Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks or whistle-pigs (Marmota monax), are notorious for devouring gardens and burrowing into lawns & foundations. Learn how to trap a groundhog by using the best method for your specific circumstance.
This post has a few more methods of preventing and getting rid of groundhogs: How To Get Rid Of Groundhogs | Best Prevention & Removal Methods
How To Trap A Groundhog Lethally
Lethal trapping of groundhogs is one of the best ways to remove groundhogs from your property for good.
Best Lethal Groundhog Trap – #220 Conibear
A #220 conibear body-gripping trap is specifically designed for groundhog sized animals. This is the best type of lethal trap for groundhogs because it is inexpensive and effective. This trap will almost always instantly kill a groundhog, making it an ethical option too.
How To Trap Groundhogs With Conibear Body Gripping Traps
In order to successfully trap groundhogs using body-gripping lethal trapping methods you must:
- Make sure you follow State trapping regulations.
- Plug all but one groundhog hole with dirt.
- Set trap over the open groundhog hole
- Wait for groundhogs to get trapped
Below is a good video on how to use #220 Conibears for groundhogs. There is a dead groundhog towards the end of the video, but you will be given a heads up before it is shown if you do not wish to see it.
Groundhog Bait – What Do Groundhogs Eat For Trapping?
If you aren’t sure where the groundhog’s den is, or perhaps their den is off your property. In that case, you can bait them by using whatever they’ve been eating the most from your garden. You can also use fresh fruits and vegetables like broccoli, apple slices, lettuce, carrots, and sweet corn from the store.
Groundhogs will prefer to eat the most nutritious foods and will know the difference between less nutritional store-bought food unless it is fresh. It is possible they will ignore your trap if your garden has better food.
When baiting I would suggest using an exclusion device to put the lethal trap in. This will prevent non-target animals from getting killed. This also may be a state requirement.
How To Trap A Groundhog Humanely
Many people want to know how to get rid of groundhogs without killing them. This is totally understandable, as we should all strive to do our best not to kill something unnecessarily. That being said, sometimes killing a woodchuck is the most humane thing to do. This is explained further in this section.
Live Trapping Groundhogs With Cage Style Traps
Best Trap For Live-Trapping Groundhogs|Comstock Double Door
Cage-style traps are great for live-trapping groundhogs. The Comstock Double Door model below is what I recommend over cheaper single-door traps for a few reasons:
- It has double-doors so groundhogs feel comfortable entering the trap, and they can enter from both ways.
- It has a wire-trigger instead of pans which are much more effective at being triggered.
- It’s made of high-quality metal and is durable when compared to cheaper traps (which animals can break and escape from).
Havahart Easy-Set Live Cage Trap | Cheaper But Less Effective Option
Groundhog Bait |What Do Groundhogs Eat For Live-Trapping
Groundhogs will prefer to eat the most nutritious foods and will know the difference between less nutritional store-bought food unless it is fresh. Even if you’re using vegetables from your garden as bait, it is recommended to keep bait fresh so it is most attractive. It is possible groundhogs will avoid your bait if more nutritional and fresher food is found in your garden.
You can bait them by using whatever they’ve been eating the most from your garden. You can also use fresh fruits and vegetables like broccoli, apple slices, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, cantaloupes, and sweet corn from the store. Ideally, use vegetables that degrade the slowest so bait stays as fresh as possible.
How To Live-Trap Groundhogs With Cage-Style Trap
There are a few steps that should be taken in order to get the best chances of a successful catch when using cage-style traps for groundhogs.
- Place trap in the areas of woodchuck damage (garden, burrows, dens).
- Dig the bottom of the trap into dirt or grass by sliding it back and forth until buried (it’s best if the groundhog can’t feel the metal on its feet).
- Place bait in the back of the trap.
- Set the trap so the trap door will shut when the groundhog puts weight on the pan.
- Camouflage the trap with sticks or debris but leave the ends of the trap open so it looks like a tunnel.
- Place a breathable cloth over the top of the trap in order to keep the groundhog relaxed and shaded when in the trap.
- Wait for the groundhog to enter the trap.
Relocating Groundhogs Once Trapped
Relocating groundhogs may not be as humane as you might think. It also may be illegal to relocate them so be sure to check with your local wildlife agency.
Considerations when relocating groundhogs:
- Separation of adults from their babies. Groundhogs have their babies in early April to mid-May.
- Will take time to create a new den.
- Needs to find new food sources.
- They aren’t able to pack on as much needed weight for winter.
- Has no protection from predators.
- May cause issues for someone else if not properly relocated.
This video below is an excellent overview of how to live-trap & info regarding relocating groundhogs:
How to trap a groundhog will depend on your circumstances. After you’ve trapped the groundhogs on your property, just be sure to clean your property and fill any burrows and dens so it looks as unappealing as possible to groundhogs in the future. This will prevent the reestablishment of groundhogs on your property.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful, let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or message me on: