Has anyone successfully evicted a groundhog (woodchuck)? How?

30 Replies

I have been battling a groundhog in the backyard of one of my rental properties for quite some time now and I'm running out of things to try (very persistent groundhog...).  The fellow lives in a fairly overgrown buffer space behind my fenced backyard.  For some reason, it has decided that it wants to get into my backyard in spite of the fact that there is only grass, and not, say a vegetable garden...  The fence is a 6-foot wooden privacy fence, and the groundhog has taken to digging under the fence into the backyard.  I have been playing the game of blocking the holes with rocks, rebar, wire mesh, etc but the groundhog's patience is endless.... just digs a new hole right next to the blocked one.  While my local Lowes does seem to have a nearly endless supply of rebar, it has become apparent that a better solution to the problem is probably to evict the fellow once and for all.  Does anyone here have experience with this?  Obviously, trapping it is one option, but what do I do with him once he's trapped?  I don;t have the heart to kill him, and I assume there probably aren't any groundhog shelters where I can drop him off....  Any thoughts?

You can buy trap from HD for $50 and try your luck but it Maybe difficult because you tried to close his cage 

Originally posted by @Sai T. :

You can buy trap from HD for $50 and try your luck but it Maybe difficult because you tried to close his cage 

 Thanks.  I'm reasonably confident that I CAN trap it, but then what?

Cage trap and cantaloupe sliced up does the trick.

I also just relocated to him to a more remote area.

can’t you release 10 Miles far from your property?

We rented a SFH to a husband & wife trucking team from the Deep South.

After viewing the home we walked the back yard & came across our big old resident groundhog sunning him on the wood pile. I mentioned he came with the place & she replied 'them's good eaten' & we never saw him again!!!

But we did have a family of groundhogs under our barn at the Lakehouse & our local feed store had smoke canisters that we used. They have since moved 500 feet to my neighbors tree line & haven't been back since.

There are several things you can try (former NWCO here)....

If you know where the burrow entrances are (there’s more than one), put used cat litter down the hole. 

They don’t like mylar balloons. Put a few, weighted, around the yard for a few days. Move them around too. 

Best to do these things at the same time to hit more than one of their senses at a time (smell & sight, in this case) so the message to relocate is clear. 

Why do you want to evict him, if you have no landscaping or vegetable garden being damaged?

As to fencing, your going about it wrong. They’re powerful diggers. From my local DEP:

An effective method of controlling woodchucks, and other wildlife, in a garden situation is to erect a fence. A sturdy fence at least 3 feet high will keep most medium-sized animals out. However, woodchucks may try to burrow under the fence. It is recommended that the fence extend underground another 1.5 to 2 feet. Woodchucks have been known to climb over fences, in which case a 1-foot extension that is bent outward at a 90-degree angle should be added to the top of the fence, or the fence be "loosely" constructed to bend outward when an animal attempts to climb up.

Hope that helps 

Is he hurting anything other than digging holes under the fence?

They cause us problems with our crops out here. I wont tell you what we do to them since you don't have the heart to kill it.

I would get a live trap with some fruit or something inside. After you trap him take him down the road to a field somewhere and drop him off. 

If you are concerned about his well being then it would prob be best if you waited til Spring to do this. 


(1) Ask a second amendment lawyer for advice about whether you can use "self help" in your jurisdiction. 

(2) Post a notice to vacate at the entrance of this groundhog's burrow, and then proceed to eviction.

(3) Sue him for trespass. 

(4) Get an injunction. 

(5) Build a wall and make the groundhog pay for it.

Incidentally, does anyone know how many lawyers it takes to remove a woodchuck?

If you can't kill a rodent to protect your property you might consider selling.

Trap it and take it to a farmers field a few miles away. 

Ruger 10/22.

Are there no men anymore?

Use a good dog or live an let live.

Growing up on a farm in rural MO, ground hogs were an unending problem.  I'll tell you flat out we just shot them.  They're just pests and do a lot of damage.

Be careful about trapping and releasing.  Here around Denver we have a big problem with squirrels.  I was talking with co-workers about it.  Turned out one had been trapping them in his yard and releasing them in the national forest and got caught.  You cannot do that without written permission.  The only option is to eliminate them on your property.  He managed to avoid being fined, but the fines are significant.

So, sorry, but my advice is to evict them to the groundhog hole in the sky.

Originally posted by @Tom Gimer :

Ruger 10/22.

Are there no men anymore?

Few and far between. I use them as target practice with my long bow :)

These are varmints, people. 

Would you "relocate" a rat? Spend good money to build a fence to keep it out? Move it to someone else's property?

Has everyone gone completely insane? 

I don't want an answer to that.

Originally posted by @Derek E.:

Is he hurting anything other than digging holes under the fence?

 Well, the holes he digs are large enough for the tenant’s dog to escape which renders the fence at least partially useless.

Once trapped you can call the your local humane society and they should come and take it.  All else fails take the cage out into the country and let him loose out there.   They make smoke bombs that will kill them or detour them when you place them in the holes.

Originally posted by @Andrew S. :
Originally posted by @Derek E.:

Is he hurting anything other than digging holes under the fence?

 Well, the holes he digs are large enough for the tenant’s dog to escape which renders the fence at least partially useless.

Just shoot it man. I've been wanting to say that for a while now. I'm surprised this has even turned into this big of a discussion. 

Havahart traps work great.  Then drive him down a dirt road somewhere and release him.  Piece of cake.

I have evicted groundhogs in Wake county before. You can look up their names in courthouse records;) 

But I can tell you this:

  • They will leave you all their $#!) to clean up. Groundhogs do not pick up after themselves.
  • You will not collect. You may get a judgement, but it's all paper. And judgement paper will not pay your bills. Only government note paper (like government issued notes AKA CASH will pay your bills;)
But Seriously... they are not as bad as coyotes. Rent farms or farm land out instead and don't worry about it. Farmers will shoot the damn things and never mention it or bother you about it! That's reality. 

You may find yourself in trouble if you discharge a firearm within city limits. Surprisingly it is illegal to relocate wildlife in many parts of the country as well. I have driven them out with mothballs in their burrows. I have also used rebar stakes with wire wrapped in between, like an underground fence.   

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  I should add that this property is in downtown Raleigh, so some of the more obvious (but more drastic) suggestions may not be feasible... I’ll post back when the tenant is gone. :-).    Does anyone know if groundhogs hibernate around here?  Maybe Winter is not the ideal time to deal with this......?

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :
Use a good dog or live an let live.

  Careful here. In CT at least, they may carry rabies and I wouldn’t recommend involving a dog for this reason. 

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