Evicting The Current Residents From the Property Challenge
Now that the fence posts were in the ground, we had to tackle the next big challenge . . . . and this was certainly a big one.
Since the property only housed a few horses before we bought it, the groundhogs had moved in. In case you didn't know, groundhogs live underground and make three entrances to their home. These entrances are basically holes in the ground. Holes in the ground and horses are not a good mix. If a horse should step into a hole, it could break its leg. When a horse breaks a leg, the outcome is usually fatal. This is because it would be hard to keep a horse still for a few months in order for the bone to heal. (In some cases it can be done, but it is very costly.)
We started out by driving around the acreage. When the holes were located, they were marked by placing posts in the holes so they can be easily found from a distance.
The next step was to find a way to evict these creatures. After going through a list of various ways, we decided to use the smoke bomb method. The way this method works is this:
- You locate all three entrances of the groundhog's home.
- Two of the entrances get covered, leaving only one open.
- The smoke bomb is lit and thrown down the open entrance.
- The smoke bomb smokes (hence the name smoke bomb) while the groundhog is in its home.
- Then run.
This is done during the middle of the day when the groundhogs usually sleep. Groundhogs tend to come out during the early morning hours or the evening hours to eat, when it is cool. This is how we would know the groundhog is in its hole.
Some of you may not agree with this method, but which would you rather have: a horse with a broken leg or a deceased groundhog?
Back to the story. Mid-day, we drove up to each of the holes, throwing smoke bombs down, then quickly getting into the car and taking off. It was quite a scene to watch and I am sure we had the neighbors curious to see what we were doing.
Thinking we were successful in our mission, the next day we checked the areas where the holes were. Guess what?? A few of the holes were open. Ugh!! And all that work the day before for nothing. We tried it again. This time only one set of the holes was open. This last one was difficult to rid. Each time we tried, the holes were open the next day. After about half a dozen times of doing it, I think the ground hog decided to move to a different location. (He probably tired of having to consistently open up the entrances.) The reason I say this is because I found a new set of holes, but these were at the edge of a tree line. This was acceptable for us, only because the fence line did not go that close to the tree line, therefore, the horses would not be there.
Moral of this story: Never give up and at some point an agreement can be reached . . . even if it is with a groundhog.
Brigita McKelvie is a REALTOR® (Pennsylvania License #RS297130) with Cindy Stys Equestrian & Country Properties, specializing in rural and horse properties and farms in Eastern Pennsylvania. She has an e-Pro® (Certified Internet Expert) certification and a GRI (Graduate, REALTOR® Institute) designation.
Brigita McKelvie, REALTOR
Pennsylvania License #RS297130
Rural and Horse Properties and Farms
Cindy Stys Equestrian & Country Properties, Ltd.
The Premier Equine and Country Real Estate firm serving Eastern Pennsylvania from back yard operations to world class equestrian facilities.
Use a REALTOR with "horse sense" that doesn't horse around when it comes to horse properties.