There have always been woodchuck holes in two locations outside my cedar fenced yard, and just about every year the young chucks make forays into the yard by digging under the fence, and were either dispatched or driven off by Sol, and before him, Caddie and Kenji, my previous basenji's. Often they would stand and fight instead of running, with the inevitable result a dead woodchuck.
This year the two young chucks decided on a cleverer plan--- long tunnels coming up in the midst of shrubs, sunchokes and even the raspberry patch! From these they make quick runs into nearby plantings, with a hole close by to escape to if discovered by the dog.
I found each hole by searching near each area of destruction. For example-- the pea patch by the sunchokes suddenly looked like this one morning:
The woodchucks had torn down the vines and eaten all of the tender tips. I found the hole neatly hidden in a six foot tall stand of sunchokes, filled it in, and put a cinder block on top:
I have found three holes, including the one by the potatoes that I mentioned in my video. Sol has made this spot his new vantage point for guarding the yard:
I appreciate his effort, but at 12 years old his best days of woodchuck hunting may be behind him.
My latest strategy is to put floating row cover over the chuck's recent favorites, including my burgundy beans-- they nipped back the tops a couple of days age. And to think I spent all winter planning how to deal with bean and cucumber beetles, not woodchucks!
But I try to keep a sense of humor about this epic battle with the woodchucks, and to enjoy the July bounty of the gardens, especially everything in the tomato family -- including potatoes and peppers. More on those next week.