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squirrel control

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squirrel control

Postby Dexter's Shed » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:31 pm

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sorry for taking your post of track smojo




MartinD wrote:Dexter's Shed - how do you control your squirrels? Polite notices asking them not to touch your nuts, or something more drastic?


I have three Kania traps set up around the bird feeding area, these are a break neck type trap, very fast and humane, laced with peanut butter the little devils cant resist, these only get used occasionally so they don't get trap shy.
my other method is the 410 shotgun, a handy little tool for woodland, lightweight,easy to handle, and the reduced lead shot amount is in my eye's, kinder to my trees, I'm always the first to walk into the camping area where we also have our bird feeders, so normally catch one or two by surprise, and then early morning camping weekends, when it then gives us a double whammy, as not only does it reduce the squirrel population, but also wakes up all the campers so I can get them to work :lol:

myself and another plot holder also do a walk around, rough shooting, checking for new drays etc
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Re: squirrel control

Postby smojo » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:28 pm

sorry for taking your post of track smojo


No worries - good topic to start too. I'm starting to despise them too. I read the FC advice about setting poison and traps etc and it said that it was law that you inspected them daily to avoid unnecessary suffering. There's no way I can do that. Of course who is to know whether you have or not. There's no way I can consider trying to shoot them either because

a) the wife would disown me if I bought a gun
b) I only see them fleetingly, running away from me with a wheelbarrow full of hazel nuts, chestnuts, conkers and beech-tree bark, as I arrive in the car. c) I doubt I could hit one
d) I'd feel guilty

It's a tricky one for me being basically a pacifist and disliking killing anything if I can help it. I know we have discussed this aspect before and there are people here who have very different ideas about "to kill or not to kill".
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Re: squirrel control

Postby Dexter's Shed » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:46 pm

the checking of traps law is for live catch traps, which also need a water supply in them, crazy uk laws,
kania traps can only be activated by the intended quarry head first, hence the price tag of around £50 each,
even though I'm a full time pestie, I'd recommend people stay away from poisons, it's far to easy in open areas to start affecting non target quarry

if your having real problems with them, you could try finding a local shooter to give shooting permission too, you could quote certain target species only, and most people would stick to what you want done, to keep the permission, shooting land/permissions is at a premium, so you could get them under control without getting your hands dirty

try looking to see if there's any local air rifle clubs in the area of the woods, going through them should ensure you find someone trustworthy
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Re: squirrel control

Postby oldclaypaws » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:14 pm

I'm so hard and merciless when it comes to pests. (Not).

We had a rat took up residence in the compost heap, so on Xmas day I gave it a cereal bar. (True).
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Re: squirrel control

Postby smojo » Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:43 am

try looking to see if there's any local air rifle clubs in the area of the woods, going through them should ensure you find someone trustworthy


At the moment they aren't a big problem. I understand the wood was leased to a shooting syndicate who raised pheasants prior to it being sold off as woodlots. My concern is that numbers may have previously been kept down by them and now they are gone, may increase to an unacceptable level. I think it would be easy to get someone in to shoot. I believe there is a shooting club just down the road.

Paws - you big softie.
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Re: squirrel control

Postby jennysmate » Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:09 am

Dexter's Shed wrote:the checking of traps law is for live catch traps, which also need a water supply in them, crazy uk laws,

Can you please elucidate on this Dexter? What's crazy about supplying water to a caged animal?
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Re: squirrel control

Postby Dexter's Shed » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:34 am

jennysmate wrote:
Dexter's Shed wrote:the checking of traps law is for live catch traps, which also need a water supply in them, crazy uk laws,

Can you please elucidate on this Dexter? What's crazy about supplying water to a caged animal?


the fact that most trappers should check every 12 hours, and the fact your going humanely kill it, yet the uk still allow live trapping, I would rather see them banned altogether, a caged man can be told why he's in there, an animal cannot, yet uk laws think that supplying a water bowl makes it all ok
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Re: squirrel control

Postby jennysmate » Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:13 pm

Thanks for clarifying that, Dexter.
I know nothing about trapping.
How do you make sure only squirrels are killed in your traps?
At least with live trapping one could let other species go, if caught.
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Re: squirrel control

Postby Dexter's Shed » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:18 pm

jennysmate wrote:Thanks for clarifying that, Dexter.
I know nothing about trapping.
How do you make sure only squirrels are killed in your traps?
At least with live trapping one could let other species go, if caught.


