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Old 04-13-2004, 10:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Getting rid of gophers?

I'm in Southern California (North county San Diego to be exact). We've got a large slope in our backyard. Beyond the slope is a field that is not our property. Recent plantings on our slope (fruit trees, including avocados) are under attack by gophers (they love the roots).

I've had the exterminators out and they've done their toxic chemical spill but it only kept them away for 2 months and was rather expensive. Does anyone have any more cost-effective methods to get rid of gophers and keep them away? Do repellents work? Do I need to bury a six foot chain-link fence around my property?!?
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Old 04-13-2004, 10:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You, my friend need to watch Caddyshack.

I would suggest getting a trap of some sort, and taking care of them that way.
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Old 04-13-2004, 11:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Screw the trap, anyone know where I can get some C-4?

I want them gone. I want their children gone. I want them to wish they were never born.
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Old 04-13-2004, 11:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Edmontania
1. Buy strictnine. In canada, contact your local goverment agency to obtain forms.
2. mix with grain.
3. place deep in gopher hole. careful you do not touch it or get your scent aroudn the hole.
4. cover over hole. make sure no light can get through.

Strictnine is basically a blood thinning agent, it is painless and effective.
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Old 04-13-2004, 12:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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im pretty sure you can buy electric stakes that emit sound thats annoying to gophers and beyond our range of hearing.... maybe look into those...
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Old 04-13-2004, 01:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I neglected to mention I have pets... Dogs and cats, both of which have open access to the backyard and to the hillside. I have to be careful about poison.

In fact, one of the cats is quite the hunter and has caught her fair share (it's amazing finding a gopher head (JUST a head) in the middle of your living room!). It doesn't seem to be much of a deterent, though. I think other gophers come along and find the ready-made burrows and move in.

Can anyone post success stories about those electric/sound-emitting gagets? Do they really work?
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Old 04-13-2004, 01:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: The Woodlands, TX
did a little google...
http://cecalaveras.ucdavis.edu/pocket.htm

most of the sites recomended the Macabee trap which ya put in their tunnel and then they trigger it the next time they run through and it spears em...
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Old 04-13-2004, 01:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the link!
Quote:
If your property borders wildlands, vacant lots, or other areas that serve as a source of gophers, you can expect gophers to reinvade regularly.
Damn...

It would help if they understood signs, like sticking that gopher head on a spike at the border of my property.
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Old 04-13-2004, 02:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I can't be 100% certain, but with a lot of these rodents, you can deter them simply by "marking your territory".

If-ya-know-what-I-mean.
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Old 04-13-2004, 02:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I like it!

And it would start a continuous cycle as my dogs migh pick up the location habit. Hmmm...
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Old 04-13-2004, 03:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Where do ya live? I'll come piss in yer yard.
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Old 04-13-2004, 03:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Hmmm... I could get some revenge on some old neighbors...
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Old 04-13-2004, 04:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The owner of the company I work for also happens to own a small vineyard that has a gopher problem. He has a device he lovingly refers to as his "gopher getter". Basically it consists of a 20 lb. propane tank w/ a length of hose on it, attached to a pipe w/ an ingniter on the end of it. He fills the tunnel w/ propane, ignites it, and then giggles for the next 15 minutes. I don't know that this has solved his gopher problem, but it sure is a lot of fun.


edit: btw....the propane in the tunnel will explode, so use a little common sense here, or you may end up breaking a picture window (like the owner of the company i work for )

Last edited by cj2112; 04-13-2004 at 05:43 PM..
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Old 04-13-2004, 04:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
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hahahahahhahahahhhahahahahaha i vote for cj2112s method... just make sure you film it!
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Old 04-13-2004, 08:30 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by cj2112
The owner of the company I work for also happens to own a small vineyard that has a gopher problem. He has a device he lovingly refers to as his "gopher getter". Basically it consists of a 20 lb. propane tank w/ a length of hose on it, attached to a pipe w/ an ingniter on the end of it. He fills the tunnel w/ propane, ignites it, and then giggles for the next 15 minutes. I don't know that this has solved his gopher problem, but it sure is a lot of fun.


edit: btw....the propane in the tunnel will explode, so use a little common sense here, or you may end up breaking a picture window (like the owner of the company i work for )
Have you ever seen the video on the web where the guy shoots the propane tank?
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Old 04-14-2004, 12:14 PM   #16 (permalink)
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My first entreprenurial endevour was a gopher control buisness when I was 12. I actually built up a pretty large sized client base and ended up with 4 other guys working for me while I organized the operation, spring work while in grade school, and it was my second summer job untill I turned 16.

As a farm kid, I learned to shoot a .22 using gophers as targets. I don't know if you would have a safe range, or the firearms rules in your area, or how you feel about guns for that matter; but a few sunny spring afternoons, set up with a braced .22 rifle and a book will make short work of gopher population. Also great entertainment for the right personality.

