And so the saga continues. I came face to face with my nemesis today, and as some of you have guessed, it was not a vole like I'd thought, but a juvenile ground hog that was causing all of the damage in the garden - the same one that was trying to find a weakness in the fence this past weekend. Evidently, he found it. All he had to do was scale the chicken wire and squeeze through the 2 x 4 inch wire mesh fencing. I am continually amazed by rabbits, and now groundhogs, and their ability to squeeze their bodies through the tightest of openings. So far, the adult ones have been too lazy to scale the fence.
Anyway, when I got home tonight, I noticed from our dining room window that Mr. Groundhog was helping himself to my soy bean plants in broad daylight without a care in the world. As I ran out of the house, my initial instinct was to grab our kitchen broom, but halfway across the garden, I dropped it and went for my garden fork instead, which was left next to the garden gate. (A heavy shovel would have made more sense but I didn't have time to grab it from the shed.) As I stormed in, Mr. Groundhog just stood there motionless. I guess he didn't know what to make of me either. Then he thought twice and made a break for it. Instinctively, I swung the fork, the back of the tines connecting with his back, rendering him flat on his belly. For a second, I thought I had seriously injured him but he quickly got back up and sat motionless, cornered against the fence.
Mr. Groundhog and I stood there face to face, about three feet from one another, as I tried to muster up the courage to dispatch my toothy enemy. This must have went on for more than five minutes. In that time, Marc wandered out of the house looking mighty horrified and then went back in upon my request. My neighbor tried to offer his encouragement, telling me that the groundhog will destroy the rest of my garden if I let him go. I had no clue about what to do. The problem was, it would have been very difficult to bludgeon him to death with the back of a garden fork. The only sure fire way to get him with one strike was to stab him with it. Both options seemed awfully gruesome. If he had to die, I wanted it to be quick and painless. All I could think of as I stood there was, "oh, what I wouldn't give for a fishing net right now!!!!!!!"
In the end, I just couldn't do it. I'll say it - I'M WEEEEEEEAAAAAK! With some prodding, he darted for the opposite side of the garden and I got a couple of good whacks into his backside before he squeezed himself through the mesh fencing and ran back to his den under the shed. Instantly, I felt regret that I couldn't take care of Mr. Groundhog. But I just couldn't do it. It would be like stabbing a feral cat to death. He also had that cute furry mammal thing going for him.
Anyway, I ran out to Home Depot and bought one of those enormous Havahart traps. I can't help but wonder - did I just blow my one and only opportunity to get rid of Mr. Groundhog? What do I do now?!