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Underground Blaster: New Weapon To Get Rid Of Gophers
"In addition to trapping gophers, we're blowing them up," says Jerry Stager, professional gopher trapper from Orovada, Nev., who traps 65,000 gophers a year or more (see accompanying story). Stager, with the help of neighbor Don Merten, recently invented a new underground blaster that blows up gophers, ground squirrels, badgers, prairie dogs and other burrowing animals in their tunnels.
Stager says he tried for years to come up with a way to blow up underground tunnels. "At first we tried pumping propane down tunnels and igniting it. That didn't work - the propane wouldn't all explode at once. We finally figured out that there wasn't enough oxygen down there and we came up with a new 5-ft. wand that mixes compressed air in with the propane. A spark plug mounted at the tip of the wand sets off a spark that ignites the explosive gas mix."
To kill gophers with the blaster, Stager locates the tunnel, sticks the wand into the hole and pumps in about 10 sec. worth of propane and oxygen. Then he simply pulls a switch on the handle which sends a spark from the 12-volt system of his ATV to the spark plug on the end of the wand, setting off a muffled explosion that sends up a small cloud of dust from the mouth of the tunnel and cracks open the tunnel up to 20 ft. away. He withdraws the wand, which isn't damaged, after the explosion.
"We kill an average of 4 to 5 gophers per blast with a kill rate of 90 to 95%. When we dig up tunnels after a blast we find that it kills them both by concussion and burning. It even gets all the little ones down deeper in the dens. Cost is just 12 cents per blast and it's safe, although I always wear earplugs and goggles. There's no damage to the environment or danger to other animals, as with poisons, and it's much more effective," says Stager.
He says the blaster also works well with badgers and ground squirrels and should work with prairie dogs, woodchucks and moles, although he hasn't yet had a chance to try it on them yet. He has started using the blaster in his gopher trapping business, but notes that it's more difficult to prove how many gophers get killed, and he plans to manufacture the blaster for sale in the near future.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jerry Stager, Box 111, Orovada, Nev. 89425 (ph 702 272-3292).

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1989 - Volume #13, Issue #3