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Should I ever poison a groundhog?

The answer is no! Groundhogs, while being somewhat cute and very popular in American movies and culture, can be quite the pests. They are known for digging under structures, tearing up beautiful landscaping, and especially known for destroying gardens. Groundhogs, much like rabbits and squirrels, can breed very quickly in the spring, and if you get one, there are usually more to follow. While putting up better fencing and scaring these creatures out of your yard may help, sometimes they just manage to outsmart you. If you find yourself feeling like Bill Murray in Caddyshack, you have a couple of choices.

If the easiest route is the most desirable, call a professional pest control company. They know all the tricks, they have the right permits, and will have the problem fixed in just a few days, if not less. However, this method is usually a lot more costly, so if the budget is your deciding factor, you may want to consider trapping the groundhog yourself.

Before you just go out a buy a trap though, consider what you are going to do with the animal once you catch it. While some states do have relocation areas for wildlife, most states do not. In fact, most states only allow you to trap and kill an animal, not relocate it. Check with your state’s wildlife and fisheries department to verify your state’s laws. Sometimes, the department will send someone out (like Animal Control) to help you handle the problem.

If you find yourself planting cantaloupe inside a cage over a groundhog hole, it means that you’re prepared to kill the animal you trap. While there are a few options to humanely kill a groundhog, there are also a few options that are not good options. One option that should be entirely off the table is poisoning the groundhog. Although this may seem like the easiest, fastest, and most hands-off way to kill a groundhog, it is actually very dangerous. For one, you have to use a fair amount of poison to kill an animal quickly.

In addition, you can’t guarantee that the animal that crosses your trap is going to be the guilty groundhog. You also run the risk of an animal walking through your cage, trailing the poison out of the cage, and back to their den or around other animals. You would be responsible for the death of other animals that aren’t tearing up your yard. Poison can also seep into the ground if it rains, and is very dangerous to handle. As a good rule of thumb, never use poison to kill a groundhog, there can be irreparable damage.
Go back to the Nassau County Wildlife Control home page.