TRUE GOPHER STORY 

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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 topsoil.
They would fill up my holes, mostly with landfill (half stones, half clay). EVERY night,
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 the day.

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 seems.

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 them.

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 lawn.

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.

2 Macabees
 and
 Cinch trap

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