The War On Woodchucks

by Venomous Kate

For three summers now, VH and I have been battling woodchucks. It started when we found a woodchuck climbing — yes, climbing — in the tree near our front door.

He was a big sucker, easily outweighing the miniature dachshund we had at the time. Since I wasn’t a big fan of that dog, I wasn’t terribly bothered by the thought of the woodchuck beating the crap out of it. I, on the other hand, had no desire to tangle with the thing. So off we went to Animal Control where they provided us with a humane trap and instructions on its use.

After catching (and releasing) first a raccoon and then a large rabbit, we finally caught the darned thing and took it, as instructed, to Animal Control. Naturally, I wanted to know what would become of the furry little bugger. That’s when I learned that Animal Control’s policy is to release them back into the wild, but where the “wild” is they wouldn’t say.

Two days later we spotted another woodchuck on our front step. Or, at least, I’m assuming it was a different one. For all I know the original one may have found his way back to our house from his undisclosed location. But that second sighting is, I can fairly say, when the battle lines were clearly drawn… in urine.

See, I’d read that urine repels woodchucks: coyote, fox, even human (preferably male) urine. Well, since we’ve got a near endless supply of the latter, I figured it was cheaper to load VH with beer and point him toward the front garden than bother with all those “humane traps” or some other animal’s pee.

It worked, too. Or, at least it did until one Saturday when he and a buddy were throwing back a few beers on our deck and got it into their minds that two o’clock in the afternoon was a good time to pull “woodchuck duty”. Thus ensued a bit of a row when I realized two grown, mostly inebriated men were urinating in my garden in plain sight of the neighbors. I handed them cans and encouraged them to be more discrete. They tried to comply. Really, they did. But apparently peeing into a large can and then carrying it without spilling is too big of a task for two drunken men. So, rather than shock all the neighbors, I abandoned that plan.

Not surprisingly, the woodchuck returned.

Since then, one of the critters has started himself a nice burrow at the base of our foundation. I hear him from time to time, burrowing away, claws scratching at the cement wall. The other day I spotted him, too: he’d stretched out on our front step to sun himself like a cat, head resting on his paws, without a care in the world. I’d thought to point him out to my son — the things are cute, after all — but by the time I’d found the boy and my camera, the woodchuck had disappeared.

(Side note: I’m sitting on my back patio right now while typing this. Guess what I just saw? Yep, the woodchuck. He’s staring at me, too. When, oh when, will I learn to keep my cell phone with me?)

Anyway, if I sound a bit obsessed with ridding our home of woodchucks I have a good reason: the one that’s burrowing out front has managed to dig himself a nice, large den and has apparently started a family.

How do I know? Because yesterday morning I saw not one, not two or even three but four — four — baby woodchucks sitting on my front step. Unfortunately, the Big-Eyed Boy saw them, too, and decided they’re adorable. So now, despite my repeated admonitions, he keeps sneaking outside to leave fruit and vegetables for them. His fruit and vegetables, from his lunch plate. (Yes, I’ll be keeping an eye on him now that I’ve figured out what’s going on.)

And as for our War on the Woodchucks? It’s over. I know when we’re beat. The fuzzy little family has managed to turn one of my own into their biggest fan, which means all thoughts of hunting them down like some homeowners do are out of the question.

So, to my next door neighbor (no, not the crazy one) who occasionally reads this blog, let me just point out that on Friday nights my husband typically has a few beers. This week I’m going to encourage that “few” to turn into “several”, after which I’m putting him back on woodchuck duty. If you see him peeing outside, please don’t think poorly of us. Just give your husband some beers and have him do the same thing, or our woodchuck problem may become yours!

13 Responses to “The War On Woodchucks”

  1. GREAT anecdote, but I sympathize with the desire to get rid of the little buggers, too. You don’t need wild animals that close to a fascinated child. A quick Googling tells me they also love to eat flowers and veggies, some suffer from rabies (86% of cases reported to CDC in a 10-year period), and burrowing under a building can remove support for the foundation (in a field, the cavity he digs out is large enough it can topple a tractor if the driver goes over it). The babies leave in mid-July, so fyi if you’re waiting for them to leave the nest.

    See http://snurl.com/2e6ow and http://snurl.com/2e6rm for details. :o(

    Carolyn Bahms last blog post..47×365, #36 – Curb Market Clerk

  2. My dad’s solution to raccoons (they have a koi pond) is to live-trap them, spray-paint them yellow with road-marking paint he gets from a friend at Transportation, and take them out into the woods himself and dumps them. I suspect you could do much the same with your woodchucks (although, members of the Citellus family are an in-joke in my family, so I have a tender spot for the little blighters).

    wgs last blog post..Disclaimer, repost

  3. I have three words for you: integrally suppressed rifle.

    Jeffs last blog post..Daily Condiment: Caramelized Onions

  4. Ok, I about peed laughing just reading about your plan and then about died when reading about your VH and his friend in plain view of your neighbors. That is too funny!! Although I am sorry you have a woodchuck problem…

  5. My latest plan involves finding a decoy woodchuck — a big one — and sticking him near the front step where the others hang out. I’m hoping it’ll scare them away.

    Plus there’s the added benefit of being able to haul that thing into the bathroom so my husband can pee on it before putting it out there. Double deterrent, I hope.

  6. Love the decoy plan; sort of like ducks in reverse? ;)

    Just wondering if the urine repellent would work with possums, coons and feral cats? I’ll load Arthur up with soda and let you know. LOL!

    On a slightly different not altogether dissimilar note, I love what this post has done to your google ads! Heh…

    pams last blog post..Canine Carnival 32

  7. Not me! Two days now of no earnings. UGH.

    I don’t know if soda will change the… um… aroma or not. Maybe load him up with asparagus instead?

  8. how can you not like your miniature dachshund? dachshunds are the world’s greatest! and you could easily pit yoru dog against the woodchucks. in terms of your kiddos heart. just say that the woodchucks are out to kill the dog. and as all living creatures love dachshunds, he’ll choose to save the dachshund from those evil woodchucks.

    an air rifle bought at wal mart will also discourage them without killing them. keep it with you instead of your cell phone. or both.

    mlahs last blog post..Games

  9. That dachshund was the stupidest, most annoying little yappy dog I’ve ever met. I’d had dachshunds before that one and loved them, but Snuffy was just… dumb. We found her a new home last year after she tried biting my son. Can’t say I miss her.

  10. Some years ago I had a woodchuck dig a den along side of my foundation. I ask around to a few “good ‘ol boys” in the neighborhood. Their solution was to put the hose in the hole and turn it on high. I flooded the den, the varmit left and I shoveled the hole full of dirt. That ended it.
    Although I must admit you travils are much more interesting and amusing.
    BTW, the opossuum problem can be quickly solved with a .22 air rifle (makes about the same amount of noise as a single clap). That will send them to the promised land with out a return ticket.

  11. Hah, our Friendly Neighborhood Psycho Woodchuck who lives under our bridge has decided to heck with our landscaping, our doorjam tastes much better than anything nature can provide.

    I’ve tried putting toothpaste on it (actually works sometimes), bonking the door to scare it etc. It generally returns and holds up a sign, Can’t you do any better than that? :)

    Enjoy, Barbara

    Barbara Lings last blog post..My #1 Tip Plus 25+ Unique Blogging Voice Resources – Day 4 of 7 Days To Making Your Blog Blossom

  12. Man pee. It actually works!

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