Gophers are notorious little creatures. They wait until you have mowed your lawn and planted sweet, nutritious grass and inviting green bushes and flowers. Then, one morning, when you wake up, you are invited to a ghastly sight of little hills filled with soil, right by your recently blooming roses. Imagine that! But you can eliminate them using single gopher traps. Usually, a single gopher can do a lot of damage to your garden. The most frustrating thing about Gophers is that they are rarely above ground, so they are not easy to spot. Gophers are elusive, but territorial critters.
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How to Trap a Gopher
Once you notice gopher activity, usually they leave evidence of green mounds of dirt; you know it is time to trap them. If you delay setting the traps, the damage increases quickly, and they will not relocate as long as the vegetation is sweet and plentiful. Rid your lawn of gophers with nonpoisonous gopher traps. You may use various traps sold in the market that also illustrate on how to kill gophers such as:
- Wire traps: These resemble a twister puzzle. Wire traps have claws or prongs that pinch the animal as it trips over the trap. The most popular wire trap is a Gophinator trap.
- Box traps: Usually made from wood; box traps are originally known as the Red Box Trap. This gopher trap style is also used to catch other field roaming and digging creatures like moles and squirrels. Modern replicas include traps made of a plastic known as the Black Box Trap. They work using an attached spring wire block that presses in the animal squeezing it firmly in the trap when released.
- The Black Hole Trap: is a plastic tube that takes the form of a gopher tunnel. It uses a spring fitted noose device. It resembles a box trap.
The key to using traps for effective gopher control is proper placement. Once you place your traps at strategic locations, this initial task eliminates all the unwelcomed gophers in your property. However, to succeed in the elimination of gophers, you must first locate and use the right tunnel to place your trap.
Effective Trapping Tips
- Keep your traps rust free by spraying them with a WD-40 after each trapping exercise to prevent them from rusting.
- Prepare your gopher traps at dusk. Most Gophers come out of their holes in the early morning hours. Set the traps near the holes.
- Make sure the trap sits well and staked properly through the handle. The fixed stake ensures that the gopher does not pull your trap in the hole or cover it with soil while digging.
- Before setting your trap, mark its setting location to help you find the trap the following day. It is so easy to misplace a trap, so do it to avoid getting frustrated with losing your trap.
- Always wear gloves when handling gopher traps to keep your fingers from the jaw trap when setting it in your garden or field.
Trapping live gophers sometimes makes a better method to catch and release them in other locations. But be sure to move it to a deserted location since gophers are territorial.
Another thing to consider is to be careful when handling the trapping equipment and the live animal. Hold it by its tail or by the neck.
Trap gophers at dawn since this is when they come to the surface and you may likely find new burrows. Gophers have good hearing senses and prefer to come out early in the morning or later in the evening. Alternatively set your traps before the rains and leave the tunnels exposed. Gophers love foggy or overcast days.
Baits to Use
If it proves difficult to trap gophers, baiting can help in attracting the animal to your trap. Box gopher traps work best since you can fill these with dirt and some rich vegetation. Place some grass, attractive juicy fruit gum or fresh leaves at the rear end of the trip lever. When the box trap is set in the hole, pack soil near the edges to block light and air from entering. The gopher will detect the hole in the back of the trap, and it should attract him to plug the trap hole.
How to Prepare a Homemade Trap
- Find the tunnel opening – it is the rounded area in the mound.
- Enlarge the opening to make it inviting except at the rear.
- Monitor the trap.
- Use a meshed box trap (bottom) and a small opening from the interior top in an enclosed position.
- When a gopher tries to pull down the door, it triggers the trap and bam! Your sneaky animal cannot get out.
How to Infiltrate Gopher Territory and Set Your Trap
- Step 1: Dig deeper into the main tunnel.
- Step 2: Wear gloves to keep off any scents off the tunnel.
- Step 3: Clear loose soil from the gopher hole, on the surface.
- Step 4: Fasten a cord about 36” long to the backend of two gopher traps, and fasten it firmly.
- Step 5: Test the trap with the open prongs, and widen the tunnel a little bit if necessary.
- Step 6: Place the first trap midway into the hole. Let it rest flat on the ground.
- Step 7: Repeat with another trap pointing towards the opposite direction and set halfway in the tunnel.
- Step 8: Place a few fresh leaves behind the traps as bait.
- Step 9: Cover the tunnel with a small rug or piece of cardboard. Make sure it does not fall into the hole.
- Step 10: Fill cracks underneath the trap with dirt to prevent light and wind sipping into the tunnel.
- Step 11: Leave the traps undisturbed for 1-2 days then check for a dead gopher by lifting the cover. If there’s no sign of a gopher, let the trap sit for two to three more days.
- Step 12: Relocate the traps every 3 days if there’s no activity. Check out spots with fresh mounds.
If you caught a gopher, remove it and dispose the body safely. Rinse off the trap and let it dry in the sun before the next trapping exercise.
