Getting rid of groundhogs effectively involves frightening groundhogs away from the homeowner's garden with motion devices; this discourages groundhogs by using repellent smells or tastes and fencing groundhogs out of the garden. More extreme methods include tossing gas cartridges into the groundhogs' burrows and trapping groundhogs as they exit their burrows.
Some states have regulations that prohibit the use of gas cartridges and live traps. Therefore, a homeowner needs to consider other methods when dealing with a groundhog problem. One such method involves installing pinwheels or other devices around garden areas to frighten groundhogs away; the movement frightens them and they flee from what they perceive to be a predator. The chances of having to deal with groundhogs can also be reduced by cutting tall grass, weeds and brush piles. If this method does not work, a homeowner can sprinkle Epsom salts on the vegetation and fruits of the garden plants to render them foul-tasting to groundhogs. An alternative to Epsom salts is ammonia, which can be applied using ammonia-soaked rags strewn along the perimeter of the garden.
When using traps to catch and relocate groundhogs, be sure to wear latex gloves when setting up the traps. Groundhogs will avoid anything with a human scent, so this step is especially important. Once the groundhog is captured, release it back into the wild at least 10 miles from the home, to make sure it does not return.
There is no scientific research stating that groundhog repellents work, but homeowners have been using them with success for years. Before buying a repellent, read the instructions and know how often to reapply, because they can wear off very quickly. These repellents do not harm the groundhog; they drive it away with an unpleasant scent.
A more permanent solution to a groundhog pest problem involves using fences, such as a chicken-wire fence. To discourage groundhogs from climbing over the fences, a homeowner should make the fences 4 feet high. The buried portion of the fence should be bent at a 90-degree angle and extend 12 inches below the surface of the soil, with the bottom of the fence pointing away from the garden to stop the groundhogs from burrowing under the fence.
Poisons should not be used to remove groundhogs. It is not a humane method and will do nothing to discourage future infestations.