Friday, March 6, 2009

Good girl, Emma!

Geomys bursarius (deceased) and mementos of his presence

Last night right at dusk Emma was growling and whining at the front door. This is unusual for her as she usually just barks when there is an alleged intruder or she wants to get my attention. This was different. Not wanting for her to tie into three or four over-bold coyotes (though I think she's quite up to it), I stepped out on the deck for a a moment alone and looked around. Nothing, so I let her out and returned to cooking a bite to eat.

After a few minutes I went back to check on her and she was standing over something and worrying it. I went to see what it was and found she had caught and killed a pocket gopher. Great, since the little bastards have been making the WWI battlefield out of my so-called front yard. I told her how great she was and she got the idea. I have no idea how she caught it, as they very rarely leave their burrows, and only then to push up the mounds of dirt and sand they have excavated since their last surfacing. However she did it, she gets the Gopher Medal with Prickly Pear Clusters.

Pocket gophers are about a foot long, including the tail. This one weighed a pound, maybe a squinch more. They have prodigious teeth and digging claws. The mounds in the picture above are about 8" high and 24" in diameter and are a major PIA.

One down, and a GSP on the job!


Anonymous said...

We just have moles here. My dogs kill them though they are harmless enough. I guess dogs like to hunt as much as people do.

Rio Arriba said...

Pocket gophers do a lot of damage. They shut down my phone for a week last summer, and can chew into propane and even underground electric lines.

My experience with GSP's re gophers/marmots/groundhogs is that they are plain out stone-killers. My first GSP, a well-trained dog, would NOT be called off a groundhog and got torn up on a couple of occasions. But you shoulda seen the groundhog-- or what was left of it.

Gophers are such a nuisance out here that they make tractor-mounted gopher units that plow a little trench and plant poison on an almost industrial scale. I won't use poison cuz of my dogs.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Air rifle is the answer. Get the Pre-charged Pneumatic ones though because they are really really quiet.

You can get your own varmint hunting on in your own front yard any time you want.

Rio Arriba said...

Thanks for the tip, ONNY. But there is no need for such quiet here. I've got no near neighbors and can shoot anything at anytime. But these guys only come up to deposit their tunnel diggings occasionally, and when they do they expose themselves for only a split second at a time. Trench warfare! As I said on a much earlier post here. Shooting them isn't really a viable option.

Bob@thenest said...

If Emma would like to vacation in my area, please let me know. THere are 2 feral cats that think my triple bird feeder is a dinner table of avian fare. Tried traps but they both laid down beside them and I swear there was a sneer on their faces.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Boy! I'd camp out on your porch/deck/patio just to shoot those suckers. I'm unemployed right now, so it's not like I have anything to do that's pressing (besides looking for a job)...heh.

What if you plugged up all holes, except for two that are the farthest apart, funnel smoke into one end and see if they come popping out from the other end. Would be easy pickings then.

Red said...

BIG mouse trap with a small piece of green pepper. The moles and voles down south love the peppers. Don't know what them gophers would think though.

Rio Arriba said...

You mean they're Mexican? Dang, I never thought of that!