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Breaking News! (Woodchuck Variety)

Regular readers will remember that the woodchuck situation was driving the G Dude nuts and Weatherdude wasn't far behind him. And that they set out a trap we once borrowed (and never returned). And that they caught a young or lady woodchuck. And that G Dude relocated it. Up to speed, are we?

Mayhem in the barn continued. Because, of course, the bachelor woodchuck was still living there. I've lived with him for several years now and I'm quite used to him. We had reached a certain detente, especially once G Dude repaired the bottom of the barn this spring to keep him out of the run. Which was all about keeping other predators from using the woodchuck's access, frankly. Woodchucks are herbivores.

With two of them in residence, matters were getting out of hand. Hence the trap, which still strikes me as something of a Dude solution to a problem. A "Havahart" trap or some such nonsense where the animal is not maimed, though they get frantic and hurt themselves if you leave them in the cage too long.

Last night the Dude called me down to the barn at 8pm. There in the cage (it's only taken about 3 weeks) was a Very Large Rodent with Very Large Front Teeth. He must have weighed 25-30 pounds and the cage was in danger of falling apart when he was lifted. Which action made him frantic. Which made the cage even more precarious. My bachelor woodchuck, up close and personal. (Sorry, no photos. He wouldn't sign the release form.)

But a treed 'chuck looks like this:

We piled the family in the car and took him "to school" as Weatherdude said. Across the road are the remnants of Virginia's largest dairy farm, now the property of the local school district. E's elementary school is here and they plan to build more on the acres and acres of open land. But by the time they do, my bachelor will have lived out his life. There's an old barn there. It might make him feel at home. Or not. When released, he was last seen making a bee-line due west. Back to our place.

But Nature abhors a vacuum, so G Dude is now planning to fill the more obnoxious holes with gravel and dirt to discourage new tenants. Or old ones, should they reappear.

Frog Out

PS G Dude stopped by Animal Control last week. He found out it's illegal to trap and relocate a woodchuck more than a mile away. The school is within that limit, so we're clear. The reason given? Because otherwise they won't know how to survive. Huh? Dig a hole. Eat grass. Be a woodchuck.

However, it's NOT illegal to trap and kill a woodchuck. Humanely. Suggested methods? Drowning or electrocution. Which are hardly humane in my book. But here's the image...release the offending 'chuck into your bathtub and fill with water. Toss in a (cheap) hairdryer, plugged in and turned on. Now does that sound humane? I think it's just a discussion of how to maintain meat integrity, myself. For that woodchuck stew I'm sure they know how to make somewhere around here. Staying up in that tree might not be such a bad idea.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 14th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
I have a funny feeling that woodchuck will be back...
Aug. 15th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)
More than a mile away -- with my experience in ecosystem science I can tell exactly how they came up with that. What they wanted to do was make a regulation that said you couldn't relocate it to biome inappropriate for woodchuck survival. But regulations have to be simplistic, so some administrator decided to make it 1 mile.

I can guarantee you that there are wildlife biologists shaking their heads over that one.
Aug. 15th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
Ok, now I'm laughing because we've got miles and miles and miles of prime woodchuck biome out this way. I guess the regulation should have said you can't relocate them to anywhere with a higher population density than the one you removed them from and within, oh, say, 100 square miles!!!

G Dude selected a perfect woodchuck biome (or so he says, but he also bought a new hairdryer recently) where he/she wouldn't disturb horses but was on a dirt road with lots of farmland. Maybe 5 miles away at most.

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )