How To Catch A Gopher

how to catch a gopher 3 (1)

It’s springtime and you’ve got gophers.  Don’t fret!  Today is your lucky day.  I’ll show you how to catch kill them and live happily ever after.  First, some history.  For some unknown reason, Noah rounded up a couple of them and put ’em on the ark before the big flood.  This explains why I’m tearing my hair out now when I see our lawn go from golf course perfection to freshly graded field overnight.

So let’s get to it.

  Get in your truck and wheel yourself over to the hardware store.  I like Ace because the salespeople are friendly.  They don’t make me feel weird when I ask stupid questions.  Ask a salesperson to direct you to Death Row.

how to catch a gopher 3 (2)

This is the aisle where all the poisons, snares, and traps are lovingly displayed.  The conversation will go something like this:

You: “I’ve got gophers.”  (The stress on your face will show, believe me).

Salesperson: “Do you want poison pellets, smoke bombs, plastic explosives, or dynamite?”

You: “I want a trap”.

Salesperson:  “You mean the Verminator?”

You: “No, just a simple trigger set trap.”

how to catch a gopher 3 (3)

When you get home, stomp on over to the gopher hole and start digging out the loose dirt with a hand trowel.  I poke around with an old knife to see the direction of the tunnel.  When you’ve got about 8 inches clear of loose dirt you should clearly see the tunnel.

how to catch a gopher 2 (2)

Set the trigger on the trap so that it takes very little pressure to spring it.

how to catch a gopher 2 (4)

Carefully set it into the hole as far as you can reach.

how to catch a gopher 2 (7)

how to catch a gopher 2 (8)

You may need to widen the hole with your trowel to make enough room for the trap.  Before setting the trap, tie a loop of twine or heavy string to the back end of the trap.

how to catch a gopher 2 (6)

This is important because that gopher can get trapped and take off with your shiny new trap if you don’t secure it with a stick.  The loop of twine gives you something  to put a stick through.

how to catch a gopher 2 (9)

Ok, so, you’ve set the trap and placed it inside the hole.  Have the end of your twine loop sticking out of the hole.  Place a rock over the hole to cover it completely (they like it dark) and put a stick through the twine loop.

how to catch a gopher 2 (11)

No bait is necessary.  That’s it.  Just walk away.  Or set a bunch of other traps depending on your level of desperation.  I usually have 6 traps going at one time all around the house.  Remember, YOU are at the top of this food chain.  Forgive me for using the word food; you know what I mean.  At the end of the day someone’s gonna’ be dead and it won’t be you.

Tomorrow morning go check your traps.  Lift the rock and look into the hole.  Hopefully you’ll pull out something dead.

how to catch a gopher (2)

Your hole might be backfilled with dirt or the trap may have sprung but if you haven’t nailed one just clean out the hole, reset the trap, cover the hole and check it again the next morning.  Sometimes it takes a while.  When you catch one, just shake it from the trap (this is kind of gross) and stuff it back into it’s hole.

how to catch a gopher (1)

Bury it with the dirt you took out originally and hope it’s a deterrent to the other gophers you’ve got.

Warning: if you start waking up each morning excited to check your traps even before you caffinate, you may need to get a little therapy.  Believe me, I know.  That said, morning is the best time to check.  Try to resist the urge to check your traps all day long.

Get this!  A female can produce 150 offspring in her pathetic lifetime so each one I kill I tell myself I’ve conservatively prevented at least 50 from ever existing.  Can you feel the joy?

Last year I caught one that was the size of a teenaged otter!  If there was a taxidermist nearby, it would be on the wall over the fireplace today.

Don’t be afraid of this.  If I can do it, you can too!  Please report your success to me.

Questions?  Just leave me a comment.

Happy hunting!

Words are often seen hunting for an idea, but ideas are never seen hunting for words.   –Josh Billings


  1. Val
    Just was showing my farm sister your gopher story and she said to put Juicy Fruit gum, unwrapped, in their hole. She says hers disappeared.

Speak Your Mind