Gophers aren’t very popular in Manteca.
The Bulletin office on Monday had a number of callers who tried to reach Frank Anger — the Del Webb resident featured on the front page of the weekend edition — who has developed a knack for killing gophers. His tally alone over the years at Del Webb at Woodbridge is a tad over 2,000.
The correct phone number appeared in the story but it lacked one critical component — the area code. Anger kept his Bay Area number for his cell when the moved to Manteca years ago. His complete number is (408) 234-8608.
There were also three emails requesting the correct number of which two included short gopher stories.
One writer said he spent a young fortune on solar-powered gopher sonar deterrent devices to no avail. He said it seemed to increase the number of holes.
Another told of spending weeks trying to get a gopher by following the advice of well-meaning neighbors by dropping Juicy Fruit gum in runs.
“It had to be Juicy Fruit,” he wrote, “and I had to wear gloves to unwrap it because I was told that gophers could smell human scent on the gum . . . I must have spent $10 on gum in one week.”
Did it work? He said it didn’t faze the gopher.
Three gopher stories relayed over the years involving Manteca residents included a mechanic who lived on Garden Gate and came home late one night after working a double shift and noticed a mound in the back yard. He went out, put a hose in it and turned it on and went inside for to eat. He ended up falling asleep.
They next morning he went to work and had to do overtime again due to the harvest season. When he got home that night, he went into the back yard remembering he left the water on. He stepped off the patio and sunk into the ground past his ankles.
Another was a story shared by Antone Raymus about trying to shove a hose down a hole and into a run to drown a gopher. After a while he went to pull the hose out but it had gotten stuck as the sandy loam had become saturated with water and collapsed. He tried to dig it out but to no avail. He was about to cut it off when it was pointed out to him the hose cost $20. He said he ended up making the hole a “good five feet wide” before finally doing what he wanted to do in the first place — cutting the hose off.
The third story actually involved a man who lived in the Livermore hills that worked at the lab whose daughter lived in Manteca.
She ran into me one day at Orchard Supply Hardware after reading about one of my gopher encounters.
She shared that her father-in-law had grown so frustrated with gophers doing large scale damage over the course of a month that he called a concrete company to pour cement into runs believing that would kill them. Needless to say hours after the truck emptied its load another mound appeared.