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Pocket Gophers Gone Wild

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ScooterMagee
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 201 Nebraska
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2004-09-14          96442


Well it seems that my pocket gopher infestation (which I thought I could control) is starting to get out-of-hand. They’re wrecking my “good lawn” and have started to work on my vineyard. The home was new about a year and a half ago, and they pretty much stayed away from the newly excavated and graded areas ... until now.

I’ve tried the caster oil sprays,
Fox, bobcat, and human urine (don’t ask)
Ammonia, and Pinesol
"MoleChaser" (vibrating devices), and
Poison smoke bombs

I was thinking of tying the Poison pellets next, and if that doesn’t work, then hiring a professional to trap them.

Any other suggestions or advice?


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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-09-14          96448


Two words, "Gopher Traps".

They are spring-loaded snares that are dug into the tunnel, when the little critter passes through they get the 'sleeper hold'.

Short of that I can send you a Jack Russell Terrier, guaranteed there wont be a rodent left alive in a wide circle around your place. They have a set of genetic instructions to kill rodents that comes ahead of food or sleep, and a determination that is impressive by anyone's standards.

Of course a 'Jack' will probably dig up more of your yard trying to get to the gophers than any colony ever could destroy.

Best of luck.
....

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ScooterMagee
Join Date: Jul 2003
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2004-09-14          96450


Our neighbor has a Jack Russell Terrier ... feisty little sh!t. He literally ate their leather sofa. He’d work a seam open, then pull all of the stuffing out the hole.

A friend of ours is in the process of having traps set. The person they hired charges $10 for each trap set and $25 for each gopher trapped. Also, have another friend who just paid sometype of exterminating company $180 to let “poison worms” loose in their gopher mounds. Sounded kind of like a gimmick to me. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2004-09-14          96451


Get a kid, a garden hose and a sharp shovel.

Have the kid (boys are less squeamish) flood the tunnels until they come up or drown. If they come up for air whack them with the shovel. ....

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ScooterMagee
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2004-09-14          96455


Flooding the tunnels ... gives me visions of that scene from “Caddy Shack”. ....

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Iowafun
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 955 Central Iowa
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2004-09-15          96529


I've researched the pocket gophers cause I've been battling them for 2 years. They are evil creatures that will have you shooting at them from a bathroom window wearing only your underware in no time. My wife just starred at with that look they have of "What the hell are you doing?"

I've used the sleeper hold traps and did get one with that. But the gophers are really wiley. They used to bury my traps after shoving them further down the tunnel. I tied string/small rope to them so I could retrieve the trap. But I had to tear up more yard to dug up the burried traps.

Smoke bombs don't work. My gophers were clean gophers so they'd take the empty smoke bomb back up to the surface so I could dispose of it.

Here is a link to the Rodenator. It's the ultimate gopher killing tool. I got really close to spending the money for it!! Oh so close!!

I did use poisoned food for the ones closest to the house. I made a gopher feeder out of a funnel and plastic tubing. I dug out the tunnel and inserted the tube so the food would be down in the tunnel. I then carefully closed the tunnel back up. I haven't had any activity in the two spots I tried this. I haven't had time to feed the rest of the gophers.

Google "pocket gophers" and you'll come up with other links. Iowa State and UC Davis offer tips on "management" of the problem. I'll post more links. ....


Link:   Rodenator

 
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Iowafun
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 955 Central Iowa
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2004-09-15          96530


Pocket gopher info from UC Davis ....


Link:   UC Davis

 
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Iowafun
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 955 Central Iowa
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2004-09-15          96531


From Nebraska.

I hate these rodents. I know how mad they will drive you. My dog has killed at least 4 that I know of. Also 2 moles. I'll post the mole story some other time. Hint - never whack a mole with a shovel if you don't want to wear the guts. ....


Link:   Pocket gophers

 
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ScooterMagee
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 201 Nebraska
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2004-09-15          96534


Thanks to everyone for the info.

Last night, just for sh!ts & giggles, I stuck a hose in one of the newest holes, after 15 minutes, it was still taking water. So, I checked the water meter just to keep track. 90 minutes (and 45 cubic feet of water) later, this hole and the surrounding holes were full. Not sure where all of the water went? Seems like a lot though? ....

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jimbrown
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 56 Cochise cnty Az
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2004-09-15          96535


I have had good results with the the poisonthat comes in cans. It is some sort of seed impregnated with poison. My neighbot had good luck hooking his lawn mower exhaust to a lex pipe and sticking it in the tunnels. Just stick the hose in and let the mower run for an hour or so. ....

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AV8R
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882 North Central Wisconsin
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2004-09-15          96536


That Rodenator website is too funny! You have to watch the Movies! ....

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
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2004-09-15          96537


If you have an old lawn mower around that burns oil, wrap a metal shroud around the muffler and duct tape a reducing connector to some garden hose. Jam a section of hose down the hole. Cover a few of the critter access holes with a board. Run the mower with the choke slightly on. Sit back with a shotgun for a while. You may need to do this for a good half hour or hour and may need to move to several locations.

