Category Archives: Gophers

Anything to do with gophers

Gopher vs. Terrier

This is kind of unusual, but I have a gopher problem in my front and backyard.  Yes, that seems like a normal sentence, but the gopher isn’t my problem.  We’ve actually been living quite harmoniously with the little creature for a couple of years now with no serious issues.  As long as he stays out of my vegetable gardens, I let him dig around and have the time of his life.  I’m a very strong believer that unless an animal has proved itself a danger to you or your things, there’s no reason to harm it or even bother it for that matter. And that is where my problem comes in: I just adopted a Boston terrier.

Now I’m not looking to get rid of my sweet dog, I rescued him from an abusive home and worked very hard to get him back to health and into a mental state where he was ready to live in a home again.  Unfortunately, he thinks that the gopher problem is something that he needs to address and take care of.  Whenever I let him outside, he instantly sniffs out the gopher and tries to dig the little thing out of the ground.  I let him do his thing for the most part, dogs will be dogs I suppose, but when he comes back into the house with small scratches bleeding on his nose and face I have to intervene.

I don’t want to hurt the little gopher, but I don’t know how to get him to leave naturally to another place, and trapping him is way out of my league as a veterinarian.  Shots I can do, your cat needs surgery? I’m all over it.  I am good at helping animals, but I have no idea how to remove them.  So what I’m saying, is I need help to solve this gopher problem.  I don’t know if there are any companies that have a natural removal process for gophers, but I would be very interested in hearing about it.  Of course, if there isn’t I recognize that my dog’s safety is more important than the gophers.

A Mound of Problems

I have a major rock chuck problem in the field behind my house, and it’s starting to creep up into my back lawn.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there were gophers or ground squirrels too, but I know that the rock chuck is for sure because we’ve caught him on the security camera on three separate occasions, running through the yard.  There are also large holes dotting the perimeter of our property, and scattered throughout the field.  The smaller holes I would attribute to a smaller rodent like gophers or ground squirrels, which is still a problem that I’d like to have solved since there’s nothing quite as irksome as working for years to have beautiful landscaping only to have it ruined by overrated rats.

I know that to an outsider of our situation, taking care of the rock chucks in a field might seem unnecessary or even extreme, but I’m not going to let this situation escalate any further out of my control than it already is.  Last month, our best horse had to be put down because of a broken leg.  Can you guess how she broke it? If you guessed that she was running and got her foot caught in a large rock chuck hole then you would be the winner.  My concern for this rock chuck problem was already heightened because of that, but when last week my daughter sprained her ankle from tripping in one of the holes I drew the line.  I will not have my children, animals, or anyone else for that matter, put at risk by something that I could get a handle on if I put the time in.

The issue is that I’m not a good enough shot to wipe the rock chucks out myself, my husband isn’t home early enough to try, and neither of us have any of the necessary licensing to be able to use conobear traps (kill traps).  And besides that, I wouldn’t want to set a trap that powerful up in my field with my horses running around; there’s been enough damage as it is.  I’m looking for other solutions and someone with the proper paperwork to act on those solutions.  I just need to solve this rock chuck problem, and hopefully the gopher/ground squirrel problems, as soon as possible.

Gophers on the Septic Mound

There is a gophers living on top of my septic mound. Living in Park City, I’m a little bit further out in the “country” than quite a few people in Utah, although not by much. Anyway, back to the gopher. Living where I do, gophers aren’t uncommon for me to find on my property, I’ve actually had to deal with them several times since I moved here. This is a little bit different though. Normally, I would just set out traps and catch him myself like I do for other gophers in my yard, but I don’t want to unearth my septic mound and damage it. Do you see where I’m coming from?
I’ve heard a theory about using a bottle and sticking it a few inches into the gopher hole and that will scare the animal away, but once again with the gopher being right on top of my septic mound, I don’t want to scare him deeper into the ground. Even if they don’t normally chew on lines like that, it’s a better safe than sorry situation.
I’ve looked through my options and I can either try the bottle method, try to trap it like I have in the past which would be significantly harder (especially since it’s on a mound), or pay someone else to do it. Since I’m not in financial distress, I’ll take the latter option. Hopefully I can get a trapper out here before more move onto the same area. That would not be good. It’s bad enough to have ONE gopher on the septic mound let alone TWO!

