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Fw: [AR-News] Shooting squirrels is "a whole lot of fun."

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  • Cynthia Hendrick
    ... From: joe miele, Date: Mon, 08 Aug 2005 19:56:35 Evidence that hunters kill animals for fun. The following article from the August, 2005 issue Trapper &
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2005
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: joe miele, Date: Mon, 08 Aug 2005 19:56:35

      Evidence that hunters kill animals for fun.

      The following article from the August, 2005 issue Trapper & Predator
      Caller
      magazine and can be found on page 60.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


      Animal Control Trapping
      by Dave Morelli

      Shoot Squirrels In Open Spaces

      Next to fur season, my favorite time of year is when ground squirrels
      and
      marmots start causing problems.

      Most of my urban squirrel and marmot work involves the use of bodygrip
      traps, cages and snares. Even if the job is in an area where shooting
      is
      allowed, I won't take the chance of sniping the furballs near houses or
      where people might be walking.

      What really trips my traps though, is doing squirrel work in the
      wide-open
      spaces of ranches. Whether it is a paying job, helping the rancher for
      enjoyment or trading for winter trapping access, wide-open squirrel work
      is
      a blast. Although most large jobs are more efficiently handled with
      treated
      baits, I still manage a fair amount of squirrels through mechanical
      control-
      shooting.

      With squirrel shooting, I can make the job as fun as I want. I have
      carried
      a shotgun through infested areas, while setting traps, taking out
      squirrels
      that exposed themselves. However, the most challenging task for me -
      and
      usually the most efficient - is the sniper technique.

      Setting up a good hide and sniping a town of squirrels eliminates
      infestations with minimal expenditures. It also sharpens a predator
      caller's
      eyes and equipment. A squirrel is a tiny target, even through a 9x scope
      at
      100 yards. A gunner needs to shoot '/4-inch or smaller groups at 100
      yards.
      Aim small, miss small is especially true with squirrels.

      Why shoot at a squirrel at 100 yards or more?

      After the young, uneducated squirrels have been eliminated, the
      shooting
      gets tougher. Each set-up will have fast, close shooting for 15 minutes
      or
      so. The next half hour will offer fewer, more distant shots.

      The last five or so squirrels in a town are the most important. Most
      sport
      hunters and pleasure varminters won't have the patience it takes to wait
      out
      the last few individuals. Sport hunters will move on to another area
      where
      the shooting is faster. But a professional wildlife control operator
      must
      wait out the last members of the town, because they are brood stock
      that
      will create a problem for the rancher next year. Professionals are paid
      to
      get them all.

      Total management should involve all tools available to the operator -
      traps,
      baits and guns. If shooting is the choice, the equipment needs to be
      tuned
      to hit small targets at long distances.

      Cost of ammunition is a consideration, because in business, the less
      you
      spend the more you make. For most of us, that means using a .22 rifle.
      The
      .22LR has been the trapper's best friend for as long as most of us can
      remember. And, it is a good all around choice for squirrel management.

      My old bolt-action .22 can probably kill squirrels out to 100 yards. But
      it
      is fitted with a 3-9x scope, and I don't shoot past 80 yards. This
      weapon
      excels in suburban situations with CB caps. The distances in these
      settings
      are usually much closer. And, while most semi-autos will not cycle with
      CB
      caps, the bolt-action works great.

      At 35 to 50 yards, this outfit is capable of making one hole on paper.
      But
      at longer ranges, I prefer a 10-22. There are more attachments,
      accessories
      and pretty things available for the 10-22 than I can list, but the cost
      of a
      basic model is under $180. With a good scope and some practice, these
      rifles
      are capable of creating vacancies in squirrel towns past 50 yards.
      However,
      the .22LR loses effectiveness as distance increases. Matched barrels,
      trigger jobs and heavier stocks will squeeze out longer shots, but soon
      the
      long rifle will run out of juice.

      At ranges where the .22LR is unreliable, I turn to the .17 HMR. When
      this
      caliber first erupted on the rimflfe market, it was extremely hard to
      get.
      If you found one, buying ammo was a chore. The reason: The caliber is
      awesome.

