The 30 foot Woodchuck
Have you ever seen a 30 foot long woodchuck?
Well, read on...
(pictures may be added soon?)
Last year we decided to plant a small field
of Sunflowers. It wasn't too long after that when we found out that our resident
woodchuck loved to eat Sunflower plants. Apparently more than anything else.
And he ate them all! There were also a few small woodchucks, but luckily for
us, they wound up more as dog food than field restaurateurs. We did manage to
finally catch the big one though and took him for a long drive over to some
state land where we thought he would live happily ever after. Maybe he did,
or maybe he came back?
This year we decided to plant a lot more Sunflowers just in case we had a similar problem. We prepared a larger field and were armed with all that experience now, and a good trap! We circled the field with strings, reflective "bird tape" and even used bird netting along the ground to try to keep our old friend out. Well, I suppose he had a lot more experience too... Nothing stopped him. He made his way over, under and around the bird netting and wasn't bothered by the reflective tape at all. Then we tried inflatable owls, rubber snakes and one of those big eyed balloons hanging around the middle of the field. All this time we had the trap set with all kinds of tasty food inside. All we got out of all that work was an amused, well fed woodchuck! And on top of that, he found a girlfriend across the road by a small creek. I would see him racing across the road now and then to meet her. I guess he would stay the night because I never did see him come back?
We did see his handy work though. It sure didn't take him long to eat every single one of our Sunflower plants. And we're talkin a good 2500 plants here! He not only ate the Sunflowers, but as he munched his way through the field, the ones that started to grow back became "seconds" for his dinner. We tried everything to get rid of this pest short of shooting him. Unfortunately, he lives in a luxurious "woodchuck condo", a large pile of dirt and tree debris that dates back well before we owned this place. It's so scary in there that I've never managed to explore or remove it. Apparently it suits the woodchuck just fine though. And he's smart enough now to stay away from the dogs and us. Forget the traps and balloons as they've just become amusements for him. Every day on the morning walk with the dogs I'd see another whole section of plants missing. I tried discussing this problem with the dogs, but that didn't seem to help either...
So now we have a large field of weeds and grass that's growing where the Sunflowers made a valiant attempt at making us and the birds happy. All encircled by strings, netting, not so shiny tape, balloons and rubber snakes. We may just give up on the idea of ever growing Sunflowers here unless someone can come up with a new idea to keep the woodchucks away from them. Maybe we'll try a root crop next year just to confuse them? Or maybe we'll just grow weeds and grass? They seem to do just fine out there...
Oh-yeah, about that woodchuck... Well, after finishing off all those Sunflower plants he decided to go visit his girlfriend across the road by the creek. Unfortunately, he was so large and fat by this time that he just couldn't quite waddle his way across the road fast enough to get out of the way of that great big truck comin over the hill... So if you take a look down a ways on the road, you'll see a 30 foot long woodchuck!
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