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Bill vs. Critter

Just got back from releasing the groundhog I trapped at our aging and unoccupied chicken coup into the wilds of the Potomac River woodlands. Elly is thrilled, I’m thrilled, the garden is safe again (unless there are more groundhogs (woodchucks?) living under the coup.

Hard to see it, but it’s in there.

This afternoon I have to rebait the trap with cantaloupe and give it another shot.

Score do far is me 1, critters 0.

The Groundhog Saw His Shadow…

Punxatawney Phil is predicting 6 more weeks of winter… however, if it is six weeks of a winter like we’ve been having, then Phil is living in a dream world.

It’s supposed to be colder today, but yesterday, on the first day of February (called February Fools day for those following Mitt Romney‘s gaffes about the poor) it was over 60°.

I wonder what Spring will be like.

Bill 1 – Groundhog 0

OK… today I scored in the Groundhog Trapping game. Before I get all caught up with myself I have to admit that the creature was very, very small. I can’t believe that this is the beast who tunneled down next to our back foundation… nor did it seem big enough to have eaten all that cantaloupe that was outside the trap yesterday.

That must mean that this critter is a child and still has parents down in the hole. Elly recalls that when our tenant over in Hagerstown had a groundhog problem last year, he ended up trapping three of them (not, of course, at the same time.) So I’ve rebaited the trap and set it again and I’ll see if there’s a new animal caught tomorrow.

Before I did that, however, I had to deal with the little fella I caught. Putting the trap in the back of my new old Subaru, I drove about 5 miles from my house to the Opequon Creek Fishing and Wildlife Area, Federal land where wild beasts are welcome, and turned the groundhog loose. It ran off so fast that in a split second it had vanished. I hope it is happy there…I didn’t want to kill it and I didn’t want it to get near any other houses. When I catch the rest of his family they will go there, too.

So now the trap has fresh (albeit rotten) cantaloupe in it and the spring trigger is set. Now if I can just keep our smaller dog, Byron, away from the trap and the groundhog hole, I’ll feel much better.

Outwitted by a Groundhog…

I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but we have  a groundhog (at least one) living in our back garden with a hole right at the foundation of the house. Bummer. This isn’t good for the garden, of course, so we ordered a Havahart trap which I put out yesterday. The plan is to catch the groundhog, then put the trap in the back of my old new Subaru and drive it out into the woods (far enough away so it won’t find its way back), then release it in the woods. I don’t have to kill it, which satisfies my particular feelings, and it can have a lovely new life in nature.

However… the groundhog made me look stupid when I checked the trap this morning. It had eaten the bait trail right up to the trap’s open door, but did not enter the trap to get to the bait inside… just past the trigger mechanism. Double Bummer.

OK, I rebaited this morning, putting only a few pieces of delicious rotting melon (a favorite of groundhogs) outside the trap door, and put more pieces inside the trap leading up to the trigger mechanism with the bug feast on the far side. If this doesn’t work, I’ll have to change strategies.