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Woodchuck or Groundhog Says Hello

Woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, can be devastating to a garden and there are few remedies that work. 

How to Identify Woodchucks

The woodchuck or groundhog is a large furry rodent that is brown with a bushy tail, small ears, short legs, and curved claws. It looks a bit like a runaway fur coat as it waddles back to its burrow in fright.

This critter can grow to be about 3 feet long and can weigh up to 14 pounds. They eat everything from flowers to vegetables. Favorite foods include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lettuce, and cole crops.

See any deep tunnels in your yard, under your deck, or near your foundation? You may have a woodchuck or groundhog; they dig burrows to live in and the entrances are usually 10 to 12 inches wide with the excavated soil spread around the entrances. There are usually 2 or 3 entrances.

Woodchucks/groundhogs eat mostly during the early morning and afternoon, so try to see when your garden is receiving the most damage. These creatures will also gnaw and claw at fruit trees, so check your trees for any such marks.

How to Get Rid of Woodchucks

  • Get a big dog.
  • Plant a line of garlic near the woodchuck’s entrance.
  • Sprinkle blood meal or talcum powder around the perimeter of your garden. You can try using hair clippings as well.
  • The best deterrant is a fence–a small mesh wire fence dug over a foot into the ground as the critters will try to burrow underneath it. Since woodchucks are agile, make sure the fence is at least 3 feet high.
  • Eliminate woodpiles and other places where groundhogs nest.
  • Unfortunately, one extension agent admits, “I don’t know of a single remedy other than shooting, clubbing, or trapping.  Set humane traps and release them in a location far from home.


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If you have a groundhog or

If you have a groundhog or any wild animal living on your property consider yourself lucky and enjoy observing these animals instead of KILL...KILL...KILL...Why are people such IDIOTS!!

To Connie F who is all gushy

To Connie F who is all gushy about groundhogs and any other wild animals living on your property helping itself to the food you raise for your family, and thinks we should all just enjoy watching them gorge themselves on our labor: Seriously? Our garden is our FOOD! Our attempt to save our lives by opting out of the system of Roundup-drenched pesticide-laden nutrient-deficient food! I am a cancer survivor, and I take the food I go to the trouble to grow with my sweat and money very very seriously. If YOU think it's a hobby, well, YOU feel free to feed the goundhogs at your own expense! Who is the real "idiot" here?

Here Here Ann!

I agree with you Ann, Connie, your comments lead me to believe you've never had a groundhog on your property. I have over 100$ worth of damage last year from one and I grew everything from seed. I am an animal lover and I respect the enviroment. These animals are pests, I have tried EVERYTHING including having my husband pee around the garden. Im sure like many other gardeners we don't jump to just killing an animal. We are on this forum looking for human answers no?

spelling error

Humane (oops)

Are you crazy lady?

What if I capture my groundhog and drop it off in your backyard?

I have used lemon ammonia, I

I have used lemon ammonia, I pour into one end of a garden hose with a nozzle open at the end. once the ammonia starts coming out I close the nozzle and hook the other end to the spigot. turn on the water open the end and it will pour straight ammonia where ever they are. Worked on getting skunks out from under our mobile home. smelled better too.

I have a groundhog who's home

I have a groundhog who's home is under my deck and his hole actually goes into my cellar, I can not reach the home in the cellar for it is in a crawl space that is to small for any adult to get into. Some one told me to put moth balls in and around the hole. The moth balls didn't work as I saw him today and it looks like he doesn't even care. I'm afraid to fence him in and then he ends up living in my cellar. I've tried live taps but all I catch are coons. I'm open to suggestions.

Hi, Brandon: Well, this is

Hi, Brandon: Well, this is certainly a narrow topic. NOT. Please see the response to DebB below for some ideas. We are partial to hot red pepper flakes in abundance in such cases, but perhaps one thing you should really consider (besides a dog) is a blanket approach -- trying so many things at once that it just becomes not worth it to be there. We have a similar crawl space. Have you thought about blocking off the crawl space from the basement except for one opening, putting a live trap in the opening, luring it into the crawlspace with corn, and then blocking the outside hole? Otherwise, try lots of things at once: Put nasty stuff in the hole and seal it. Seal off under the deck and around it put sticks that you've smeared with mentholated petroleum jelly. Sprinkle bleach around. Sometimes you can snake black plastic drainage hose through the crawl space to the nest or home and then use it to blow or inject balls of cotton infused with menthol or something else nasty. "Thread" the hose onto long sections of the handle to a snow rake, for example, and then withdraw the pole to leave the hose where you want it. Bear in mind that this is not about preventing the woodchuck from getting into your basement, which you cannot do. It is about getting it to not want to be there in the first place. Good luck!