Gophers in Yard


Brent worked really hard to come across as a real manly man, sometimes a little too hard, and sometimes not hard enough.  He was, unfortunately, one of those guys who just wasn’t comfortable as himself, in his own skin, so he thought he had to be like a character from some television show in order for people to respect him.  He went for the bad boy biker look, which was a bad choice for him.

He wore faded jeans and a black t-shirt with holes in it, but everything was extremely clean and had a Febreeze smell to it.  He grew a long beard, but trimmed it so carefully into its shape that it was just a facial contradiction.  And the dark black sunglasses he wore everywhere, even indoors, cost him all of two dollars at a gas station somewhere.  His home was full of porcelain knick knacks that he couldn’t bear to throw out after his mother passed away, and a collection of lunch boxes from the seventies and eighties.

So, when the nuisance wildlife control professional showed up at his door to get rid of the gophers in his yard, he was more than confused.  At first glance, this stringy thirty-five year old who answered the door seemed like he wasn’t the kind to seek out a professional to get rid of gophers.  He looked like he was the kind of loud, beer-guzzling jerk who would pull out a high powered rifle, aim it at any critters crossing his yard, and yee-haw his way into the hospital.  But, as soon as Brent started explaining the problem he had with gophers, it was a whole new matter.

“See, man,” Brent started, “Look over there, man, and you’ll see, like, five different holes, right there in the dirt.”

Indeed, there were five holes with all the tell-tale signs of gopher activity.

Continuing in a voice that cracked occasionally, Brent said, “And, look, man, see I don’t want to get all girly, but those gophers are creepy looking.  I saw one of ‘em come right out of the hole, right when I was standin’ there.  And, it just looked at me, like it was daring me to do something.  I think I saw something like that out of an aliens movie once, ya know, man?  And, like, they’re just under our feet, right, just breathing and eating and doing, doing, like, gopher stuff, man.  Plus, I’ve tripped like eight times when I try to mow the lawn, and I think I pulled something.  It’s just bad, just nasty, am I right?”

As soon as Brent saw the gentleman from the wildlife control company unload his equipment from his truck, he knew he’d be safe.  He adjusted his dark glasses, pulled on his beard, and sauntered back into his home.  It was time to dust Mom’s old knick-knacks.

Get Rid of Gophers

how to get rid of gophers

I’m just trying to make a few extra bucks where I can so I can save up for our band trip to Europe this summer, so why am I stuck out here trying to teach someone how to get rid of gophers?  I mow lawns, lady.  That’s it.  If I think you have a gopher problem, I’ll tell you I think you have a gopher problem.  But, I don’t know how to get rid of gophers, so quit acting like I’m your own personal Wikipedia of gopher knowledge.

I hated the French horn when my mom handed it to me, but it was the only instrument we owned, and we don’t have enough to buy or rent another one.  So, guess what?  I learned how to play the French horn.  Turned out it was pretty cool after all.  I mean, not cool like popular.  But, cool for band people.  Not a lot of people play the French horn, and definitely not a lot of girls.  Plus, I’m good.  I practice a lot.  Now that I’m a junior, I’m first chair, and I got invited to join a county band that performs three times a year.  We got good enough that our county band was invited to play a few places in Western Europe, and I am so excited.

Gopher digging a hole.
Gopher digging holes in a lawn.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

Course, when I told my parents, they were totally happy for me, but I could tell they were also worried about how much it would cost.  The trip’s next year, so I have a long time to work and save up money.  I’m pretty sure I can do it.

So, that’s what my mind’s on.  School, band, making money for the Europe trip.  Not on how to get rid of gophers.  I babysit year-round, I walk dogs, I house sit, I mow lawns this spring and summer, I’ll rake leaves in the fall, and I’ll shovel walkways in the winter.

This lady is actually pretty cool to me.  She pays me right away, and even gives me tips and brings drinks out to me.  She’s not at home a lot, she says, and she hates taking care of her yard.  So, she also hires me to pull weeds and stuff, because she doesn’t like to do it herself.

