1988 - Volume #12, Issue #1, Page #10[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Giant Grasshopper Catcher Strictly for the BirdsOn his best run last summer, Royce Ponzer, of Anamoose, N. Dak., caught 17 gallons of hoppers in less than an hour.
"To get than many, you've got to hit things right," he says. "The weather has to be right, there has to be hoppers, and they have to be active."
And you have to have a giant-size grass-hopper catcher ¨ like the one Ponzer built in his workshop. Made of wood, chipboard and wire netting, it takes a 6 ft. swath, weighs 65 lbs., and attaches to Ponzer's pickup in less than 10 minutes with only two bolts.
During the summer, Ponzer goes "hunting" for hoppers along country roads, field edges and anywhere else there are hoppers. He generally drives 25 or 30 miles to snag an average catch of 8 to 10 gals. of hoppers but has collected up to 17 gals. on a half-hour run. When he gets home, he hoses down the "catch" with cold water "to slow the hoppers down so our chickens and turkeys can catch them before they get away."
The hoppers provide a tasty snack for the Ponzer family's flock of 20 turkeys and about 200 chickens. "They get all the corn and oats they want so the hoppers are a special treat¨ kind of like ice cream, " Ponzer points out.
This winter, he plans to make a lighter, all-metal grasshopper catcher that will weigh only about 25 lbs. and take a 7.5 ft. swath. He's had inquires from persons interested in buying custom-built catchers. "I also had a call from a fellow in Kansas City, offering to buy all the sized (1 in. long or larger) grasshoppers I could catch for use as fish bait," Ponzer told FARM SHOW. "Who knows? Maybe what the fish bait market needs is a catcher like this that can collect grasshoppers by the gallon in a matter of minutes."
Ponzer plans to offer "do-it-yourself" blueprints of the all-metal, pickup-mounted grasshopper catcher he hopes to have ready for use next summer.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Royce Ponzer, Box 74, Rt. 1, Anamoose, N. Dak. 58710 (ph 701 465-3612).
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