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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been meaning to start this thread for some time but I'm finally getting around to it. The season was definitely a slow start for me. I went out a few times in early April and never saw one woodchuck. By late April I put myself on hiatus because I do not like the thought of orphaning a newly born litter. Of course turkey season distracts me in May. Then it is game on in June once I start seeing some of the young woodchucks out and about.

I didn't shoot my first one of 2021 until June 14th. It was a very small young one. Part of a family living in a rock pile behind my neighbor's dairy barn.
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I had a couple misses along the way the rest of June but mostly I was not seeing woodchucks when I was out and I had only a little time on weekends to hunt.

Onward to July. I finally got my next woodchuck on the morning of July 5th, another young one. Part of a family that is living in a dirt mound that sits between our pasture and our bean field.

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The evening of July 5th, I went for what I call a "woodchuck walkabout" on my neighbor's across the road and was able to do a nice spot and stalk for a 30-40 yard shot at one in his hayfield.

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On July 17th, on a very dreary windy blustery day, I took a walk. I walked up on a young woodchuck making its way through our garden. It took me a few minutes to quietly track it down in the vegetation but I was able to make an offhand 25-30 yard shot on it.

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To be continued................
 

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Granddaddy always kept a .22 in the garage for that. If left to their own, they would dig the foundation out of anything. He said that the young ones were tasty on the grill. I never did get to try that... He might have been pulling my leg.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
On July 18th I took a late evening walk over at my neighbor's. It took awhile but I finally spied one 400 yards away down this farm lane. It was already past 8pm and I had the next day off so I decided to go after it in the morning.

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I got set up about 60 yards from where I saw the woodchuck the night before. If I remember correctly, I think it was around 7:45am. It took 45 minutes and I was seriously getting bored and thinking of leaving, but it finally came out. Woodchuck number 5 of the season and another young one and very wet from the heavy dew that morning.

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On my walk back home, I pass through an area of the farm with several outbuildings and an abandoned house. Woodchucks frequent this area and the .17hmr really shines when hunting in the close quarters around buildings and equipment. I always ease my way through this area. As I approached a rock pile that has a historic burrow, a woodchuck dashed out of the weeds and into the hole. At first I walked to the open nearby equipment shed to set up but the shot would have been toward the road. That would never do. Then I looked and saw an empty 250 gallon plastic tote that used to hold teat dip sitting on top of an old metal wagon. Perfect. The distance to the rock pile was 30 yards and I even had some elevation. You can't really see the rock pile in the picture because it is nestled in the tall grass but it is located about even with the front of the building and right next to the gravel farm lane.

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I think it only took something like 6 or 8 minutes of me standing there very quietly, but it first peeked out of the hole and then jumped up on one of the rocks. The weeds were thin enough there for me to shoot and get groundhog number 6, a fully adult male.

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It was an enjoyable morning of woodchuck hunting. I came home, ate lunch, and then coming downstairs after lunch, I missed the bottom step, fell, twisted my ankle and broke my ankle. It's going to be a little bit before I can get back out. I do have few places on my own farm that I can hunt from the RTV but I need to be a little more mobile first. Hopefully I'll be able to continue on with this thread later this summer.
 

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Ouch! Sounds terrible. I hope that your ankle heals up as good as new.
 
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This is like deja vu all over again!! lol I hadn't seen the 1st ghog until yesterday when I caught a half grown 1 in a live trap. Last year, 1 dug under my butcher shop on the north side & had an exit on the west. I had the trap set on the west hole. I have also caught a couple of possums in the same set. Luckily no skunks.
 
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Hope your ankle heals up real quickly. Sorry to hear that. I'm rehabbing a knee replacement so I know where you're coming from.
 
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Looks like you have been blessed with a good place to hunt. Around here it is hard to find some one that will let you hunt any thing. Hover since the coyotes moved in , we do not see many ground hogs. Enjoy it while you can.
 

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Been a light season for me so far this year doing nuisance work on whistlepigs. Think I've only caught 6 so far. Bout to start a job in town with at least a dozen dens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The UTV and I took a trip to the soybean field yesterday evening. Caught red-handed with a bean leaf in its mouth. There are still a few places I can get to with my broken ankle. 🥰

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Oh how I wish I could directly upload a video clip here. Maybe I'll put it on my YouTube channel. Until then I'm not saying anything else. LOL

BUT I had a fun little hunt at the neighbor's last weekend. I drove the Kubota down the road to one of his hay barns stopping to chat with him (out working on a tractor) on the way. My booted foot and I took a lawn chair, gun and shooting sticks and I limped my way to the far end of the barn to overlook a large rock pile that sits behind the dairy barn. I have been after the woodchucks that live in the pile all summer but it never quite worked out. There has been a whole family in there and I had seen multiples in the rock pile on several occasions. The young ones are starting to travel and move on their own now so I wasn't sure what I was going to find.

