Trapping

GOPHER AND MOLE TRAPPING

For me, the most effect way to get rid of gophers and moles has been trapping.  I confess I have not tried a lot of other less lethal methods because I know trapping works so well.  Trapping is great in that I know I’m getting rid of the animal because I see the proof in the trap.  I’m sure there are many opinions on the subject of trapping and I respect them all.  I came up with a few pros/cons of my own, which I discuss next.

PROS AND CONS

Pros:

You know definitively you’ve gotten rid of them since the proof is in the trap.  With other methods, the idea is to eradicate them or scare them away from your yard by using loud noises, blowing up their tunnels, trying to fumigate them out etc .  These and other similar concepts sound great but how do you REALLY know you’ve killed them or know if they’ve left your yard?

When we moved into our new home, the previous owner put in a lot of the Sonic Mole Chasers.  You simply insert it into the tunnel and turn it on.  It periodically makes a very loud, irritating noise to scare off the gophers/moles etc.  I love this concept since the little critters are allowed to live free elsewhere…However, there were dozens of gopher and mole mounds all over the yard and it wasn’t until I started trapping them that I began to see a decrease in numbers.

Traps are relatively easy to set and can be used for many years.  Many of the traps I’m using now are several years old.  Occasionally, one will bend or break but it’s rare.   Having said that, don’t get the idea the traps aren’t dangerous.  I’ve had a few near misses where i nearly caught my hand in the trap and that was enough of a reminder to slow down and use caution!

Traps are humane – I have rarely come upon a gopher or mole in the trap that was still alive.  The great majority of the time, the animal is killed quickly if the trap is set properly.  On occasion, I have trapped a gopher or mole that was really large and the trap could hold it firmly in its grip, but the animal was too big for the trap to dispatch immediately.  I try to prevent this from happening by looking closely at the size of the tunnel I’m setting the trap in. If the tunnel is large, I try to use the biggest traps I have to ensure an efficient, humane kill.

Cons:

It can be uncomfortable setting a trap, knowing you will be taking the life of one of these creatures.  I have gotten used to it, but by no means enjoy this thought.  If I didn’t feel it was the most effective method out there, I wouldn’t do it.

It can create some minor damage to your lawn while getting the hole prepared for the trap.  However, compared to the ongoing damage the moles and gophers are inflicting, it’s worth it.  Plus, the damage from the holes can be filled in and leveled with the dirt from the mound.  In a few weeks, the grass grows back in.

Preparing the hole and setting the trap can be more time consuming than other methods.  Over the years I’ve gotten much faster at preparing a hole for trapping, but there are times when it just takes a while to get things properly set up.  For example, some situations call for using more than one trap – like if the tunnels go in 2 or 3 different directions.  This oftentimes means you’ll have to set 2 or 3 traps as well.  In the end, I believe it’s worth the extra time because of the high success rate trapping has compared to other methods.

TYPES OF TRAPS

There are dozens of different traps to choose from for both gophers and moles.  I’ll discuss a few of the ones I use on a regular basis and the best situations to use each type of trap.  Most of these traps are common and can be purchased at your local farm or hardware store.  Of course they can also be purchased online through Ebay and Amazon.