Ground hogs: The arbiters of winter and the destroyers of gardens.

How to Remove Groundhogs From Under a Deck

by Maria Magher

Groundhogs are cute little creatures that can be a big nuisance. Although some famous groundhogs hold sway over how much winter we can expect to have, most of them spend their days wreaking havoc on our yards and gardens. When they decide to take up residence under a deck, they burrow holes that can lead to structural concerns. It is important to remove groundhogs to ensure the safety of your deck and to protect your family.

Purchase a live trap from your local home improvement store that is large enough to accommodate a groundhog. Use a new trap, if possible, as the groundhog is sensitive to the smells of other animals and reusing a trap may not be effective. Alternatively, thoroughly clean an old trap, using soap and water.

Set the trap by your deck or near a known groundhog hole. Twelve inches is best, but it should be no farther than a few feet.

Put bait near the back of your trap to lure the groundhog all the way into the trap. Bait the trap with fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, carrots and apple slices. Create a trail of bait leading from the groundhog hole to the trap.

Wait. It could take several days before you trap your groundhog. Check the traps several times throughout the day as groundhogs are daytime creatures.

Take the trap to a wooded location several miles from your house and release the groundhog. Ensure you are releasing it on public land that is not protected and not on someone else's property.

Repeat the process until you have captured all groundhogs living under your deck.

Protect the area against future infestations. Spray a groundhog repellent and build a barrier fence around your deck, if necessary. Build the fence 18 inches high, using fine mesh. The bottom of the fence should curve slightly outward to prevent groundhogs from digging around it.

Items you will need

  • Live trap
  • Fresh lettuce, fruits and other produce
  • Gloves
  • Wire mesh
  • Groundhog repellent


  • While there are other methods to remove groundhogs -- such as fumigation or the use of harmful chemicals -- these can put your family in danger and can contaminate your soil.


  • Always wear gloves when handling a trap with a groundhog in it. Groundhogs carry rabies, and their bites can pass along the infection.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images