Thank you for your advice! I

Thank you for your advice! I did end up catching it in my live trap yesterday, only to find today 4 baby woodchucks crawling around my deck. Any suggestions on how to get them all at once?

Hi, Brandon: No need to get

Hi, Brandon: No need to get them all at once. Put some lettuce pieces, some carrot baby food, and a low bowl of water in your live trap. Make note of when you see the kits and put it out for an hour at that time. Observe if you can, so that you don't get a skunk or possum. It's probably too late for another tactic, which is to use the mom as "bait," although this isn't very humane. You would put the mom in one cage/trap in as comfortable a place/way as possible, then put another live trap with water next to it. The kits will come to the mom, which will make them thirsty, and then perhaps get lured by the water. But depending on how old the kits are, this may be a moot point anyway, if you know what we mean. But thanks for at least trying to do this in a humane way!

Lets face it there is no way

Lets face it there is no way to effectively get rid of ground hogs, at least not in Western PA. I grow vegetables for a living and lose about $10,000 a year to them. I have killed them in every way you can imagine with no effect on their population. Once you remove one from a hole, another moves in. I have trapped groundhogs from the same hole for 20 years. There must be a way to keep new groundhogs from re-occupying holes where others have been eliminated.
Are there any chemists out there that can figure this out??

We have a Ground hog who has

We have a Ground hog who has built a nest on the edge of our garage in the garden. The garage has a cement floor. I assume it has tunnelled underneath. We have not found an exit other than the one hole but have seen it "grazing" over at the neighbours on either side of us. I don't really want to kill it and would even be willing to just leave it be except that I am worried it might undermine my garage. Talk about dogs, I have two small ones, a Shihpoo and a Maltshi. They are interested, but don't have much affect on the ground hog although they get lots of fun out of barking in its direction. My question narrows down to the effect on the garage.

It is possible in certain

It is possible in certain cases for a groundhog tunnel to undermine a foundation and/or cause cracks. You might want to try repelling the groundhog, to encourage it to find a home elsewhere. You can try sprinkling dried fox or coyote urine (available at garden centers or online) around the hole. Or, try motion-detector sprinklers (also available at garden centers or online) or pinwheels around the entrance. You can also try filling the hole with dirt; each time the animal may reopen it (or one nearby), but might eventually give up and move on. Usually there is at least one other entrance or exit hole, so try to find that one too (tunnels can extend 25 to 40 feet). As a last resort, you can hire an animal pest control expert to live trap it and remove it from your home. (Laws vary in cities and states as to doing this on your own; always use caution when dealing with a wild animal.)

The statement from the

The statement from the extension agent refferred to above needs to get into a different line of business. That person is a like a teacher who hates kids. The compassion is gone for all nature as well as animals.
Pretty sad how we have progressed.

Apparently, you have never

Apparently, you have never watched enough nature shows to realize just how predatory nature really is.

In addition, "nature" is territorial, and even groundhogs will fight and even kill other groundhogs to protect their property. Groundhogs also will attack if cornered, which can happen by just startling them. When in my yard where my grandchildren play ... not acceptable.

So, I should capture them and dump them where someone else has the problem, or where they have to fight because they are intruding on another hogs territory?

Pretty sad how some think rodents have the same value as human beings.

I just picked up an injured

I just picked up an injured groundhog a few days ago and it made absolutely no attempt to 'attack'.. smh. You say they are in YOUR yard when in actuality the animals were living there first and you have intruded on their land. I am glad my 4 year old niece is being raised to have compassion for all animals and is not being falsely told by adults that a groundhog or squirrel is going to attack her. What's not acceptable is you killing wildlife and teaching cruelty to children.

I can understand your

I can understand your concern. I also dislike killing of any kind. You were very lucky you didn't get bitten. Woodchucks, like other rodents can carry rabies. please get rid of them and do not let your granddaughter anywhere around wild animals. Rabies is most painful and doesn't always end good.

It is a known fact that

It is a known fact that woodchucks can be dangerous. Not an opinion, not a theory. They do not understand your compassion. Please do not teach your children ignorance of the real world just because some parts of it don't fit your dream of blissful coexistence.

