not willing to stand out there and wait for them to come out. Any advice?

Absolutely no help at all but I feel your pain. I hate them. When we moved here they were all over the pasture and we had to fill in so many holes. All the holes made me afraid to ride in the pasture.
Once the horses were turned out, they weren’t around as much anymore. But yes, other than poison which was out of the question due to the horses and other wildlife, shooting and trapping were the only way.
I hope you find an answer, good luck!

They are tricky to trap. Might be worth looking for a forum or website the discussing trapping in general.

Generally they don’t set up house in places where the is low to little cover. If the grass is allowed to grow long and thick they move in. At least that’s what happens around here.

As to shooting them I was told the best time is in the early mornings. The get their water from licking the morning dew off of leaves of what ever is growing around them. The shooter sets up X distance from the hole and waits until the come out of a morning drink. They will sit still while licking which makes for an easy target. No direct experience this is what my hunting friends have told me.

Another way is to located both holes, they usually have a front door and a back door hole. Get some smoke bombs and toss as deep into one hole as possible. Cover with a piece of plywood or something. Be waiting at the other hole.

This is all second hand information.

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These work

They are not particularly time consuming if you were going to fill holes anyway.

But they are rodents, so they breed pretty enthusiastically. That mean’s you’ll only ever be controlling the numbers, not permanently eradicating them all.

Dirty kitty litter and a back hoe. Pour the litter down the hole a couple times a week for a week or two. This will make them leave, Destroy the hole by digging it out with a back hoe and then fill it back in. I did this for 7 sets of holes about 10 years ago and they never came back!


Find someone with a working dachshund or terrier.

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My terriers get them.


No “sport” in using this. :slight_smile:

I would be careful encouraging my dogs to do this. A friends JRT got stuck deep down. Took a lot of very careful digging to get him out. Lucky dog because he knew where he was. May not be so lucky once they get the idea and go out on their own looking around for holes. Our JRTs wear tracking collars.

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I’ve also had good luck with the dirty kitty litter down the hole, especially since I always had a “fresh” batch when needed. I get that they’re rodents and not good to have around the horses, but I also feel a bit sorry for them.


That’s why you want a working dog and a handler that know what they’re doing. I knew a woman that would hire out to farmers to get rid of groundhogs. She had dachshunds, a lurcher and a shovel.

Every serious terrier owner has a shovel! Plus - you don’t allow the dogs to just go off looking for holes. My guys do this for fun and they go to work for vermin.

Maybe on your farm or area. We have a big place, and surrounded by lots of other large farms. Our dogs can do pretty much as they please. The don’t run off.

Sometimes it take a lot more than a shovel. I know of another person that had to use a backhoe. Very carefully.

I posted my comment because not everybody looks at the big picture. “I have a terrier lets send him/her down the hole”

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I understand. You wouldn’t want to send just any terrier or dachshund down a hole. The woman I referred to lost a dog once when it was attacked by a ground hog.

We battled them for a few years (using many of the options suggested) until our neighbor (a real farmer) suggested a body trap. We found a busy exit/entrance hole and caught/killed 16 “whistle pigs” in a few weeks. It was grizzly but highly effective. Caveat is you must assure the dogs cannot get near then traps. We were fortunate to have a hole to bait we control cordon off. Good luck, they are cute when little but very destructive.

I’ll echo the “used kitty litter” trick. I had read about this solution a few years ago because I needed to get rid of the ground hogs taking over my neighbor’s barn to the point where they were undermining the foundation of the tack room. So I “borrowed” a bag of used litter from a friend that had several cats, poured the poop and pee litter in the numerous holes, back filled the holes…and those ground hogs vacated immediately. They were GONE.


it was four years before they came back to the barn (they were still hanging around the neighbor’s house, undermining the porch and deck), but another application of that 4 year old litter did the trick once again. I didn’t even need to get freshly used littler. Activity at the barn ceased immediately once again.

I had two holes in my field last month when I saw the critter make tracks for it when I surprised it. Filled the holes (it was an entry and exit for one den) with rocks and put a pile of fresh horse manure (from the barn) on the top of the ground where the holes had been. The area hasn’t seen that groundhog since.


I have also had success with used kitty litter. Fill the hole and cover with dirt. If they dig new holes nearby, repeat process.

Keeping the grass short also makes a big difference.

I was finally able to get mine out of the pastures and they ended up taking residence outside the fencelines, so we coexisted peacefully after that.

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I trap successfully, but then I like to trap and have been doing so since I was a teenager. Groundhogs leave trails. You may need to go out early when there is dew on the ground, but you will see clear “paths” where groundhogs go from their dens to graze. I set my (live Have-a-Heart) single door trap on the trail, just outside the den entrance. Doesn’t have to be --I’ve trapped on the trails considerable distance from the den too. Sometimes I “improve the lie” by stacking sticks up along the sides of the trap to discourage the groundhog from going around it. Usually not. It takes about 3-5 days, but sooner or later, you will trap your groundhog (I check traps every 12 hours --I believe law requires checking every 24). I don’t bait my traps --but they are old traps (no human smell) that have caught many, many groundhogs. If you can FIND groundhog poop --that’s the best lure --groundhogs will enter to sniff other groundhog poop! I never clean my traps for that reason. If you DO feel you must bait your trap --use 1 " squares of cantalope --research shows it is the preferred groundhog food. I catch 5-10 every year on my 20 acres. My fields are short, but I am surrounded by woodlands. Groundhogs build dens in the woods, then another “hole” in the pasture. I keep a close eye on groundhogs and holes . . .

call your local game commission and get the number of a licensed trapper. they can set traps for you. i’ve had mine removed that way. it can be pricey ($40 per), but I now ride freely all over my property.
2015: 30 trapped
2016: 69 trapped
2017: already up to 40.

alternatively a good dog can do it!

if you want to trap them yourself, try apples or cans of cat food in the traps (warning, you may also trap your barn cat). Also try not to get the human smell all over the traps because they know. A trapper also told me if they smell the remainder of another groundhog it actually attract them, but I didn’t have the stomach for what he suggested or how he suggested I get the remainder smell.