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Trapping gophers requires technical skills of a plumber and the patience of a hunter.
A plumber has to understand the flow patterns of a system somebody else has designed to meet their own needs, not the plumber’s idea of what might work best. The gopher knows how to travel undetected by animal predators and uses the tunnel network to do just that, while leaving aeration holes cleverly concealed along the network. Trapping a gopher requires understanding the depth, direction and frequency of tunnels placed throughout the network. There are main tunnels and lateral tunnels to make the network functional for the gopher’s needs. These are usually confined to areas of less than 20 acres, enough real estate to support a gopher family.
A hunter has to understand the behavior of its prey. Without an understanding of how a gopher does what it does in order to survive and get fat eating roots and other underground delicacies, the above ground trapper will be clueless. And when an aspiring trapper has not learned about his prey, he is likely to fall for many of the “home remedies” out there that are “proven to work” in solving the pesky gopher problem. It’s really quite simple: know how the gopher moves and how the gopher gets to where it wants to go and one can set traps in the best locations to trap it.
Let’s have a word about “humane” methods or non-violent trapping before we proceed with more talk about gopher trapping. More and more these days we have concerns about needless killing of wildlife. It is a good thing. If we can avoid taking an animal’s life in order to solve a problem, and find an alternative solution, then it is well worth doing.
Gopher control is not one of those problems. Human habitat needs and food chain privileges are in direct competition with gopher life. Catching a gopher alive, then releasing it into someone else’s backyard is not fair to the other resident; and, if it is a rural setting, then it is not fair to the wildlife with set genetic predispositions for living in their micro-ecosystem. Releasing captured wildlife into other areas is outlawed in many states.
It’s complicated and good choices are few. However, for suburbanites who should not ever use poison gas or poisonous material in the confines of their yards to eradicate gophers (within an area of 20 acres or less), trapping is one of the most humane treatments. Gopher traps work and work quickly to eliminate gophers if the traps are set properly in lateral and main tunnels. If sufficient knowledgeable effort is given, and the proper discovery tools are used to locate sites for traps, then a gopher’s death sentence will be meted in a matter of hours, taking just a few seconds to actually deliver.
Successful gopher trapping requires locating the lateral and main tunnels of a gopher’s underground city. Lateral tunnels are dug on one of two side of clustered, crescent shaped mounds with earthen plugs near the center of each. A simple knife with a strong eight to ten inch blade can be probed at diagonal intervals, in a path no more than six inches wide, along either side of the mounds to find the lateral tunnel extending back a few feet to a single artery or main tunnel passageway. Setting traps in the lateral tunnel requires digging an opening at the far end of the lateral tunnel near the mound and setting the trap in the hole at the mouth of the newly opened tunnel. After properly setting the spring loaded trap, soil is replaced to darken the passage leading into the trap. The trap should be anchored so that when sprung, the prey will not be carried off by the family dog, cat, or a lucky coyote passing through. The gopher can expire in peace.
Setting spring loaded traps in the main tunnel will require two traps being set at two ends of a significant length of tunnel. Spring settings should face opposite directions to trap gophers moving in either direction in the main tunnel. The key skill is in locating the exact line of the tunnel, opening it to place traps and then re-earthing the locations without letting in daylight or springing the traps when recovering.
More in-detail how-to gopher removal articles:
Information about gopher trapping
- analysis and methods for how to trap.
Information about how to kill a gopher
- with poison or other methods.
Information about how to keep gophers away
- prevention techniques.
Information about gopher repellent
- analysis of types and effectiveness.
This site is intended to provide information about how to catch a gopher, so that you can make an informed decision
if you need to deal with a gopher problem. This site provides many gopher capture articles and strategies, if
you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many
cases of gopher removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts
listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with your nuisance gopher. Click here to
read more about how to get rid of gophers