Gopher Traps & Tips

Gopher traps are the most effective way to control pocket gophers without using poison. This page contains information on common gopher traps & tips for setting them effectively.

Gopher traps require more effort than other methods of gopher control, but we believe the effort is worth it as we see the results. Start with 4-6 traps or two per visible mound and add as needed depending on the size of your property or severity of your gopher problem. We use a mix of the gopher traps featured on this page to keep the gophers guessing. All traps featured below can be used over-and-over which make them very cost effective.

Jump to > Gopher Trapping Tips (below).

gopher traps - black boxVictor BlackBox Trap
This is a choker trap that gets placed inside the gopher tunnel. In order to set the BlackBox gopher trap effectively, you’ll need to use a trowel to open the tunnels significantly wider than the wire claw style traps on this page. These traps may be considered safer around pets that dig as there are no sharp claws when triggered.

These gopher traps cost a few dollars more than others, but I find them to be very effective, and removal of dead gophers is quick and easy.

Weather-resistant plastic, galvanized steel loop – sold individually.

gopher traps - victorVictor Gopher Trap (Green)
This is a sturdy variation on the classic wire claw scissor style gopher trap. These function similar to the next two listed below. The advantage in our opinion is that the Victor Gopher Trap jaws are slightly narrower when set, which means they have a lower chance of binding on the surrounding tunnel when triggered.

Powder coated galvanized steel – sold individually.

How to set a Victor gopher trap – Always use caution when setting gopher traps

gopher traps - Sweeny'sSweeney’s Gopher Traps
With a similar trigger as the traps above and below, the Sweeney’s trap is a solid value and reliable gopher killer. Comes complete with illustrated instructions.

Steel wire – sold in 2-packs.

Macabee Gopher Trap – “Old Reliable”
Patented in 1900, the Macabee gopher trap is easy to set, effective, and built to last for up to 50 years according to their website! They should know they’ve been making these for over 100 years. This gopher trap likely inspired many of the others featured on this page.

Painted carbon steel wire – sold individually.

gopher traps - easysetVictor “Easy Set” Trap
We’ve had moderate success with these traps, said to be the most reliable wire claw traps on the market (according to Victor).

These traps are easy to set, and affordable.

Galvanized steel – sold in 2-packs and 4-packs.

Gopher Trapping Tips

Tip 1: Tie a heavy cord or wire to each trap and connect the other end of the wire to a stake so that you can easily spot where you have placed traps and retrieve them from the tunnel after a catch. We’ve lost a trap or two that wasn’t tied down, likely dragged deep into a burrow by a crafty gopher.

Tip 2: Probe the ground near a gopher hole with a long slotted screwdriver until you find a main runway tunnel. Dig a small hole with your narrow transplanting spade or trowel and clear any loose dirt. Place two gopher traps back-to-back facing both directions in the gopher tunnel. Carefully cover the hole and wait 24-48 hours.

Tip 3: I like to wear Nitrile gloves when setting and retrieving traps. These are the same ones I wear when working on my car. Gloves are inexpensive, keep your hands clean, and will prevent you from leaving a human scent on the gopher traps.

Tip 4: Show your neighbors how to properly set gopher traps. A group of people working together will increase your odds of getting rid of gophers in a local area.

Tip 5: Increase your odds further by adding more gopher traps to your current rotation. Two traps per visible gopher mound is another way to estimate the number of gopher traps you need.

Tip 6: Use a mix of different traps to keep clever pocket gophers guessing. I’ve had gophers become suspicious of wire claw traps and continually bury them. I’ll introduce a few BlackBox Traps and typically have overnight success.

Tip 7: Use caution when checking on your gopher traps. Tunnels that have been filled with dirt may contain an un-sprung trap. Careful digging will also prevent you from doing damage to these buried traps.

Tip 8: Mow your yard and rake older gopher mounds flat. It’s much easier to spot recent gopher activity when the grass isn’t knee deep. Kids and pets will also be less likely to step in a hidden gopher hole and sustain an injury.

Tip 9: After several days of inactivity or no luck with a set of gopher traps, move them to a new location.

Tip 10: Gopher trapping doesn’t require baiting like other rodent traps, but some trappers believe that a dab of peanut butter between a set of traps (not on the gopher traps) will draw gophers in.