Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Whack A Mole!

Generally any property owner in the Eastern half of the US will at one time or another have to deal with infestations of moles. I'm not talking about this Mole, but about these litte critters. And I am VERY thankful that the population of the latter has nothing to do with Avogadro's number!

As the mole tunnels about searching for his latest meal, he displaces a lot of dirt. In his normal habitat this causes few problems, and is rarely noticed. But, when my lawn is being used as a mole larder, it is a different story altogether. The resulting tunnels and mounds are unsightly, muddy during rains, and play havoc with lawnmower blades if you're not careful. Even when you are being careful, it is a pain to continually maneuver around these areas. So it's me or the moles. There's not room enough on these lawns for all of us.

First, what am I dealing with here? Checking the distribution maps for mole species, I find that my adversary is the Eastern Mole. Now, I have my own tried and true method of mole eradication, which I'll get to in a bit, but I decided to check with the professionals for the preferred methods. Checking with the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, I find that:

Conservation Status

The eastern mole is not endangered but has suffered persecution by avid gardeners and farmers who are displeased by the mounds of earth left behind and by the root damage caused by this animal.

Persecution? I'll show 'em persecution!

Searching further, I find a true professional (not that the UM people aren't, but I was looking for a different profession) in The MoleMan! Yes, he has what I'm looking for, and more. Mole biology, Mole Control, and even the MoleMan News. But no mention of my favorite method, probably because of some silly local regulations.

Even more searching revealed that the University of Delaware College of Agriculture & Natural Resources had a bit to say on the subject. They generally support the ideas that the MoleMan asserts, or vice versa. Same thing from Ohio State University.

All in all, I did not find a single mention of my preferred method of mole control. "So," you ask, "What DO you use to get rid of those pesky moles?" Simply, I use this:

Winchester Model 12 Shotgun

As stated by the MoleMan here:
Subjective misconceptions are also the root of such remedies as lye, Drano, pickle juice, broken glass, red pepper, razor blades, bleach, moth balls, rose branches, human hair balls, vibrators, ultrasonic contraptions, castor bean derivatives (Mole Med), gasoline and explosives. Although this fun and games approach may relieve frustrations, these and other home remedies have little if any value in controlling moles.

My method is a fun and games approach, and does tend to relieve frustrations.

First, I will walk the lawn, and compress any and all mole tunnels that I find. Then I go do something else for an hour or so. Checking back, I can easily determine if any moles are active. At that point I retrieve my trusty Winchester Model 12, take up a position about five feet from the most recent activity, and wait. Usually within a short time I will see the dirt moving, and will fire into the ground about two inches in front of the moving dirt. Nine times out of ten, this will kill the mole, and blow him out of the ground. The remaining one time out of ten the shot still kills the mole, but due to mole depth or shot placement, will not blow him out of the ground. Then it's simply a matter of kicking the dirt back into the hole made by the shotgun, and disposing of the mole corpse.

Usually the mole is killed by the concussion of the shot rather than by direct contact with the pellets. I have experimented over the years with other types of firearms, but found that the 12 guage shotgun is the most effective. A 22 caliber weapon does not create enough concussion as the bullet strikes the ground, and only a direct hit will work. A .45 ACP will work OK, but bullet placement must be much closer to the target. Neither will simultaneously kill and extract the mole from the ground. I have also tried Hoffman charges, but that's kind of overkill, and who knows where the mole corpse will end up, and the neighbors don't care for the big boom.

I decided to post this today since as of about two hours ago the score is 1 to 0, and I'm ahead.

LOL UPDATE: Just figured out how to convert to three columns, and installed my Google AdSense code. Reloaded page, Google ads pop up, FIVE, count 'em, FIVE ads for mole control... and NOT ONE MENTION of a shotgun!