Friday, October 26, 2012


When I first came across this story I couldn't help but laugh. Birth control for squirrels? Really? We did have a mild winter and squirrels are now more than abundant on my college campus but come on. I find it hard to believe that we have come to the point that we need to spend money on squirrel contraceptives.

Clemson University researchers claim that their school spent an estimated one million dollars on maintenance as a result of squirrel damage. As a result, they have begun offering the vermin laced sun-flower seeds, and are currently analyzing the effects of the seeds on the squirrels and their natural predators such as hawks.

I can think of an easier way to eliminate the squirrels, but, unfortunately, shooting them with a .22 is probably not a viable option on a college campus. I have never been hunting for large game, however I have been plinking squirrels since a young age.

When I was in late elementary school, my family's house backed up to a woods and, as a result, our birdfeeders were flocked with a tremendous number and variety of songbirds. As you can imagine, it didn't take very long for the squirrels to figure out where they could find an easy, constant source of food.

One of our feeders was mounted on top of a 4x4 which proved no challenge for the nimble squirrels to climb. We tried slipping an aluminum pipe around the middle of the pole, but this only stymied them for a short while as they soon figured out they could reach the feeder by taking a flying leap from a nearby bush. That left only one option.

Deciding we were too young for a real firearm, my dad bought me and my brother a pump pellet gun. It became a weekly contest to see who could get the most squirrels from our sniper perch in an upstairs window. The challenge was to pump up the gun (it was air powered) as quickly and quietly as possible, slowly (and again quietly) slide the window open, and finally to hit the squirrel. Pellet guns are not particularly powerful so a headshot was usually required for a kill.

This carried on for a few years until we finally got what we then thought was the mother of all firearms, the .22. The challenge of getting the window open quietly still remained, but once we got our sights on the poor vermin it was game over. We went on a killing spree that included my personal record of eight squirrels in barely a week. This slowed them down, but we continued to get a couple a month until we finally moved a few years later.

I hope to someday own a house near a woods, and to be able to put in some birdfeeders. But now, if we get squirrels, I know the first thing I'll do.

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