The French Mole Hunter

Right, then.  Back to fun with 60-year-olds or how to have fun when 60-year-olds are out in the garden hunting for moles.

It seems as if the yard in front of the house of the Frenchman’s parents is an attractive place for moles to scurry about doing whatever it is they do.  These underground tunnel digging excursions do nothing for the lawn and in fact, make a complete mess out of it by leaving large piles of dirt all over the place.

In France when you have a problem with moles you call the ‘taupe man’.

From what I understand most towns and villages out in the French countryside have a few good mole hunters that will be more than happy to come out to your house, investigate the dirt-piling situation and plant a few traps if necessary.

These hunters of the mole used to get paid per mole captured and many of them still do, today.  Back in the day the mole or moleskin was presented to the home owner by placing the dead mole on the doorstep or windowsill of the home.

A week or so ago, I got to see a French mole hunter live and in action and I found the entire experience to be pretty exciting; but then again, I have only just discovered the joys of owning an iphone, have never seen the film Avatar and only know that the television show Glee is about some kids in high school singing. 

So, while I may not currently be the most hip person to fall out of America, I will say that being in the ‘huh?’ zone from time to time does provide a lovely layer of Zen-like bliss and hunting for moles is rather awesome.

The mole hunter arrived after the Frenchman’s mother looked out her kitchen window one day and announced, “I must call the taupe man.”

When he arrived, we all went outside into the yard.  The mole hunter walked slowly about the yard and checked out the various piles of dirt and holes that the Frenchman’s mother pointed out to him.  To me, the small mounds of dirt and many holes all kind of looked the same, but there was a real difference, he explained, between the dirt piles made by moles vs. the dirt piles made by field mice.  Good to know.

You could tell that his guy had been hunting moles for a while because he didn’t focus on the actual piles of dirt or the open holes in the ground which is exactly what I would have focused on if I was in charge of hunting moles for the day (I classify myself as a mole hunting novice).  Instead, he concentrated his investigation on the perimeter pathway of the moles.  Apparently, the moles dig tunnels that are used repeatedly to go from place A to place B.  It’s sort of like a mole super-highway.

I have never set an animal trap before, but the traps the mole hunter used were not really what I would consider to be traps and I couldn’t figure out how they were going to actually trap the moles.  The devices looked like short campfire hotdog skewers that were clamped open by a small piece of metal.  The moles must just run into these forks which causes the two sides to come together very quickly which then breaks their necks.  Maybe? 

After he dug into the ground to expose the mole tunnel, he placed two of these traps within the actual tunnel structure so that the fork part of both traps was open on both ends.  He said he would return within a few days time to check the traps for moles.

The day we checked the traps, we noticed that the first trap he set was released, but there were no dead moles.  He decided to upgrade the trap with what he called an ‘American’ model which looked like a horseshoe.  But we hit dead mole pay dirt when we checked the second set of traps.  On the end of each trap, there was a dead mole. 

At the end of the total hunt, there only two moles caught, but the mole hunter still looked pleased.  The ‘American’ trap ended up producing nothing after being in the ground for a few extra days.

If you’re curious, I have attached a photo slide show of the mole hunt in the garden and if you live in the French countryside and need a quality mole hunter, I will happily provide you with a name and a number.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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About Minnesota Pilgrim

A GenX Xpat who moved from Minnesota to Mauritius to France with her Frenchman lover. Multiple cultures, total bedlam, absolute bliss.
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