TRUE GOPHER STORY
I started digging big holes to break up their underground runs so they had to
expose themselves, to go anywhere. I live on landfill with maybe 12 inches of
They would fill up my holes, mostly with landfill (half stones, half clay).
I would wake up in the morning to find theyíd been busier than bees.
I put dog poo down there. But they just
mixed it with soil and filled up the holes I'd dug with it.
I figured if they're digging that deep I could drown them so I run the
hose to the main holes. It seems that I ran
water forever. All the water disappeared but the gophers didnít. There must have
been enuf water to float my house but the gophers appear to be living on the higher ground beyond my fence during
I gassed them with the rotten egg gas-thing
that they sell in the garden centers. You set it alight and try to cover all the
holes. I fired up 4 of them. No difference!
They just keep blocking up any hole they donít trust and re-open others it
I poked down thru the lawn with a sharp metal rod
everywhere. I can get it to go deep enuf and the dog follows me around sniffin
frantically at each hole and trying to dig a bigger hole which I have to stop
her from doing. Sheís keenly aware of them but never caught one.
Every now and then she would dig a big hole (when Iím not looking). I would
catch her with her head totally disappeared inside the hole as she sniffs for
Between her and me I've damaged my lawn far more than the gophers -- all in the
cause of saving spring bulbs in the flower patch from gopher teeth marks.
I heard secondhand how successful the sonic device
(that you also get in the garden center) was at chasing them away, but online I
also heard lots of failure stories.
I even got to the stage of peeing in the
holes, cos I read somewhere that pee would give them fear of a predator and thus
chase them away. (You may now guess how successful that was).
|The theme of online education
pointed to trapping them - as the only
way, and the best was the Macabee trap.
So out I went and spent my $8 for this twisted metal contraption, -- a wire
spring-trap bent into a vicious medieval-like instrument. I fully expected
if I caught one in this it would be, like, caught by its foot or leg and it
would become a whimpering wounded-bunny-like, Caddyshack guilt experience.
And Iíd have to get the hammer out to put it to sleep.
But dead and dead quick -- they looked, -- as I killed 2 out of my first 3
trap attempts! I ďBill-Murray gloatedĒ (just short of wringing my hands).
But either the rest of the gophers were witnesses of great learning or I had
just been extremely lucky. I never caught another one! ( I envisioned their
leader looking like Yoda).
They were still out there, all right, cos they buried my trap every night
(and sometimes day) with unbelievable skill. They must push about 6 inches
of soil in front of them, keeping the required distance away from the trap
trigger, with amazing prowess.
I had been setting the trap at the perfect spot on their main run but that
was the least successful place to trap. Both kills I got from an almost
vertical hole. I've never succeeded on the horizontal. Also the
Macabee has to fit nice and snug into the
hole it seems.
They buried the Macabee twice a day for
a week. I filled in all the holes every day and they opened 2 other holes
every night maybe 15 feet apart, next to the fence.
I splashed out and bot another Macabee
(I figured I could alternatively straighten it out and use it as a Coat
hanger) and every morning I pull the things out of the pile of dirt they
built around it.
Once they bit thru the string attached to the Macabee
and I never found it again! ( I expect they took it to the GOPHER
SMITHSONIAN they got space for, down there). Macabee
2, Gophers 1.
I pushed the remaining trap further into the hole, than before, but still no
success except maybe they're getting closer to the fence and further off my
But if I follow them out beyond the fence will they double back on me? I
would not bet against it.
My dog creeps up to a spot on the lawn and pounces on it and frantically
starts to dig and I have to tell her to stop. But she hears and smells them
all the time and has become as obsessive as me.
Iím glad I didn't buy the $30 four-AA-batteried
Sonic Gopher Chaser thing - cos I think they would probably draw
up deck chairs to listen to it.
Now all of this took place many years ago now. The gophers are still here. I
gave up on my lawn and the bulb plants. The lawn is mostly wild grasses and
weeds, but there are areas that not even weeds grow. Probably because,
although the sprinkler still runs, itís set to low volume.
Itís all mounds and holes. Just dying to twist your ankle.
I hear that they have infiltrated the neighborhood. From one end of my
street to the other Ė half a mile. There even has been a
levee breach blamed on them. I remember,
before they arrived here, that the Civic Center Park
had gopher earth mounds too Ė thatís 2 miles away.
There have been two new events that occurred fairly recently.
I went out to the mailbox one day and found a pile of rubble on the sidewalk
next to my makeshift driveway. They had burrowed all the way from the back
to the front. An area that not only has no top soil (all rock-clay infill)
but no plants to eat. I had to push the rubble off of the sidewalk. Iím glad
to say I have not had to repeat that.
On route to the sidewalk is my garden shed. Now that is something I donít
visit too often any more. But recently I did and here is something I know
you are going to find hard to believe. I found my lawnmower covered (up to a
foot) in rubble. They had dug up into the floor-less shed. But not only
that, they had completely filled the lawnmower grass bag with rubble! Not
just partially filled - it was tight. I shoveled it all away and nothing
happened for many months but just when you start to forget about it - they
did it again!
Iíve got a bit more time on my hands these days - maybe Iíll bend my coat
hanger back into a Macabee.