How to Catch a Live Groundhog in a Trap

Groundhogs often live under rocks, in dense brush.
Groundhogs often live under rocks, in dense brush. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Often called woodchucks, groundhogs typically live at the base of a tree, under a rock, or under a deck. They like to nibble on the clover in your yard, or a garden of lettuce you may have. A groundhog may also gnaw on fruit trees or leave large holes in your yard that you can fall info if you're not careful. If you see evidence of a groundhog, you may want to capture it live in a trap and release it into an open field. The ideal time to try to capture a groundhog is before vegetation is plentiful, which is usually March through May.

Things You'll Need

  • Live animal trap
  • Vegetables

Place apple slices, corn, lettuce, carrots or potatoes into the wild animal trap that you have purchased. Place one small piece of vegetation at the front of the opening, and the rest toward the back, so the groundhog will enter the trap.

Cover the trap with some leaves and branches to try to conceal it. Set the trap according to the directions that came with it. Adjust the trigger mechanism for the door to close with a slight amount of pressure. This may take several tries to adjust it properly.

Check the trap every couple of hours to see if it has captured a groundhog. If the animal is left in the trap for long than about three hours it may become so distraught that it will injure itself. This could necessitate killing the groundhog because it could die of infections from its injuries if it were released into the wild.

Transport captured groundhogs at least five miles away from where it was captured, or it could find its way back.

Release the groundhog in a wildlife management area or state park where it can live without harming agricultural land. Place the trap on the ground, open the door and walk away. It should come out of the trap when you're out of the area. Wait at least five minutes and go back to pick up the trap.

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