How to spot a groundhog in interesting terrain?

Discussion in 'Varminter & Hunting Forum' started by Damon555, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. K22

    K22

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    First - find the holes then plan your approach strategy. Make sure the holes are active - you can tell by either freshly dug out soil especially this time of year or bugs around the hole or no debris inside the hole. To find the holes may mean getting inside the tree line and searching for their holes - usually the holes are close to the edge of the tree line. No holes - no ghogs!

    I try to set up about 200 yards from the center of a tree line where I know there are active holes. One of the reasons I use a shooting stick and portable chair is so I have a higher field of view and can survey more area which give me more opportunity for shots.

    If the distances don't warrant a center fire rifle from a sporting point of view then use a 22 rim fire or 17 HMR if you have one. I use to hunt exclusively with a pistol (357 magnum) in Western PA where the terrain was such that it was easy to stalk within 50 yards if you knew where the holes were. Talk about a challenge and fun - this was the ultimate. Still do it on occasion but it's rare because the places I hunt now are fairly open and quite honestly I'm not that good with handgun anymore and I don't want to wound them.

    I still do a lot of stalking with a rifle - it's a challenge and fun. As I mentioned above, I use a shooting stick and small portable chair as aid shooting aids which enables me to set up within a minute of spotting a ghog. While nothing is absolute in stalking ghogs - they are very alert and wary - here are few techniques I've used that work a lot of the time:

    1. Walk slowly in a straight line towards them. When they stand and survey the area - freeze. I've used this method to stalk within 200 yards of them.

    2. Stalk while they are feeding in a crawler position.

    3. Stalking works best when the hay is high.

    4. Even if spooked they will sometimes run to the hole and pause and may give you a shot if you can set up slowly and quickly.

    5. If spooked at the start of their feeding cycle and run into their hole they will often re-emerge. If its at the ending of their feeding cycle - forget it - move on. You can sometimes tell whether it's the beginning or ending of the cycle by how far away they are from the hole and the direction they are working - if working back to the hole it usually means they are near the end of the cycle. If they are standing at the edge of the tree line surveying the area it usually means that are searching for threats before entering the feeding area - this is good.

    6. The best method for stalking is to travel to known hole areas by using the terrain to conceal your advance - this works almost all the time.

    Good hogging
     
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  2. Rdlningcltchdmpr

    Rdlningcltchdmpr Silver $$ Contributor

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    Who is kenny logins? Logins and masina ?
     
  3. misfire

    misfire

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    I hunt them a little different than everyone else. I tend to spot them from my truck or side by side then drive around the field to the other side till I have a good clear shot. Mind you my situation is a little different I hunt eight Farms with a total of 6000 Acres and have a lot of ground to cover.
    Normal shots are 300 to 500 yards but I normally back my side by side or truck into a fence row and shoot from the roof which is legal here to gain that little bit more elevation. A good pair of binoculars or spotting scope and a good rangefinder are an absolute necessity.
    Varmint hunting is more addictive than deer hunting have fun.
     
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  4. C.E.Smith043

    C.E.Smith043 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Ive taken my weedeater out with me about 4-5 days before i hunt and cut down a couple large areas for them to hang out in. You can also place a couple straw or hay bales [square bales] near the weedeat areas and they will gladly jump atop of them to get a good vantage point.
     
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  5. Rustytigwire

    Rustytigwire Gold $$ Contributor

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    Pretty sneaky and great idea for the hay bales. I didnt know the Sooner state had those! Only lived here near 50 years!!
    Alfalfa county?? Lol
    Tom
     
  6. C.E.Smith043

    C.E.Smith043 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Ottawa county. Don't have a huge abundance but do have a few here and there.
     
  7. okie

    okie Gold $$ Contributor

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    yeah--caddyshack movie--might be a gopher but Im so juvenile I cant watch it without laughing--youtube it.
     