But, last week and today I noticed big huge holes in her yard, with dirt sprayed out like a fan around mounds of dirt.  Last week, I thought a dog had just dug around, but I did some online research over the week, and realized I’d seen gopher holes in her yard.  She needed to do something to get rid of gophers.  And, I told her so.  Then, she told me she’d pay me extra to get rid of gophers for her.  Uh, not really my thing.  Mowing, yes.  Pulling weeds, yes.  Gophers, no.

So, then she started asking me all these questions about gophers, how to get rid of gophers, when are gophers most busy, and on and on.  I have no idea.  But, fortunately, I know who does.  I gave her the number for Allstate Animal Control, and she gave me an extra couple of bucks for the info.  Hey, every little bit counts.  Europe, here I come!

Gophers in the Lawn

get rid of gophers

If I hadn’t ignored the problem, I wouldn’t have so many gophers in our lawn.  But, when the first dirt mounds appeared, I had other things to think about.  So, instead of getting the gophers out of the lawn right away, I gave them time to populate my yard.  Stupid.  Just stupid.  And, now I need help.  I can’t afford gophers in my lawn, or my garden, or anywhere else on my property, especially since I’ve spent so much time making it beautiful.


I was starting up a new garden, so every moment that I got to spend outside was dedicated to my garden.  I plotted out a huge area, then I had to spend back-breaking hours de-sodding the area.  We’re not well-off, and I couldn’t afford the big fancy diesel machines that looked so promising and shiny at the garden stores I frequented.  I settled for the hand-me-down tools I got from my father and father-in-law, borrowed some tools from a neighbor as needed, but mostly, everything I did was done the old-fashioned way.  Hauling the grass away was done by cutting the vegetation up with a shovel, and then rolling it up as best I could, using the shovel as leverage.  I hauled the heavy grass away by hand.


Then, it was time to churn up the dirt, preparing it for planting.  I used the old hoe that sat in our garage, unused since we moved in, and went to work.  My shoulders and arms ached every single night, but my garden plot was starting to look like a lumpy brown opportunity.  I dreamed of walking up and down the rows in my back yard, pulling a weed or two, deciding whether I should pick this vegetable or let it grow just a little longer.  My wife wouldn’t have to go to the grocery store or the farmers market for our vegetables, since we’d just pull it straight out of our own garden.


As I worked, and dreamed, and ached, I had decided to ignore the ugly mounds of dirt, and holes, that appeared in the other areas of our property.  I had other things to worry about, like which seeds I was going to buy, and exactly where everything would get planted.  Do I plant the potatoes next to the cabbage?  Should I devote a portion of the garden to herbs?


One morning, I woke up and noticed a couple of holes in my newly planted garden.  We had gophers in the lawn, and now we had gophers in the garden.  All my hard work, all the sweat, all the money I’d devoted to this small plot of land, would be for nothing.  I contacted Allstate Animal Control right away to get the gophers out of the lawn as fast as possible.  Why had I ever allowed them to breed and tunnel, and enjoy the fruits of my labor?  No more!  I was getting a professional out to my property right away to get remove the gophers from my lawn so I could go back to my part-time job as home farmer.



Get Rid of Gophers

gopher removal

My job is to get rid of gophers, so I will never, ever be able to stop the jokes.   I’m pretty new at this animal control company.  We specialize in trapping animals, getting rid of wild animals, getting snakes out of people’s homes or businesses, taking care of bird problems, and yard pests like voles or moles.  Since I’m new, they started me out on the easier animals.  I’ve assisted the more experienced guys with trapping skunks or opossum control, but that’s all I’ve done with the larger wild animals – assist.

Until I get more experience, right now I’m the guy who’s always sent out to trap the smaller, less vicious animals, like mice or moles.  I get rid of gophers, for example.  And, I’ve gotten really good at it, too.  I learned on the job, and now I’ve developed my own technique that makes me really efficient, and I started getting some respect from some of my co-workers.

And then, the gopher attacked.

Most of the time, I use gopher traps that humanely kill the gopher on impact.  It gets rid of gophers effectively.  People get so sick of gophers digging through their yards or gardens, killing off plants and grass, and throwing big mounds of dirt all over the place.  Lawn mower blades get broken, kids or animals can step in the holes and hurt themselves, and predators are attracted to homes or yards where gophers live.  So, it is a real service that I provide.

