It’s best to trap and bait for gophers in the winter and early spring when populations are lower and the digging easier, said Roger Baldwin, integrated pest management adviser with UC Kearney in his presentation on determining and demonstrating the importance of training and experience in trapping and baiting programs for controlling pocket gophers.

Trapping is most effective, he said, because there’s a confirmation you’ve gotten the target animal, it can be used in organic crops, it’s economical and there are no toxic chemicals.

Baldwin said the most effective trap is something called the Gophinator from Trapline, a pincers type device.

He said populations need to be reduced by 70 percent to 90 percent in order to be effective.

Baldwin cited research that showed individuals who receive thorough training on bait application were 3.6 times more likely to attain greater efficacy from baiting programs than were individuals who received only limited training.

Other research showed novice trappers become proficient in just three days with novice trappers capturing gophers at 92 percent of the efficacy value obtained by the expert trapper.

Baldwin recommends using both forms of control – trapping and baiting.