Ways to Kill a Groundhog

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Killing the groundhog should be a last resort when dealing with this animal. Even though they cause so many problems to your yard and garden, there are better, humane ways to get rid of them like live trapping, exclusion, home repairs and fencing.

When you do want to kill your nuisance groundhog, carefully select the best out of the available methods for your circumstances. You should also be informed and take the right precautions when hunting groundhogs down so that you don’t incur a bigger problem in the process.

The use of poison is an inhumane way to kill an animal as the poisoned animal is likely to experience a slow and painful death. Poisons use different mechanisms to kill groundhogs for instance, and these are marked with symptoms like internal bleeding, convulsions, loss of muscle control, suffocation etc. The end result of all these, after varying time lapses is death.

Most of these poisons are harmful to humans as well, and must thus be handled with care and only by enlightened personnel. Another problem associated with poisons is that other untargeted animals may be killed when they come across and consume the bait. There is rarely a way to restrict the poison to the intended recipient. Even household pets are not immune from this, and sometimes children too.

After killing a groundhog by poison, there then arises the issue of the foul smell of a dead animal. This odour even serves to attract other critters to the site and if it is not well taken care of, it could mean more problems for the home owner.

Natural poisons: Mole plants and castor beans are natural poisons that can be used to kill groundhogs by dropping them into burrows; if the groundhog consumes them, it dies. They can hurt children and pets as well, so caution must be taken when using them.

Other poisons include Yellow fly baits crystal, strychnine and methyl bromide. They are all deadly substances that can induce slow and painful death in the groundhog. Poisonous gas cartridge, which contains carbon monoxide, can also be used by sealing all entrance into the burrow and then drop it into the burrow. The groundhog inside the burrow will definitely die.

If you live in a rural environment, you may consider killing groundhogs by shooting them, but it proves to be a risky activity in urban settings, and it is prohibited in some areas. Riffle, B.B gun or crossbow are firearms all capable of killing groundhogs. Aiming and successfully killing a groundhog requires great skill to pull off because these animals rarely stay still. It will also be difficult to kill more than one groundhog by shooting except you are a hitman. If you are able to, shooting is a humane way to kill a groundhog as the animal will die instantly or without suffering much.

Lethal trapping
Lethal trapping is another sure way of killing a groundhog. Setting of lethal traps proves difficult some times, but if you are able to set it correctly, you will definitely kill your groundhog. Understand the user manual before you commence setting the trap, or simply hire an expert to handle it for you properly. A body grip trap is set by digging a hole inside the groundhog’s active tunnel and watching for the groundhog to walk into it. Conibear and BMI body grip trap are some examples of lethal traps.

Another kind of lethal trap is set at the entrance of the burrow and will be triggered when the groundhog ventures out of the tunnel. Since there are usually more than one hole leading out of a burrow, it advisable to set a trap over each hole to increase your chances of trapping the critter.

Before going on to kill a groundhog, you should consider the matter of where and how to dispose of the carcass. It must be properly disposed of and there are laws guiding this in several states. Contact your local wildlife department to know what is acceptable in your area.

In conclusion, the process of killing a groundhog is plagued by issues and possible problems, and unappealing consequences on end. Instead of killing, take the humane path and just fence them out, exclude them or trap and relocate them.

How to Kill a Groundhog in the Yard

Dealing with pest animals can be hugely frustrating at the best of times, but with groundhogs they will often decimate a vegetable crop if they find their way into the garden, and it is a natural reaction to want to deal with the creature as swiftly as possible. There are several different ways that you can use to kill a groundhog, but it is also worth noting that this kind of approach also comes with a range of other problems you will need to deal with.

Do You Really Need To Kill The Animal?

When it comes to killing a groundhog, the first thing to bear in mind is that you will need to deal with the animal's carcass, because if you leave the animal to rot then it will attract a larger number and more unpleasant pest animals attracted by the smell of carrion. You also need to remember that disposing of the carcass requires precautions, as the body will still have parasites and ticks that can transmit disease,and you will need to be careful about how you dispose of the body. Relocation is an option that really should be consider where possible, as it is cleaner and of course kinder to the animal.

Lethal Traps

Trapping is one way to deal with a groundhog problem, and lethal traps are usually sturdy metal traps of the body grip variety that quickly crush the animal to death. These can sometimes be quite tricky to set, so be careful, and make sure that you place these traps directly over the hole the animal uses to get in and out of the burrow.


If you are living in a rural area and have access to a rifle, then you can choose to use shooting as a way to deal with a pest groundhog. Bear in mind that you will often need to be patient, as it can take some time to wait for the animal to come out, and they are also particularly shy. Make sure you shoot the animal in the head to deliver an effective kill.


This is one option that you should never choose as a solution to a pest animal problem, and groundhogs are another species that you shouldn't poison. Poison is an indiscriminate killer that can often hurt other animals such as cats or dogs, or can even be harmful to children if they get there before the groundhog does.

How to Kill a Groundhog in a Cage

If you are using a cage trap in order to catch a groundhog, then one of the steps that you will need to take is to decide whether or not you will need to kill the animal once it has been trapped. There are several different ways that this can be achieved, but it is also worth checking to see if your state or county allows for relocation of pest animals, as dealing with a carcass is not a pleasant job. It is also worth looking for the ways that will allow you to deal with the groundhog without causing any damage to the cage trap so that it is reusable.


This is quite a humane way of disposing of the groundhog, as it shouldn't feel any pain, and can essentially be achieved by putting an airtight cover around the whole cage, and then connecting the opening to a supply of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, isoflurane or sevoflurane. The animal does seem to die a quick and relatively painless death, although there is an ongoing debate about whether this is truly humane.


A shot to the head will kill a groundhog as quickly and easily as it will kill any other animal or person, but you will need to check to see if you can discharge a firearm in your area, as this is only usually permissible in rural areas. Although a humane option, be careful as this can sometimes damage the trap itself.


Some people may view this as a simple way of dealing with the groundhog, but it is definitely an option to be avoided as it is terribly cruel and is likely to cause the animal significant distress before it dies.


This is another option that should not be considered, as it will often mean the animal will die a painful and elongated death that will sometimes end with terrible dehydration and crippling pain. This is not a good option to use whether you have already caught the animal or you are trying to kill a groundhog.

Alternative Ways Of Dealing With The Groundhog

Having already gone to the effort of catching the groundhog in the cage, most people will find that it makes more sense to relocate the animal rather than killing it. Check to make sure this is permitted in your area, then look for a spot on the edge of a woodland at least ten miles away from your home.

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