Drowning them out is another option. If you ahve recent plantings, you likely have a hose that can reach the area. Running water into the holes for a few minutes every time you water the tress will help get rid of them. Depending on the slope, it might not be very effective, but it won't hurt. I have set up water running into a hole near the top of the slope, left it run for half an hour, and watched half of dozen gophers flee from several lower holes.

Traps work, but are messier then shooting. Baiting and reseting traps is terrible work.

Poison is really the most effective, but with pets it is simply not an option. Even if you can be sure that the pets won't eat the grain/bait, you can't be sure that they won't get at the dead gopher. Besides (although Strychnine is theoretically safe), do you really want to be placing more chemicals in the ground where you're growing things?

You can get blood-thining type poison that takes a few doses (while strychnine should just take one), that wouldn't be too harmful if your cat had a meal of a gopher that was under the effects/dead from it. I could be wrong but I don't think strychnine is such an agent (more of a toxic-kill-now poison then a slow anti-cougulant). I've never used poision other then strychinine, but I can vouch for its effectiveness.

However you do get rid of the existing population, you need to put at least as much effort in preventing new ones. Burying a fence might work, if you want to put the effort in. Just use a smaller mesh then standard chain-link. If a gopher can squeeze its head through the hole, the rest of the body is easy. A double mesh of chicken wire works though. Most importantly, fill the existing system of holes. Fill it with gravel and completly cover the top with packed soil. If you suspect the system crosses property lines, get permission and fill every hole you can find.

As far as deterring a return is concerned, you don't have many options. The fence will work, as long as its deep enough (I'd say 4-6 feet) and tall enough/can't be scrambled by rodents. In theory you should also run another fence horizontally as much as you run it vertically, 18" below grade.

The electronic devices work with young gophers and moles but not with most gophers though.

Another method I've had success with is powdered urine. Fox powder. It will probably drive your dog insane, but it seems to be an effective deterrant.

I should be able to field any questions that come up. Good luck.
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Old 04-14-2004, 12:49 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks Bossnass for the plethora of options. I'm in a residential community so the .22 will be my last option.

I had the exterminator out this morning and had him do our neighbor's too (had to get their permission).

I'm really intrigued with the powdered fox urine. Searching the web finds many other success stories, too. I'll look into this further.

Worse-case - propane is looking pretty good.

Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2004, 01:46 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Out on my farm, we have 3 semi-feral cats, 3 mainly domesticated ones that stay around the barn, and a large dog- along with 30 horses. We've never seen a dead gopher above ground, or any of the holes we plugged after putting the grain down been dug up from above or underneath, unless we plugged it wrong.

We had to eliminate a LARGE colony of gophers from our paddocks, simply because it was putting the horses at risk with the holes all over. We tried a number of options earlier, including drowning (does not work, when the tunnels rise underground again they create quite large air pockets), trapping (couldn't get enough to make much of a dent in the population), and shooting was not an option in our area, it's simply illegal. Electricity will not do much unless it's high enough voltage to electrocute, which'll cost a lot.
propane is an interesting option though, I don't think it would be very humane however. The best solution that we found was the poisoned bait. It was quick, effective (wiped out the whole population over 26 acres in two years) and it was safe.
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Old 04-14-2004, 04:29 PM   #19 (permalink)
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http://www.rodenator.com/rodenator_videos
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Old 04-17-2004, 01:30 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This page had a fairly interesting DIY idea for killing gophers: running a hose from the exhaust pipe of your car into the tunnels and flooding them with carbon monoxide from the exhaust:

http://ag.arizona.edu/urbanipm/roden...etgophers.html

To quote:

Quote:
Because of its greater volume and pressure, carbon monoxide from gasoline engine exhaust can be more effective than other fumigants. A vacuum cleaner hose or other types of hose or pipe can be attached to the engine exhaust and placed in a burrow near a fresh mound. Soil should then be packed around the hose or pipe and the engine run for several minutes. This method can be very effective. Newer vehicle engines with anti-pollution devices produce less carbon monoxide and may need to be run for a longer period.
There are also those service that vacuum prairie dogs out of the ground into a big tank truck -- it's considered humane because few dogs die. But for some reason I've never heard of them doing it for gophers.[

Last edited by Rodney; 04-17-2004 at 01:34 PM..
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Old 04-17-2004, 05:04 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Location: The Woodlands, TX
Quote:
Originally posted by Rodney
There are also those service that vacuum prairie dogs out of the ground into a big tank truck -- it's considered humane because few dogs die. But for some reason I've never heard of them doing it for gophers.[
they use them for pets! ive seen em in the pet stores
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Old 04-17-2004, 09:12 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Location: AWOL in Edmonton
Quote:
Originally posted by skier
We've never seen a dead gopher above ground, or any of the holes we plugged after putting the grain down been dug up from above or underneath, unless we plugged it wrong.