One day, as I was setting gopher traps to get rid of gophers out of a cornfield, a gopher actually crawled up out of its hole and walked right up to me, finally perching on my boot.  I looked at it really closely, and it didn’t look sick or anything.  When I shooed it off, it went off a little ways, and then jumped right up into my truck.  Weirdest thing I’d ever seen a gopher do.  But, it wasn’t hurting anything.  So, I finished setting the traps, got into my truck, and headed back into the office, keeping an eye on the creature.  The little thing just hung out on the floor on the passenger’s side of the truck, cute as could be.  I figured I’d take it into the office and let the guys see it for themselves, and then get rid of the gopher.

I carried it in the office, with thick gloves on my hands, and even the lady who helps with billing thought it was cute.  But, wouldn’t you know, the thing leaped out of my hands, and then ran around on the floor, leaping and actually kind of gnashing at my feet, if gophers can gnash.  It just surprised me, is all, and that’s the only reason I fell backwards over a chair.  It ran over my chest, which made me swat at it like a crazy man, while all the other guys just stood there laughing.  Finally, I composed myself enough to stand up, put the chair back, and catch the little troublemaker.

The guys awarded me a t-shirt that says “I survived a gopher attack,” which I proudly wear all the time now.

Gopher Control

get rid of gophers

“Son, what I’m about to show you is vital gopher control information, or as I like to call them, rodents of mass destruction.”

It looked like my granddad wanted me to perk up and be all ears for this vital piece of information he was going to share with me.  He had worked this farm all of his life, and had been disappointed and proud when his only son, my father, wanted to become a lawyer instead of a farmer.  I don’t know if my father wanted to make up for this somehow by sending me to live with my granddad for a few summers, or if he really thought it would help me become a better man, but for whatever reason, here I was stuck on this hot, dry patch of earth for the summer instead of hanging out at the beach with my friends.

Last year, when I arrived, my grandmother greeted me with a huge smile, an even bigger hug, and a large lunch before sending me out to work alongside my granddad as he cleared debris out of the canal.  It wasn’t exactly what a thirteen year-old boy wanted to do after a long and lonely plane trip to the middle of nowhere.  I would have much rather spent the afternoon adjusting to farm life by playing a few computer games and then going into town to meet some of the local kids and try to have fun.  As it was, it was two weeks before I even got into town.  Everyone kind of dubbed me a snob from a big city, so it wasn’t until the very end of the summer that I actually made a couple of friends.

We hadn’t kept in touch after I left, but here I was again, looking at another dismal summer doing farm work for which I was completely unprepared.  My surfer muscles didn’t really help me pitch hay, although my granddad was impressed that I was “strong enough to last longer than last year.”

But, now, the two of us were standing in the middle of a field dotted with small gopher hills.  Granddad had already shared with me his impressive cussing skills, when one of his monstrous farm machines ran over one too many gopher hills and broke.  Now, he was going to impart his wisdom regarding gopher control to me, and acted like he was giving me a major gift that would help improve my life tremendously.

“Son, I’ve tried all the tricks.  Oil, poison, traps.  I’ve sunk a lot of money this last year into gopher control, and I have finally found the secret.”  He reached into his pocket, where I assumed he’d hidden some secret vial of goop he’d cooked up.  Instead, he pulled out a cell phone, called a gopher control service, hung up and looked at me.  “Nothing to be done for the rest of the day until they get rid of the gophers for me.  How bout going into town for some ice cream?”

I never thought I’d be grateful for gophers, but I sure was that day!

Gopher Removal

gopher removal

It seems like gopher removal is a consistent, on-going battle for a lot of residents in our area, and I’m determined to get rid of gophers once and for all off of my property.  My wife and I bought our three-plus acres several years ago with its farmhouse-style home, and have worked extremely hard to upgrade the house to our standards.  We bought the property because we fell in love with the area and landscaping.  If it meant nearly gutting the existing home and remodeling it, then we were willing to take on the job just to have that property.

