Due to the high traffic that this page receives, I will actually write what I know about groundhog trapping. I started in Pennsylvania, when I worked as an apprentice to a fur trapper. As a fur trapper, he usually used lethal traps for groundhogs, specifically, connibear body grip traps, size 120 double-spring. He'd set these traps right over the groundhog burrow, and they'd kill the animal on contact. They worked very well. However, these traps are pretty much impossible for a non-trapper to use. They are very dangerous. I never used lethal traps in my own business in Florida. I used only live cage traps. If you want a surefire way to catch and kill groundhogs, hire a pro that uses such traps.
You can catch groundhogs in cage traps. Use a large trap, such as a Havahart raccoon trap. Set the trap near the burrow entry holes, or the runways (groundhog paths) near the holes. Bait the trap with fresh vegetables, such as broccoli or corn. You can even set the traps right on top of the borrow holes, and line with leaves and debris and such, and a groundhog, if it's already outside from a different hole, will just walk right in. You can also use barriers, such as planks of wood, placed in a V-shape leading to the door of the trap, to help "funnel" a groundhog into the trap. Cage trapping can take a little patience. A professional trapper with experience in trapping groundhogs will usually do a much better job than an amateur, that's just how it goes.
08.20.2006 - Groundhog trapping, in Florida of all places? No, I have to admit that I did not trap this groundhog at all. It was captured by my good friend Bruce, who lives on Massachusetts. The critter was digging under his porch and eating his plants, and he finally decided that it had to go. He called me to ask for my expert advice. I carefully described a trap consisting of an apple under cardboard box propped up by a stick to which a string is tied. Bruce is so trusting, that he set up said configuration, and waited many frustrating hours patiently waiting for the groundhog to go for the apple, so that he could yank the string and catch it. While I'd have loved for him to momentarily succeed, followed by the woodchuck simply upending the box and escaping, no such luck happened. The groundhog did not go for this trap. When he informed me of, and apologized for, his failure, I gave him new advice, consisting of sticking dynamite disguised as a carrot down the hole. He then caught on that I was toying with him, cursed my name, and hung up.
He researched the problem online, and found, from a more respectable wildlife trapping website, that he needed a large metal cage trap, such as a 10x12x32 Havahart model 1079 trap, and that he should set it flush on the ground near the animal's burrow pathways, and that he could bait it with any number of fresh vegetables, such as broccoli. He did this, and soon he had success!
He trapped the above groundhog and sent me the above photo, which I now proudly display for you. So if you need real expert advice on groundhog trapping, just email Bruce at [email deleted at
Bruce's request - turns out he didn't appreciate all the awesome emails he got from you fine folk with groundhog problems]
and he'll tell you all the tricks of the trade. If you write to me, I'll just tell you tricks.
Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Groundhogs page for tips and advice.
Get professional help: Visit my Nationwide Pro Directory of wildlife removal experts.
For more wildlife stories, click my Wildlife Blog or click my below banner to hire a local trapper.
Effective groundhog trapping involves processes such as choosing the right trap and bait, setting the trap, and relocating the trapped critter. We cover these processes and offer tips for groundhog trapping in this article.
Choosing the right trap
Traps for groundhogs can be lethal or live traps. Our focus is on live traps as they are effective and prevent an unnecessarily cruel death. Traps with a length that ranges from 32 to 34 inches are great for the critters. Such traps will provide ample space for them to enter and stay until they are relocated. You can also place the bait strategically in traps of these sizes.
You also get to choose between one and two-door traps. Both types of traps have unique features. The one-door trap, which is favored by professionals, has excellent spacing, especially for the larger pests. One-door traps for groundhogs also have impressive bait protection. The two-door trap, on the other hand, could guarantee a higher catch rate, especially because the critter will be confident to run through it.
The right bait for groundhogs
Items that can serve as baits for any animal include those that serve as food. Items that are used for building shelter can also serve as baits. For groundhogs, favorite foods are effective baits. These food items include cantaloupe. To draw the critters to the trap, you can cut the cantaloupe and rub its juice within and outside the trap. That way, you get to both mask the human scent on the trap and draw the critters to it. Another tip that involves baits is to place the bait in the trap for a few days while the trap is not set. That way, groundhogs will be more attracted to the trap as a familiar and safe object.
Groundhog trap placement
Choosing the right place for the trap is a critical step in the trapping process. If the placement is wrong, the target may never come in contact with the trap and setting it will be futile. You should aim for the area with the most groundhog activity. The damage they create in these areas will give them away.
It is also well known that groundhogs do not venture very far from their burrows. When you find a burrow, you can place the trap a few feet away.
Setting the trap
When setting a groundhog trap, the focus should be ensuring that it is functional. You also want to properly conceal the trap by camouflaging it. Excellent camouflage materials include leaves, grass, dirt, and brush. Ensure that the shiny part of the trap is covered by the camouflage material. Proper placement of the bait is another important part of setting the trap. You should aim for a position that triggers the trap and does not allow easy escape. You can ask for recommendations from the seller of the trap.
Relocating the trapped critter
After setting the trap, monitor it regularly so that you can relocate the trapped animal as soon as possible and prevent undue torture. When relocating the trapped critter, wear protective coverings such as gloves. The relocation area should also be at least 5 miles away from your home.
After relocating the groundhogs, you should work towards making your property unappealing to prevent a future infestation.