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Gopher Trapping Information

Basic Gopher Trapping Procedure

Step 1. Use a long screwdriver or other suitable metal rod to probe the earth around the freshest gopher mounds and feel for the "give" where the probe penetrates an underground tunnel.  Most tunnels are located 4 to 8 inches deep, though they may be deeper in some conditions.  Probe around the perimeter of the freshest mounds, or probe along a transect between the freshest mounds.


Note that on sloping ground, tunnels will almost always be located on the uphill side of the gopher mounds. 


Step 2.  Once tunnel has been located, dig out a 6 to 8 inch plug of turf or simply dig a hole down to the tunnel, and remove any loose dirt from the tunnel.    We use a tool called a "hori hori knife", but any good quality trowell or small spade will work well. 


Step 1.  Locate underground tunnel with probe

Step 3.   Set gopher traps according to trap setting instructions, and slide set traps, tines first, into the tunnel openings.  If you dig your hole into the side of a tunnel, then you will have two tunnel openings in your hole, and you must set a trap in each of them.  If you happen to dig into the end of a tunnel, then you will have only one tunnel opening showing in the hole you dig, and you need only set a single trap.  Set traps should be slid into the tunnel opening so that the entire trap is within the tunnel. 



Step 2. Dig down to tunnel to allow for placement of traps


Some trappers place peanut butter or other bait behind the traps (on the trap spring or on the side of the tunnel near where the spring is) as an attractant, though traps will work without bait.  Finally, block off behind the traps by replacing the plug of turf you dug out, or by placing a dirt clod or other object over tunnel openings behind set traps.

We recommend leaving traps set until next day before checking, though gophers are often caught in traps within a few hours.

We recommend rinsing dirt off the traps between uses because dirt can make trap triggers less sensitive.  Gophers are not deterred by human scent on the traps, nor are they deterred by the scent of prior trap occupants on the trap, and no special cleaning is required. 

This video shows basic gopher trapping techniques including locating tunnels and placing traps. 

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