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Back filling pocket gopher #6618784
09/16/19 10:02 PM
09/16/19 10:02 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 251
Northern Minnesota
W
webfootwhacker Offline OP
trapper
webfootwhacker  Offline OP
trapper
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 251
Northern Minnesota
I have one that is on to me. Has back filled tunnels three times - twice with death klutches and once with #0 longspring. What is your go to approach once they have you figured out?

Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6618804
09/16/19 10:30 PM
09/16/19 10:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 948
West Central MN
2
20scout Offline
trapper
20scout  Offline
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2

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 948
West Central MN
Had one like that earlier this summer and feel your pain. I tried everything but ended up using poison pills on him. The other option I had was to go after him next spring when he's not quite awake but didn't want to wait that long. I see there are some small round body grips available at Minnesota Trapping Supply, maybe give one of them a try.


Common sense is a not a vegetable that does well in everyone's garden.
Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6619025
09/17/19 10:33 AM
09/17/19 10:33 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 40
South Texas
A
Aggie73 Offline
trapper
Aggie73  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 40
South Texas
Your best bet at this time is to pull your traps and leave him alone for awhile. Don't "educate" him to your traps any more. Level all mounds and wait till he gets happy again (starts throwing mounds again).

Are you trapping right at the mound via the plug? Are you leaving the trap set open? Are you placing a trap in each opposing tunnel at your trap set? Or, do your traps only allow you to set in one tunnel? Stay away from the plug (where he comes up and throws a mound, then plugs it). Probe away from the mounds or between mounds to find the travel/foraging tunnels. Cover your trap sets! Pocket gophers rarely leave an opening into their tunnels unless they are currently excavating and throwing a mound or they have exited a den/burrow site. An exit hole is just a clean open hole the size of a gopher tunnel with no dirt around it and away from their original mounds. Have you tried a dab of peanut butter between your trap sets? An alternative would be digging a few of the herbaceous plants (weeds!) near the mounds and clipping some of the roots into the trap sets.

Lastly and maybe more importantly, have you considered buying/using Trapline Products' Gophinator Gopher trap? IMHO it is the only way to go if you are serious or you do a lot of pocket gopher trapping. It is definitely worth having this trap in your tool box! Good luck in catching Mr. Cad E. Shack!



Last edited by Aggie73; 09/17/19 10:37 AM.

"Happier than a gopher in wet sand."
Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6619328
09/17/19 08:55 PM
09/17/19 08:55 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 251
Northern Minnesota
W
webfootwhacker Offline OP
trapper
webfootwhacker  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 251
Northern Minnesota
I always cover my traps and set traps in opposite (or all) directions. I am setting within a foot or so of the mounds. The runs are very deep (20ish inches) and in the septic drain field so the soil is soft, except for the sewer rock, and itís hard to find the tunnels away from the mounds. I am going to try one last ditch effort and bait with peanut butter as far away from the mound as I can. He is still popping up ďadd-onĒ mounds since the back filling started. This is the only gopher I havenít been able to catch all year and itís the one most wanted gone due to the drain field. I now understand Caddyshack. Up until now I havenít encountered anything like this.

Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6619365
09/17/19 09:55 PM
09/17/19 09:55 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 948
West Central MN
2
20scout Offline
trapper
20scout  Offline
trapper
2

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 948
West Central MN
Aggie is right about trying not to educate him. I've also had good luck by partially plugging the hole with grass to obstruct the death clutch. If you really want to catch him off guard, open as many holes (plugs) as you can but only make one or two sets. He;ll be so busy plugging holes that he might get careless and get caught. Good luck!


Common sense is a not a vegetable that does well in everyone's garden.
Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6619560
09/18/19 09:29 AM
09/18/19 09:29 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 40
South Texas
A
Aggie73 Offline
trapper
Aggie73  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 40
South Texas
Another thing I've learned over the years is that when confronted with a series or multiple mounds, one has a tendency to locate main tunnels and set traps in the fresh/new mounds. I'll usually put out 2 trap sets in this situation. One trap set will be at or close to the oldest/first mound thrown. The second trap set will be located anywhere in between the oldest and newest mound. The majority of my gopher catches will be at the first/older mound trap sets. In this scenario, I'll also only use PB at the second trap set (towards the fresh/newest mound) and none on the first trap set (first/older mound).

Another tip pertains to trap covers. I'm in sandy soils and I make it a point to scrape the underside of my trap covers near the mound after I check and pull my traps. Why? Condensation! That may be good or bad I'm guessing depending on the season. Just a SWAG but there's gotta be some pocket gopher "pheromones" mixed in that condensation. Could be a reason for gophers (sub-dominant or juvenile) plugging in front of my traps or completely covering up my trap set. During gopher breeding seasons (we have two!), this may be a good thing as females indicate they are ready and males compete for them. Again, just a guess on my part but it only takes a few seconds to scrape my trap covers on that 500 grit gopher mound sand next to me.

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"Happier than a gopher in wet sand."
Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6620111
09/18/19 10:26 PM
09/18/19 10:26 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 251
Northern Minnesota
W
webfootwhacker Offline OP
trapper
webfootwhacker  Offline OP
trapper
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 251
Northern Minnesota
Thanks for the tips. Tried baited traps set as fa into the mounds as I could get them. Sealed hole extra good - zero air draft. I guess Iíll find out! If this fails Iím giving him a break for a while.

Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6620136
09/18/19 11:50 PM
09/18/19 11:50 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 460
MN, USA
star flakes Offline
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star flakes  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 460
MN, USA
Originally Posted by webfootwhacker
I always cover my traps and set traps in opposite (or all) directions. I am setting within a foot or so of the mounds. The runs are very deep (20ish inches) and in the septic drain field so the soil is soft, except for the sewer rock, and itís hard to find the tunnels away from the mounds. I am going to try one last ditch effort and bait with peanut butter as far away from the mound as I can. He is still popping up ďadd-onĒ mounds since the back filling started. This is the only gopher I havenít been able to catch all year and itís the one most wanted gone due to the drain field. I now understand Caddyshack. Up until now I havenít encountered anything like this.


Webfoot, I know that gophers can be educated, but my nephews in western Minnesota used to catch hundreds of gophers each year for bounty. They moved into eastern South Dakota and suddenly their methods were having plugged traps. The methods of potato skin baits and everything else was met with no catches. I experience the same results and concluded there are some sub species in the species which are Darwin in survival of the fittest. My Uncle used to do well in South Dakota with Victor 1's in longspring and license plates over the tunnels. Others I have seen, including myself still had snaps. Maybe it is some people smell different like a predator or another gopher alerting them or maybe people smell like other gophers who are successful, i just know it has been frustrating sometimes. The only remedy I found which worked 100% was a poison pellet that we used to put into the tunnels using an electric fence post to find the tunnels. That was for the Darwins and that is what I would suggest as cold weather is coming.

Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6620883
09/19/19 09:40 PM
09/19/19 09:40 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 251
Northern Minnesota
W
webfootwhacker Offline OP
trapper
webfootwhacker  Offline OP
trapper
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 251
Northern Minnesota
I suggested the pill to my client and she wrinkled her nose. He plugged my last ditch effort today. Now itís either pill or wait a few weeks and try again- and hope his memory is short. Thanks for the conversation.

Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6621272
09/20/19 12:09 PM
09/20/19 12:09 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 948
West Central MN
2
20scout Offline
trapper
20scout  Offline
trapper
2

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 948
West Central MN
Originally Posted by Webfoot, I know that gophers can be educated, but my nephews in western Minnesota used to catch hundreds of gophers each year for bounty. They moved into eastern South Dakota and suddenly their methods were having plugged traps. The methods of potato skin baits and everything else was met with no catches. I experience the same results and concluded there are some sub species in the species which are Darwin in survival of the fittest. My Uncle used to do well in South Dakota with Victor 1's in longspring and license plates over the tunnels. Others I have seen, including myself still had snaps. Maybe it is some people smell different like a predator or another gopher alerting them or maybe people smell like other gophers who are successful, i just know it has been frustrating sometimes. The only remedy I found which worked 100% was a poison pellet that we used to put into the tunnels using an electric fence post to find the tunnels. That was for the Darwins and that is what I would suggest as cold weather is coming.[/quote


I've been told there are several different types of pocket gopher but don't recall how many. Guess you can tell by the lines on their teeth.


[quote=webfootwhacker]I suggested the pill to my client and she wrinkled her nose. He plugged my last ditch effort today. Now itís either pill or wait a few weeks and try again- and hope his memory is short. Thanks for the conversation.


Was wondering how things where going for you as I checked my gopher traps this morning. Had hoped things would have gone better for you but just don't give up. Maybe the answer is to wait like you said in hopes they forget what a trap is. Good luck!


Common sense is a not a vegetable that does well in everyone's garden.
Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6643099
10/18/19 10:14 PM
10/18/19 10:14 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,003
SWEET HOME OREGON
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willvalley Offline
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willvalley  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,003
SWEET HOME OREGON
Used to have a good deal of trouble with getting gopher traps buried. I tried most all the traps mentioned above and found the the Cinch trap was the best but still got buried or pinched the gopher and made them smart to the traps. A couple of years ago I tried Trapline's Gophenator trap. It did not do any better. The problem was more pull outs then anything else with the Trapline trap.
Our gopher, the Camas Pocket Gopher, is on an average larger then the other species in the country. The second picture is a pretty large one and most will be several ounces less but there size is the main problem. The Trapline trap when modified as the first picture shows is the best of the best. I set fresh open holes and cross tunnels with them. The main things to remember when setting is first only set in a narrow part of the tunnel where the trap jaws are touching the sides of the tunnel. Second and maybe more important is to bed the trap very solidly. If I set a open hole I make sure the trap is as far from the opening as I can possibly get it and I close the opening down a bit. Cross tunnels are set in narrow spots even it I have to dig a ways to find them/ Sometimes I can leave the tunnel open but if not I plug both ends as far from the traps as possible.

The modification I do is simple. The trap comes with the ends of the jaws tipped in a bit. I heat that tip, a propane torch will do this, and bend them in at ninety degrees. I them sharpen the bends. Then sharp tips are what does the trick on the bigger ones that used to pull out. I also bend the jaws out considerably so I can set a bit wider tunnels.





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Re: Back filling pocket gopher [Re: webfootwhacker] #6649024
10/25/19 10:09 PM
10/25/19 10:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 251
Northern Minnesota
W
webfootwhacker Offline OP
trapper
webfootwhacker  Offline OP
trapper
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 251
Northern Minnesota
Well, apparently five weeks is long enough for a gopher to forget what a trap is. I opened just one mound real sneaky like, set a cross tunnel with death klutches and got him. Feels good and client is happy. Delivering the bill always feels better when you know the job is done completely. I think that was the twelfth gopher from the property.

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