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#5840193 - 03/09/17 07:37 PM Pocket gophers
AJE Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/22/16
Posts: 1539
Loc: WI - Wisconsin
I have a property that will definetly need some pocket gophers trapped. It looked bad last fall. What time of year is a good time to start getting after 'em? I don't want to be making trips out to the property as soon as the 1st one shows sign of activity. I'm looking more to try to get after 'em when I can set, say, 10 traps...hit 'em while their active but make it worthwile at the same time to maximize efficiency/ effectiveness. I have the itch, based on how active they were last fall. But I know its too early now.


Edited by AJE (03/09/17 07:39 PM)
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#5840757 - 03/10/17 10:35 AM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
HD_Wildlife Offline
trapper

Registered: 04/03/10
Posts: 36
Loc: NM
AJE,

Typically here as soon as the top layer of soil is free of being frozen plenty of new mounds show up.

Not to say we don't get digging during our milder winters and have had mounds when hard frost is setup.

Due to their territorial nature the numbers only jump up in my experience when the offspring are out and moving and heading
for their own small patch of earth.

The better the forage and density of forage the more we hold per acre but drop down to sub par scrub and
brush and they tend to each hold a space (each adult) that can be as small as a 30x30 foot area...

In general terms without someone reporting fresh mounds after winter starts to leave, I'd be looking at the soil conditions.

Once they've bred and are starting to have litters disperse the numbers caught go way up. Have one property I helped a guy with
just a 2 acre lot, but would go from 6-8 gophers pre breeding to 20-30 with dispersing juveniles, even with natural mortality from snakes and coyotes and raptors and house cats and such....

Anyway not sure that does you much good toward your answer..

Definitely prolific diggers!

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#5841273 - 03/10/17 06:27 PM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
moleman Offline
trapper

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 41
Loc: Iowa
AJE. You know one gopher can cause a lot of damage as I'm sure you know. Generally in our part of the country they start having young April/May. Takes about four weeks for birth. Trapping early may not be a bad thing to consider.

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#5841284 - 03/10/17 06:32 PM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
AJE Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/22/16
Posts: 1539
Loc: WI - Wisconsin
Good points guy. We have an early spring here too this year.
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#5842865 - 03/12/17 01:49 AM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
AJE Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/22/16
Posts: 1539
Loc: WI - Wisconsin
Anyone have a suggestion for a good probe to use so when I walk up to a fresh mound I can quick and easily figure out where the tunnel is?
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#5843711 - 03/12/17 03:27 PM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
Aggie73 Offline
trapper

Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 11
Loc: South Texas
AJE - There's a variety of of probes you can use to find the travel/feeding gopher tunnels. Pick/make one that is easy on the old back! I used the longer
T-handled home made probes (3/8' re-bar) in this pic until I bent one or two of them.



Since then, I now use a Mighty Probe 3/8" hex rod with the ball nose tip. I did not buy the bulky handle but only a longer rod and ball nose tip. You can then have a more handy custom T handle welded to the probe rod. The vendor is www.mightyprobe.com.


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#5844096 - 03/12/17 08:47 PM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
AJE Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/22/16
Posts: 1539
Loc: WI - Wisconsin
Good post, thanks.
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#5846340 - 03/14/17 07:58 PM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: Aggie73]
hvtrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 39
Loc: E. Iowa
Originally Posted By: Aggie73
AJE - There's a variety of of probes you can use to find the travel/feeding gopher tunnels. Pick/make one that is easy on the old back! I used the longer
T-handled home made probes (3/8' re-bar) in this pic until I bent one or two of them.



Since then, I now use a Mighty Probe 3/8" hex rod with the ball nose tip. I did not buy the bulky handle but only a longer rod and ball nose tip. You can then have a more handy custom T handle welded to the probe rod. The vendor is www.mightyprobe.com.





I inherited a smooth rod probe complete with a slide hammer and a round/ball bearing tip from my Dad. He used it in his agricultural business as a tile probe.

