They could not have missed seeing the gophering that the old man had done on the hillside above The Four Pools.
1812, American English, perhaps an Englishing of Louisiana French gaufre "honeycomb, waffle," said to have been used by French settlers in reference to small mammals on analogy of the structure of their burrows, from Old French gaufre, of Frankish origin. The rodent was the nickname of people from Arkansas (1845) and later Minnesota (1872). The gopherwood tree of the Bible (used by Noah to make the ark, Gen. vi:14) is unrelated; it is from Hebrew gofer, perhaps meaning the cypress.
To hit a GOFER BALL in baseball: only about the fifth or sixth that Orosco had gophered home the eventual gamer