Thursday, March 30, 2006

Springtime

It is spring. Res is talking about gardens. The lakes are opening up. That means the ice is melting for you urban types. Winter is over and that is a reason to feel pretty good. The robins are returning. I just bought two packs of .22 shells for the spring varmint blasting. The gophers are out.

And that brings us to the scourge of springtime. The gopher you can't shoot but does so much damage. The pocket gopher. If you live in an area that doesn't have them, count your blessings, but be prepared, they are coming. We have been seeing them in the higher elevations of the Black Hills now.

I used to trap them when I was young. There was a local farmer that would pay me 5 bucks apiece for them. This was in the 80's. I caught as many as I could, but I only managed to stay even with them. I only had a few traps and pocket gophers are difficult to trap.

A few years back I bought my own place. Fifteen acres of a former homestead. A lot of it has trees, but the old cattle pens are home to pocket gophers. I have not been able to get rid of them. One spring I caught seven of them. Last year I only caught a couple. It rained heavily, turning everything to mud. If you don't catch them the first time, they plug the hole, and when it is muddy you can't find it again. I have tried poison, and putting small amounts of gasoline down the hole with some effect. But I still have them. If I could get rid of them, I would be free of them for a while since they plowed up the alfalfa field across the road. That was an endless supply, always moving in.

I am resolved to get rid of them this spring before the mosquitoes get bad.

1 comment:

Res Ipsa said...

I don’t know how big the tunnels are at your place but you might want to try this. Find yourself some calcium carbonate, that’s the stuff miners used to put in their head lamps and light. It used to come in 2 lb tins. Get yourself some and pour it down several of the openings. Then flush it down in the holes with several gal of water.

The calcium carbonate rocks when mixed with water release a gas that is heavier than air. The gophers will have to come out of the holes, where you can shoot em, or they will get gassed. Either way you win.

When I’ve used this method I waited till the ground was froze and the critters were hibernating. It cut down on the varmint population.