Groundhogs may look cute and cuddly, but they can do some damage to your yard. In fact, the average groundhog can dig up more than 700 pounds of dirt just to make one den. And they typically have five or more dens in their territory (your yard). They can eat a lot too, munching through your garden crops all day long.
There are humane ways to get rid of them as well as the other ways. Some of the best ways to scare them away include catching them and releasing them, using vibrations, using smoke, or pouring some garlic, pepper, or ammonia in their tunnels. You could also get a dog or cat and let them out in the yard.
Getting rid of groundhogs does not have to mean killing them, although sometimes you just may have to if they won’t go away. There are more than a dozen ways to get rid of the critter, from vibrations to human hair.
Table of Contents
- Try Some Animal Repellent
- Fence Them Out
- Blood Meal is A Multipurpose Product
- Try Some Baby Powder
- Sprinkle on Some Pepper and Garlic
- Add a Little Bit of Salt
- Let the Dogs Out
- Scare Them Away with Your Hair
- How About Some Spicy Spray?
- Use Some Good Vibrations
- Burn Their Feet with Lime
- Douse Their Home with Ammonia
- Chase Them Out with Smoke or Gas
- Castor Oil
- Pick Up Your Trash
- Catch and Release
- Related Questions
- Can I Hunt Groundhogs?
- Will These Tricks Keep the Groundhogs Away?
Try Some Animal Repellent
Get some animal repellent from a garden store or hardware store. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You typically have to spray or sprinkle the repellent in their tunnels and burrows as well as around the plants that they have been eating. Keep checking every day to make sure it is working. Be sure to reapply as needed.
Fence Them Out
You can use any kind of fence, but you need to add some extra specifications to prevent them from digging under it. After all, that is what they do. They can also climb, so you will need to accommodate for that as well.
- Step One: Buy the materials for a fence with slats of less than three inches between.
- Step Two: Dig into the ground at least two feet to prevent them from going underneath.
- Step Three: Pour concrete or put the boards down into the ground, making a parallel extension at the bottom. This keeps them from digging underneath.
- Step Four: Give your fence a slight tilt or curve so the groundhog has trouble climbing it.
Blood Meal is A Multipurpose Product
Not only is blood meal a good fertilizer for your grass and plants, but it is also a natural groundhog repellent. In fact, it will typically repel most of the wildlife that may be lurking around. Sprinkle it in your yard. Put extra in their tunnels and burrows.
Try Some Baby Powder
For some reason, groundhogs do not like the smell of baby powder. Nobody is sure why or who figured it out, but sprinkling baby powder in their tunnels will likely scare them away. Keep doing it every day until they get the message.
Sprinkle on Some Pepper and Garlic
It may seem like you are spicing up some food, but your groundhogs will run from these scents and stay gone for good if you do it right.
- Step One: Crush some fresh garlic and pepper. Mix it together to make about a cup of the mixture.
- Step Two: Using gloves, sprinkle a handful or two into each tunnel in your yard.
- Step Three: Continue to do this every day until they stop coming back.
Add a Little Bit of Salt
Epsom salts are a fantastic deterrent for groundhogs as well. Using gloves, put a couple of handfuls of Epsom salt in and around each tunnel. You can also put a tray or pie tin filled with salts near the holes and the garden. Change it every few days or after it rains.
Let the Dogs Out
Groundhogs do not like anything that they think may eat them. They consider both cats and dogs as predators. So, let your dog or cat out every day until the groundhog realizes their mistake. They will move on after the first encounter. If you do not have any pets or your pets do not go outside, borrow some animal hair and urine from a friend who has one.
Scare Them Away with Your Hair
Groundhogs do not like people either. So, hanging out in the yard every day could work, but eventually, you have to go inside. Try using some clippings of your hair. Put it in a mesh bag or a baggie with holes in it and stake it into the ground by their tunnels. You can also toss some of it into their tunnels.
How About Some Spicy Spray?
Similar to garlic and pepper, groundhogs do not like the smell or taste of spicy peppers. Create your own spicy spray to get rid of them.
- Step One: Grind or chop about six large red peppers. You can also use jalapeno, cayenne, or some other type of spicy peppers.