Have fun!! ....

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2004-09-15          96541


I assume you are sure you have Pocket Gophers and not moles. My extensive mole experience is that there is only one true solution. Trap and kill the bastards! I tried all manner of scents, deterrants, sound emitting devices and vibrators. After deciding that I was defeated I looked at the prices folk charge to trap and decided I was going to arm myself with knowledge and some serious ammunition. I bought a series of English Scissors Traps from Mole-Pro (online) I then watched the video they sent which was VERY helpful and began setting traps. I set and inspected traps every evening and over the course of this spring and summer removed 37 moles form my lawn (area of about 2 acres). I know for sure I don't have any now (no mounds - and collapsing subterranian tunnels). It was a big chore and it seemed to go on forever but I got better at placing traps and having success at killing them. I got to the point where I would place a trap and an hour later I had the dead bastard in my hand. Its all about where you place the trap and the technique of setting them. GOOD LUCK ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2004-09-15          96549


Scooter; When my parents lived in our small home town after retirement. Dad was well into his 80's by then, and one day I drove in the driveway to find Dad sitting in a lawn chair in the backyard with the double barrel across his lap. I said Dad what in the hell are you doing don't you know shooting a gun in town is illegal. Well, long story short, gophers made him madder than the word "Republican", so he would paitently wait till the ground started to rise, sneak over, "Kaboom", dead gopher allready buryed, I guess he pretended the gopher was a Republican. Nobody ever arrested him, maybe the Mayor was a Republican. Cheers, Frank. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2004-09-16          96561


I can see that elephant sized gophers would be a problem. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2004-09-16          96566


Ha! Good show Tom! Ha! ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2004-09-16          96567


Iowa, I don't know what kind of traps you tried that the little critters were able to bury them, the ones we get up here are kind of like an upside down mouse trap, except the flat part is about a 6" x 12" piece of aluminum plate with a hole in it. You place it over the opening and cover the edges with dirt, when the little bugger comes up through the hole he gets it. You either put one on each hole, or cover half and put traps on half, either way, they're gone.

Best of luck. ....

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AV8R
Join Date: Oct 2003
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2004-09-16          96568


Have you ever seen the kind that look like a spring loaded pitch fork?

They push into the ground and straddle the burrow. When the animal goes through, it is triggered and you get a "gopher sickle." I've had decent luck with these in the past. ....

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ScooterMagee
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2004-09-16          96570


Got home last night, had (3) fresh mounds in the flooded area. So, stuck the hose back in the hole and let it run for another 2-hours.

Woke up this morning, found another (3) fresh mounds in an area, about 100ft away from the flooded area. This is where I tried the smoke bombs. I though for a couple of days the smoke worked, since there had not been any new activity ... until now.

It seams the more I do, the more agitated, and active they become. But, unfortunately not agitated enough to just plain leave.

The “Rodenator”, got to love it, brings back even more visions of “Caddy Shack”. How’s that tune go? Something like: “Great big gobs of greasy, grimy, gopher guts...” ;-)
....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2004-09-16          96573


Scooter; Have you considered green cement for the whole yard? No lawn mower to keep running, no more gophers, life is great. Frank. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-09-16          96584


Scooter, you can't get enough water from a garden hose to flood them. You need at least a 2" line to get enough water down there at once. See if a neighbour has a big spray tank or something you can borrow.

You also need to put a LOT of water down to get them, they have little raised dens along the tunnels to deal with rainwater, etc., gassing them is the best way.

If you can get a V-8 powered vehicle close enough, put a hose from the exhaust into one hole at the far end of the field and plug every hole you can find except one at the other end. An hour of fast idle will kill a pretty good sized colony.

Best of luck. ....

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Iowafun
Join Date: Jul 2004
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2004-09-16          96586


Murf, the pitchfork traps work good for moles. I've got pocket gophers who holes are typically 12-24 inches below the surface. My dog kills moles no problem. They don't stand a chance against her psychotic need to kill. She struggles with the gophers due to the depth of their holes and their extensive tunnel network. They spend the majority of their time undergound.

I tried the exhaust trick. Didn't faze them. True pocket gophers are used to living in low oxygen. Using water on pocket gophers is hard due to their extensive tunnel network. If you look at the research done, the tunnel systems can cover an incredible area.

The traps I used had two interlaced fingers that came apart called a Macabee trap. They are triggered by a plate when a gopher moves through a tunnel and they rotate about 90 degrees in impale the gopher in the sides. I've only gotten one gopher with this method.

The best method I found was the poison. It's about $5 and basically is poison impregnated food. If you have mounds with no clear hole, then you have pocket gophers. They plug the end of the hole. You can use a skinny rod to poke around the dirt mound or just clear away the dirt and you'll see the plug. Use the rod to poke through the plug and find the hold direction. Then you can dig that up to place traps or food. You'll need to follow that short tunnel as it's a branch to the main tunnel. The main tunnel is where you want to place the trap or poison.

