Groundhog Paradise

There has been a Granddaddy of a groundhog – a/k/a  woodchuck – that has lived on my property for many years.

Up until recently, I have practiced a ‘live and let live’ approach to “Chauncey”, my pet name for big guy.

First BurrowHe started out with a burrow nicely tucked away on the edge of a wild wood, far enough from my house and gardens that I welcomed him with a full heart.  I even marveled how he stayed away from my annual vegetable garden and wondered where he was getting his victuals, since each year, he added more weight about his girth.  In fact, Chauncey had gotten so fat – I had to laugh one year when I spied him struggling to heave himself over the lower rung of my neighbor’s wooden fence.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when, one day, I found Chauncey’s hidey-hole abandoned.  Considering his increased heft, he must have out-grown that den and moved on to greener pastures.

A couple of years passed, and I would often see other groundhogs in the field across the street from my house.  But none of them were Chauncey.  The size difference alone was a major telling point.

Shed burrowThen the inevitable happened.  I found a new burrow under the corner of my garden shed – a direct violation of my critter agreement.  I welcome all wildlife to my little ‘Sanctum Sanctorum’ on the one condition that they do no harm to my personal property.

I made a mental note to take action.

It was on a particularly nice September day, I had walked down to my home orchard to check on ripening fruit, when I spied another groundhog scampering out of the field, across my lawn, and straight under the steps leading to my front porch.

The nerve!

Porch burrowI rushed across the yard, passing the new hidey-hole by the shed, and sure enough, there was another big burrow to the side of the front-steps, not six inches from the foundation of my house.

Something definitely had to be done.

Meanwhile, Doug had installed a game-cam in the orchard, trying to get an idea how many deer visit our trees and perhaps scope out hunting possibilities for bow season.

I was sitting in the living-room when Doug shouted from his office, “That little bugger! Hey, Rob – come ‘ere.  I found Chauncey.”

chaunceyI rushed over to Doug’s computer screen.  With a knowing look, he pressed the start button on a video recorded from his game-cam.  Sure enough, there was Chauncey, looking fat and sleek in the epitome of good health, scurrying up the trunk of my apple tree, not only stealing bites from every apple he could reach but knocking more onto the ground so he could dine in greater comfort from below.

We found his new hidey-hole the next day.  A massive burrow, housing a suite of rooms no doubt, right below the forsythia hedge.

Forsythia burrow

It appears that we have Chauncey to thank for our recent increase in groundhog visitors…inviting all his girlfriends over to the other hidey-holes built in choice locations across our lawn.

Garden buffetAnd as if that wasn’t the ‘be all and end all’ – we caught Chauncey on our back patio, at the edge of our kitchen vegetable garden.  He was sitting on his hind legs, happily munching away on one of our luscious, Mortgage Lifter tomatoes.

That was the final straw.  Time to bid them all adieu – including Chauncey, our resident friend turned greedy house-guest.

We dragged out our Have-a-Heart traps and baited them with all sorts of choice treats – juicy ribbed lettuce, slivers of sweet apple, and a stalk of celery for good measure.

GotchaTrappedgroundhog release program

It didn’t take long.  We duly captured Chauncey’s girlfriend and relocated her to groundhog paradise.

groundhog paradise

Chauncey however didn’t get as big as he his, nor reach Granddaddy status by being stupid.  So far he has eluded our traps.  But the game isn’t over yet.  We just have to up the ante or else next time, Chauncey may be staring down the barrel of a 22 long rifle.

Nah – just kidding.

I think between Doug and myself, we two humans should be able to outwit one groundhog.  Should.


9 thoughts on “Groundhog Paradise

    1. Thanks, Doug! No injuries, except to my pride. So far Chauncey is proving to be quite a wily critter. We’ll need to step up the game or invite ‘m home for dinner. ;o)

  1. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Compared to beavers, groundhogs/woodchucks are not adept at moving timber, although some will chew wood

    the answer is ~700 pounds

    1. Egads! At this point, I’m more concerned with the burrowing. National Geographic reports they can dig underground tunnels upwards to 66 feet! It’s like a scene straight out of “Caddyshack”, lol.

  2. I let Doug Know; How Funny it would have been If y’all had taped the little rascal escape !! Well God Bless yeah, And good luck on the next go-round !

    1. I wish! Would have called the footage “Chauncey’s Great Escape”. He must have weighed 35 lbs., at least. We never dreamed he would be able to chew a “trap door” in the bottom of a Have-a-Heart cage. Imagine our surprise when he squeezed his giant heft through a 4inch-square opening and took off running, lol. To date – the elusive Chauncey remains “at large”.

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