I am proud of you for finding

I am proud of you for finding a way to live floating in the sky where you aren't intruding on any terrestrial wildlife habitat. But have you considered your impact on the flying space of birds?

I have lived in our

I have lived in our neighborhood for 18 years. It was not until this last spring that we acquired a family of groundhogs. These vermin are not welcome. They have the whole world to live in, I do not. We pay large amounts of money to continue to upkeep this property and dwellings I do not care what came first, I will find a legal method of extraction of these vermin. Nature lovers over common sense repulse me to no end. I am a farmer of old, We took care of our animals but even then we knew that some animals do not belong in the close proximity of children/people.Go on line, research these animals, they're not as nice as you want them to be and not as evil as some say they are. We had 7 of them this last spring, we have another adult today after a lapse of not seeing any, I'll bet it's the female who just birthed and eventually we might see more pups. The amount of damage these have caused already is extensive, it is written that they can dig channels 25 to 60 foot in length at different levels throughout the properties, count them out, 6 houses and lawns and gardens. Lots and lots of unnecessary damage and possible injury to human and animal alike.

You're naive!

There are serious "holes" in your logic, Mittmah. Just because your experience with one injured groundhog did not result in it trying to attack you, does not mean they are all the same. Are all humans the same? You told another person (smh) that the animals were living in their yard first ... really?! I have lived in the same house for over 25 years and only in the last 2-3 years have there been groundhogs on our property. If you are teaching your niece to have compassion for all animals, that's great, but you should also teach the reality of wild animals with rabies, and that if threatened, any and all animals can and will attack.

Love, love, LOVE your post!

Love, love, LOVE your post! Absolutely correct. Did anyone see the utube video where a family let a little rabbit or something they had nursed back to health go in their back yard, and a bird of prey swooped down and grabbed it? Or the town next to the ocean that saved a couple of porposes after an oil spill, and later let them go in a huge town celebration, and the porposes were immediately gobbled up by a killer whale? (Basics here are correct; I may have details wrong.) People have the erroneous idea that animals are all lovey dovey, and people are always the predators. They also think humans should be eradicated and animals given free reign. That's called "Agenda 21," an international agreement that dear sweet (cough cough) Prez has fallen hook, line and sinker for.

We have progressed to the

We have progressed to the point where extension agents are hired to dispense actual knowledge. I missed the part in your post where you describe another method that works. All the other methods are temporary or only partly effective, and he knows this. Compassion does not change this reality.

U say fence,dogs,urine

U say fence,dogs,urine ect.Then y my dog have huge holes in her 30x30 dog pen and she just killed one in her pen?????.Now what can i do?ty

What can I use to repel

What can I use to repel ground hogs that is safe for chickens to get into. We eat our hen eggs so I don't want us or the chickens to get sick. Our persistent groundhog found the new location of squash (all types). We do have a 4 foot fence but alas it is not buried.

A mesh fence buried a foot

A mesh fence buried a foot deep really is the best solution, but there are other options. Readers have told us that they've had luck with electric fencing. Have you tried the solutions above? Many of them are safe for chickens. Try planting a line of garlic near the entrance. Also, try spreading Grapefruit-sized clumps of dog and/or cat hair throughout planted areas. A dog or two would also help the situation. Best of luck!

I just want to make note that

I just want to make note that a few people have suggested getting a dog to keep the groundhogs at bay (or maybe kill)..although this seems ideal I have a pitbull who did go after and initially kill the groundhog but not before he got bit himself...needless to say a trip to the vet and alot of $ later I would tell you not to let your dog(s) go after them. now everyday I scan the yard before letting him out.

It is my personal experience

It is my personal experience that there are only 3 things you can do with ground hogs;

#1) you live with them

#2) you shoot them for food-ONLY for food(good eating too!! there is a "how to" in farmer's Almanac)

#3) fence them off.
Fencing them off does not have to be expensive. In the farmer's almanac it says to put the fencing 10'' - 12'' in the ground...I say that is not enough...18" to 24" would be best, and if you are going to put fencing in the ground, it had better be a very strong type of fencing(IE:chain link is best).
Check around at fencing dealers & see if they have any chain link fencing they want to unload. Some times you can get this for free or super cheap.

My personal favorite way to deal with Ground Hogs is to have them for dinner. This keeps the Ground Hog population down, feeds the family & is good for the farm as a whole.