with any pest control, studying what's there is an important part of control, now in our woodlands we would look for non target species that could possible enter a break back trap, so if you were in an area with red squirrel, then it would not be used, shooting in my eyes is always the best option, but it's time consuming and from a customers point of view, expensive as it involves alot of man hours, that's why the live catch traps were introduced, good in one way, barbaric in another, because you could set that trap, walk away and a animal could enter it within minutes and be caught, yet by law, that trapper does not need to return for 24hrs :(

so back to our grey squirrel, what else of similar size lives in the area that can also climb trees??? as the traps are set 20ft up,

rabbits cant climb, but even if they could, the tunnel on the trap would stop them entering it
weasel/stoat possible, but they are too small and lightweight to trigger the trap
mink, possible, but as they are non native to the uk, they are classed as pests all year round and can be culled also
birds, if small enough to enter (have seen tit's roosting/feeding inside a kania) they are not heavy enough to trigger the kill plate

so in our woods, were ok, again we only use them occasionally so as not to make the squirrels trap shy, also means anything caught can be removed before it spoils and cooked, in work I have to control whatever pest species the customer wants, but in our woods, I prefer to only control what we can eat
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Re: squirrel control

Postby Dave and Verity » Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:54 am

The statement below relates solely to grey squirrels which may be controlled under the general licence.

A sub 12ftlbs air rifle is an excellent option. Key things to consider here are staying safe (you and the public) and staying legal, whilst some regard airguns as little more than toys, they are classed as firearms in English law and offences relating to them are dealt with very stringently.

Safety; the same rules apply for any type of firearm, and this is not the place to write them up, however a key one for the given situation is to be aware of where the pellet is going if you miss the target or if the pellet were to pass straight through the squirrel. Always ensure a safe backstop.

Legality is a huge subject, but again key points are; unless you are the holder of a Firearms Certificate, you will be limited to less than 12ftlbs energy at the muzzle, the responsibility to maintain this is with the user of the rifle (if you were to be caught with a rifle running at anything over 12ftlbs, you are deemd to be in possession of an unlicensed firearm), you must have the permission of the land owner (this also is a biggy, as without it, you are commiting armed trespass), you must ensure that no projectile leaves the boundary of your land, you must not shoot within 50ft. of the centre of a public right of way if it causes harm or nuisance to another person.

Some knowledge of a squirrels anatomy is desirable as it is insufficient merely to aim at the largest part of the animal and hope for the best. A hunters aim should always be to achieve a humane kill. In the case of a squirrel we are talking about a head shot, or a heart/lung shot. Even when aiming for a head shot, you would be looking to place the shot in the region of the head containing the brain / spinal cord. Multi shot rifles are a good option, because a second shot is always available should it be required.

Any of the commercially available calibres are effective, although at close ranges .177 can result in over penetration resulting in some of the energy of the pellet being wasted. .25 can be effective with squirrels, but you will have a very pronounced trajectory at sub 12 so only at very close ranges.

The great advantage of say a precharged pneumatic air rifle over a shotgun is their almost silent operation, on many, the noise of the action is the only thing that can be heard by the shooter. This is not audible at reasonable hunting ranges, in my case up to 40 yds. others would argue for greater ranges, but with modern air rifles the individual is the weakest link and that is my absolute limit. This is nicer for your neighbours and allows for more than one squirrel to be taken per session, as they will rarely hear anything to alarm them.

I would not condone the use of air pistols for controlling squirrels, their power in England is resticted to sub 6ftlbs and many are way below this limit at 2 - 3ftlbs. The energy retained at distance is insufficient to ensure a humane kill. Accuracy with a pistol can be devastating under very controlled conditions, but absolutely not when following a scampering squirrel around.

A final point is that I would not condone an inexperienced shooter, going out, buying an air rifle, taking it out and trying to shoot squirrels. Time must be taken to become familiar with your rifle, choice of ammunition (all barrels will perform better with one particular brand over others) and scope, you must learn it's trajectory over your given hunting range, and you should practise until you are able to consistantly place the pellet in a target smaller than your desired species' kill zone, in this instance about the size of 20p piece. If you intend to shoot squirrels at height, you will also need to learn the theory behind this as your point of impact will change if shooting up or down hill. This practise should be regular to ensure consistancy. A club is an excellent idea.

I have made no mention of field craft, it is a book on it's own, but squirrels are fairly easy to bait and confident enough to ignore much of what's going on around them.

Sorry for the lengthy ramble, I found once I'd made my original statement, I agreed with myself, but needed to be fairly thorough in it's explanation.

Dave
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