How to Get Rid of Groundhogs, Moles and Gophers

Phil Whitmer

Groundhogs, moles and gophers are common pests. Once they establish breeding populations their numbers need to be controlled. The animals can destroy vegetable gardens and flowerbeds in feeding frenzies. Their burrows can be dangerous to step into, causing falls and twisted ankles.

Groundhogs, moles and gophers are pesky varmints.

Groundhogs like to tunnel underneath buildings. They can remove enough dirt to cause inadequate support for the foundation, leading to its cracking or collapse. Moles can deface a nicely manicured lawn in little time. The animals can be humanely caught and released, or they can be eliminated by more lethal means.

  1. Locate the groundhog's two burrow openings. Find both the entrance and the exit hole. Look for an opening about a foot across surrounded by a large pile of dirt. Shovel dirt into the holes and stamp it down. Repeat daily and sometimes the groundhog will leave. Set up a live trap baited with alfalfa or vegetables. Put the trap in a high-traffic area. Release the rodent into a wooded, wild area.

  2. Locate a gopher colony by finding the openings to their four-inch burrows. Try flooding them out with a garden hose. Use lots of water; gophers build burrows above the main tunnels and it will take time and water to fill up the burrows. Stamp the ground around the holes to collapse the burrows. Blow up the gophers using a precision instrument called a gopher blaster that mixes propane with oxygen and detonates with an electronic ignitor.

  3. Look for moles by locating their fresh tunnels and molehills. Determine which runway tunnels are active. Stamp down the dirt and the moles will repair it within a day. Choose from the variety of lethal traps on the market that chop the mole in half, impale it or choke it to death. Set the trap along the tunnel at the entrance to a molehill.

  4. Control rodents and moles by gassing them with carbon monoxide gas cartridges. Carefully fumigate the tunnels with car exhaust fumes. Rig up a hose yourself or buy a ready-made kit. Use a hose long enough to reach deep within the burrow. Seal the ends of the tunnels with dirt to hold the gas in. Try aluminum phosphide pellets as an alternative gassing method.

  5. Hunt down and shoot rodents if you live in rural areas where they are a persistent problem. Find their feeding grounds and above-ground trails. Look for them at sundown or sunset when they're more likely to be seen near their holes. Make clean kills using a .22 or a .22 magnum caliber rifle. Use at least a three-power scope.

  6. Tip

    Get to know your enemy. Learn the habits and routines of rodents and moles and use the knowledge against them.


    Be careful around wild animals -- they have sharp teeth and claws. Check on the legality of gopher blasters, they could be prohibited in your area. Be cautious when using any of these steps to get rid of rodents. Call in a professional to help deal with gophers, moles and groundhogs.