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BLACKJACK

Need gopher trapping advice

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BLACKJACK

For the second day in a row the pocket gopher along my driveway plugged my trap, thought I'd get some advice on how you trap gophers so I can up my percentage and cut down on the time spent. It took me 1.5 hours yesterday to find and set four more traps, I'd like to move up to 50%.

1) What type of trap do you use and why? Leg hold or deathclutch? How do you set it? Seems like on big gophers/big tunnels, the deathclutch doesn't fit in the tunnel very well.

2) Do you cover your set when you're done or leave it open? When we were kids we always covered them with tin but in the last few years I've just went the easy route and left them the tunnel open, with the trap set, thinking that the gopher will come to plug the hole.

3) Do you set in the single runway that you find when you open it up or do you set in the first intersection that you find? Sometimes you run right into an intersection but other times on deep runways, you have to dig down to the intersection, curious what you do.

Any advice you can give will be appreciated.

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zelek

Hey BJ...

Probably the easiest way is to break into the tunnel and open it up to the "T". Then use two deathclutches....set one going each direction. Sometimes you end up with a "double" this way. smile.gif

When I was a kid I almost always set the deathclutch right at the base of the "T". So as soon as the gopher turned up from the main tunnel the jaws were around his neck. That works too if you don't have many traps. And you're right...sometimes the hole is a little large this way...I'd just pack dirt around the sides so the jaws fit nice and flush with the edges of the hole.

And no...you don't need to cover this kind of set-up. You'll get'em this time...trust me. grin.gif

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roosterslayer

My father in law trapped them forever on the farm, but found out that poison works so much better. I would try that if the traps keep getting buried.

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protrapper

Sound to me like you letting light in through the hole. Make sure the hole is sealed up good, and use two traps.

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HateHumminbird

My old man taught me, and we got a quarter a gopher. His old man taught him, and he got a nickel a gopher.

Push the dirt off the mound in a pile to the side, take a stake and drive it through the "soft" part of the mound where the tunnel is. You can usually see this. Dig out the hole clean of any tunneled soil. Leave the harder stuff on the sides and don't dig it out too much.

Dig horizontally inward until you find the "T". Set the pan trap a bit depressed in the center of the crossroads. Use a shingle to cover up the hole. NO LIGHT like pro-trapper said.

Use a high quality T-post stake driven well into the ground, and pull the ring on the trap chain tight against the trap-facing side of the T-post. When you come up to the trap, if the ring is pulled tight away from the T-post, you know you got one!

I've had hawks, badgers, fox, and coyotes take my gopher traps by not staking them down with T-post re-rod.

Can't wait to teach my son how to do it.

Joel

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luckey

jnelson,

Everything you do is exactly how we did it on the farm with one exception. We boiled the traps before setting.

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BLACKJACK

Looks like there are two camps, some leave the hole open, some say cover it tightly. Maybe its the pan trap guys say cover it up and the deathclutch guys say leave it open? Guess I'll cut out a couple of covers tonight and go back to trying a few 'covered up' and see if that ups my percentage. Was out at noon to Runnings and bought a couple more pan traps, I've had it with hitting these gopher mounds when I'm out mowing, I'm going after the gophers hard this year.

Set traps in four runs last night using both types of traps, will be interesting to see what kind of success I have. On one, I actually had a three way, so I set three deathclutches.

I tried the poison one time, it wasn't very satisfactory, you open up the hole, throw in the poison, and then wonder whether you got them...

Joel, good idea on pulling the trap against the stake to tell whether you have a 'hit'. My detector is my two labs, when they run up to the hole and their tails start wagging, I know I'm in luck!!! smile.gif I have to growl at them to not start digging the little &()()%$# out!!

Anybody ever try one of those 'blow up the runway' setups? I saw video at the farm show last year, looked like a blast, literally!! My brother even helped a farmer do it in a field, guess it was the real deal, and a lot of fun. If I had a couple of grand sitting around... Then I'd have to go buy a gator to haul it around with...

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HateHumminbird

Blackjack:

Never seen the "blow up the runway" setup.

Careful with the dogs, when I was younger, a mean gopher latched onto our german sheperd's nose. That dog bled, and bled, and bled. From that day forward however, any farm-rat, gopher, or woodchuck it ever got a hold of was shaken furiously for upwards of two days after it had been killed.

I've heard of people using the car-exhaust tailpipe deal with success. But like you mentioned, there's a certain amount of satisfaction garnered from knowing you got 'em! Motion sensitive explosives would be the best.

Joel

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Gissert

I've used a garden hose, ala Caddyshack a couple of times when they are in my yard. Quick, and effective.

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Dotch

Have to trap a few every year when they come out of our CRP or the neighbors hay field and get into our pasture. Have always used death clutch traps growing up on the farm dating back to the 1960's when the old Soil Bank came out and went back into production. Talk about a money maker! At $.35 per set of feet ($.20 county and $.15 township), bought my first wrist watch with all that cash. My mother was glad when I went off to college; no more jars of gopher feet in the freezer!

Don't want to cover death clutch sets; reputedly the cooler air going down the tunnel is sensed by the gopher and signals them it's time to plug the hole. Cleaning the hole out well so they can't get a large wad of soil in front of their shoulders to plug the trap is imperative. Also helps to have slender wrists and hands to accomplish this feat. Smaller gophers and smaller diameter holes can make matters more difficult. Most of the time will try to set on the end of a "T" but sometimes will get a long run without a "T" you can reach with your hand. These are sets I've tended to get burned on once in awhile. Over the years have had one or two that really pissed me off so dug down to the "T" and used 2 traps. Never missed but it makes for more work. My favorite though is to find a mound the gopher is actually working on slip the trap in the open hole without disturbing it. Don't clean it unless you want to get bit, just slip the trap in and stake it. For some reason they seem to be in "go" mode and easier to nail them with a high percentage of success. As far as stakes, a piece of rod with a loop on it that holds a flag of some kind is what I've always used. Have lots of rod and pieces of busted up hog panels at my disposal. Usually will set the trap as far back as the trigger will allow and place the loop of the trap tight with the rod its anchored to so it goes off without having any "give" to it when the gopher is coming up the hole. Only traps I've ever had messed with were those the cats would find and eat the front half of the gopher off overnight before I got there, screwing me out of my $.35. See I have a couple new ones to deal with after last fall but so far the frost isn't completely out where they were working. Ready when they are. Happy trapping! grin.gif

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Waterfowl chaser78

Usally i just push a pool thru the groud and the mound until i find the tunnel. then i set up a trap each way there. I have had alot of trouble with pluging tho. i cover my traps also just so that only a little bi tof air can get in. You think i should just leave them open? Whats the best way to use those squese set traps? I have trouble getting mine to work well since they dont fi tinto most holes.

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