Why do I Have Woodchucks in My Yard and How Do I Get Rid of Them?

Groundhog A.K.A. Woodchuck

Groundhog, A.K.A. Woodchuck in Yard

If you have discovered a big hole and a pile of earth by your shed, your plants are being eaten, and your sapling trunks are being chewed when you are not looking, it is more than likely a woodchuck has taken up residence in your yard. Also called groundhogs, woodchucks are a type of ground squirrel that lives all over the United States. They are most common in the northeastern and central states.

What attracts woodchucks?

Woodchucks like an easy supply of food, especially in spring when

Get Rid of Woodchucks

Get Rid of Woodchucks

they emerge from hibernation. Woodchucks also like a safe environment. Mating season is in early spring, with young being born and living in the burrow from May to August. Yards with vegetable gardens and no pets are ideal woodchuck environments. Woodchucks also like large yards with long grass, again due to easy access to food. Woodchucks are vegetarian and particularly like peas, beans, apples, herbs, strawberries, clover and dandelions.

How to get rid of woodchucks?

There are several methods for getting rid of woodchucks:

  • Natural repellents
  • Humane traps
  • Motion devices
  • Toxic gas
  • Fencing

Woodchuck in Hollow Tree

Perhaps Woodchucks Really Do Chuck Wood?

Natural repellents are the most humane way of solving your woodchuck problem. Woodchucks are timid rodents, and deliberately choose safe environments to live, raise their young, and hibernate. Their predators include wolves, dogs, coyotes and foxes. A natural woodchuck repellent made with the urine of these predators is easy to use and very effective. Woodchucks will smell the urine, assume the area is unsafe, and move elsewhere.

Humane traps should be used in late winter or early spring, before the woodchuck has had its young. It is also easier to attract a woodchuck with bait at this time, when natural resources are still scarce. Using traps can be time-consuming and unreliable – it is possible you will catch something else. It is also illegal in some states to move wildlife, so check you are not breaking the law.

Motion devices can be as simple as a children’s pin-wheel, wind chimes, or a blown-up beach ball blowing around the area. They may scare away or deter young woodchucks, but are not very effective against older ones.
Using gas to get rid of woodchucks is not recommended. Not only is it inhumane, it can also affect other animals, including domestic pets. It involves forcing a gas into the woodchuck’s tunnel and den. It can secondary poisoning if another animal is exposed to it.

Fencing is not effective at getting rid of woodchucks and rarely keeps them out. Woodchucks can easily tunnel under fencing and, despite their tubby appearance, are adept at climbing over it. Fencing can also ruin the look of your garden, devaluing any landscaping you have done.

For many gardeners natural woodchuck repellents are a popular choice for controlling woodchucks due to their wide availability and ease of use. They have the added benefit of being non-toxic. They are all-natural, inexpensive, fast to use (just spread around the liquid or granules), and will not harm animals or people. A natural woodchuck repellent will not poison your soil, which is particularly important to people who grow fruit and vegetables, or who prefer to garden organically.

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