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#5846654 - 03/15/17 12:10 AM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
Aggie73 Offline
trapper

Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 11
Loc: South Texas
It's important to note that the ball nose tip on the commercial probe or having a blunt tip on a home made probe will facilitate finding gopher tunnels. There's a more prominent "give" when finding tunnels vs. using sharp tipped probes. That's been my experience in sandy soils.
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#5848819 - 03/17/17 12:05 AM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
BadgerTrapper97 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/22/12
Posts: 466
Loc: Fort Bliss Texas
I trapped pocket gophers for years on the farm, I have a heavy steel rod I use to fine the tunnel. I use the death clutch traps most of the time but also use #0 longspring traps as well. I just open up the tunnel and set the trap right in the trench and then cover the hole just enough to keep the light out, this prevents gopher from bulldozing dirt as he makes his way up the tunnel which he will do if there is light coming in. I usually started in mid April, also make sure to stake the traps well, I've had bagers dig up my catch before. Any questions pm me I'd be happy to help
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#5857236 - 03/25/17 08:21 PM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: BadgerTrapper97]
dklawitter Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/25/08
Posts: 38
Loc: South Dakota
Do you guys feel you have better success by covering up the holes?

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#5857814 - 03/26/17 11:49 AM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: dklawitter]
Aggie73 Offline
trapper

Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 11
Loc: South Texas
Originally Posted By: dklawitter
Do you guys feel you have better success by covering up the holes?


You will get some trappers responding to leaving the holes opened so the gopher can sense air, humidity, etc. and return to plug the hole and hopefully get caught in the process. The majority of my gopher trap setting involve urban homeowners. I cannot afford to leave any open holes. There are kids, dogs, cats, mowers, snakes, coons, skunks, etc. that can interfere with my gopher trapping if left open. I cover, stake and flag all of my gopher trap sets.

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#5858519 - 03/26/17 10:19 PM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
AJE Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/22/16
Posts: 1539
Loc: WI - Wisconsin
3/8 or 5/16" thickness for the probe...do you think it matters either way?
Is 36" a desirable length?
The ball nose type tip is what it appears you guys are saying is the best.
I'm thinking a smooth probe would work better than rebar. Actually, I like that hex rod idea (supposedly 20% stiffer).
Thanks


Edited by AJE (03/26/17 10:24 PM)
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#5858668 - 03/27/17 07:06 AM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
hvtrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 39
Loc: E. Iowa
I imagine the thickness of the probe would depend on where you're trapping pocket gophers and the soil types. My experience has been all in Iowa/Nebraska farm ground. The big probe I inherited from my Dad is built from 3/8" smooth rod. With the built in slide hammer and 5' length, it's not much fun to carry while walking across hay fields all day. The one I built is a "shop special" made with parts already on hand. Three foot 1/4" smooth rod, wooden T handle 1-1/4 to 1-1/2" thick by 4" long and a ball bearing welded on the tip. Light to carry, comfortable to use and the handle makes a good dispatch tool for the occasional mole/gopher found alive.
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#5858915 - 03/27/17 10:46 AM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
AJE Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/22/16
Posts: 1539
Loc: WI - Wisconsin
Good advice.
The gophers seem to prefer sandy soil around here.
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#5858994 - 03/27/17 12:32 PM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
Aggie73 Offline
trapper

Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 11
Loc: South Texas
Originally Posted By: AJE
3/8 or 5/16" thickness for the probe...do you think it matters either way?
Is 36" a desirable length?
The ball nose type tip is what it appears you guys are saying is the best.
I'm thinking a smooth probe would work better than rebar. Actually, I like that hex rod idea (supposedly 20% stiffer).
Thanks


AJE - I use the stiffer 3/8" hex rod sold by the above mentioned vendor, even in sandy soil. I'm 5' 10" tall and a 36" probe is perfect for me. Understand that if you buy the 36" Mighty Probe from them, you'll be getting a 7" handle and a 29" rod. The handle is too bulky for me. I'd suggest just buying only the 36" or longer replacement rod and custom weld a rebar T handle to it. The replacement rod comes with each side threaded. You'll only need one side to thread on the ball nose tip. A blunt or ball nose tip will definitely provide you with a better "give" when probing for tunnels vs. a sharp tipped probe, especially in sandy soils.
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#5861792 - 03/30/17 08:52 AM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
AJE Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/22/16
Posts: 1539
Loc: WI - Wisconsin
Good info.
Now I'm trying to decide if 5/16 would be better than 3/8".
I'm 6' so I think I like the idea of a ~40 incher.
That hex rod sounds intriguing. I'd never heard of it. I'm sure hex is pricier, but stiffer the better, and this is an investment that will last a lifetime smile.
Darn gophers. I'm headed there way once things warm up, lol.


Edited by AJE (03/30/17 08:53 AM)
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#5861973 - 03/30/17 11:55 AM Re: Pocket gophers [Re: AJE]
BigBob Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 12664
Loc: St. Louis Co, Mo
All materials are sold by the pound, so the hex shouldn't cost any more than round.
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