Setting Live Traps for Mammalian Garden Pests

| 8/29/2016 9:33:00 AM


Setting a live trap for groundhog, with metal stake to hold the trap firm and bait wedged behind to lure animal deep inside. 

Mammalian garden pests can do serious damage to your crops in a short period of time. Whether it’s rabbits reducing your lettuce, raccoons rampaging in the sweet corn, or groundhogs gorging on greenery, a furry invader with a taste for produce must be stopped. Preventative measures, such as fences or guard animals, should be the first line of defense.

My wife and I always prefer to create a situation that keeps an animal from being a problem — this is generally less stressful for both us and the wildlife. However, preventative measures sometimes fail, and once a critter gets a taste of fresh produce, it becomes much harder to deter. Sooner or later, most gardeners in our wildlife-rich world will decide that it is time to trap an invader and remove it from temptation.

Humane live traps, such as those made by Havahart, are a practical answer to this situation, but outwitting the animal can also be frustrating. Here are a few tips from our experience battling mammalian marauders.

Locate the Trap Along Known Routes

Live traps will be more effective if the intended animal is sure to encounter them. Look for established paths or areas where you know the critter has been moving. For example, seek out a hole in your fence that they’ve pushed through, an entrance to a burrow, or a well-worn path to and from the garden.

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