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Tom Ouellette

Groundhogs; Backyard Terrorists
By Tom Ouellette
Apr 24, 2004 - 10:44:00 PM

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Lately, my neighbor has been making futile attempts at capturing several groundhogs that have recently burrowed under his storage shed. He's using a state of the art trap, the right bait, all to no avail.

I certainly sympathize with him and his battle against groundhogs - furry rodent extremists between the ages of 1 and 3 - and his frustration with not being able to capture them. As a veteran of a recent "woodchuck war" perhaps I can be of some help to him.

I called my group of garden guerillas "al-Raida". I, too tried "Operation Have-a-Heart" but it was a dismal failure. As the pre-dawn sorties into the garden continued, I decided to ratchet up my war efforts to the next level. I used bunker-busting smoke bombs, targeting their vast network of underground tunnels. Yes, they retreated and scattered, but soon regrouped and, from the looks of the garden, were now using weapons of mass ingestion.

I finally decided to take drastic measures and brought out the MOAB-- that's right, the MOTHER OF ALL BB-GUNS! A frightening weapon with up to ten pumps of pure pest-pluggin' power! But somehow these radical rodents got wind of this, perhaps through their squirrel sympathizers. Although they were holed-up in the snowy months, it is now springtime and I am preparing for the coming onslaught. I haven't seen hide nor hair of them yet, but I know that they're not gone - no doubt they have shed their winter coats and are now hiding amongst the general woodland population, perhaps disguising themselves as porcupines or beavers. These furry fundamentalists never give up, and I believe that even as I grow complacent and dutifully tend the garden, they are quietly making plans to ambush a convoy of cucumbers, a radish regiment, or even a broccoli battalion. They may go farther than that, as they did last July in Farmington. Here's the disturbing report from the Woodland News Service:

Al Raida Alert -- Urgent Update
   The Office of Woodland Security has raised their color-coded threat level to Orange, in the wake of what is being described as a "bio-suicide" attack in Farmington, Maine. Apparently, a woodchuck deliberately infected himself with a rabies virus, and attacked a woman in her back yard. "They were always content with just cucumbers, " said the victim," but this is scary!" The woman is undergoing treatment and is expected to make a full recovery. The attacker was killed.
   When asked if there had been any indications of this type of attack, an unnamed source said "We have noticed some increased chatter in recent days, but there was nothin' specific; after all, we monitor literally thousands of squirrels and chipmunks, too, not to mention tryin' to filter out all those damned birds!"
   The source continued; "We haven't been overly concerned with an ongoing operation they've had of attempting to ambush vehicles on our highways. Oh, once in a while some tree-huggin' card carryin' PETA member will drive into a stand of spruce trees at 60 mph trying to avoid 'em; but over 99% of these attacks simply result in 'road pizza.' I guess they keep doin' it 'cause they think that after they croak they got 27 pure prairie-dogs waitin' for 'em or somethin'. But this bio-suicide thing is another story."
     When asked why this latest attack was being called a suicide attack, the source said, "Well, a guy pointed a big ol' shotgun at the thing and it didn't run like hell and therefore got blown to smithereens. That's suicide, isn't it?"
   In a possibly related incident, authorities are confirming that they have recently questioned Punksutawney Phil, of 'groundhog day' fame. No charges have been filed, but he is being described as a 'marmot of interest.'
Well, I didn't want to do it, but this year I have made a decision that, although not politically correct, I feel is necessary. Yep, I'm gonna close the borders - I'm putting wire fencing around the garden. Let 'em bother my neighbor, instead.

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