That depends. Do you want to leave them alone to go about there business? The answer would be No.
Or do you want to interfer with what they are doing?
That is a definite yes.
Just shoot 'em and eat 'em.
Predator scent repellents won't work with them,
Neither does blood baits,
They get wise to scare crows pretty quickly,
And it's virtually impossible to keep them out with a fence since they are such wonderful diggers.
What we used to do was go out in the fields about a week or two before were were going to hunt/exterminate the ground hogs and park a hay wagon with 'Scare Crows' and our shooting table on it
.And you want to place it 'Downwind' of the seasonal prevailing winds...
Had things like swinging pie pans and plates in the wind on it so they were used to seeing movement from the wagon...
They would get used to it in short order, then we would go out and remove the ground hogs, and we would replace the scare crows at the table with rifles...
(hillbilly farm kid version of a drive by!)
We often had ground hogs within 30 feet of the wagon, And it made exterminating the little buggers MUCH easer!
I would suggest a pile of pallets or a table set up with scarecrow, and remember to stay down wind if you can.
A blind set up wouldn't hurt anything either I wouldn't think...
Ground hogs often aren't out during the heat of the day, but they are VERY active mornings and late afternoons & evenings.
The only other way I know to get rid of them is poison baits.
I'm not crazy about using poisons around my potential food supply, and it's hard to find any bait food that is more appetizing than fresh, ripe produce!
I almost forgot!,
Ground hogs are pretty good to eat, especially late in the spring when you are getting the younger ones that have fattened up fresh sprigs or emerging baby crops.
Those are good just fried like chicken or baked.
If you get an older one and want to try it, flour coat/lightly bread the pieces cut up like a chicken in a skillet,
Then put them, and the skillet 'Cracklins' in the pressure cooker and make gravy out of them!
Wonderful meat that just falls off the bone and brown flour gravy to go with it!
MUCH better than any rabbit or squirrel you will ever have!
If you are going to try and eat him, DON'T USE A CANNON!
.22 WMR is about as big as you want to go if you intend to consume the little rodent.
'Varmint' bullets tend to make a mess and fragment, so even if you pop him in the head, you just never know where those bullet fragments are going to show up!
(The voice of experience here... Some of us had to learn the hard way )
If you aren't worried about fragments in the meat, or just turning him into a gory mess, then by all means, use a .22-250 or .223 or something like that...
The do make pretty good fertilizer, but the hide take FOREVER to decompose under ground, and even buried a foot deep, they will draw in predators that will dig things up...
A little known fact about groundhogs is that they can and do climb, so it wont matter what you rap around your garden they will get in if they want to. The thing to do is to catch and dispatch the offending animal. Having a dog keeps most hogs away as they really fear dogs.
I am plagued with groundhogs. They've enjoyed my garden for years. Each year I would invest more money into fortifying my garden fence only to find more missing produce. I even put chicken wire and cinder blocks along the ground to prevent them from tunneling under.
One day I was shocked and dismayed to see one climb over the fence to get into the garden. I didn't know they climbed!!
Well, I decided my son needed a new hobby... groundhog target practice! We also got a Havaheart trap. I didn't have a heart though, and made my husband shoot any I trapped.
I plan on setting it up next year before I plant the first seed. I WILL ENJOY MY BROCCOLI AND PEAS NEXT YEAR!!!
Low Velocity Center-Fire Walking Rifle Best for Eating Groundhogs
Groundhogs are an easy to get, viable protein source. Young ones taste every bit as good as guinea pigs and can be pan-fried like chicken. Older groundhogs should be parboiled first, I add a cup of cider vinegar to help tenderize, then slow-cooked with root vegetables in a pot roast. I like groundhog sauerbratten with kraut, beets, carrots, onions and potatoes in the Dutch oven or pressure cooker.
Damn, this thread is making me hungry!
While a .22 rifle will take them with head shots, the .22 LR doesn't always make clean kills on body shots. LR hollowpoints may not penetrate deeply enough on big chucks. LR solids may simply perforate and some whistle pigs will make it back to the hole. If you don't reload the .22 WMR cartridge works better, but hollowpoints tear up more meat than FMJs.
For the farm utility rifle I prefer a low velocity center-fire. If you already have a .30-30 lever-action, you can handload about 5-6 grains of any fast burning pistol or shotgun powder you have lying around with a 110-gr. cast flatnosed or jacketed softpoint bullet and this will give performance very much like a .32-20 Win. Almost ideal is using the .38 Special or .32 H&R Magnum in the Marlin 1894 lever-action. Low velocity rifles of .25 cal or larger make clean kills without tearing the animal up and scattering bullet fragments in the meat, which the typical high velocity "varmint rifles" do. Grand Dad's .25-20 or .32-20, were intended just for this type of use, so that's the kind of performance you want. These aren't long range rifles, but work fine within 100 yards or so.
My preferred load in the .357 Magnum Marlin 1894 uses the NEI #161A flatnosed 190 grain bullet, cast soft, about 10BHN, similar to 1:25 tin/lead, using a light charge of 4 grains of Bullseye in .357 Magnum cases. This gives about 1000 f.p.s. and groups within 3 inches at 100yards, and has a very low noise level when fired from a 24 inch barrel, while giving a good knockdown with deep penetration when fired from my Ruger revolver. This covers any garden-eating varmint up to deer.
I live in Virginia as well. Let's just say that Virginia is a groundhog rich environment!
When younger, I would put my trusty varmint rifle in the truck, a cold six-pack, and ride the back roads in search of groundhogs. The farmers didn't mind, and I killed lots of hogs. While considered mostly a warm weather animal, I've killed them during warm spells in Feb. Of course, all that wouldn't be "acceptable" today, but it sure was fun at the time.
Yes, they do climb. I've watched as one would scamper up a tree or a fence post. I've never eaten one, but I have been told by many others that the young ones in late spring are delicious. I think the hindquarters are most desirable.
I once knew a guy that had two dachshund ( hotdog ) dogs that he trained to hunt the ground hogs on his property. One would go into the hole after the offender and the other one would follow the barking to the bolt hole and grab the hog as it left the hole and the other came in from behind. They where created to hunt badgers so a ground hog is no threat.
Plug the holes with dirt and pack it down tight. Back your truck up to the final hole. Run a hose from the exhaust into the hole. Put a brick on the gas pedal to part throttle. Let it run for an hour or two. This will kill any of them that are in the nest at the time. If some are our foraging you'll have to kill them another time. This is a pretty easy way to get it done. You can kill a whole family at once with carbon monoxide poisoning.