Last time we were discussing garden pests and we touched on Mrs. Bunny, a gentle soul who is easily dissuaded from consuming the prized veggie crop by the simple expedient of erecting a 3 foot tall poultry wire fence. That won't do us a bit of good with the next member of the rogues gallery, the all too common ground hog, woodchuck, or Chuck the Destructor as he is known is some gardening circles.
Look at this critter! A fat, affable fellow by the look of him, but never forget, he's a rodent! A really big rodent but like his close relatives, squirrels, rats and members of Congress all he wants to do is eat, screw, and steal your stuff. Particularly all that delicious broccoli, cauliflower, collards, well actually, just about everything you were planning to enjoy with your family and friends.
That 3' tall wire fence will not get it done. Chuck can easily dig under it, and will do so with single minded efficiency. If you set wire into the ground to deter him, it needs to be at least 18" deep and that is a real chore. The wire will also deteriorate rapidly. Thus thwarted Chuck, who is a better climber than you would give him credit for, will simple swarm over it.
Chuck expends a lot of energy digging his burrow, and can not easily been driven off. There are all sorts of varmint repellents, usually predator scents of one type or another like wolf or coyote urine, they may have a temporary deterrent effect but Chuck is hungry, and not stupid. He may smell essence of concentrated tiger balls but he knows full well there is no concentration of tigers. And there go your carrots.
Realistically, you have three choices when faced with a determined ground hog. You can live trap and remove him, you can put him down, or you can electrify the fence.
Live trapping is simple, chucks will willingly enter a properly baited trap - fruit is popular - but there may be a problem. Some states have laws against its citizens moving wildlife about, since the government obviously knows better than you do what the nature of the problem is. In that case, some folks might take Chuck for a long ride into some other part of the country and release him anyway, but do it at night. Find out what the rules are in your state and let your conscience be your guide.
A .22 long rifle bullet is perfectly sufficient to relocate Chuck to the big chard patch in the sky, but again, there are concerns. Is there room, given the layout of your property and that of your neighbors, if any, to allow for a safe shot? Are you a good enough shot to kill Chuck humanely?
You'll ideally want to place that bullet either between the eye and the ear, viewed from the side, or right between the eyes head on. There is no benefit in merely wounding the fat fellow.
And of course you'll wish to take the law into consideration, and whether or not to bend it.
The electrified fence works very well indeed, and has the added advantage of deterring several other categories of garden pests. However, even if you can scrounge some of the materials and do the work yourself, it is not an inexpensive proposition, and the larger the garden the larger the cost.
Chuck is a tough customer with a hearty appetite, and you may have to make a tough choice if you wish to enjoy the fruits of your gardening labors.
That wraps it for now, thanks as always for stopping by for the Children's Hour!