Home Hunting Stalking “Little Grizz”

Stalking “Little Grizz”

26

Call them groundhogs, woodchucks, whistle pigs, or whatever,  grizzled populations of Marnota monax can be a challenge to control. Archers may have 3-D targets to help them tune their hunting and shooting skills, but firearm sportsmen use this often-detested pest to better their game. Most farmers hate groundhogs because they dig huge holes in their fields that can easily upset a wagon full of hay or break an axle on farm equipment. An acre of corn costs about $500 to plant and a few burrows of groundhogs can quickly cost hundreds of dollars in damage. As a result, the “Welcome to hunt groundhogs” sign is often on display. In fact, if you’d like to gain permission to hunt a particular farm, ask if you can hunt groundhogs first, an excellent way to befriend the landowner. Demonstrate that you’re responsible by shooting safely, closing gates, abiding by property boundaries, stopping to say Thank you, and other common courtesies.

Groundhog Easton Hornady 011When hunting groundhogs, always be aware of your background, especially if livestock is nearby. Personally, I like the .17 HMR and .22 Winchester Magnum because they have a limited range, small bullet, and greatly reduced possibility of ricochet. In addition, the light report is less likely to garner the attention of neighbors. Back pastures and remote areas are ideal for pre-season “tuning up” using your standard deer-hunting gear. Groundhogs are edible, yet many hunters leave the carcass near the burrow where a fox, buzzard, or coyote will “recycle” the pest.

Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.