Queen Groundhog made her appearance in my garden a few weeks ago. She dug out the opening to her lair to prodigious proportions, exposing pyracantha roots to the point where I feared the twenty-foot tall spiky bush might topple into the yard. It’s quite an old, vigorous pyracantha. I let it go nuts.
I recognized the same Queen from last year. She was large and quite gray in color. Last year she had resisted all forms of bait in the humane trap. Then she played her trump card; the cunning beast had birthed three babies. I felt bad trapping her after she had her babies. They were too cute. Yeah, in the fall they ate my dahlias, daisies, and other plants. At that point I had given up.
But here came the Queen in 2013, bold and destructive. Then I didn’t see her for two weeks. How odd. Soon I saw a different groundhog, much darker and smaller, occupying the cavern. No lie; the hole is like two feet in diameter. Had something happened to the Queen?
Ah, how interesting. Could I perhaps trick this new Dirt Princess into the humane trap?
I planned to set the humane Hav-a-Hart trap this past Monday, but I did not due to the pouring rain. I didn’t want to torture the critter. Today was a beautiful day. I set the trap in the shade along a path we saw the Princess use between yards. I used half of a stale PBJ sandwich from Prof Sandy’s lunch and lovely cantaloupe for bait.
I set the trap at two in the afternoon. By four, a disgruntled groundhog sat in the trap. Hey, at least the Princess had snacks.
Ever try walking a swinging cage filled with angry, hissing groundhog for like ¼ of an acre? The Princess swatted at me while she shook the cage. Groundhogs have looooong, sharp black nails and nasty teeth. I tucked the trap into the back of the Subaru (now there’s a commercial), took her to the woods, and let her run off.
Time to treat the warren with ammonia and mothballs. I have no doubt that another groundhog will move into the warren. I'll try the same menu!
For now, this season’s score is groundhog 0, me 1. That makes me happy.
Bye-bye, Princess Cantaloupe. I hope you find your Prince.