...including drowning (does not work, when the tunnels rise underground again they create quite large air pockets)

... and shooting was not an option in our area, it's simply illegal.

First, I'm not trying to call you out or anything like that, but I do speak from experience.


I have used strychnine quite a few times; it is the most effective method. If you block the baited hole and all the holes that immediately adjoin it, then no gophers will come up to the surface. I think strychnine is a neurotoxin: small animals drop immediatly, larger animals will have neural activity... think of a chicken that recently lost its head. If there is an adjoining tunnel to the baited area that wasn't blocked, there is a chance that a poisioned animal will make it out. I have returned to a baited site a day later and found a dead gopher near the plugged hole with no obvious physical cause on the gopher and the original hole still filled. I know an old farmer that swears he lost a pair of barn cats the same way.

It will work to push a rubber garden hose deep down a tunnel and let it run with as much pressure as possible for an hour or so (which isn't an issue if youre in a rural location with your own well and pump). It won't work all the time, but it works as often as it fails. It is the most easy thing to try first and it won't hurt anything. Very least you annoy them.


Just out of intrest, I thought you were from Alberta (and I could easily be wrong). Where can you have 30 horses and have it illegal to shoot a .22? Inside some municipal area?
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Old 04-18-2004, 09:01 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Location: Edmontania
The drowning thing never worked with us. I'm not too sure why, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it was because of the previous owners, who let them run wild for many years (the property before we got it was basically in disuse) and the 'dogs made complex warrens that would have taken a LOT of water to fill, especially with our sandy soil.

I think that micah, you should follow Bossnass's advice on not using the strychnine then. I can only speak from personal experience on it's safety- we did not have anything become sick or die from the poison other than it's intended targets. Hmmm just reading up on the chemical now. haha i wouldn't recommend it now either for your situation.

bossnass, I am from alberta, We own a stables on 26 acres of property just off of a group of acrages (sp?) Right next to the highway. Our house right across from the barn is included in the "community" of acreage houses. I'm not too sure of the details, i'm pretty sure it's a bylaw, but there is a sign as you turn into the area that says firearm discharge is forbidden. (or to that effect) Sorry i'm not clear on the details, it's been 5 years now since my family checked this out. ( I was 13 at the time.)
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:58 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by skier

Strictnine is basically a blood thinning agent, it is painless and effective.
I would have to disagree on this point, having known someone who died of strictnine, it was most definatly not painless. Personally if you are looking for the most human option Dry Ice is the way to go. Pack a couple of pounds in the holes and then plug them as CO2 is heavier than air it should fill the entire system. Same effect at Carbon monoxide and you don't have to park your car on a hill with a hose on your tailpipe. I have a local distributer that charges a dollar a pound for dry ice, check you yellow pages.

For more info on this or where to buy dry ice do a google search for: Gopher Eradication dry ice
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Last edited by duck0987; 04-20-2004 at 07:01 AM..
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Old 04-21-2004, 05:28 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by duck0987
I would have to disagree on this point, having known someone who died of strictnine, it was most definatly not painless. Personally if you are looking for the most human option Dry Ice is the way to go. Pack a couple of pounds in the holes and then plug them as CO2 is heavier than air it should fill the entire system. Same effect at Carbon monoxide and you don't have to park your car on a hill with a hose on your tailpipe. I have a local distributer that charges a dollar a pound for dry ice, check you yellow pages.

For more info on this or where to buy dry ice do a google search for: Gopher Eradication dry ice
I could see the CO2 working. And no poison to worry about getting into the root system of trees.
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Old 04-23-2004, 09:01 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Sub gopher for prairie dog
http://dogbegone.com/video.htm
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Old 04-23-2004, 09:53 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Warning! The above link contains graphic video of prarie dogs being shot by high-powered rifles for fun and amusement.
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:13 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Put some Jucyfruit gum down the hole. It works very well.

Quote:
I thought of a hint to help people get rid of those pesky gophers. Take
a stick of juicyfruit gum and this is the ONLY one that will work. Leave the
gum IN the wrapper and tear the stick in half. Place the gum into the gopher
hole and make sure it is far down. For some strange reason they like the taste
and smell of juicyfruit. I am not quite sure how it works but it gets rid of
them better than any commercial produce out there.
Google it, you'll see what I mean.
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Old 04-25-2004, 01:27 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Location: Wish I was on the N17...
All of this GOPHER talk has put me in the mood for some road kill pie!

Dudes and dudetes...those videos mentioned above are both amazing and a bit disturbing. Holy shit...the camera shots of the bullet on approach are frickin amazing.
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Old 04-26-2004, 01:49 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I too live in So Cal. Pasadena to be exact and we have lots of gophers. Here is what I do.

1. Run the garden hose down one of their holes and turn it on full blast.

2. Sit back with a high powered pellet gun, drink some beer.

3. When you see their little heads pop up, blow them the fuck off.

It gets rid of the little fuckers and it’s a fun way to spend a Sunday.
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