It’s that time of year when, overnight, your lawn sprouts a million dirt tee-pees caused by mole infestation. You want to get rid of the pesky varmints, and you’ve tried poison pellets, lethal gas, impaling them on a pitchfork, but they keep coming back.

Quite by accident, I’ve found a way you probably haven’t tried: mole herding.

Let me explain. I was walking my dog in the park the other day, and a crow flew out of the woods right in front of me. It had a mole in its clutches. The crow landed about twenty feet away and dropped the mole, ready to feast on a nice fuzzy warm breakfast.

On impulse, I shooed the crow becauseI felt pity for the mole. The crow flew a few feet away and stood there squawking at me, and I’m pretty sure it was saying, “You lousy (insert trashy word of your choice), how DARE you steal my mole.”

I asked myself, “No what the HELL are you going to do with this mole out here in the middle of the park? Because you KNOW that crow will waddle right straight over here the minute you leave.”

And I answered, “Why, I’ll get a plastic bag and pick the sweet little thing up and put it safely back in the woods.”

Even as I said the words, I knew it was a lie. I was pretty sure you can feel a mole squirming through plastic. I’d drop it and run shrieking. This I knew.

So I stood there looking at the mole, which was trying to hide in the short grass, and looking at the crow, which was watching me with a scowl on its face. I could drag this part of the story out for a long, long time – I believe it’s that interesting. But suffice it to say that after about five minutes, I bummed a plastic bag from a dog walking passer-by and spent the next ten minutes trying to get my nerve up to grab the mole.

Two men I knew came by and asked what I was doing standing there up there in the grass. After I explained my dilemma, one of them advised me to use a stick to coax the mole into the bag. A BRILLIANT plan.

I opened the bag a few inches in front of the mole, got a stick, and tapped the little black thing on its bottom. The mole went toward the bag but dodged around it and stopped. “Crap,” I thought, “a shifty little mole.” But it had moved about half a foot. Was it possible, I said to myself, to herd a mole thirty feet to the safety of the woods?

I gently nudged it with the stick, and it went forward a few inches. With more prompting it went a foot or so, and then kept going with an occasional encouraging tap. We’d gone about fifteen feet when it came to the gravel on the side of the blacktop walking path and the mole nose-dived into the gravel, digging frantically with those little pink hands. I had to put the stick under its belly several times to raise it out of there. Finally it got the message and continued on across the blacktop path and another mowed area until it reached the tall grass at the edge of the woods, where it disappeared.

This experience showed me that there is a more humane way to get rid of yard vermin. Wait for them to come out of their holes and then herd them to your least favorite neighbor’s yard. It’s easier than you think, and quite satisfying on so many levels.