I set the chair about 20 feet from the opening of the big barn door. No sooner had I sat down and a young woodchuck ran right across the cement lip at the barn door and disappeared along the outside wall of the barn. I thought it was gone but it turns out there was a hole in among some tall weeds that were growing at the corner of the barn doorway. I set up the shooting sticks and started watching the rock pile. Soon a woodchuck came up and out and perched on the top of the pile. But the pile is tall and a woodchuck sitting on top means it is skylined and that is not a shot I will take, especially since the dairy cows are pastured somewhere beyond the pile. So I waited. Then I started hearing the chirping chattering of a woodchuck. It was the one in the hole by the barn door, 20 feet away.

I froze and did not move for at least 10 minutes. Maybe 15. The woodchuck on the rock pile eventually went back down in the rocks where I couldn't see it. Eventually the woodchuck in the hole gave in to curiosity and stood up just outside the hole. It was in among the tall weeds so I believe it felt some comfort from the weeds and being near its hole. I was able to reach up, dial back the scope and slowly turn the gun for a 20 foot shot. One woodchuck dead.

Then it was time for patience. I saw the rock pile woodchuck 2 more times. Both times it was skylined. It took almost an hour but it finally came down off the rocks to feed in the grass at the base of the rock pile. 2nd woodchuck dead.

It felt really good to be able to get outside because I have been so limited lately. Fortunately I got good news at the doctor's this past Monday. X-rays showed my ankle is healing well. I'm done with the aircast boot and back in a regular shoe. I have a brace that I can wear if I'm walking around outside. Making progress.

The barn door hole woodchuck:
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The rock pile woodchuck:
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I had some time to do a little groundhog hunting yesterday afternoon/evening. There are several spots along the fenceline in the soybean field that have groundhog damage. I've driven back there a few times but never have seen one. But there HAS to be some back there. Yesterday I drove the Kubota to spot number one and sat 50 minutes and didn't see anything. Then I drove to spot number 2 which has the biggest area of groundhog damage this year. I sat for 80 minutes and saw nothing. Hmmmm?

So I drove home and then down the road to my neighbor's place. I stopped and chatted with his nephew who was out fixing a tractor. Then continuing on I found my neighbor doing some weed whacking so I stopped and chatted with him for a bit. From there I drove over to the hay storage barn that I can park in front, walk through the barn and access the big rock pile behind the barn. This is the same spot where I shot 2 groundhogs August 22nd. I slowly approached the back barn door to view the rock pile and there was a groundhog out. LOL I backtracked into the barn so I could approach the barn door from well inside and totally out of view of the rock pile. I raised my gun and eased the barrel around the edge of the barn door. 35 yard shot and one dead woodchuck. This was about a 60 second hunt. 😂

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This one was pretty satisfying. I drove down to my neighbor's yesterday afternoon/evening and spent a little more than an hour sitting and watching the rock pile. Nothing there but I was pretty sure I may have seen one about 30 yards beyond where a culvert cuts through a dike around one of the ponds. There are a lot of weeds there but there are a few rocks where I've seen groundhogs lounging before but I saw nothing the rest of the sit.

About 5:40pm I decided to leave. I was in the Kubota and stopped at the road to look for traffic. To my right, in the weeds by a road culvert, was a woodchuck not 30 yards away. I froze with the engine running. It kept popping up out of the weeds looking at me then hunkering back down. I just sat there a minute or two and finally it came up out of the ditch and made its way over to the dairy barn and disappeared into the weeds around the barn. I know there are several holes there. Usually when I see a groundhog here, it is almost always by that road culvert and there is no way to hunt it because I can't shoot toward the road. But now it was by the barn. I was able to get set up facing the barn but I was only 20 yards from the hole. I was hopeful but not 100% sure it would work.

6pm the hired help showed up and we chatted a few minutes.
6:40pm the groundhog makes an appearance. It peeks out of the weeds but stupid me did not have a round in the chamber. I'm not sure if the groundhog spooked because it saw me fumbling with the gun or if something else spooked it (the farmers were working just around the corner from me).
7:00pm The groundhog comes back out but I'm in the driveway parking area with the road to my back and I hear cars coming. I thought it best to wait until traffic passed by even though I was shooting in the total opposite direction. It turned out to be 2 noisy pickup trucks and the groundhog spooked back into the weeds.
7:05pm The groundhog comes back out again. These critters live around people and are very used to human traffic but still they will hole up if someone is walking around. I very slowly lift the gun, take aim and shoot. Dead groundhog.
My neighbor hears the shot and so of course he comes over and has to congratulate me. I know he appreciates the groundhog removal as much as I appreciate having a barnyard full of woodchucks to hunt.

Woodchuck laying next to where it came out of the weeds by the barn.
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Woodchuck on the tailgate of the Kubota and a view of the hazy sunset as I was getting ready to leave.
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