The .22 may have to do (or how a Have-a-Heart guy becomes a gun lover).

April 6, 2015

My friend Tom lives in Southern Pennsylvania on a large wooded lot.  He sent along the following account of his attempt to live-trap a groundhog whose digging imperils the earthen dam which holds his pond in place above a creek.

On Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 11:38 AM, Tom Stutzman wrote:

The groundhog that last year took up residence under our barn came out of hibernation last week and has been foraging on the lawn regularly.  Having excavated a den under the 2 foot thick stone bearing wall of the 300 year-old building, and having piled mounds of dirt on both sides of same, I resigned myself to evicting him.   As a “live and let live” guy, I figured the large “Hav-a-Hart” live trap would be the solution.   I could simply load him into the bed of the truck and release him on the other side of Nolde Forest.   This, even though his attempt to find a new home could very well have him run over on State Road 625, along which many a mammal meets its maker.

A few days ago, I scattered half of an apple on the lawn below the barn and near his den.   The dozen thin slices didn’t get a chance to turn brown in the sun before he had eaten every one.

This morning I repeated the offering, but introduced the baited trap.  Friggin’ groundhog ate the trail of sliced apple all the way to the trap door as I watched from the kitchen with binocs and mumbled my best Bill Murray commentary (see Caddyshack, the movie). He stuck his head just inside to get a piece, then returned to the den for a short nap. Now addicted, temptation had him return for a more thorough inspection of the strange box which included a walk-around.  He seemed to take careful note of the large cache of fruit on the trigger amidship.
After yet another retreat he couldn’t help himself any more and lost his fear.  He entered the trap and tripped the doors, but because he is a rather large fellow, the entry door hit him on the rump, thereby not allowing the lock to engage.  The rascal grabbed a final section of apple, backed out, and in total defiance of the gods, ate it right there at the door. Then he stood on his hind legs and flashed a middle claw towards the house.

Where’s my ammo?


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