The yard is gorgeous.  We have a pool area, adjacent to a Chinese-style garden with meandering pathways and stone benches.  Out behind the area, it’s a natural forest area with tall long-needle pine trees.  It’s the perfect multi-purpose backyard.  We can throw lavish dinner parties under the stars, or family barbeques, or quiet picnics amongst the trees.  Now that we’ve devoted a lot of time and expense to remodeling the house to match the beauty of the backyard, we plan on settling in and living here for the rest of our life.

But, now our gorgeous yard is marred by gopher hills, and we are in desperate need of gopher removal.  Mounds of dirt litter the grass, stones from our Chinese-garden pathways are getting pushed up, and some of the long-needle pine trees are dying.  I’m certain the gophers are eating the roots of the trees.  It’s astonishing how many gopher holes there are, too, and more spring up every day.

It’s annoying that we can’t even see the gophers destroying our property.  How do you remove gophers when they won’t even show themselves?  All we get to see is the damage and dying plants.  Sometimes, if you listen, you can actually hear them digging under foot, or spot the tip of a gopher nose sticking out of a hole.  We have no idea how many there are, but it’s obvious we have to get gopher removal specialists out here soon or our beautiful backyard sanctuary will be completely destroyed.  How can you host a pool party or elegant outdoor dinner party when you’re terrified someone will catch a foot in one of those gopher holes and trip?

After talking with some of my neighbors, I found out that this has apparently been a problem on and off for years.  Most of my fellow residents have just come to accept it as a fact of life out here.  I may be a newcomer to this area, but I refuse to accept life alongside destructive gophers.  I’ve tried to get rid of the gophers myself, but obviously I’m fighting a losing battle.  It’s time to bring out the big guns and get a professional gopher removal service out here to take care of them for me.  Maybe I can convince some neighbors to hire them, too, so we can enjoy a gopher-free neighborhood once and for all.

Dead Gopher

I thought gopher holes were bad enough, but a dead gopher in the flower bed is pretty nasty.  It’d be great news if it were the only gopher I’ve been fighting, but I’ve been fighting a losing battle with gophers for about two years running, and I know there’s a lot more out there than just this one.

I’ve spent a lot of years maintaining the landscaping around this historical home.  The place is now run as a museum, and there are a few caretakers, but I’m the only one who tends to the yard, the gardens and the flower beds.  I’ve taken a lot of pride in making sure the place looks pristine from the outside, making sure everything looks just perfect when a tour bus rolls up or some nice family from a few states over stop by during their road trip.  That’s why I got so mad when I showed up for work one day and discovered gopher holes all over the side yard.  Big mounds of fresh dirt were like scars on the deep green grass I had so carefully tended.  Going over to investigate, sure enough, there were little plugs of grass and roots in the holes, a sure sign some gopher’s been tunneling down there and throwing the dirt up around the gopher holes.

Mad as heck, I thought I could take care of a little gopher problem.  I didn’t want it turning into a big gopher problem.  I knew they’d do more than mess up the landscaping view.  They were bound to get into the vegetable garden sometime or destroy some of the well-established trees along the drive.  They might uproot the sprinkler system I installed or chew water lines or underground cables.  No, I knew I had to stop the gophers.

So, I’ve been trying everything possible, but I’m still finding fresh gopher holes all over the landscaping.  One morning, some of the tourists spotted a skunk digging frantically at the ground like a dog, tearing up the grass even further.  It was on the hunt for a gopher.  Part of me was rooting for the skunk, and part of me was just mad that gophers had now brought skunks onto the property.

Earlier this morning, I walked by one of the flower beds, and reached down casually to pull up a couple of weeds with my bare hands.  I wasn’t paying too much attention, so when my hand closed around something furry instead of a weed, you can imagine my surprise.  I jumped back, and I’d like to think I didn’t yelp, and looked down at the ground.  Sure enough, dead gopher.  Bloated, maggoty, nasty dead gopher.  And I’d touched it with my bare hands.  Not to mention, there were a bunch of black flies swarming around the flower bed I so carefully maintained.  First order of business was to scrub and sanitize my hand until I stopped shuddering.  Next, get someone who does nothing but get rid of gophers and other such animals for a living.  I’m tired of fighting them off by myself.  It’s time to call in the big guns.  They can fix the gopher holes and remove the dead gopher while they’re at it.  I can go back to happily tending flower gardens, pruning trees and keeping the lawn green.