Infiltrating gophers still a subject for comment

letter to the editor from Rick Weik, Louis Creek - Infiltrating gophers still a subject for comment

To the editor;

Regarding the ‘Nomadic gophers cause neighbourhood conflict’ letter to the editor on your May 16 issue.

I took a week to reply to this letter. I wanted to think a bit before speaking. I am not named specifically in Mr. Stone’s letter but the mention of the shared chain link fence leaves absolutely no doubt as to the object of his comments.

Since when is the first preferred method of contacting a next door neighbour about a perceived conflict to write a letter to the local paper?

First, how does anyone tell in which direction the gophers are infiltrating? For all I know they are coming from Mr. Stone’s property onto mine, and not the other way around. Perhaps an alien (extra-terrestrial) is controlling the movements of the nomadic gopher invasion.

There is just as much proof of that as there is of Mr. Stone’s assertions that I am responsible for the gophers “invading” his property.

Worthy to note that there is a small acreage on the opposite side of his property, and a 40 or more acre hay field across the road from his house, as well as at least two other properties adjacent to or connecting to these, all of which have abundant gopher populations.

Are we to assume that the gophers damaging his property only come from my side?  If I am responsible for wild creatures tunnelling underground am I also responsible for the wild deer?

Second, to what “adamancy” is Mr. Stone referring? Up to the moment I read his letter in the newspaper I was totally unaware that there was anything more than the normal problem that gophers have caused, no doubt for hundreds of years. How am I responsible for suppressing the “nomadic gopher”?

Nomadic is a good term here, as to the best of my knowledge the gopher is a wild (that is not domestic or farm raised) animal and knows nothing of property lines. Is Mr. Stone suggesting I am feeding or otherwise encouraging the epidemic? I have no piles of lumber or junk near our shared chain link fence line that could give these varmints an above ground hiding place. I have no recently excavated large area of ground to tempt them with relatively easy burrowing areas. ‘Epidemic’ is another good word to use as the gophers seem worse here this year than in my previous six summers in the North Thompson Valley. I believe the gopher population runs in cycles like that.

Google gopher control and you will find literally hundreds of (non!) solutions and ways to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on attempting to eradicate the pest.

Even if I wanted to interfere with nature, which is almost always a bad idea and a waste of time, it probably would not work. As to legal action, go ahead and try it. Wild animals running tunnels around the neighborhood are not mine, and certainly not my responsibility.

I did more research than just googling gopher control. I asked the TNRD about this complaint. They have no bylaw but suggested I contact the Agricultural Ministry. They got back to me with the information that they could not regulate such a problem. If Mr. Stone wanted to contact them they would be glad to give him information on how to trap gophers, but they say it is not my responsibility.

Another referral to the Ministry Of Environment. A Wildlife Biologist said there are no Provincial regulations regarding controlling wild gophers, only local bylaws.

As noted earlier, the TNRD has no such bylaw. The biologist further informed me that the North American Pocket Gopher is a class B pest and it is therefore legal to kill them to protect your property. Not my problem, just be sure you behave legally in killing them.

So far, the best advice I’ve gotten is to ignore Mr. Stone’s letter as not being worthy of comment. Having written and sent this, I obviously have chosen to ignore that advice.

At this point I don’t think I will handle any more of this in public. I don’t know if the Star/Journal will print all, or even any, of this long reply. Not important.

If I feel harassed anymore, I will simply contact my insurance company and ask their lawyers to deal with it.

Rick Weik

Louis Creek, B.C.