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Spill it: Chris Hull, the mole-trapper

Friday, April 4, 2008 | 4:00 p.m. CDT; updated 5:00 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Chris Hull demonstrates how to set one of the many mole traps in the back of her car. "They're very effective," Hull said. "I've never pulled one out alive."

Don’t be confused by the name. Chris Hull’s father began trapping moles as The Moleman 10 years ago, and changing the name could have confused established customers. This is Chris’s second year in the mole business and her first year working alone. If you need help removing moles from your lawn, you can reach The Moleman online at molemantrapping.com.

Can you describe the mole-trapping process?

I get a phone call and usually go to a yard to set traps within 24 hours. I go out and dig holes and set the traps. I put flags where the traps are, then come back to check in the next two to three days. After I catch a mole, I place it in a Ziploc bag and leave it in the driveway. Once I think I’ve caught all the moles, I leave a self-addressed, stamped envelope and the homeowners can send a payment.

How long does it take?

Sometimes I can set traps and catch them within 24 hours, or it might take as long as six weeks. A mole is the hardest animal to catch. You have to have a little knowledge and a little bit of luck. It’s kind of like fishing. You have to know what to use, where to go and hope they are there.

Has a mole ever gotten the best of you?

It feels like it every once in awhile. Moles are really hard to catch. My dad caught two in one trap before, and that’s unheard of. I think it was mating season. We tease my dad and call him “Mole Yoda.” He was setting a trap and saw a mole trying to run away. He just reached out and caught it by hand. It was very Jedi-like.

What’s the longest tunnel you’ve ever seen?

I’ve seen tunnels an acre long. Usually it’s male moles in the fall during mating season. They dig a straight line in hopes of running into female lines.

Deep down, do you really like moles?

I enjoy my job; I think it’s really fun. I meet really interesting people and get to see beautiful landscapes. I don’t have an opinion about moles one way or the other, though.

Did “Caddyshack” give you ideas for dealing with moles?

My friends razz me about that movie. When I can’t catch the moles, I can relate to Bill Murray’s character when he’s like, “Ah! Moles!” People have tried all sorts of things. I’ve heard of people using poisonous worms ... They run moles out of yards with garden hoses or try chewed pieces of Juicy Fruit gum to clog them up. I’m sure anything will work occasionally.


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Comments

Kevin Gamble April 5, 2008 | 10:40 a.m.

The mania so many people seem to have for killing moles is pretty sadistic and disgusting. They're just wild animals, doing what comes naturally to them. If your perfect, immaculate lawn is more precious to you than living creatures, then you really need to think about your priorities. Our culture has such a backwards, childish view toward wildlife.

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