Between passively irrigating, hand removing Japanese beetles, weeding and just observing the evening happenings in the garden, it is a prime time to multitask by listening to an audiobook.
Consequentially, the day after capturing the image of ravaged clover published in yesterday’s post, I was doing just as stated above. I was mesmerized by activities of mantises and massive red wasps feeding on the buckwheat nectar. Suddenly in my peripheral vision I noticed the buckwheat moving unnaturally. The manner of movement was too much to align with the movement that has allowed me to find the large mantises. But my natural instinct to freeze and observe took over.
Not more than ten feet away, from the 4 wide swath of waist high buckwheat stepped a large groundhog. I slipped out the opposite end of the garden. I returned with my rifle just in time to see the ground hog slip under the earth into its burrow.
I hate killing anything unless it is for food. I had called the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries wildlife conflict line who warned of the dangers that groundhogs pose. A single groundhog can wipe out a garden in a single night while their borrows can injure livestock, damage farm equipment and compromise the structural integrity of buildings. Burrows are commonly 20 feet long underground!
The VDG&IF also responded with another warning to my questions regarding capturing the animal in a live trap: it’s illegal to relocate or release a trapped wild animal in the state of Virginia. In stead they informed that I have permission to eliminate any furbearing wild animal from squirrel up to coyote.
In bittersweet fashion at least the mystery of my clover destruction is solved even if the problem itself is not.