Black Box / Red Box Traps
Box traps are older versions of trapping systems. These box traps capture and kill gophers in the tunnel .The early version of a gopher box trap was made of wood and painted red. Current versions come with the original redwood. The box has an open bottom and another opening at the entrance where the gopher gets trapped in the tunnel. There’s a drilled hole at the rear end to let in air.
Victor Blackbox Gopher Trap
This is a plastic box with circular corners. It is a durable gopher trap. The chocker loop trap features durable plastic and galvanized steel. It has a stiff wire at the base linked to a spring system at the top of the trap. When a gopher steps on the trap, it knocks the trip plate releasing the spring frame of the trap while pulling the wire on the dirt. The rodent is trapped and pressed against the roof of the box. Unable to breathe, it instantly dies.
How to Set a Victor Gopher Trap:
- Place the trap firmly in the dirt surrounding the tunnel.
- Dig a large hole approximately 18” when setting the trap below the surface at the main opening.
- When setting a trap, try to burrow 2 pieces of sod and make it firm. Reset it back in the tunnel hole once you’re done. Box gopher traps make the best traps if the gopher tunnels prove to be smaller in diameter.
- Cover the box with soil to prevent air and light from sneaking through in large quantities. The back hole is all the gopher should sense, attracting it to the hole.
- Once you catch the gopher, put the trap in a loose paper bag, pressed down on the spring, and set it loose. Always wear gloves when preparing a box trap.
- Pack the tunnel, replacing the sod and wash off the trapping device for the next round of gopher trapping.
Gopher wire traps resemble a Chinese twister puzzle. They have claws or prongs that pinch the gopher when tripped. The most popular one is the original Macabee wire trap. There are many variations and imitations of a Macabee trap.
When buying gopher traps, here’s a list to some of the best wire traps to select from:
- Macabee Gopher Trap
The Macabee trap consists of unique twisted wires designed to close swiftly and tightly in small spaces in gopher territory. The trap works because gophers shove dirt in front, as they move. This action prevents him from spotting the trap. When the animal trips on the wire prongs, the soil moves the trip lever and captures the animal by the neck or around its chest. The trap suffocates it, leaving the animal helpless until your arrival to set it free.
The Macabee trap can be inserted at a slight distance at the tunnel opening. Do not disturb the tunnel. The gopher may return with a fresh load of soil and get trapped. You will need to study their behavior when you discover fresh soil activity in your yard.
- Cinch Gopher Trap
These make the most effective trapping action. The operation is smooth and strong. These traps also use trip wires which slide past each other and for swift trapping action. Keep the wires clean and lubricate them with a silicone lubricant if they get rusty. Don’t forget to sand the edges of the trip wires to feel smooth. Work on the holding tips to ensure they don’t stick.
Gophinator Gopher Trap
This trap has a powerful torsion mechanism which pulls the gopher at the front of the trap while applying brutal force to hold down even the largest adult gopher. A gophinator trap kills the animal with the first trapping encounter.Efficiency
The Gophinator trap is designed to provide a wide opening towards the trigger, where the gopher unassumingly walks on dirt. The trap is made entirely out of stainless steel wire, unlike other traps; and will not underperform due to rust.
- Sweeney Gopher Trap
This 2-pack Sweeney trap does not require poisonous baits to work efficiently. It is a safe and secure gopher trap. Find the right location to set your trap near fresh heaps of soil in your garden. Set the trap about 12-18 inches wide on each side of the gopher tunnel. Cover the hole entirely to set a dark mood for the scenario check regularly for a trapped animal. For easy retrieval, tie a string to the trap and secure the stake above the ground.
- Victor Easyset Gopher Trap
This trap effectively kills gophers without having to use baits and poisonous chemicals. The Victor easyset gopher trap is made of galvanized steel for extra durability and strength.
The trap’s slim features a short base for easy penetration into gopher tunnels. The Victor traps come fully assembled and easy to use and with illustrated instructions on how to set and place in the gopher territory. These are among the most reliable gopher traps in the market. To get achieve best results when setting the trap; place one in the gopher tunnel with 2 traps on opposite sides. Cover the hole with dirt to trick the gopher into your trap. Within 48 hours, you should be able to catch a gopher.
- Death Clutch Gopher Trap
These traps work well and are durable. To set them, you have to dig the gopher’s hole deep enough to set the trap in its hole. Ensure the jaws remain dangling upwards. Attach a chain and stake to prevent other crawling animals from dragging your trap when a gopher gets caught and you’re away from the trapping scene.
What Are The Best Gopher Traps in the Market?
Wire traps work better than any other traps but according to reviews and testimonials with many troubled land owners, the Gophinator trap is by far the greatest efficient trap as it works within your first day trial. It doesn’t require much digging as the other traps. The Box traps work well too, they are functional and simple to set up.
Do not get discouraged with your first three attempts of gopher trapping. Some critters may sense a trap and pack it up with dirt so you must keep trying with some of the highlighted traps in this article. Consider purchasing two or three types of traps and see which one is the most effective for your yard.
You can find further details of Gophers Control here.