Trapping Pocket Gophers

These illusive landscape pests can destroy your landscape before you know it if you don’t act fast. There are many things out there for gopher control (some good some bad) but what I feel is one of the safest and most effective ways is to trap them using my favorite….the one and only Macabee trap. This trap will catch hundreds of gophers and last a lifetime if used properly. There are a handful of traps out there and for the most part they all do work but nearly as well another downside is that there big. When the trap is big, than the hole you need to make is also going to big, I for one don’t like making a big hole in your turf or landscape. The Macabee trap is smaller in size than most traps and very easy to set. First, start probing a couple of feet away from the mound and locate a well-constructed tunnel. Once you find the tunnel make sure you can feel inside the tunnel both ways. You only need to make the hole to insert the traps a few inches, just big enough to get the set trap inside. Make sure you attach a rope or chain to the trap so and anchor it above ground so a gopher doesn’t run off with it. Then smooth out the inside of the tunnel and place the traps inside facing opposite directions. Gophers have a great sense of smell so you might want to set it using gloves so they don’t smell your scent. The trick to the Macabee trap is to slide down into the tunnel while burring the bottom portion of the trap, so as the gopher approaches the trap it can’t feel metal or something different on his feet. If a gopher senses a foreign object in his tunnel he will avoid going any further and backfill hill tunnel, burring your trap. That’s what you don’t want. Once you have both traps set its time to cover up the hole. I like to place a piece of wood over the hole and completely seal all the edges so no air or sunlight can get through. Gophers are very sensitive to air movement in there tunnel and if they see daylight and feel air coming through your cover they will most likely backfill your trap. Check the traps daily if you can. If you don’t catch one in a few days, then it’s time to move the traps and try again. These pesky rodents can be difficult so be patient and persistent and you will have successes. If you need a good website for more information about trapping and controlling gophers or any other pest I use www.ipm.ucdavis.edu. Happy hunting.