Gopher Trapping

The pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius) is a burrowing rodent. He is a digging machine, his teeth never stop growing, his ears have valves he can close while digging, his hearing is poor, he has weak small eyes and his front feet have large claws. He is called a pocket gopher because of the pouches in his cheeks where he carries food. Gophers live a solitary life, tunneling underground..eating roots and surfacing to eat above ground or to pull an entire plant into their tunnel. They are a pain in the neck for farmers. An acceptable way to get rid of them is to trap them.

I learned how to trap gophers when I was just a kid. My brothers and I had a trap line..back then we got 10 to 25 cents for a pair of front feet. In Minnesota, each township can decide to put a bounty out on pocket gophers..currently I believe the bounty is $2 for a pair of front feet..inflation..

Yesterday I went along on part of the trap line that my Nephews have set..they check the traps at least once a day..with their great niece and nephews. If the sight of a dead gopher bothers you or severed should bail now..

The twins got their gear out of the truck, they explained to me, that the jelly jar was just for the feet and all the jelly was gone. Jordan has the jar, and a shovel. Gavin has the clipper.

Off we go..singing "Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts"..not really but you get the idea.

Missy setting a trap.

Hunter placing a trap. This one was at the edge of the field.

The group, working together..checking traps.

 Josh digging out a hole.

 Dead Gopher Warning..your last chance to bail..

Jordan..the chief scout..has declared that there is one in the trap.. indeed their was..a fat one too..all the kids commented on it’s fatness.

I will spare you the clippers..but the feet ended up in here..

Anna was getting tired and wanted to be was tough walking out there in the field. It has been planted with beans, a few of them are up, but not many. This is a field of certified organic beans. I had Josh call Far Guy and he came to pick me up at the edge of the road…I did less than half of the trap line. However it was an interesting diversion for a Sunday evening:)


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3 Responses to Gopher Trapping

  1. Jan says:

    Field looks really dry but I see there is irrigation. We used to shoot stripped gophers with my dad. Mother would hate it. It involved taking his pistol, driving down gravel roads, steadying your hand/pistol on the hood of the car, and shooting. Used to take the tails home. Put one foot on the gopher and pull firmly! Don’t remember if we sold them or not but I think it involved the Extension office and 4H maybe. Poor little things! They were cuter than pocket gophers. Hope we get rain this weekend like they predict.

  2. Ann says:

    Grandson loves trapping with Dave. Those feet end up in my freezer ugh!!! I asked Dave if a gopher means I get and ice cream cone?
    All most got the wagon wheel rug done.

  3. buffalogal says:

    My boys used to trap pocket gophers too and they clipped and saved the feet in a peanut butter jar in the freezer. I always forgot about that jar and would scream when opened the freezer and saw those feet. I think it was 50 cents a foot at that time so they had pocket money (pocket GOPHER money)

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