Woodchucks are a common farm and garden pest. Their love for home-grown vegetables is well known - to the chagrin of those hoping to harvest what they have worked so hard to produce. Woodchucks are fairly large animals and are related to the squirrel family. Their diet is generally herbaceous. They will eat quite a variety of foods such as lettuce, spinach, green beans, peas, squash, zucchini and cucumbers. They are known to eat berries as well.
Woodchucks will commonly nest underground beneath homes or sheds. Being a large animal, the opening is anywhere from 4 or 5 inches to as much as 8 or 9 inches in diameter.
The first thing to try is a repellent. Critter Ridder is a natural product that can be used for production of organic food. This product contains a variety of different pepper related products that works by both taste and touch. Critter Ridder can be used to keep woodchucks from doing damage to garden flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Next and most commonly, people will set up live trap for these animals such as the Havahart #1079 Professional Cage Trap TM . Suggested bait for trapping includes fresh green vegetables such as spinach, green beans, lettuce, etc. or slices of apple. It is recommended that the trapped animal be transported at least 10 miles from its normal habitat. Note that many state and local governments regulate trapping of wild/nuisance animals - you may want to check with local authorities first.
Finally, If a woodchuck is living in an opening which is not directly next to a home, it is possible to use smoke "bombs" containing sulfur as the toxicant, to kill the woodchuck underground. This product, is much like a large match. When burned, it creates sulfur dioxide smoke for a few minutes. The cartridge-shaped (about 1" diameter) product is placed into the burrow opening and is covered with dirt and rocks. The sulfur dioxide created by the burning cartridge kills the animal in its burrow. The product we sell for this purpose is called The Giant Destroyer.
Although it might seem appealing, fencing this animal out is virtually impossible as they can dig under the fence.
Caution should be observed in dealing with woodchucks as they are capable of carrying rabies. Normally, woodchucks are fearful of humans. If you see a woodchuck that is not acting normally and is approaching you, be sure to avoid contact with it.
If you need further information, it is available through your local county Cooperative Extension office within the United States.
The Bug Clinic is here to provide you with free, friendly advice. In addition, we offer the products mentioned above for sale on line at our web store or by calling us. We may be reached at 800-433-1128 or 845-356-2837 weekdays between 8 am and 4 pm ET. You may send us a fax at 845-746-9018 or you can send us E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.