Is the fight with the Groundhog finally over?

Ever since we moved to our new home, I have been seeing a ground hog in the back yard. Groundy, as he was recently called by Vikas, comes out whenever the sun is up and bright and chews away at the grass like the voracious eater he is. I, as a new home owner, panicked at first. I researched on how to get rid of the ground hogs. Some suggested ‘exterminators’ – those paid, certified professional who setup a trap and in a week or two, the ground hog is caught and they take it away. Some of those I telephoned explained in detailed how humane they are compared to others in their killing. One woman called me and quoted for not only means of killing the hog, but also for setting up a fence so that we don’t have a problem in the future. The bill – about $1300. I made sure I didn’t call her back. We finally contracted a pest control agency in Norristown to do the job. The guy comes in and sets up a trap. It is the most simple trap anyone can ever setup. He took about 45 minutes surveying the property after we had told him where the ground hog had dug its tunnel. He also setup some red flags as a warning – a requirement by some agency to warn of a trap; not that the trap itself is highly visible even to the most short-sighted person. He then went away.

Now it was our turn to watch the trap for signs of the trapping. A week passed and the groundhog wasn’t seen. We got excited thinking the problem is over. But when we looked at the trap, there was nothing there. After two weeks, not much progress. The ‘exterminator’ never bothered to call and check. So we called him. He said not to worry.

Two days later he visited our property, knocked on the door and said he had caught the ground hog. He left us an invoice. Very suspicious, we thought. The bill was $200 – not bad compared to the huge bill from the ‘exterminess’. After a week later, we saw the groundhog on the property chewing in his usual happy way! We argued if it was a different one; in the end, we both felt it was the same one. We let the winter pass by. I had covered the hole with stones. Groundy had moved too, to the back of the yard.

This March, we saw Groundy again. Vikas said he had sighted two of them. Not wanting the family to multiply, I was set on solving the problem myself. I read hours together on the Internet. I read noise would keep these away. So I looked for creative ways to create noise – like those chimes. I looked for spinning wheels but couldn’t find one that could withstand bad weather.

Finally, I read someone suggesting the super bubble gum attracts the groundhogs and they get killed eating them. My practice of Ahimsa was taking a practical direction. After all, Lord Krishna went to war to save the Pandavas and the people from the evils of the Kauravas, right? You need to take action when it is required – even if it means violence. I spent $2.50 and got a pack of super double bubble gums. I spread these around the edges of the property and some in between. Seems to have done the trick! I have not seen Groundy or his partner for 4-5 days, even though the weather has been gorgeous this Memorial weekend. Sometimes the KISS principle works very well.

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