Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Never Ending Feud

Spring is in the air. It's been in the 70's and 80's for the last few days. We rolled forward the clocks and it's starting to feel like spring. My never ending feud with the raccoons has swung into full gear. Generally, I will set up one trap by the chickens and bait it with some of the cats food. It is a simple set up that rarely goes wrong and I haven't lost a chicken since I started.

Late last summer, just before falconry season, I missed a raccoon. It had found its way into the food chute in the hawks cage. Now this is a small opening, not much larger than a mail slot on the front of a door. But this particular raccoon had forced it open wider, squeezed himself in, and found his way to the hawks perch.

It was the middle of the night, so my then female Harris, never saw it coming. I found her laid out on her shelf perch, spread eagle. Her head was gone, and her chest cavity had been stripped of all of its flesh and meat.

I was devastated.

I buried the bird.
I fixed the food chute with a lock, then I moved the trap from the chicken cages, over beneath the food chute. I peppered the trap with cat food.

There was a raccoon there in the morning. I was pretty sure that this was the perpetrator of the previous nights crime. I wanted to be mad at the coon, but even as angry as I was, I couldn't hate the creature. It was just doing what it does.

I called the SPCA the next morning and they came and picked up the raccoon.

Since that time - the war rages on down by the hawk cages. I get about one or two raccoons every week and about the same number of opossums.

The coons are given to the SPCA to be euthanized.
I relocate the 'possums.

I would kill the coons myself, but I don't have a gun. I've been meaning to get one, but I've never owned a gun. I'm thinking maybe a little .22. Something inexpensive to plink squirrels in my backyard, as well as shooting raccoons. Any suggestions?


PBurns said...

Smith and Wesson Kit Gun revolver will do .22 short and longs and is a beautiful and classic gun that will hold resale value and last a lifetime. Some old ones are around, but they have started to remake them.

A very good Brazilian knockoff is around too made by Taurus. Very good gun and a good company too.

I do not like semi-autos. I like my mechanics simple and transparent.


Albert A Rasch said...


Marshmallows work well also, and don't catch cats.

As to a twenty-two...

It depends, you could get by with a cheap bolt action if all you are going to do is the occasional euthanization, run shorts through it or CB caps if you can find them. But I think you would be better served with a Ruger 10/22. Accurate enough for casual shooting, and customizable when you get the shooting bug. Mine has a Volqstrum trigger in it; makes a world of a difference.

Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
The Range Reviews: Tactical
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit
Southeast Regional OBS Coordinator

Doug said...

Thanks guys,

That will give me some place to start looking. I've been searching a bit, and there are a ton of choices.

I appreciate the advice.
I never thought of marshmallows.


mdmnm said...

As Patrick mentions, a Smith and Wesson Kit Gun (.22 revolver) is a classic that will hold value. It'll also be expensive, new ones are around $500 and used ones not much less (holding value!). Also, any sort of handgun is much more difficult to master and somewhat more tricky to handle safely than a rifle. Since you have kids, you'll probably want to get them through a gun safety course and there is nothing easier to teach than a .22 rifle. Get a bolt action or a break action single shot. Lots of nice used bolt actions out there which are inexpensive. An aperture (peep) rear sight will be easier to learn to shoot accurately than an open rear sight.

Buy a few different brands of ammunition and different types of bullets. Most .22s show a preference for one ammunition (not always the most expensive) over another. The Remington Subsonic loads are usually a good place to start and are even more quiet than most regular .22 cartridges.

Doug said...

Good advice, I thank you. I am leaning towards a simple bolt action .22. It seems like the best gun to learn on , and one that my kids will enjoy as well. I'm doing a little shopping. We'll see.

Thanks for the advice.