- Step Two: Mix with one cup of water in a spray bottle and shake well.
- Step Three: Spray the openings to the tunnels and around the gardens or grass nearby.
- Step Four: Keep doing it every day until they go away.
Use Some Good Vibrations
Groundhogs do not like any kind of vibrations. In fact, if their home is always shaking, they will move out. Try putting some pinwheels, windmills, or a vibrating sonic device near their tunnel. Windchimes are also good because they do not like noise much either.
Burn Their Feet with Lime
This may sound mean, but it will just make them go away. It will not kill them. Just spread some lime around their tunnels and your garden. After they step on it once, they will usually move on to someone else’s yard. If not, keep reapplying it until they do.
Douse Their Home with Ammonia
This is an immediate deterrent that is humane as well. The ammonia is toxic to the groundhogs so they will not use any tunnels that have been doused with it.
- Step One: Wearing gloves, goggles, and a mask, mix one-part ammonia to three parts of water and one squirt of dish soap.
- Step Two: Find all the groundhog tunnel openings.
- Step Three: Pour ammonia in each of the openings.
- Step Four: Keep watch to make sure they do not dig any more holes.
- Step Five: Continue to douse the tunnels for a week or two in order to prevent them from coming back after it dissipates or is washed away by rain.
Chase Them Out with Smoke or Gas
You can use fumigating bombs or gas cartridges to get rid of your groundhogs too. The gas cartridges have lethal amounts of carbon monoxide in them so it will usually kill the groundhogs.
Important Tip: Be sure to seal the holes so they cannot get out after you put the cartridge or bombs in their hole. If you see smoke coming from any other holes you may have missed, plug them too.
Yet another thing that groundhogs do not like, castor oil will definitely repel the critters. However, you need to make sure the groundhogs are already out of the hole before pouring it in and around their holes. Otherwise, they will just stay indoors until it dissipates. Keep replacing it every other day until they stay gone.
Pick Up Your Trash
Make sure your yard is free of woodpiles, brush, piles of leaves, and dead or dormant bushes. Keep your grass cut low and undergrowth cleaned up. Also, do not leave any trash laying around that they may find attractive to add to their den.
Catch and Release
Why not trap the groundhog and let it go in some nice park or woods nearby? It is not difficult to do.
- Step One: Get a box trap or some other kind of trap safe for groundhogs.
- Step Two: Wear gloves so the groundhog does not smell your scent on anything.
- Step Three: Put the trap about five or 10 feet from the entrance of their tunnel.
- Step Four: Hide the trap by spraying water on it and then putting dirt all over it. Cover it with branches, grass, leaves, and sticks. You should also put a brick or large rock on the cage, so it does not rattle.
- Step Five: Put some bait in the trap. Try to use whatever the groundhog has been stealing from your yard or garden. They especially like corn, peaches, blueberries, and strawberries. In fact, they will even enjoy green beans, cucumbers, and lettuce. Make sure you put the bait all the way in the back of the trap and you can even add a few pieces to lead the groundhog into the trap.
- Step Six: Keep an eye on the cage because the groundhog is liable to hurt itself trying to get away. Put on some thick gloves and cover the cage with a towel. Carry the cage to the car carefully.
- Step Seven: Take the groundhog at least five miles from your home but make sure they have plenty of trees and groundcover wherever you take them. And do not take them to your neighbors’ yard because they will probably not appreciate that.
Can I Hunt Groundhogs?
Depending on the laws in your state, you can also just go ahead and hunt the little buggers down and shoot them. Or just do not release them after catching them in the trap. Apparently, they are good to eat and taste like rabbit or squirrel.
If you do decide to hunt and eat them, be sure to remove their scent glands or it will spoil the meat. Their scent glands are under their arms and look like little yellow balls of fat. You can bake it in the oven, boil it with carrots and potatoes, or fry it up like chicken.
Will These Tricks Keep the Groundhogs Away?
The fence idea will definitely keep the groundhogs from coming back as long as you keep the fence up. If they are somehow climbing it, spray some of that pepper spray on it. Also, if you keep the vibrations going, they should not set up shop back in your yard. And if your pets are outside every day, they will keep the groundhogs from returning as well.