They are very warry critter that are very sensitive to having their holes messed with. If you mess with a section and you didn't kill them, they'll just block it off and never use it again. Of course, that means they need new tunnels, further driving you towards madness.

I can appreciate Hardwood's dad. If I had the D4 bulldozer I've agreed to buy from my wife's uncle back in December, I'd have torn up the entire 8 acres of land that is not in CRP. The yard would have been toast and the wife mad, but the gophers would have been dead.

The link is to the Iowa State extension office gopher info. It shows how their tunnel systems work and how their mounding system works. Study your enemy. Know how he thinks. It also includes several traps at least one of which you can make yourself. Good luck. The weather is nice tonight so I think I'll go feed some gophers.

Here gopher gopher!! Free food!! ....


Link:   Iowa State Gopher Control

 
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yooperpete
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2004-09-16          96588


If exhaust don't work, I'd experiment with propane injected down into the holes. Start with small timed releases and work up to the big bang principle. One of those deck/porch torches and safety goggles. Be careful!! ....

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ScooterMagee
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2004-09-16          96592


Okay, stupid question. As far as gassing them out, are exhaust gases “heavier” or “lighter” than air. Will if “flow” into the network of tunnels like water? Or must it be forced. ....

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yooperpete
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2004-09-16          96597


As far as I know, exhaust gases are heavier than air. If you stick a hose in the hole for a distance and cover the access hole, the exhaust gases are driven into the underground tunnels from the engine running. It takes time to get the critters out. Sometimes they move within the tunnels further away from the point you're filling with exhaust. You sometimes have to move to different locations and block whatever passages that you can to corner them and force'em out. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2004-09-16          96598


Scooter, carbon monoxide is heavier than air, if introduced in sufficient quantities, thus my comment about a big engine, it will displace ALL oxygen in the tunnel system.

To be effective though you need to fill from one end to the other, plugging the holes in the center of the colony. After enough time to fill the tunnels plug the few holes you used as fillers and vents. This will trap them below ground with no oxygen to breath, they WILL suffocate.

The propane/oxygen is also effective, usually it kills by burying them alive, they either suffocate right away or trying to dig their way out.

Best of luck. ....

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Iowafun
Join Date: Jul 2004
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2004-09-16          96612


Remember, gophers are satan's minions. They are devious and hard to kill. Good luck. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
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2004-09-16          96613


As Murf said CO is heavier than air, but HOT CO will rise so when you pump exhaust gas in their it should penetrate the passages pretty well. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2004-09-16          96614


If "gophers are satan's minions" I guarantee, a Jack Russell terrier (terror?) will "put the fear of God in them".

My little fellow can, and has, much to my wife's dismay, run down a wild hare before it can make it to cover.

They have a particular instinctive hatred for rodents though, he runs so fast after a squirell that when he gets to the tree he follows it right up, several 'red rodents' have met their end when they went only a short distance up a tree and stopped to turn around to chatter at him. Getting down is another story.

Best of luck. ....

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Iowafun
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2004-09-17          96672


Murf, that would be a site to see!! I thought my dog was psychotic about killing rodents. Geez. Course, she almost got the neightbors cat. The cat never came back after that incident. Maybe I should get a Jack Russell... But I already have to hook up the loader on the 4310 and go around this weekend and fill in the potholes the dog has dug going after gophers. I don't know what I'd do with two dogs that do that.

My other dog is a black lab. He's not the brightest student on the special bus. He killed a rock once. That rock wasn't going anywhere. He guarded that rock for at least 30 minutes just in case it moved again. ....

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syncmode
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2004-09-18          96796


daschhounds, are good little goffer & mole dogs. we had a problem but no more. if you can stand them get a female not, as obnoxius as the males ....

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Archdean
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 279 Oklahoma
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2004-09-18          96797


Now That is a sexist comment if I ever saw one!!! LOL
Dean ....

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ScooterMagee
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2004-10-11          98116


Update – I’ve developed a system that seems to work quite well at dispersing the little-buggers. I use the hose to open up the tunnels, then slowly pour used cat liter into the hole, letting the water carry it down into the tunnel. One application per colony seems to be enough. Although, I’ve been giving each colony a follow-up dose 1-week later, just in case. So far, all activity has stopped in the treated areas.

I always knew that some day those darn cats would earn their keep. :-) ....

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metastable
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 78 North Plains, OR
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2004-10-13          98283


A .410 set-gun made from pipe works well if you live in the country. Open the hole, place a small potato on the end of the push rod, point the set-gun at the hole, and wait for them to come along and close the hole. They push the rod only once. I won't go into details, but will say that I have seen them in action and they are very effective. Don't do this if there are pets or children around, and if you're not willing to face a double-felony (set gun and sawed off shotgun). ....

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