137. Critter Wars: they shoot groundhogs, don’t they? 

The long, gentle summer evenings of my childhood were sometimes pierced by the crack and zinging whine of a twenty-two rifle.

It was my grandfather, defending his country sweet corn patch from the groundhogs.

His main garden was in town behind his house, where he planted and tended and grew enough vegetables to feed us and his entire neighborhood.

But oh how he loved his sweet corn. And in the country below our house, there was plenty of room for as much sweet corn as he could plant. It seems we had corn on the cob every night for dinner in July and August.
Corn on the cob

Pa wasn’t a cussing man — he was a school teacher — except when it came to the groundhogs who ate his corn. For awhile when I was a kid I thought damgroundhog was one word.

I feel his pain.

He would sit in a yellow lawn chair in the back yard above his garden with a glass of sweet tea and his twenty-two across the aluminum arms of his chair. Waiting.

I’ve been suggesting to Mr. H. C. that he do the same with the deer. Of course, we aren’t allowed to actually shoot them, but he could aim above their heads… (Or he says shooting in front of them on the ground is the safer way). Perhaps they would think it was hunting season and disappear into the deep woods.

He didn’t seem to be interested, so I got out the yellow lawn chair and the twenty-two rifle for him yesterday. This evening, I saw him cleaning it, and there is now a clip sitting near the back door. I suppose I could try it, but I think I am such a bad shot, I could accidentally hit one when I’m aiming over their heads.

Can you be arrested for poaching the King’s deer on your own land?

Yes, you can.

waiting for a groundhog

11 thoughts on “137. Critter Wars: they shoot groundhogs, don’t they? 

  1. Haha! This made me laugh! I don’t have any deer problem where we live now (I actually wish I saw one at least once in a while)…but we have probably more than a hundred squirrels who have dug holes all over our back yard. I want to plant different things but I don’t know if the squirrels will destroy them… Any suggestions??


    • Well, maybe… One year I planted crocus bulbs — about 50 of them along the sidewalk — and the very next morning they were all dug up. A Squirrel? A Chipmunk? It was like they had followed along behind me laughing in between bites. I asked a master gardener what to do, and he said to plant the bulbs and put chicken wire over them, and then more dirt. The flowers will grow through the chicken wire, but keep the critters from digging up around them. I don’t know if this will help for regular flowers; it might. If you try it, let me know…


  2. Those @##$% groundhogs! Actually, we haven’t seen any since Bill threw one he shot under our shed where they were living. Maybe something like this happened. “Hey, Larry! Did you see what happened to Curly? He’s just laying there. And, boy, does he smell!!! Let’s get out of here!”


  3. Wherever you shoot, just make sure no one is down range nor allow a ricochet of the ground. Maybe paint balls would be better than the .22? That way you could track the offering deer. 😊


  4. My MIL actually feeds the deer and shoots the turkeys who try to eat the deer feed. She uses an airsoft BB gun. I have witnessed her sitting on the porch, cigarette hanging off the corner of her mouth as she takes aim. She also shoots at ground squirrels–not tree squirrels, mind you, but those ground squirrels are vermin!


  5. Oh, what a great word picture! So I have actually been guilty of buying my next door neighbor cheap Aldi bread to feed the deer out her window in the wintertime. It gives her so much pleasure, and they practically eat out of her hands. But cryminently! I wondered where my mind had gone, when I bought that bread. Does an airsoft BB gun make noise? That’s what I want. Ka Bom. Scare them to death so they go away forever…


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