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Pocket gopher trapping question


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Pocket gophers have invaded my property in the last several years. I didn't pay them much mind until mounds started showing up on my septic mound a couple weeks ago. So, I bought a couple traps and gave it a whirl. I caught that one. Then I went after the ones along my driveway. I've tried twice and they have foiled me both times. It seems they find the trap and then plug the run without getting caught. Is it a scent issue? What can I do to fool these critters?

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I don't know what traps your using but with the death clutch traps we use, I'll sometimes dig it down a little deeper in the hole and then sprinkle dirt over it to cover it a bit so it won't feel it when it crawls up. I also make sure the trap is pulled up tight to the stake and put some dirt on the frame so it won't move when he pushes up agianst it. If it keeps burying it just leave the hole open and go to another. It seems that when we get a buried trap it's easier to just relocate and catch him in a different hole. Hope this helps.


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Thanks for the reply! I'm using a Victor gopher trap. I've been digging just enough to expose the run and then pushing the traps in the holes in each direction. I will do some extra digging so I can bury the trap in the run instead of blocking it. Is scent an issue? Should I be careful about human scent on the traps? Thanks

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human scent is a bad thing when trapping any thing. make sure to boil your traps to clean them then always where gloves when handling them and i have found no matter what kind of trap i am using for gophers i seem to have way better success when covering the set with a piece af ply wood then put some dirt on it so no light gets thru. good luck i hope this helps.....

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Here is how we used to do it.

Take a piece of rebar or another narrow pointed piece of metal that

you can push into the ground.

Go out 1' from the mound and find a runway with your prod.

Continue to prod until you find a second runway.

Now, find where the two intersect and dig a hole to expose the intersection.

Dig the trap down a little..in the runway. Place dirt around the

edge of the trap and a little on the pan. I ran the chain up out of

the hole and anchored it on the outside.

Place a board, a few inches larger than the hole you dug, over the

top of the trap.

Cover the board with dirt and all of the edges so no light or air gets

into the hole.

Come back in the morning and bingo...there is your pocket gogher.

We never found it necessary to boil traps to catch goghers. This

way worked to catch hundreds of gophers.

Good Luck and keep us posted.


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That is how I used to do it back in the day. If I had a real tough one I would put 2 traps in the hole. One of them might be a conibear.

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i've trapped pocket gophers on and off for nearly 20 years. its really not rocket science once you get a system down. first, you clear the dirt from the mound to expose where the plugged hole is. open up the hole. either reach in with your hand or peer in with a flashlight. if the tunnel is longer than the length of your arm from your elbow to your wrist without any off shoots or intersections, you set a death clutch and leave the hole uncovered.

if the hole has an intersection or split near the entrance, set a pan trap (leg hold) and then use a mat of grass and dirt to cover the hole. i've literally paid for trips to florida and the east coast by doing a 2 week run of pocket gopher trapping in the spring and these methods have worked since my grandpa was a kid.

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Thanks for the replies everyone! The help is appreciated. I checked with the township where I live, there is no bounty.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Don't worry about human scent with gophers as it don't make a bit of difference. Try not to make the hole any bigger than the gopher had it. I know not always possible but it does make a big difference.

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