But we've discovered a dreadful mistake. For over a century we classified the gopher as a varmint and suggested using calibers such as the .22 LR when hunting them. James Nelson, a 240-pound man, would likely consider the gopher to be dangerous game. He fought with one that had attacked his dogs and his daughter in his backyard before it turned on him. Nelson kicked the gopher repeatedly and beat it with a shovel, but the rodent kept charging, knocking the man down twice.