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  8. okie

    okie Gold $$ Contributor

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    McCurtain--seen 3 total in 45 years. 2 dead in highway. Saw first live one 2 summers ago --had a den in a scrap metal pile. I think coyotes got him eventually. rare here.
     
  9. C.E.Smith043

    C.E.Smith043 Gold $$ Contributor

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    I normally get 7-12 per year. Some years more, some years less. The most difficult thing for me is, most of the groundhogs i find are in and around houses or barns and somewhat close to town. I normally use a 17hmr for most of my shooting.
     
  10. okie

    okie Gold $$ Contributor

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    thats neat--I think we are too wet for them?? got 84 inches in 18!
     
  11. Rustytigwire

    Rustytigwire Gold $$ Contributor

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    My yard. Pocket gophers. House gonna drop about a foot one day.
     
  12. K22

    K22

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    Yea, I've seen them crawl up on fallen logs and even one climb a small tree to get a vantage point to survey the area. One of farms where I hunt there are high voltage towers running through the fields and they often climb on the concrete pillars at the base to get a look.

    Never thought about using a weed eater - it would work real great around the holes when the hay is high except I hate the thought of carrying one around plus the farmer will think I finally lost it mentally.;)

    Yours truly, Groundhog Addict.
     
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  13. T 700

    T 700 Silver $$ Contributor

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    The main entrance to there den will have a large mound of dirt, the other holes around it with no dirt are escape holes, usually all the holes connect under ground.

    ground hogs usually get there water from the plants they eat so early morning and late evening are best times I've found for shooting them, but I have shot them at all times of the day, also keep a watch on a den that you shot one as other will move in, I shot one while it was dragging another out I had shot the day before! And if I had a choice between hunting ground hogs or deer for rest of my life it would be ground hogs all the way!!!

    I know this sounds crazy but I have set all day waiting for one shot on a hog that was rarely seen out, so be patient, shoot straight and most of all have a good time!
     
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  14. Tim s

    Tim s

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    The dirt deal is easy. A chuck will burrow a tunnel network, the hole with the dirt pile is where he started in and likely pushed dirt from his living space/parlor. Usually the will have one, maybe two, back doors and the tunnel ends where they come out pushing dirt behind him till he breaks through.
     
  15. Lone Hunter

    Lone Hunter Silver $$ Contributor

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    People don't think that they climb trees but I've shot several out of trees. They really like to den under dilapidated sheds and buildings. I'm almost to the point that I would rather hunt varmints than deer. It sure is a heck of a lot easier to get permission to hunt varmints than it is deer. Not near the work after shooting the varmints vs the deer either.
     
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  16. 284winner

    284winner Gold $$ Contributor

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    Absolutely. 80% glassing, 20% shooting. It's just how it is.
     
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  17. 284winner

    284winner Gold $$ Contributor

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    Certainly get alot more shooting in as well. For me, that's the name of the game
     
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  18. K22

    K22

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    Yea, many farms where I hunt welcome ghog hunters but if you ask to hunt deer and they bulk. But I'd rather hunt ghogs anyway although there isn't quite anything like taking a 12 point.
     
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  19. rebel

    rebel Gold $$ Contributor

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    I use my bionic eye......
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Webster

    Webster

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    I always liked to sit at a high location and just glass the field for hours. When your sitting at a place in the field don't make fast movements or stand up. Also liked a high location for safety and you can see over the grass. A high location should give you a good ground backstop. Shooting uphill is more dangerous. I never stalked they see the movement. Because of the shape of your field you may have to move a couple times. A couple after noons at the field will give you an idea of the GH population. Your lucky the grass is short. Sometimes the dens are not in the open field. They may be just inside the tree line. Dens in the open field can usually be seen. Depended on the terrain you may want to sit in the shade of the tree line. It also makes it harder for them to see you. Looks like it may not be more than 150 yrds. for most shots so you have to be carefull about movement. Even going from laying down to sitting up they may catch the movement.
     
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