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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Effectiveness of trapping to control northern pocket gophers in agricultural lands in Canada


The northern pocket gopher (Thomomys talpoides) is considered a major pest in haylands, particularly alfalfa, and surrounding crops and shelterbelts of western Canada. Although poison baits are often used with the objective to quickly reduce pocket gopher populations over large areas, recent investigations in western Canada have demonstrated that they were ineffective in reducing and controlling pocket gopher populations in haylands. This paper identifies the elements of an effective pocket gopher control program and demonstrates that, with a proper strategy to lay out killing traps in spring to remove breeders-of-the-year, and to intercept invading pocket gophers, trapping is the most effective method to control northern pocket gophers. This paper also describes an effective trapping program and identifies research needs to increase capture efficiency.

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