What's the Best Groundhog and Woodchuck Bait?

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated October 14, 2021
A groundhog feeding on a pile of compost
Photo: Philippe Henry/Design Pics / Getty Images

Groundhogs prefer fruits and vegetables, but you should consider an alternative to trapping and relocating

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Groundhogs—also known as woodchucks—are adorable little critters, but also potentially destructive. These balls of fur love to burrow, and their tunnels can cause serious problems for homeowners. Groundhogs are capable of breaking up foundations, chewing through wires, and damaging pipes.

If you've got a groundhog problem threatening your home, you may have explored getting the population under control with bait to lure them into tracks and then relocating them. But if you don’t know how to get rid of groundhogs, you may not know where to start—and whether this is the best solution.

This guide breaks down the different kinds of bait available, as well as the best methods to deal with your problem once and for all.

Best Groundhog and Woodchuck Bait

A close up of a groundhog eating fruit
Photo: Philippe Henry/Design Pics / Getty Images

Fresh fruit, vegetables, and greens are good bait options for groundhogs. Groundhogs will be tempted by any of the following foods: 

  • Carrots

  • Celery

  • Corn

  • Peas

  • Beans

  • Strawberries

  • Blueberries

  • Blackberries

  • Cherries

  • Apples

  • Cantaloupes

  • Lettuce

  • Alfafa

  • Clovers

  • Dandelions

  • Daisies

  • Red mulberry

  • Hackberry leaves

The truth is that different groundhogs have different preferences, so you may need to experiment with different types of bait. If you have an attractive garden, and they seem to focus on eating or destroying one plant over others, that’s likely a good indication of what they prefer.

What may be more important than what bait you choose is where you position it in the trap and where you place the trap itself.

Ideal Bait Position

Place the bait in a spot where the groundhog would need to trigger the trap to access the bait. This ensures the woodchuck won't be able to dine and dash.

Ideal Trap Position

A groundhog looking out of a hole
Photo: Mac Buddy/500px / Getty Images

If it's an option, place the trap in an area where groundhogs already scavenge for food. Also, place it a few feet away from the burrow where they like to enter and exit. If there’s more than one hole (which is often the case), you should probably use multiple traps.

How Do I Relocate a Captured Groundhog?

A captured groundhog on a live trap
Photo: Laszlo Podor/Moment Open / Getty Images

The groundhog is probably freaking out, so the first thing to do is cover the cage with a blanket to calm it down. Put the cage in your vehicle and take it preferably at least 20 miles away from your home. Consider contacting your local wildlife and game office for advice on how to handle the situation (which is probably best to do before you start trapping groundhogs). However, keep in mind that this may not be the ideal option, as relocating an animal to a strange area can endanger them.

Instead, consider an alternative to trapping and relocating.

What Are Alternatives to Trapping Groundhogs?

Instead of relocating problem groundhogs, leaving them far from their home range, and even separating them from a litter that they will desperately search for, consider patiently convincing them to leave on their own terms.

Soak rags in cider vinegar (but not toxic ammonia) and put them in their burrows, or blast a radio station and use bright lights at night. Disturb their peaceful environment and make them feel unwelcome. By doing so, you're treating them as humanely as possible.

Should I Consider Poison Bait?

You can easily find groundhog poison, but this is a problematic idea for dealing with a groundhog problem for four big reasons.

1. The Animal Will Suffer

It may take a groundhog days to die from the poison, inflicting great suffering for potentially a long time.

2. It Could Kill Other Animals, Including Pets

Generally sprinkled on the ground, the poison’s scent attracts animals. As a result, other creatures you didn't intend to harm could die—or, in a worst-case scenario, your beloved pet.

3. It's Hard to Tell if It Worked

Because the poison doesn't work instantly, the groundhog will wander somewhere else to die, so you won't know if the poison worked.

4. The Carcass Will Be Hard to Find

If a groundhog ingests the poison and then wanders somewhere else—like, say, underneath your house—the resulting carcass could stink up your home and attract even worse pests.

Cost to Remove Groundhogs

An open animal trap
Photo: The Toidi / Adobe Stock

Another option is to hire a professional to deal with the situation. The cost to remove groundhogs or other wild animals is $365 on average, with a typical range between $190 and $555.

Consider contacting an animal removal professional near you for a consultation and a quote. If you’re concerned about a humane solution, ask about their groundhog removal approach and what alternative methods they offer.

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