Vaughn Hardacker here: Summer in Aroostook County has finally come and gone. Last week we had a three day period of ninety plus degree days (part of a record setting run of 11 consecutive days in which the temperature was eighty degrees or higher). One of those days matched the all-time record of ninety-six at the Caribou National Weather Service (the thermometer display on my truck console read ninety-seven, a new record, but only the NWS reading counts). Now, it’s only a matter of days before winter returns.
By now you are probably asking, “What does all this have to do with groundhogs?” The answer is that when it gets that hot groundhogs will exit their underground dens in search of someplace cooler–such as my garage. Last winter was not as cold as the previous few and I used fewer wood pellets than in years past. You can imagine how delighted I was to learn that something had chewed the bottom off several bags, leaving an impressive mound of pellets spread across my garage floor. Enter Ms. Groundhog–I was told by my neighbor that he had seen the groundhog on my lawn with a young one trailing behind.
Not being a person who is intelligent enough to leave well-enough alone, I decided to rid myself of this pest before her clan grew even larger. I was a man with a mission. Over the years I’ve mellowed quite a bit. Twenty years ago the Marine in me would have taken over and I would have set up an ambush, waiting all night for (as We Marine Sharpshooters say) my one shot; one kill. Being considerably older and less gung ho, I decided to take the humane course of action and capture it alive. My plan was simple: buy a live trap, catch it, and relocate it. For a few minutes I played around with the fantasy of releasing it near my neighbor who lives up the road’s property–he has a huge vegetable garden, food of choice for any groundhog. However, I decided that giving it a ride on my ATV was a better choice–something like a ten mile ride into woods where I would release it.
The plan: I have a friend who owns a live trap so I visited her only to learn that she and her husband have been involved in the same battle . . . to date they have captured six. She told me that Tractor Supply in Presque Isle sold them. I inquired as to what sort of bait I should use. She said: “I was told lettuce or other vegetables will work, but we had better luck using donuts. With this information I ventured off and bought live traps. Tractor Supply had a deal where if you bought a Raccoon-size trap, it included a smaller trap free of charge. I thought this was ideal, one for Mama and one for baby.
I placed the traps baiting them with donuts and vegetables and waited for the next morning. When morning came the trap was sprung. However, no groundhog inside. Even more baffling was the fact that the donuts were gone and the vegetables left behind! After some thought I realized that this actually made sense. My partner, Jane, had seen the obese villain (see picture above) and said, “It sure isn’t on a low-fat diet.”
I was not about to be defeated. That night I re-baited the trap. Next morning. Same results.
On night three I changed my tactics. I placed both traps and baited them with donuts (I assume that by now you are having visions of Bill Murray in Caddy Shack!).
Morning day four: Large trap was not sprung–donuts gone. Small trap was sprung . . . donuts gone . . . no captured groundhog in either one (Mama must have taught her little one well!).
By now I’m starting to feel more than a little demented. I will not be defeated!! I will get these demonic creatures!!! I have sent messages to some of my Marine buddies requesting Claymore mines, and if that fails I’ll get a sniper team!!!!
If that doesn’t work–does anyone remember a song entitled: They’re Coming To Take Me Away, HA HA, HO HO, HEE HEE?