Since the drought in 2011, the gopher population has exploded and we had just about given up all hope of getting rid of them.
There are gopher mounds as far as the eye can see in nearly everyone's fields.
Then our neighbor came to us with these traps, claiming he is winning the gopher war on his property, having trapped over 400 since November. He loaned us some of his traps and showed Tom how to set them and here's how it works.
First, find a gopher mound, which is obviously no problem.
The pasture denizens were very curious about this procedure. Even the horses across the road were curiously watching.
Then scrape away the mound until you find the gopher's tunnel. You can see the beginnings of it right there in the middle of the picture.
Clear the tunnel opening.
For whatever reason, the gopher doesn't like his tunnel to be exposed, so it will soon come to repair the hole that has been cleared.
This is the trap.
I watched Tom set it by pinching it open and flipping the wires around somehow.
Slide the trap into the tunnel.
Push it in good and adjust the pin so that it is "hair triggerish".
Our neighbor showed Tom how to set the traps for the first time two days ago and there are now three fewer gophers digging up our hay field. As much as I don't want the gophers messing up our property, it still was hard for me to see them in the trap and I couldn't post the gruesome picture I took. Ew. I just hope it was a quick death.
We probably won't have to buy dog food for a while. Harry gladly disposes of the gophers for us.
So, if we (by "we", I mean "Tom") set several traps a day, it should just take about a half an hour a day to empty and reset them, which is way better than hours of truck idling and hose dragging.
Looks like this is going to be part of Tom's daily routine for the coming months.