Constantly at war

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By Doug Ponder

My wife and I have been at war with a force to be reckoned with. This force has kept me up at night, given me nightmares and is making it hard for me to focus on my normal day-to-day activaties. This force is an army of groundhogs.

We have been infested with groundhogs on our property for several weeks now. This war did not start out as a war. We have a grown-up fence row in our backyard and one spring afternoon in May, I noticed this brown creature running in and out of the fence row while I was mowing the yard and the creature was later identified as a groundhog.

At that point and time, I was alarmed but not being kept up all night with nightmares about this creature. However, I know the damage they can cause to structures and it did alarm me.

I talked with a lot of people close to me about it and they all told me not to worry about it. They all told me the fence row was far enough away from the house and groundhogs wouldn’t stick around where there was constant foot traffic from humans like a back yard.

I agreed with them and several weeks went on until I noticed that more than one of them was sticking around. I have seen not one or two of them at a time, but three or four of them at the same time in our backyard. I have shot at them with both my pistol and shotgun.

As any gun enthusiast knows, neither one of these are effective unless you are closer to them than I was in the area of our back porch. The moment I would try to sneak up on them, they would run back to the fence row before I could get close enough to shoot them.

I investigated the fence row and found three large holes they were running into. It honestly looked like the Ritz-Carlton of groundhog burrows. I would also see the groundhogs running around in a neighboring soybean field next to our house. I guess the soybean field is the five star restaurant. Once again, everyone told me to not worry about it as all their holes were in the fence row and that they would likely move on.

These shenanigans between me and the groundhogs went on for several weeks until, one day while I was mowing the yard on a sunny day at the beginning of June, I saw a groundhog run out in front of the lawn mower. It was running out of the soybean field next to our house. I guess the lawn mower was scaring it because it was really “booking it” and trying to get to one of its many holes in a hurry.

However, this time was different. The groundhog didn’t run to one of the many holes in the fence row. It started running away through the backyard toward the back of the garage and once it got to the garage, it disappeared. I jumped off the lawn mower and ran to the spot where it disappeared. Of course, it was a freshly dug groundhog hole in the back of the garage. This was the first time I noticed a groundhog hole anywhere except the fence row. The war had been brought from the fence row to our garage. I felt like Donald Trump and I was ready to launch some Tomahawk missiles at these things.

As I mentioned before, I shot at them with a pistol and shotgun, to no avail. I am not a hunter and I don’t own any rifles of any kind, so I borrowed my uncle’s .22 rifle. However, since I have had that rifle, I have only saw one groundhog in the back yard and it was a baby groundhog that I couldn’t get a shot at because it immediately ran back to the fence row before I could get the rifle. For those of you that are like me and have a hard time accepting things, yes, I said a baby groundhog. THEY HAVE APPARENTLY BEEN BREEDING!

I bought some snares, but I had no idea how to use them. I asked one of Danielle’s cousins, who I consider a modern day Daniel Boone, if he could come over to set them up. In the meantime, he saw a groundhog in the fence row and killed it with the .22 rifle. At least we are one less groundhog now but we still have four or more to go!

While he was setting up the snare, I mentioned going to the neighbor’s house to tell him to keep watch of his cats that like to come in our yard from time to time. When I mentioned this, he put the snare back up and said I would no doubt catch and kill the cats if I set them out. So it was on to plan B…

Danielle’s cousin is letting me borrow his live trap to see how that goes. Well…. I have caught several things, but none of them was a groundhog.

I have typed all of this out and had no idea this was 800 words until I happened to look down at my word counter in Microsoft Word. I guess these things have controlled my thoughts more than I realized. It’s just I worry about them creating new holes under the garage or even worse the house. I even worry about them digging holes underneath our above ground pool, causing the water to flood everywhere and the walls of the pool to collapse.

I would like to say that there is a life lesson or moral that I have learned from the experiences of this ongoing war, but there isn’t. I just want them dead and I am open to any advice those of you reading this can give me.