      Simply a necked-down .22 magnum rimfire cartridge, the .17 caliber
      pushes a
      small projectile. to nearly 2,500 fps.

      The .17HMR is chambered in just about every type of rifle a guy can
      imagine.
      Mine is similar to my old bolt-action .22, but with a bull barrel. The
      rifle
      cost $170, and I put a 4-12x scope on it.

      For squirrels past 100 yards, 12x is the minimum magnification. Now that
      I
      know the .17 is capable of 150-yard shots, I wouldn't hesitate to put a
      higher power on it. There has to be a happy median though. A variable
      scope
      is necessary because I want to make close shots, too.

      When the .17 runs out of steam, I go to the centerfires. A .223 or
      .22-250
      will take care any other squirrel shot I need to make. Centerfires also
      dispatch marmots and other hole diggers at long range. These are usually
      the
      same rifles I keep close during trapping and calling season. Sniping
      200-yard squirrels is just the practice I need for taking a shy coyote
      stuck
      at 225 yards.

      After you are familiar with weapons, taking out a squirrel town is
      similar
      to calling coyotes.

      When I work a large ranch with a moderate infestation of squirrels, I
      try to
      identify individual towns or colonies. They vary in size, but are
      easily
      recognized. Whether trapping or shooting, working on individual towns
      allows
      me to be more thorough. Dividing a large area and working each small
      area to
      completeness is always more efficient.

      The first step for shooting work is to set up a good vantage point. It
      can
      be a pickup, all-terrain vehicle or hillside, but the spot should have
      a
      good view of the main activity areas of the colony. There can, and
      probably
      will be, areas covered by bushes, grass and terrain. Resist the
      temptation
      to shoot through these objects. Squirrels will offer plenty of
      opportunities. The same goes for running or moving shots. Patience
      should
      prevail when gunning for numbers.

      The second important quality I require from my shooting location is
      comfort.
      Just like at a coyote stand, I need to be able to sit comfortably for up
      to
      an hour. I won't sit as motionless as I do at a coyote stand, but
      sitting on
      an anthill won't work.

      The spot must offer a stable rifle rest. This can be a pair of sticks,
      a
      fence post or truck hood. My goal is to remove a squirrel every time my
      rifle goes pop. A good rest makes it possible.

      Cover or camouflage will be necessary to trick the last few squirrels.
      I
      don't mean I camouflage clothing so much as just something to cover my
      movement or outline. A haystack or piece of machinery works fine.

      I used to think it was a good idea to move on after killing several
      dozen
      squirrels, only to come back to the colony after scavengers removed the
      carcasses. However, most of the time, the squirrels don't pay any
      attention
      to their fallen comrades. I have even shot squirrels pushing on dead
      ones. I
      don't think they have enough gray matter to assess what's happening.

      I might shoot 30 or 40 squirrels at one town, but the last 10 will take
      up
      most of my time. After 45 minutes or so, I will move to another colony.

      I will return to the same spot again either late in the day or on my
      next
      circuit. I continue shooting until no more squirrels' come out.

      Many ranchers and landowners question the effectiveness of shooting
      squirrels, especially if they are paying for the service. I simply tell
      them
      an effective management program should include other methods along with
      shooting. But shooting is an efficient way of removing many squirrels in
      a
      short time.

      I have worked the same areas several years in a row and see the effects
      of
      the management techniques I use. One tract where I have only used
      shooting
      as a control method, has shown a greatly reduced squirrel population.

      Large populations of squirrels will not disappear overnight with only
      mechanical controls. But diligent shooting will mange the problem.

      In fact, shooting will remove squirrels much faster than trapping. By
      shooting for three hours a day for a week, I can remove up to 500
      squirrels
      in just 15 hours. The same amount of squirrels in traps would take a
      lot
      more time. The landowner will notice the quick impact and happily pay
      for
      the service. Plus, it's a whole lot of fun.

      Animal Control Trapping is a monthly column for trappers interested in
      nuisance work. Write to Dave Morelli, Box 2554, Post Falls, ID 83877.
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