Sir Gopher Getter

You can take the kid out of the country but,

I was raised as a farm kid, never did get the taste of cow crap washed out of my mouth. So when I sold our home of twenty years and went into retirement, running into an old enemy was not a culture shock. I found a small rental property and decided the back yard mine field could be revived into a fine lawn with time, which I was going to have a lot of. The previous tenant had large dogs and the poor yard was the battle ground of the dogs versus the gophers. I found out later on that there were two of the evil dirt devils.

First thing I did was to repair the huge cavities in the yard that was left over from a neurotic dog or dogs who went through the yard on a rampage like a tribe of unholy heathens. I trucked in fifteen five gallon buckets of dirt that I hand loaded into my pickup and hauled home. To do this properly I should have rented a D-9 caterpillar and flattened all the mounds of dirt smooth first. But that was a bit drastic and not only costly, it would be over the top. So, I just started filling holes and trenches where the dogs had launched their futile attack on those devious little rodents which resulted in tearing up the back yard.

This is a nice neighborhood where I am now, several folks trim their lawns with a pair of scissors it seems. Lucky for me, the gopher damage was behind a fence and unfortunately it seems, the only yard on this side of the canal that had gophers. On the outer edges of this subdivision, it is still a small bit rural but not the stink producing, bellowing atmosphere it once was. Mostly now the area nearby is simple pasture. That’s where those damn gophers came from, relatives of them anyway, they moved int the suburbs.

Once I got the holes filled up, I tried to mow the lumpy lawn, which was like spreading butter on the back of a toad with a knife, I could have made the lawn look better with a weed eater! There was already evidence of one prolific gopher on one side of the yard as it was, and that one was ambitious. Seemed like every morning there was another new mound in the yard.

As an eight year old kid, I trapped gophers for a living, I caught them in a wooden box trap and whacked off their tails for which I would get a nickle. Soda pop at the train station in town was only ten cents and once a week I got my treat, which I paid for myself. Wouldn’t have to beg mom to get me one, I had my own money. That worked out well, until I got this idea of cutting the short tails in two, that went about three steps with the farmer who was paying me five cents per tail, dad stopped me right there. Had to work twice as hard paying him back with extra gopher duty, which I did.

With that still strong in my mind, I started out in the back yard with that same type of wooden box trap thinking I was going to rid my yard of the pest quietly and completely. That was a joke, all I got was a box full of dirt and no gopher! After several different approaches I tried something else, smoke bombs. Yeah now I’m gonna get ya. If you do this, read the directions first, it saves you money. Put them in the hole first, then light them! Putting in the lit end will result in smothering the flamed end and it becomes useless, no smoke and no dead gopher as I found out. I read the instructions on the package, open the hole, shove the smoke bomb inside and light it. Smoke starts rolling out and I gently cover the hole without smothering the stick, which by the way was the last one I had in the package. That stopped the mound making on that side of the yard, I was cooking with gas now!

Suddenly I discover that I now have two gophers instead of just one. This one is on the opposite side of the yard and he is just as bad as the other one. I was not confident with the gas treatment with the other one, there were too many tunnels for the gas to work I thought, I was going to try poison on this one. Another failure, no results, just more mounds. I contacted several local feed store outlets for advice, and found out there is a huge variety of methods to dispose of the mighty gopher, seventy five percent I had already tried. I finally decided on using a different type of trap, a metal one. The hole I uncovered was big enough to stick my fist into, and I stuck the trap way inside like the instructions said. Within fifteen minutes, I had him, the last one. Three months now and I am still gopher free!

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